Comprehensive report by Louis McCarthy
Over 200 athletes and walkers togged out for the inaugural Rás Benildus on a chilly yet sunny Friday evening in the month of May. The atmosphere in the College grounds was electric with music wafting through the air and notable luminaries from the world of politics (Government Minister Shane Ross), sport (Richie Saddler - former Ireland soccer international and now pundit on the RTE), media (Eoin McDevitt form the Second Captains), and St. Benildus College (Mr Maurice McMahon – the race Grand Marshall) in attendance.
A contingent from Rathfarnham showed up; David Power, Kevin Donagher, Louis McCarthy and Seamus Gorman – all keeping their cards close to their chest and an eye on the Kevin Tuohy Memorial trophy. Friend of the club, Niall Fergus, also got word of this race and made an appearance with dreams of being the first to win the Kevin Tuohy cup. The race was a combined 5k and 10k. The course was changed at the eleventh hour due to road safety concerns, so for those who hadn’t reviewed the revised course map, it was a case of following the leaders and race steward on his bicycle to see where the course would lead.
After a rousing Battle of Agincourt type speech from Vice-Principal Mr Oisin Mac Eoin standing on a watch tower at the Astro Turf pitch, the athletes were put under starters orders. After a split second delay as the athletes comprehended the count-down “a tri, a do, a haon”, the race kicked off at a ferocious pace, with the athletes careering towards the exit gate of the Astro Turf pitch. David Power was very nearly an early faller at the gate. Luckily he was able to catch himself mid fall and not miss a stride. Shane Ross had to dive for cover from the side lines.
The route for the 5k and 10k was the same – one lap of the college and then out onto the paths around Sandyford, Benildus Avenue (closed to traffic for the occasion but open for a head wind), then back into the college – with the 10k athletes repeating the 5k lap.
Spectators, race marshalls, members of an Garda Siochana and walkers provided cheers and encouragement to athletes. Rathfarnham’s own Clare Sullivan – still on a buzz after spectating at the Boston Marathon - was also cheering on the Rás Benildus.
Rathfarnham athletes gave a good account of themselves, with David Power winning the 5K in a time of 17.13 and Seamus Gorman finishing in an impressive 22nd place (20.53). In the 10k, Louis McCarthy was 1st (32.32), Kevin Donagher 2nd (34.53) and Niall Fergus 5th (37.04).
Medals were presented afterwards by Mr McMahon, with David Power being the first man to have his name engraved on the 5k plaque and Louis McCarthy the first name on the Kevin Tuohy trophy. A proud day for Rathfarnham to have two of its athletes winning the two titles on offer from a college with a proud athletics history and in a race that is destined to become a tradition. Well done to all involved in organising the race and those that took part. Like a rolling stone, David Power was then onto the next one - the Darkness into Light 5k run in Marlay Park at sunrise, followed by a recce of part of the Wicklow Way, in preparation for captaining Rathfarnham in the big one next week “The Wicklow Way Relay”.