Sunday October 17th was another outstanding day for the Mayo AC ladies team as the club represented Ireland at the 24th European Clubs Road Race Cup in Torres Vedras in Portugal. The five member team all recorded exceptionally good times for the 15 kilometre race held over a very testing hilly course in summer like conditions with temperatures of over 20 degrees despite the fact that the race began around 10 am .
All participants were transported out to the race start in the village of Moncova and ran from there into Torres Vedras finishing on the cobble streets of the historic town. The womens 15k race was won by Portugal international runner Dulce Felix in a time of 50.31 Mayo ac team leader Catherine Conway ran another exceptionally strong race finishing 9th overall clocking 55.22, she was closely followed by Mary Gleeson 12th in 56.57. Colette Tuohy was the clubs third finisher in 14th place 58.13 while Kathy Connolly [63.09] came home in 19th one place ahead of her sister Chris Gallagher who ran strongly to finish in 64.32
As the race progressed and made its way towards Torre Vedras the destination of the team medals was becoming more clearer first and second would certainly be between Maratona CP and SC Braga with the destination of the bronze team medals being fought out between Canal+ Isabel AC [Spain] Lac TV Unterstrass AC [Switzerland]and Mayo AC .
After some anxious waiting around the finish line in the historic town centre the official results confirmed that indeed the Spanish team took bronze with 28 points with the Mayo ac ladies fourth on 35 points with the Swiss team next on 48 points Despite finishing a little outside the medals the Mayo ac team soon realised that theirs was an incredible team performance and a great reward for the many hours of training that they had put in over recent months in preparation for this and other major races.
The Mayo ac ladies had lots of support during the race a group of club officials and supporters who travelled out to the event lined the race route at different points to cheer on the women . Later the town centre was a hive of activity as runners from many corners of Europe in various coloured vests mingled in bright sunshine along with hundreds of spectators and the international media. At the post race function there was more to celebrate when the Mayo ac ladies received their diploma for their fourth place finish
There was also great support for the City of Derry AC team who were Irelands representatives in the mens race which was held over the half marathon distance despite not having their full strength team there they went on to finish in sixth team place
As Mayo AC ladies team reflect on a great performance over the weekend in Portugal it must be remembered that as current national half marathon champions the club has also qualified to represent Ireland in the 2011 event, no doubt their preparations will soon begin all over again………