Saturday 25 January 2014


East Of Ireland Race Series 2014

72 competitors     30th overall  with 3:46:59     Marathon no: 41

25th Marathon under 4 Hrs.

72 happy before the start

This was my first outing of the year and was a chance to see what damage Christmas had done. There is certainly a 7lb Christmas hangover problem that has to be dealt with and that is ongoing. This is also 3 weeks before I take on my first ultra at the national 50K championships in Donadea which I am crapping myself over as there is a 5 hr cut off.  In my mind I have to do a sub 4hr marathon in the 50K to give myself enough time to limp the last 8K so as not be disqualified. That was the aim today to run at a pace I think I should be comfortable with in Donadea. Longwood was perfect as it was 8 5K loops plus a 2K. Very similar to Donadea.

Now where is Longwood I hear you ask. I too had this quandary but thanks to amazing pre race notes by Race Director Rory Mooney there was no chance of getting lost. It's a small very rural village on the Meath Kildare border.

Pre Race Notes from Race Director Rory Mooney

You may love or loath the GAA but they have been the custodian of Irish Heritage, Culture , Language and Sport for the past long number of years and they are ingrained in the very fabric of Irish society. That was witnessed today by them giving us access to their fantastic facilities in Longwood for parking, toilets, showers and a place for soup and tea and cakes. I arrived a bit early and was in the local shop and the big news in the village was Garth Brookes and tickets for the gig in croker ( 2 x 80+ year olds). Don't you just love it.

These races are great as there is such a mix of ages and abilities. Though it could do with more girls. Saying that apart from the McLouglin sisters and Olwyn Dunne all the elite ultra women in Ireland seemed to be there. I sit firmly in the middle of the pack running 3:40 on a very good day when fit and healthy but 4:20 on a bad day. The last outing was bad, today was over 30 minutes better.

I went off faster than normal staying well under 9 minute miles until after mile 18 and only really struggled on the last lap when I dropped to 10 minute miles. Still through, the first half in 1:51 was Ok and back in sub 2 was also Ok. This is the best I have done since I got injured back in Sept. It has only been in the last week or so that I have been able to put any pressure on my hamstring and it held up well today. I feel Tuesday night training back at Crusaders may not be long off.


Leading out a lot of the champs

The race itself was pretty uneventful. It was however very windy, but a fair wind that helped and was into the face in equal measures. The only anomaly can only be described as "Armageddon" about 1 hr in when the wind gusted to well over 80mph and brought driving rain and sleet for 15 minutes. It soaked and froze everyone and also brought down some slates from the homes on the main street and some of the more rural farm buildings onto the coarse. Thankfully I haven't heard of anyone getting hurt. It took quite a while to dry out and warm up after that.  The 9 drinks stations were perfectly placed and the race was fantastically marshaled. It was however quite empty on the roads and I spent long periods of time well on my own after Bob, Jonas and Mark ran away from me early in the second half. Bob had got up at 3am and driven from Clonakilty which is some journey and Jonas and Mark (25th marathon) were having very good days. I didn't really see or talk to much anyone else from that point on. Of course what that normally means is that I will end up in a sprint finish and I am paranoid about the "tap tap" in the last 100m. But I managed to get over the line unchallenged in 3:46:59 but nearly immediately Frank, Enda, Lesley and Graeme all also finished within a few short minutes.
Coming upto the finishing line

There was a fantastic spread put on in the GAA club after but I was too late for the soup. But had some very nice coffee and Swiss roll.

There were a lot of PB's today and everyone seemed to run very well on a very flat fair course.

Same again in Donadea please where I am now confident of breaking the 5Hr cut off in my first Ultra.

Photos are courtesy of Peter Mooney and a full set can be viewed at

Peter Mooney's photos