He might be more at home over 800 metres, but Mark Hoy won the Enniskillen Spooktacular 5K the first three times it was run, so it’s safe to say he’s a man who knows what the event is all about. This time out injury means he’ll be in the saddle for this one, leading the runners on their way around the streets of Enniskillen.
Hoy told why he thinks the Spooktacular is such a special event.
“The crowd is there from the Diamond, down the Queen Elizabeth Road and back around the bus station. Most 5Ks are out and back on country roads with no one supporting you and here might be a bit of a crowd at the finish. With this race there is a crowd the whole way around,” said Hoy.
“The last time I won it in 2012 a guy came up from Sligo, Emmett Dunleavy, who is a phenomenal 5K runner. It was me and him at the front and I remember going around the roundabout by the library to go towards the police station with about 2K to go and a few locals I knew from about the town were talking to me and cheering me on and that really kept me going when I was thinking, ‘This pace is getting very quick.’ I knew it was his speciality race too, but that support kept me going and helped me win the race.
“Most weekends people will have a 5K close at hand, but usually they go to run the race and then they go home.
They don’t hang about. With the Spooktacular, the fact that it’s run in the dark, starts and finishes in the Diamond and then people get together in Pat’s afterwards makes it more of a community thing. After the race you stay about and chat to people that you mightn’t have seen in a while.
“I’m injured and I’m not able to run, which is unfortunate, because I’d love to run it. I’ll be leading the runners around on the bike because the course is a bit different this year.”
Ruled out with hip injury, Hoy is happy to share a few of his trade secrets for getting round the course in a PB time.
“Advice varies depending on your level,” said Hoy. “If it’s your first 5K or your early in your running career, go out easy. You’ll find that a lot of runners will go out very hard and if you’re not ready for it, it could come back to haunt you in the last three kilometres. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.
“If you’ve done a few 5Ks before, pick a target time or position you want to be in and do whatever you have to do to reach it. Say you are running 18 or 19 minutes and you know someone is running 10 or 20 seconds faster than that go out and just run behind them, don’t let them get away, any wee gap that appears do whatever you can to make up that gap and stay with them as long as you can. If you can do that the last kilometre will seem so much easier and you’ll fly to the finish.”
With the Halloween theme, the Spooktacular is a magnet for runners who want to have a bit of fancy dress fun and get into the spirit of the season.
“You get people there in fancy dress, you’ve people there to run it seriously, you have people there to walk it, it attracts all types,” said Hoy.
So who does the three-time winner fancy to be first across the line?
“I know Conan McCaughey will be there,” said Hoy. “Conan has been running it for years and always wanted to win it. From what I know of the way he’s been running over the summer he should be there or thereabouts. Stephen Prentice won it last year and was running through the summer and it could be a good head to head between those two guys.”