Even though the numbers were down on previous years the temperature was well up, the sun shone and the clear blue skies overhead made for the best day of the year so far. Conditions were perfect and even though it was tough to run in everyone took their task with great enthusiasm and endeavour as they tackled the 7k course through the backroads of Ballyfin.
Yes, on Sunday the 7th of May the running community in Laois tested the pulse of the Deadman’s Dash in Ballyfin for a fifth year and found that it was positively alive yet again.
The Johnny Ryan Memorial Cup, in honour of the late Johnny Ryan, went to eventual winner Stephen Hunter from the St Abbans Club, who was winning his first Deadman’s Dash. Over 150 Seniors, 11 Juniors for the third Junior Mile and many Juveniles descended on the townland of Ballyfin at The Deadmans Inn pub for the Deadman’s Dash, now in its 5th year.
It was a memorable day and it was great to see so many runners, young and old, back in Ballyfin pounding the road. After many years of hard work reviving the club, it is fair to say that this event has awakened a renewed support for athletics in Ballyfin and it was great to see the local community come out in support. Long may it last.
The kidsDASH races ran smoothly, with each kid getting a medal and refreshments after the race. It was a great sight to see such excitement in the faces of young and old.
It was close to 12.15pm and soon the Quad was on the road with lights flashing as they led the Seniors off on a merry chase. Up the hill they came in front of the Deadman’s Inn, a hill they would have to do twice for their sins, and turned off into the Ballyfin countryside before turning left onto the Portlaoise to Ballyfin Road at the 5k mark and up the grinding slope to the Deadmans Inn and the finish line. Pop Up Races were employed at the Dash for the first time and their large blow-up gantry was a welcome sight for the runners in the searing heat.
With so many people again for the 5th running of the event it was a challenge to fit everything in in such a tight area of ground but the allocation of a bus outside the Ballyfin Community Hall made life easier for everyone. Afterwards refreshments were had in the Deadman’s Inn and The Johnny Ryan Memorial Cup was handed over by Neala Keating from Sherry Fitzgerald Hyland Keating who were the main sponsors of the event. Prizes were given out and some great spot prizes up for grabs. We hope everyone enjoyed the race, the hospitality and the craic and had a great time – and more to the point, did a great time!!!
Deadman’s Dash Senior Races
A field of over 150 runners took part in the Senior Race.
In the Men’s Race Stephen Hunter from the St Abbans powered his way ahead of the field to win in a time of 24:11.Tom Dunne from Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District came home in 2nd place in a time of 24:58 and Ballyfin AC’s Liam Buggy stormed up the hill to finish in 3rd place in 25:23. Ballyfin’s Ciaran Keenan and Ribald Miller took 4th and 5th spots respectively.
In the Senior Women’s Race it was St Michael’s Lisa Sweeney who swept to glory in a time of 27:17 with Grace Reilly of Portlaoise in 2nd place in 27:47. St Abbans Colette English came home in 3rd place in 28:45 with Sinead Kelly and Paula Guinean in 4th and 5th spot.
2017 saw the first running of a Masters O40 category and top spot went to the evergreen Martin McDonald for Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District and in 2nd place was the inform Joe Walsh from Portlaoise AC. In the Womens O40 it was Sharon Buggy of St Abbans and Portlaoise Lucy Dunne who took the honours.
Full results of the 2017 Deadman’s Dash here
Well done all!
The Ballyfin AC Junior Mile
Ballyfin AC announced a new date in the Laois Running Calendar with the inaugural Ballyfin AC Junior Mile taking place in conjunction with the Deadman’s Dash back in 2015. The race has become a good guide to the form of these young runners.
Here are the placing from the day;
1. Cian McDonald Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District 5:21,82
2. Dylan McLaughlin Moyne AC 5:44,41
3. Colin Brennan Mountmellick AC 6:05,43
1. Niamh McDonald Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District 6:11,63
2. Dearbhail Cuddy Ballyfin 6:23,44
3. Jessica Brennan Ballyroan Abbeyleix and District 6:37,52
For the kidsDASH race we had 2 age groups – ages 6-8 and 9-12 – and this proved to be a masterstroke with each age group having their own space to run to the best of their ability. Everyone enjoyed their race and all got a medal and were treated to drinks, fruit and refreshments afterwards.
A Big Thank You!
Just a few words of thanks on what was another great day for the Deadman’s Dash, now in its 5th year. To our Main Sponsor, Sherry Fitzgerald Hyland Keating and Neala Keating. The Deadman’s Inn, and Gerry & June Whelan, for their cooperation and providing the venue for the day. Brian and all the crew at Pop Up Races for their help on the day and over the last few weeks.
Other Sponsors – Patrick O’Rourke Chartered Tax Advisor, Frances Harney School of Speech and Drama, O’Rourke Kitchens & Furniture and Ballyfin Demesne and to all who sponsored the spot prizes Tullamore Harriers, The Active Body Clinic, Ladies Only Lifting and other prizes from The Odeon Cinema, Allbooks and the Portlaoise Leisure Centre. Dunnes Store’s, Mountmellick Road & Tesco for providing fruit & water for the event.
Laois Red Cross – always important to have their medical support … and everyone else who helped out in any way ie. Laois Sports Partnership, Laois County Council, the Sands family for the Quad, Deegan Buses, Ballyfin Hall Committee & local Parish.
Also to all the local people who have mucked in to make the event possible – stewards, providing barriers, John Scully (Chairperson Laois Athletics), Committee members (too many to mention individually and parents who have done a great job in providing a good spread of refreshments for all to enjoy.
A special mention to all the club members and locals who helped out to make the event run smoothly. And finally but not least, all the great runners, young and old, who created a great spirit and buzz around the event, without whom there would be no Deadman’s Dash. Hats off to all who survived The Deadman’s Dash and here’s to 2018. All in all the event ran smoothly and the feedback has been good. Onwards and upwards!!!