FINISH: Bob Heffernan and Mary Hanley 5KM Road Race 2022

FINISH: Bob Heffernan and Mary Hanley 5KM Road Race 2022

This is a photograph from the finish of the annual Na Fianna AC "Bob Heffernan and Mary Hanley" 5KM Road Race and Fun Run which was held in Johnstownbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland on Tuesday 17th May 2022 at 20:00. These photographs were taken around the 500m to go mark on the course.

This race needs no introductions as it is now firmly established on the Leinster road racing calendar with athletes travelling from all over the region to take part. The race has gained a glowing reputation as being one of the fastest 5KM road races in Ireland. It is one of the rare occasions around road racing circles these days where a very small club can organise a very successful large participation race. The attendance at this year’s race exceeded all expectations. Today’s race had a record attendance with over 700 participants finishing the race following on from around 600 finishers in 2019. This is the first staging of the race since May 2019 after two postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This enforced hiatus has done nothing to reduce the allure of the race with runners coming from far and wide to participate. Popup Races were the official timing and event management partners of the race.

Our full set of photographs from today’s race is at Please acknowledge us if you use these photographs for any purpose

This race has great historical and emotional significance for the hosting club Na Fianna. Since the race’s inception over 25 years ago it has commemorated the years of work and volunteering that local man Bob Heffernan gave to Meath, Leinster, and Irish athletics from grass roots upwards and his work with the host club Na Fianna AC. This year the dearly departed Mary Hanley joins Bob in receiving the honour of race dedication. Mary was a stalwart athlete, coach and volunteer for Na Fianna AC for her entire life right up to her untimely passing in summer 2021. Na Fianna AC are typical of many rural sporting clubs who have a large catchment area which combines rural North Kildare and South Meath taking in Enfield, Rathmoylan, Johnstownbridge and Baconstown. The race, known affectionately by club-members as simply "Bob’s race" (and now Mary’s) is a fitting tribute to commemorate his contribution to this sport. Indeed, not many road races are held in the same affection by runners as Bob’s Race with runners returning back every year to sample the course and the wonderful atmosphere again. More rarely heard is runners reminiscing of running this race 15 or 20 years ago! What a fantastic endorsement of the race. Indeed, we remember the days 18 years ago when this race was held in the village of Rathmoylan about 10 miles from the current venue. In those days the race was deemed a success if 75 to 100 runners made the start line. What a testimony to the hard work of Na Fianna AC today’s race is! The weather was perfect for road racing – hardly any wind and warm temperatures – with bright hazy sunshine.

The race is part of the Popup Races KIA Race Series. The race is a fixture on the Meath AAI Road Race calendar despite the fact that the race is run completely in County Kildare. The current route for the race has stayed the same over the past few years. However previous to that the race was held in Enfield and also Rathmoylan in County Meath. The race starts on the busy Enfield to Edenderry road and this requires a big effort from stewards and marshalls. However, as always, the event was a resounding success with personal bests and great runs from many of the participants. The course is very fast and flat – it is a one loop course which is left-handed in terms of turns.

Our photographer on the night was Martin Murphy from North Westmeath Athletic Club – thanks Martin!

Photographs from 2019:

Posted by Peter Mooney on 2022-05-18 09:12:29

Tagged: , running , racing , 5km , speed , outdoors , ireland , kildare , people , exercise , health

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