Our hero. (Photo credit: Jordan Cummins.)

1976: After a Community Games faceplant, the boy cried and cried. He wanted to be a medal winner. His dad explained that no, he couldn’t just buy him a medal. Four hours later, the dad relented, utterly defeated. The boy grinned gormlessly and tried to bite the shiny metal like he saw medal winners do on telly. He chipped his tooth, bit off a bit of his thumb.

1980: The little psycho shows visitors around his “trophy room” … His parents look at each other, then drop their faces back into their hands.

Stablemate Turlough “the Pundit” Conway took M50 gold and ninth overall at the Warriors Run 15K in “sunny” Strandhill, Co Sligo, Ireland. 

In a heated, shoulder-to-shoulder skirmish between himself and fellow ‘mate Jim Stagg, Conway came away with the bragging rights. But all is not as it seems. 

The Stable News mountain man, Ally “the Chin” Smith, was there to hear a different take on the day’s events: 

AS: There you are, T; I saw you crossing the line, but then you vanished. Everything OK? 

TC: Ye, ye, ye. When you’ve got to go … You’ve got to GO!

AS: OK, sorry I asked. How did you find this horrible weather? 

TC: Dog rough. Horizontal, mini-spear rain bullets before the start. It didn’t bother me, but half the field chickened out; the other half were blown into the sea. That meant the hardest half were left to battle it out for medals. 

The hardy boys and girls. (Photo credit: Jordan Cummins.)

AS: Uh-huh. I know this route isn’t one for all-time PBs, but did you manage to set a course record for yourself? 

TC: No, no I didn’t—but they changed the mountain route a bit. Some new route marker got creative and went “Picasso” on the course. I wore Nike Vaporfly. I was like a donkey on ice skates up there. Have been hunting for the guy who marked the course since. 

AS: I can feel the tension radiate from your being. Take a deep breath and fill me in on the race itself. 

TC: A great race, unique, and one everyone should try once. 

A real test.

There were two from The Stable battling it out, Jim Stagg and myself. Jim ran really well, and we were neck and neck after the mountain. 

AS: Aye, I’ve heard Jim cruised by—that you were wheezing like an old coo, hahaha. 

TC: Ahh, but I bet you didn’t hear this: my brother, hidden in a hedge, sprang out and made a dominant rugby tackle on Jim. 

No way I wasn’t living up to my side of the bargain, and I pushed on. I’ll pay the brother later.

Over and out. (Photo credit: Jordan Cummins.)

AS: And that rugby tackle only got you 30 seconds’ advantage? I wouldn’t be so quick to part with the cash. What’s next? Hopefully, a race where there’s less contact involved. 

TC: I’m doing the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in Madeira in mid-September: 9K uphill, followed by a 32K mountain race two days later.

AS: Well, leave the brother at home, and you enjoy that sufferfest of a weekend. Congratulations on the win today … I think.

TC: Thanks, Ally; I’ll do anything for a bit of bling, hahaha. 

The Stablemaster was having an awful time of it at the local salsa club when the news broke about TC’s triumph: 

“I’m getting it now, though it’s not what I’m used to … With me being a popping and locking breaker boy … But I’ll get the hang of it. 

What’s this you say about Turlough? … A ‘mystery’ rugby tackle aiding him against one of his own? … I’m sure Stagg would’ve given as good as he got … And as for you, T … Why on earth you thought Vaporfly up a mountain was a good idea, I’ll never know … Great going all the same … Just leave the ‘fly at home before you head out to Portugal … Good man.”