What a thriller the 36th annual Raheny 5 mile proved to be! Just 41 seconds separated the top ten men with Hiko Tonosa only winning in a sprint for the line over the final 400m.
Tonosa, of Dundrum South Dublin AC, finished in 22 mins 40 secs with Mayoman Hugh Armstrong just one second behind for second and Matt Bergin of DSD AC two seconds adrift again for third in 22:43 - last year Bergin had finished second in 23:35.
Tonosa's time was just one second off the course record of 22.39 mins set by Gerry Curtis in 1987 and equalled by Cormack Finnerty eight years later in the days when shoe technology was in its infancy. A year earlier, Tonosa had finished sixth in 24:41.
Given the same time as Bergin was Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers who finished fourth and first junior despite a trip in the chase for the line. Yared Derese of Carrick Aces was fifth and Kevin Dooney of host club Raheny Shamrock AC sixth. His clubmate Mick Clohisey, the defending champion, could only manage ninth place this year despite a very respectable time of 23:16, which was ten seconds quicker than his winning time of a year earlier.
First woman in a personal best time of 25 mins 55 secs was Fionnuala McCormack of Kilcoole AC - only the third woman to break 26 minutes on this course. Sligo woman Mary Cullen ran an identical time of 25 mins 55 secs in 2014 and improved that to 25:35 a year later, while Ann-Marie McGlynn of Letterkenny AC had run 25:59 for victory in 2019. It was a superb run by McCormack.
McGlynn was just a second off this time behind McCormack, finishing in 26 minutes exactly. Ciara Hickey of Brothers Pearse AC was third in 26:50.
As for the age groups, in his first race as an M60, the remarkable Tommy Hughes of Rathfarnham WSAF set a new age group best for five miles of 25:57. For 800m and 1500m world champion, Joe Gough of West Waterford AC the trip from the south east proved worthwhile when he finished first M65. Alexander Wallace of St Coca's AC in Kilcock was first M40, Eddie Newman of Mullingar Harriers first M55, while winning the M70 prizewas Ken Higgs of the Eagle club in Cork.
As for the women, former winner Barbara Cleary of Donore Harriers was seventh overall and first W45, while winning the W40 age group was Sorcha Loughnane of Sanctuary Runners, the club that catered for runners of all standards living in direct provision, was first W40.
Winners in other age categories included Cathryn Brady of DSD W50, Orla Gormley of Raheny Shamrock W55, first W60 Sheelagh Jones of DSD W60. In the W70 age group, June Comiskey of Raheny Shamrock, just made it to the line ahead of Judith Lloyd from Sportsworld. Great warriors both!
Record numbers signed up for the team categories, with over 70 teams in both the men and women's senior division and over 50 in both over 40 age groups. Having a great outing was Dundrum South Dublin with three wins - senior men and women and over 40 women. Winning the men's over 40 grade was North Belfast Harriers.