A wet soggy day couldn’t dampen the spirits of the 32 runners who turned out for the London leg of the Annual Global 5K.
Our day started with a photo-call at Tower Bridge and Tower of London, much to the excitement and interest of passing tourists. The team in blue really caught their eye!
We boarded our coach, kindly supplied by Plan Ahead Travel (in memory of their recently deceased Director Billy Higgins) and made our way to the Hazelwood Centre – the home of the London Irish, in Sunbury-on-Thames.
Another group of runners was waiting to meet us, and by this time the rain had really started to come down. We couldn’t help but feel envious of Aussie runners who had completed their 5K events hours before in glorious sunshine, but we were not discouraged. A quick change into running gear and it was time for our briefing by John Maxen of Parkrun UK who had agreed to marshal the course for us.
Our group of runners made their way to the start line where they were welcomed by Declan Kidney, Director of Rugby at London Irish, and our race-starter for the day. Declan blew the whistle and they were off!
A brilliant effort was made by all, and our fastest runner was Gerard McKeown who crossed the line in just over 19 minutes, followed very closely by his twin Ciaran! First lady across the line was Aoife McGrath in 23 minutes.
As the last runners came across the line, it was time to dry off and get some well-deserved refreshments. Runners were treated to a two course lunch with wine, courtesy of AB Packaging Group. Our runners were welcomed by London Irish Amateur RFC President Terry Long who recalled attending an Ireland Funds gala in New York in the 1980s alongside our founder Sir Anthony O’Reilly. IFGB Director, Katie Jemmett, then gave a short speech congratulating the runners and thanking all event sponsors including our platinum sponsor DRS Bonds.
At 3.30pm, a well-sated group of runners boarded the coach to return to London and ended the day with a final congratulatory pint at The Minories at Tower Gateway.
Well done to all runners!
Photo credit: Noel Madden