The first round of the 2023 Peugeot Race Series took place at the annual Streets of Portlaoise 5k on St Patricks Day. The race has been the traditional opener to the Race Series, and as per previous years, a field stacked with talent assembled to take on what turned out to be a damp, windy course.
The race kicked off at 11am on the button, and when Joe Walsh of the host club fired the starting gun, the pre race favourites weren’t long assembling at the front of the field as they ran down the main street for the first time (led by the beautiful Peugeot 408 lead car)
Michael Harty of East Cork AC set the early pace, but with athletes like Eoin Everard, William Maunsell, Ger Forde and others in pursuit, it was always going to be a battle! Indeed it was Harty, Maunsell & Everard who gradually pulled clear as the race progressed.
As the clock ticked past 14mins, the lead car came down the packed main street for the second time in the race, and behind it was Eoin Everard of Kilkenny City Harriers, who had to dig deep to take the win from Clonmel AC’s William Maunsell in second, with Jake O Regan(St Johns) completing the podium. David Mansfield (also Clonmel) was 4th, and in a stunning 5th was local junior athlete Jack Fenlon of St Abbans, who proved he was more than capable of mixing it with some of Irelands best runners.
The womens race didn’t disappoint either, and with athletes of the calibre of Michelle Finn & Lizzie Lee (Leevale), the Ide and Ash nic Dhomhnail (West Limerick), Irish marathon champion Courtney Maguire (Clonmel) and Grace Lynch (DSD), it was always going to be a battle. The course record of 15:56, set by Aoife Cooke in 2022, was briefly threatened but in the end, in what were tough running conditions, race winner Michelle Finn came in just outside the record in a superb time of 16:01. Grace Lynch of DSD was second home with Ide Nic Dhonhnaill completing the podium.
In the team event (6 per team, 3 male/female) where there is €18,000 on offer, it was a case of deja vu with last years top 2 teams, Leevale and DSD both to the fore. On this occasion, DSD shaded it and take a slender lead to round 2 in Kilkenny on April 6th.
Full details of the 2023 schedule can be found here: https://www.popupraces.ie/peugeot-race-series-2023/
With over 700 entries, the race was another great success, with host club Portlaoise AC leaving no stone unturned as athletes were treated to a fantastic post race feed back in the race HQ, with medals for the adults and Easter eggs for the kids! On behalf of ourselves & Peugeot Ireland, we want to congratulate the participants, volunteers, sponsors and everyone who helped make the 2023 Streets of Portlaoise another great success!
Prize winners: Click Here