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Achilles Kingston St. Patrick’s Day 5km

Achilles Kingston St. Patrick’s Day 5km

Sunday March 18, 2007

If Irish eyes were smiling, they belonged to the lads back at the pub drinking green ale by the fire.  They did not however, belong to any of the 87 runners braving the weather to participate in the 5th Annual Kingston Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5km on Sunday, March 18, 2007.  For many of the athletes in attendance, it proved to be a cold, windy, and icy start to the 2007 running season, making for numb fingers, slow times, and big smiles!

On a day when conditions were more characteristic of the North Pole, rather than the lush green hills of Ireland, the race drew a talented field of athletes from in and around Eastern Ontario.  This is the first year that Melissa and I made the trip to Kingston for the race.  In years past, we raced the Burlington 5km on St. Patrick’s Day, but thought it was time for a change- Kingston is well known for producing fast runners.  The course itself, although flat, featured a number of snowy 90-degree turns near the start/finish, as it twisted along a concrete lakefront boardwalk, around a hotel, and onto the city streets.  The streets were dry, but the wind was brisk and gusty on the way out.  On the way back, the course meandered along a snow-covered trail for about a kilometre or so before re-connecting with the dry streets, and then finally the concrete boardwalk to the finish.  Despite the icy/snowy conditions, the race volunteers did an excellent job of salting and shovelling problem areas.  Marshals were scattered throughout the course, and well-placed pylons took any guesswork out of mid-race navigation.  Overall, the event was very well organized.

My performance, although the first of the season, felt spectacularly mediocre.  I started fairly steady, placing myself comfortably in the lead group in third place.  I felt good, and decided to tuck behind the two other runners in front of me and wait for the opportunity to pounce.  About mid-race, I reached over to switch on the afterburners, and instead of a neck-snapping jolt, I got a whimper, and a definitive squish/thud.  Uh, oh- gas tank is hovering dangerously low- hmmm, must be a leak somewhere.  Shutting down left engine- going to have to bring her easy.  I got passed, and dropped back to fourth, but managed to fend off any other attacks from behind to finish fourth in a fairly disappointing time of 18:16- 55 seconds behind Kevin Dunbar’s winning time of 17:21. 

There was a great post run party at the Tir Nan Og Irish Pub and an impressive selection of prizes, including cash, gift certificates, and shoes!  Judging by the reaction from the crowd, a good time was had by all, including yours truly.  If ever in the Kingston area on or around St. Patrick’s Day, I highly recommend you check out the annual 5km race put on by the fine folks in Kingston.

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