Michael Murphy Lydia Murphy and Sheila H Devoy PICTURE Vicky Comerford
The 42nd Annual Wellie Race once again prevailed on New Year's Day and a big thank you goes out to all in the community for their solidarity and strong support.
All activities were outdoor with the emphasis on safety, participants and spectators rose to the challenge with sterling assistance from the Garda Siochána, Order of Malta, stewards, and volunteers. The changed format meant Registration and the Race Start was from Chatsworth Street, the wise decision to let the walkers go as early as they wished was a visible social distancing success.
MC Emmet Kennedy was dressed to impress, in none other than a space suit jacket, however he rose to the occasion in a turbo filled performance. Local Kilkenny Road man Emmet was broadcasting on live radio as a teenager. Becoming disillusioned with spinning the wax he realised his passion was sport, particularly horse racing. That passion manifested itself in the form of fledging media and podcasts. Fast forward and his baby ‘The Final Furlong’ podcast is one of the leaders in the genre, attracting big sponsorship and bigger name guests.
The Powley designer bunting complimented by live music from Dick Barrett, Mark Rothwell, Dick Preston and Anthony Barrett set the scene for the MC whose vocal cords were tested to the limit to ensure all participants were under start as orders. A field of 230 braved the testing 5K Kiltown circuit with most of the walkers completing the course long before the runners. The Race itself was a triumph for both the deep south of the county and for the northeast. First man home was John Barron, Knocktopher making his debut in the race.
The winner trains with Kings River, Stoneyford. The honour of first lady fell to seasoned campaigner our own Margaret Dillon. The Kiltown woman is one of the staunch members of Castlecomer & District Athletic Club and she is a familiar figure on the podium. The first veteran to cross the finishing line completed the double for Knocktopher. Tom Walsh who trains with Thomastown Athletic Club was delighted with his success at his third attempt. In the senior ladies Bridget Rochford of Marymount was first past the post.
The Wellie Race is well and truly established on the international stage and when Aisling Tara Griffin, Glasgow googled it resulted in her dad Diarmuid Griffin arriving in town, kilt attired and most suitable to benefit from the fresh Powley air. Diarmuid is a son of Mary and Teddy Griffin formerly of Callan and like most Irish descendants living in Scotland he is a passionate Celtic supporter.
He was a clear winner in the Fancy Dress Walking Group. Continuity contributes to success and nowhere is this more laudable than in the duo who are part of the organising committee from the start hats off the Michael “Macha” Brennan and Paddy Phelan of Mayhora. Surely a record also was Peter Doyle nowadays living in Ballyragget who was competing in his 40th race.
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.
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