Best & Worst continues with Richard Hawkins telling us all about his county glory and a dreaded day in the woods
Best: My best race was the County Roads Championships this year in Castlelyons. I had competed in this race once before in 2018 when I narrowly finished outside the team placings for a team gold which was disappointing. My times have improved since then so was interested to see how I would do over the 4-mile course now. It is now a combined male and female race and the total field of 232 runners eclipsed last years field of 111 runners. Every category was extremely competitive and was a revival of this Championships best days. There is nothing like Championship racing with a gun start, knowing who your competition is and having to produce your best effort on the day. I was in 4th position in my category for the first half of the race but managed to stay in touch before gaining places on the long drag in the second half of the race to finish in the silver medal position, just ahead of the third and fourth place runners. I was 2 minutes faster than my previous outing as well so was delighted. Any notion of getting a swelled head were quickly dispelled when I went to proudly collect my medal and I was asked ‘And who are you collecting it for (he obviously thought I was way too young for the category)? My blushes were spared when there was a shout (I think from John Quigley), that’s Richard Hawkins!
Worst: It was a 10k IMRA trail run in Ballyhoura. With a Marathon and Half-Marathon also taking place, a modest sized field offered an opportunity to do well on the day. From an early stage there were 3 of us who were well clear of the rest of the field and an unlikely podium position with a nice prize of Innov8 trail runners seemed a formality. However, when Willie O’Donoghue from Moureabbey milers (who had sensibly recced the course the night before) broke away, I was left running with the only other person who I have come across with an equally bad sense of direction! Instead of following the red and white tape markers we found another course marked with pink ribbons, so like Hansel and Gretel we ran deep in to the forest until we couldn’t go any further. We were so lost that we didn’t find our way back to the course until we met the guy taking down the course markers and to add insult to injury we still had to cover the majority of the distance from the rear of the field to finish. Definitely a day to forget!
Best: Nike Invincibles or Zoom Fly 4’s give me the support and cushioning to run more often without picking up injury which has been a big help.
Worst: Due to long-term injuries when I was younger I never expected to be able to run, when I did find myself able to run a little I felt I couldn’t justify buying expensive running shoes because I didn’t have faith that it would last so I bought a pair from Lidl! A big mistake and it wasn’t long until I was injured again so a valuable lesson learned. I use orthotics now in a good quality shoe and haven’t looked back.
Best: There are a lot of good products on the market for pre-workout and recovery but this can be an individual preference. When I started running I did a course with Catriona McKiernan who I always find is a wealth of knowledge and common sense, she told us that her ‘go-to’ for recovery was and still is a banana and milk. Very simple but good advice and an easy one to have your arsenal for adults and kids alike!
Worst: Have to avoid food with soluble fibre before a run, particularly in the morning to avoid logistical dilemmas!