After two cancellations due to weather conditions, the ninth and final race of the 2009 Vodafone C&C Cellular Mayo Road Race League takes place in Westport on Sunday February 7, starting at 2pm. Participants are strongly advised to allow sufficient time to travel to the race as there is a football match at Castlebar on that day.
There have only been a couple of races in Connacht so far this year, and results from them indicate the Westport 5k race will have some form athletes battling for precious league points. The league prizes will depend on the best six race points totals. Gerry Ryan (GCH ) was in excellent form winning the Tuam 8k and has 124 points from his five races so far, four wins and a second place. In the expected absence of current league leader Robert Malseed and Robbie Matthews (injured ) the GCH man looks the likely winner. Last year's race winner Martin Conroy (Sligo AC ) has been in great form recently on track and cross country but may opt for the senior indoors championships in Belfast. This could leave in-form John Byrne and current o40 leader Martin Corcoran (Craughwell AC ), in a tight race for the third senior spot. There should be a good contest for the other top places from rapidly improving Roger Barrett (Ballina AC ), TJ McHugh, and top junior Daniel Murray.
The women's top six looks just as exciting. Mary Gleeson looked certain to retain the title she won in 2008 and leads with a brilliant score. However her fellow Claremorris based athlete Catherine Conway ran a fast 36.04 PB to finish second in the Athenry 10k on January 24. The third senior place is likely to go to current o35 leader Breege Blehein. This leaves Cathy Connolly another in-form prize-winner in Athenry, Angela O’Connor, Chris Gallagher, Ann Murray, and a resurgent Ann Lennon to fight out the o35 league places. It all depends on what happens on the day, as those who have run six races or more already could improve their points totals. The race will also be a good trial for the national intermediate and masters cross country two weeks later in Lough Key Forest Park, Boyle.
The flat and fast Westport 5k course is always a great spectacle as the race heads out through the grounds of Westport House and around the Quay before returning to the finish near Hotel Westport. Entries (€15 ) at the sports centre by Westport track from 12.30pm. Dressing rooms will be available and the race starts at 2pm sharp. Prize presentations for the race and the road league, plus the Irish Runner most improved athlete award, will take place in Hotel Westport near the finish area from 3.30pm onwards. Enquiries to Michael 086 8534729.