Sean Allen, Jacinta Glennon, Annmarie Wallace and Karen Allen
Talk about putting your best foot forward! Castlecomer strode into 2022 in style as the return of the Wellie Race saw people flock to North Kilkenny to take part in the popular event.
A year’s absence - the 2021 event held virtually as the world was in the grip of the coronavirus - meant the appetite to don the wellies was even greater for the 42nd annual offering of the traditional New Year’s Day event.
Some 230 hardy souls braved the testing 5km Kiltown circuit this year, with social distancing guidelines allowing walkers to take to the course once they had completed their open-air registration.
For the runners, South Kilkenny was a big winner with the lower half of the county taking two of the main prizes on offer. It was a debut to remember for Knocktopher’s John Barron, who was the first man across the finish line - no doubt the many hours of training with the Kings River Athletic Club proved beneficial!
Local pride was restored in the women’s category, where long-time participant Margaret Dillon took the spoils. A familiar figure on the podium, she is a member of the Castlecomer Athletic Club. It was back to Knocktopher for the top veterans prize, which went to Tom Walsh, who is a member of Thomastown AC. Bridget Rochford of Marymount was first in the senior women’s category.
While the physical race was a big success, many people undertook the virtual race, which drew participants from many different locations. People can still complete the virtual Wellie race, which continues until tomorrow (Thursday), by walking or running 5km. Once the distance is completed, people can log on to www.wellierace.com to donate and send in pictures.
Paying tribute to all the participants, the organisers also thanked An Garda Siochána, Order of Malta, stewards and volunteers for making sure the 2022 Wellie Race was a smash hit.
Results, Wellie Race 2022: Men - 1 John Barron, 2 Kalem Buggy, 3 John Feehan, 4 Neil Murtagh, 5 Larry Carroll.
Women - 1 Margaret Dillon, 2 Abigail Daly, 3 Julie Ann Somers, 4 Eilís Bollard, 5 Susan Murtagh.
Veterans - 1 Tom Walsh, 2 Philip Fennelly, 3 Joe Coogan.
Senior Women - 1 Bridget Rochford, 2 Michelle Power, 3 Deirdre Daly.