Swinford AC hosted its annual 8km race last Sunday which was also the fifth race in Mayo AC's C&C Cellular Road League.
As usual it was a well organised event with spectator friendly traffic-free start and finishing areas in the town centre. Conditions were good for running despite the Bank Holiday clouds - although the early part of the course was reported to be slippery. The turnout was slightly down due to distractions elsewhere.
As the start times of global and national sports clashed, the Gaelic result put icing on Sunday's athletic cake. However the Croker lads enjoyed a half-time rest, massage, and fresh oranges.
Matt Bidwell (GCH ) and Roger Barrett (Ballina AC ) looked relaxed chatting together as they led over the early kilometres, with Mayo AC's John Byrne in steady pursuit. However after half way Bidwell opened a gap and went on to win convincingly by over 40 seconds in 25.41 - 45 seconds outside the great Gerry Ryan's Swinford 2010 time of 24.56. John Byrne was satisfied with his third place in 27.12, as he is in 'ultra' training mode for the World 100km championships in a few weeks.
There was another notable performance by Hugh Armstrong (Ballina AC ) finishing fifth overall in 28.11, and first Junior u19 as he did in Balla 10km the previous week.
Mary Gleeson (Mayo AC ) was the clear women's race winner - her third Swinford 8km in a row - and only one second outside her fastest time in 2009. She ran hard all the way and is well out of sight leading the league table on 123 points. Cathy Connolly was close to her best time in second - 32.09 and was five seconds ahead of third placed Siobhán Lennon, who is having a fine return to racing.
As usual there were a number of personal bests, among them a quartet of Mayo AC athletes - Brendan Hession 30.56, Sarah Syron 32.36 and fourth woman overall, Tony Gleeson 36.30, and o50 winner Una McGrath 42.17. There were a good number of Fit4Life participants in the field and they will be looking forward to the first of Swinford AC's upcoming autumn race series beginning with a 5km at Foxford on Wednesday August 10 at 7.30pm. The sixth race in the Road League is the De Care Claremorris 5 on August 27.