WATCH OUT: The pressure is on at the start of the Patrick Bell Memorial race at Bohermeen on Saturday evening where the runners got away at the second attempt.
Huge crowds turned out in sparkling sunshine for the 27th annual Patrick Bell Memorial 5km road race at Bohermeen on Saturday evening where Dunleer athlete Martin Quinn was the first man home with Donore runner Dervilla Holmes leading the way for the ladies.
Robbie Matthews in fourth place was the best placed local man while Dunboyne's Emilia Dan in second and Na Fianna's Mary Hanley in third kept the Meath flag flying prominently for the ladies.
There was even some drama at the start when the gun was fired accidentally and a false start meant that the organisers had to intervene quickly to get an estimated 900 participants back behind the starting line and get the timing clock re-set.
Eventually, the race set off with the serious runners at the front followed by the joggers and walkers and even some pram-pushing parents.
Amongst the competitors was well-known local TD Damien English who completed in a good time of 21:35 while Martin Wall from Johnstown outside Navan had a training group in action and was pleased with the various performances.
Also in action was Meath ladies footballer Geraldine Doherty who appears to have recovered well from a broken leg she sustained in a National Football League clash earlier this year.
The St Ultan's player completed the course in an impressive time of 22:54.
The local community turned out in large numbers to participate in a fun capacity apart from the serious athletes and the number of children who took part was also impressive.
All the runners and walkers received great encouragement from the spectators who enjoyed the evening with a barbecue and music keeping everyone happy as Bohermeen AC stalwart Stephen Ball displayed his vast knowledge about many of the competitors with positive comments and remarks as each one crossed the line.
Ball even admitted to a mistake. "I forgot to turn on the hot water for the ladies showers, they'll have to settle for cold water, I apologise for that," he stated although it appeared that there was lots of hot water for the men.
Ciaran Tobin from Trim AC was busy promoting next Friday night's Braveheart run and Declan Byrne of South O'Hanlon was similarly engaged for the club's 5km road race and fun run that will start from Seneschalstown GAA clubhouse on Wednesday 4th July, both events will have chip timing.
Meath Athletics chairman Brendan Meade was there to lend his support and a 'fierce' looking character wielding a battle axe was intimidating anyone he could to sign up for the Tara Dawn Run next Saturday morning (4am).
Shay Sheridan and James Gibbons were the bodyguards for the 'Wildman of Tara' whose real identity was kept secret although he pledged to reveal all next Saturday morning before sunrise!
Overall the event was a resounding success with credit for the sunshine, after two days of torrential rain, attributed to Stephen Ball, obviously a man of many talents.