‘Neither O ne Mac shall strutte ne swagger thro the Streets of Galway’ – byelaw enacted in 1518.
500 years on, strutting and swaggering are permitted, if not encouraged, during the Kearney Cycles Streets of Galway 8k Road Race.
This year taking place on Saturday 9 August at 7pm, the race was first staged in 1986. Now celebrating its 30th birthday, the ethos from the start to the present day has always been “sport for all”.
The race attracts runners of all standards and ages from all over Ireland, from elite international athletes, to athletic club runners and fun runners.
Where else can you run with spectators and tourists cheering you on at every corner, the traffic stopped to let you own the streets for one night only.
But runners living in Galway have a distinct disadvantage as every year best laid training plans can go out the window thanks to the close proximity of the Streets and Race Week.
“Ah sure a few sociables on the Tuesday or Wednesday won’t hurt” is a common saying!
This race sells out year after year, with athletes coming from far and wide.
Collecting the race number is always great fun and the chat and banter going with it second to none.
“Oh are you doing it? Well fair play. Ah sure you’ll be grand.” “Are you going for a Personal Best?” “Ah no, sure I have not been running well, just back from injury”… lines certain to be heard all day!
What a fantastic sight to see over 2,000 runners along the Claddagh and over the Wolf Tone Bridge.
Even by the 1km mark on Merchants Road the field will have already thinned out and champions will already be at the Cathedral.
With Eyre Square closed off, punters outside The Skeff are always quick to have a wise crack… and those beers will look mighty attractive.
Another fab sight will be the green of The Cathedral looming in the distance with the soothing sounds of the River Corrib beneath the Salmon Weir Bridge.
At 4km at PJ O’Flaherty’s public house many of the regulars will come out to cheer us on. But Heaven forbid anyone looks tired or they are sure to get a roar, “Come on out of that will ya, you’re not home yet.”
Coming up towards the water stop, Pearse Stadium in the distance. Beautiful Galway Bay and the hotel will come in to view and do we see the end in sight? Well it’s still 2.5km to go but here is the point where the shackles are off and it’s time to give it everything, hoping the wind is at your back.
It’s a fast and furious finish.
Enjoy the experience and give thanks that you have the legs to run and feet to support you.
This race will sell out so register now on www.runireland.com or www.galwaycityharriers.com. Thanks to Kearneys Cycle for the sponsorship and to all who volunteer and marshal.