A brace of humble legends.

Stablemate and ultra-nutter Raivis “the Beast” Zakis placed third at the Irish National 50K Championships, clocking a (self-proclaimed) “unexpected” 3:11:11.

The laid-back Latvian scooped up an impressive, 1’25” PB en route to bronze brilliance, with ten consecutive sub- (or very low) 19’ 5K splits on a slippy and mucky course. What a man—no, beast

Nice and even.

The Stable News heard Zakis was storming through the field, so we told Ally “the Chin” Smith to cycle his mountain bike to Donadea Forest Park (just west of Dublin, and a “mere” 172 miles from the Stable News office in Tralee) and catch the Beast before he went home:

Ally: Argh, nearly there … My legs are killing me. Good job I have this electric motor to help me along. Ah, there he is—draped in bronze already.

How’s it going, Raivis? Ally here from The Stable News; can I have a few words?

Raivis: No problem, my friend. 

Ally: Great! By the look of you, it went well. Were you hoping to reach the podium?

Raivis: Went into the race without any time or pace to run on my mind. Week before, I ran really badly in a 10-miler, so I didn’t know what to expect—especially since I wasn’t preparing for this race. 

Ally: Modest as ever, buddy. You say you ran poorly in the John Treacy Dungarvan 10, but I think a 56:51 is not too shabby, especially as you had a tough couple of months before, correct?

Raivis: Yes. Tough mentally.

Ally: Well, glad you are on the right track now. How did you feel once you got going?

Raivis: I felt really, really good. Ran even splits all the way around. Went through the marathon in 2:41. Underfoot conditions were a bit mucky. 

Cross-country ultra-ing.

Ally: I’ll say; my cleats are getting clogged up here! I’m just gobsmacked that you won a bronze medal, PB’d, and ran 3:11 after a rough buildup. I can’t wait to see what you can do next, whenever that is.

Raivis: This race qualified me for the IAU 50K European Championships on October 8 in Spain, so that’s my next big race.

Ally: Bloody brilliant, buddy; massive congratulations again, and happy training until October.

Raivis: Thank you, Ally. See you then.

The Stable News couldn’t contact The Stablemaster for love nor money, so we resorted to a telegram which read: STAZZA STOP RAIVIS RACE STOP PLEASE COMMENT STOP

As The Stablemaster strolled along Diani Beach, cocktail and cigar in hand, the maître d’ arrived with a silver platter presenting our telegram:

“What do we have here, then? Well, well, well: even on my ‘vacation’ they get a hold of me, very impressive. Now, send one back with my biggest congratulations for Raivis … A fantastically paced, very well-executed run … Raivis has all the talent to take gold next year … A 2:41 mara’ in there, too, and I’m very excited to see what he can do at the Euros … Brilliant stuff!” 

“Yes, sir.”

“Oh, but just watch the word count and punctuation; that telegram will cost me an arm and a leg.”

“Yes, sir.”