OVER 500 students and staff are expected to participate in the eighth school 5kms road race (believed to be first of its kind in the country, although there are now a number of schools 5kms races held around the country ).This means that the race has now been running longer than any student has been at the school. This year’s race is being held on Friday starting at around 11.15 am.
The now traditional route is down the Bog Road as far as Marian Hill, turn right into Spa Street, around by the leisure centre, up Main Street and back to the school via Patrick Street (passing the boys national school for the last time before it moves onto its new campus).
Hopefully, the community will turn out to support the participants.
This year’s guest of honour has yet to be announced. Last year, it was mixed martial arts local and past pupil Philip Mulpeter. Invaluable technical assistance will once again be provided by St Michael’s Athletics Club.
While there will be prizes for the first three across the line in the junior and senior boys and girls categories, the emphasis is squarely on participation and fun. Third-year students Dualtaigh Unuvar (18 minute 5km race time to his name) and Eoin Worral (third overall in first year despite finishing with one shoe!) will be podium favourites.
Despite a massive haul of medals at recent athletics meetings, the boys, and particularly girls’ races, lacks a firm favourite. However, Rebecca Fenlon was among the best of the girls last year and could emerge victorious. The male teachers’ race is also wide open, with previous perennial rivals Christopher Booth and Conor Mitchell under pressure from, among others, Tom King. Jason Aughney and Keith Bracken and GAA stars Ronan and Martin Walsh can’t be overlooked either.
Fionnuala Cleary should easily retain her lady teachers crown. In the absence of Christopher Whittle, who won most years in which he participated, the stage is set for a student to emerge and make the race their own.