By Jimmy Rhatigan
Pics: Martin Doheny
THE FIRST running of Kilkenny City Harriers Streets of Kilkenny 5k was a ground-breaking and quite spectacular success.
The second on Holy Thursday was even better.
Race two attracted a mix of 600 male and female runners who pounded through a sensational 5k on what is now being described as our iconic race venue that includes our castle, River Nore and bridges.
Then comes an explosion of energy accompanied by a spine-chilling buzz at the newly opened St Francis Bridge that doubles as a viewing area as athletes battle their way through the Peace Park and on to the tape.
With the Kilkenny City and County athletic community turning out in force and over 1,000 jostling for vantage points to hone in on the action, the race that also attracted runners from several parts of the country was an awesome spectacle.
Harriers organisers were delighted with the support they received, grateful for the good weather and happy that they had focused concentration on positive aspects of last year’s inaugural race.
Our new bridge is part of the story of the city extravaganza and the race is also part of the story of the new bridge.
Highlight of the men’s race was a toe to toe battle to the finish line between Cork’s Michael Harty and the Harriers Brian Maher.
There was huge excitement as the superbly fit athletes upped throttle and it was Harty who just got there in 14 minutes and forty two seconds while Maher was a smidgen behind in 14.43. Third was Toss Hayes from the Harriers in 15.02.
Also in contention was Shay McEvoy from the Harriers who did brilliantly and was first U18 in 15.33. Ger Forde, Wexford also battled bravely throughout and was there to the death.
Women’s winners were: 1 Laura McDonald, Tallaght; 2 Adele Walsh, St Senan’s, Kilmacow; 3 Siobhan O’Doherty.
Borrisokane woman and St Luke’s General Hospital occupational therapist, Siobhan was favourite to retain the crown she won last year and went oh so close to a repeat.
She is a superb athlete who has won European gold and two mini marathons.
Over 250 turned up at Langton’s, John Street for the presentation of trophies and post race party.
Thanks went to Langton’s as main sponsors, also St Canice’s Credit Union, Lacey Electrical Contractor, Eoin Everard Physio Solutions, Laurels B&B and Allied Irish Bank.