Maurice McCrohan reports: “The Stook 10( Mistook it for an easy race………………!)November 23rd”
I have not had much to write about running wise lately. An Autumn respiratory tract infection threw my schedule out of the window,
But like young Bambi and the frozen lake, I had to venture out at some point! That point was reached over a drink fuelled football day trip to London with our veteran legend Declan Power!
Declan announced he was doing the Stook 10 near Gowran in Kilkenny on November 23rd .A good 10 mile rural and supporting a local club as opposed to Samsung! But the bit about the Stook 2 mile uphill section from 6 to 8 Miles was slightly lost amidst a general good idea at the time conversation. Gary O’Hanlon (guaranteed prize !) was also going to run.
We set off on the Sunday morning and flew down the motorway in quiet traffic. We turned off the M9 at the Gowran exit and like Sam and Frodo heading to Mordor ,we saw the large hills up ahead!
We arrived following a well signposted route to Dungarven Village ,Race HQ. We were directed into a farmers field where cars were parked like the toys on the floor in Toy Storey!All over the place?
“Where’s the way out, for later “? I asked the amiable, but Orc featured steward?” Just hang around for the cup of tea after and you’ll be fine!” .he said.
We were not allowed to drive the course in advance. We knew the hill was out there somewhere! We warmed up and said a quick hello to the legend Dave (every day is a Race!)Brady of Raheny and we were ready to go.
The race started on time on a mild clear autumn day .We negotiated a winding stretch and passed some fearsome beasts trying to break through farmers fences to get us!
We came upon the Stook near 6 mile and the games began!
It was uphill and round and uphill and round, like an American theme park rollercoaster .I heard more nearly there and the end is just around the corners, that I felt it was politicians not supporters on the route .Finally, we reached the ascent where a couple of local Sherpas made up in enthusiasm what they lacked in numbers in giving us a cow bell welcome!
We were at 8 miles and crossed a mat to start the flying mile sheer downhill . It was fun although I was a little timid on the downhill. I crossed to mile 9 in 5.40,Declan was in the 4.40s!The buzz from the flying mile brought me home and I ran a good last mile and was home in 1.07.Not great, but a start of my return.
Gary and Declan were one and two finishers. We received a commemorative cow bell at the finish.We went in to the hall after where there was lots of tea ,sandwiches and even the off chicken wrap if they took a shine to you! There were no showers available, though.
It was a good race in support of a local AC. Its not a fast course, though after the Stook ,you can make some ground back on the last two .
Onwards and upwards”