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March 14, 1999
   John Rolfe of Portland is a staff writer and a road runner. Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram

The sad irony about last Sunday's snow-blitzed Irish Road Rover 5-K was that it wasn't supposed to be last Sunday. It should have been today.


But to avoid a conflict with today's Kerrymen Pub 4-miler at Saco, which would hurt both events, race director Dan McKeown did the decent thing and changed the date, running into a day with the worst race conditions anyone could remember.


At 11 a.m. the Portland time and temperature clock was flashing 20 degrees, if anyone could see it. The wind chill factor was 20 below and the driving snow meant runners started from near Brian Boru on Center Street in whiteout conditions.


"It was a nightmare, but you make the best of it," McKeown said, sniffling from a cold acquired Sunday.


The course is an out-and-back up Fore Street to the Eastern Prom, but a little loop up by the cannons got overlooked by the pace car, and there was confusion over the turnaround point, no doubt owing to nobody's being able to see it..


"It was pretty wild," said David Howard of Portland, who finished fourth in 20 minutes, 48 seconds. "The wind just blew the snow right in your face. It was all loose snow so the traction was awful, and you couldn't even go up the Fore Street part.


"It reminded me of the Milk Run last year, with hurricane conditions."


As Howard's finish time indicates, results were affected by the weather. Scott Brown of Lewiston was the winner in 19:32 and Christine Snow-Reaser of Dayton was top woman in 23:15. Brown was the only runner under 20 minutes; masters runner Allan Muir of Portland was second in 20:21.


Some other amazing stats: Of the 77 who ran, 22 registered on race day. One man drove down from Unity and was hugely relieved the race had not been canceled. "He made it all worthwhile," McKeown said.


Usually the event gets 300-plus, and with 170 preregistered this year was primed to see 400-500, given good conditions. "We took a big loss, but we go on," said McKeown, looking to next year. . . .




December 8, 1996

   John Rolfe is a staff writer and a road runner. Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram


A NEW RACE joins the 1997 schedule, which is taking shape not all that rapidly, although I note that Runner's World has the Sugarloaf Marathon scheduled for May 18. Anyway: The Irish Road Race 5-K will be run at 11 a.m. on March 16, on a new, intown course.


The race is an-out-and back starting on Fore Street near Brian Boru's, said race director Dan McKeown. The course goes up Munjoy Hill the back way, past Portland House, does a turnaround in the little parking lot near the heavy artillery and goes back down the hill, up India and left onto Middle Street to end at Center.


McKeown said sponsors of the event, to benefit the Preble Street Resource Center, saw a gap in the schedule and wanted to provide a timely filler between the Midwinter Classic in February and the Presidential 5-miler in early April. . . .