Monday 21 July 2014


Marathon #61  Keith Whyte waterfront Ultra in Countmacsherry

36 Miles   6:47:47      31st out of 64 finishers.
Beautiful Courtmacsherry
Ok, So this was a nuts idea. Lindsay and Libs were still in Australia so I had the weekend to myself. I found and decided to enter the Keith Whyte Ultra in Courtmacsherry. I'd met Bob Hilliard the race director several times on runs in and around Dublin and the West over the year and had heard great reports about his races.  I looked into staying overnight but it just didn't work out so I decided on an out and back on the same day.

I got someone to look after the dog for the day and headed off to Cork at 4am for a 9am start. 3.5 hrs later I arrived in plenty of time for the off.
There was a 10K , a Half Ultra (18 miles) and a full Ultra (36 miles) on offer. I decided to run the 36 miles. Not only was this 10 miles longer than I am used to it was also 5 miles longer than I had ever run. Add to that 100% humidity and 25 degree temperatures. It was going to be tough.

Joe and Leo
There was lots of friendly familiar faces at the start line including Joe O'Reilly from Crusaders. I have a habit of running into club mates at unusual races. Joe on holidays in West Cork had been given a pass from the new wife and had plugged for the Half Ultra.

The Ultra was two laps of the out and back route that followed the bay. All races went off at the same time so for the first 3 miles until the 10Kers turned it was quite busy.

My strategy for this race was to go slow because of the humidity, temperature and distance.  For me that added upto a very good run of 6:30 and a plan B of 7 hours. That is a long time to be out there.

It was fairly flat with only one hill of any note at the 8 mile mark that we would come across 4 times. I came through the 9 mile mark in 1:29:39. I felt Ok but was taking a lot of fluids on board. 

Turn around after 18 miles
Back I went for the second 9 mile section. Not surprisingly this was a little slower as I was trying to conserve as much as I could. I came through in 3:08 and had a quick chat to Joe before heading out again.

My third  section felt the toughest with the heat blistering and I was drinking loads still. Thank goodness there were loads of aid stations with coke and "cold" water. In fact the race was brilliantly organised. I turned again at 27 miles on a 1:48 leg. I was nervous for the last leg as 7 hours was looming.

Still running after 34 miles
I did a run on the flat and walk the hills strategy keeping the guys in front in view. They were also on the same strategy. I came
through 50K and was still running. Just about now a cyclist pulled along side me. It turned out to be Lynda Fay who had just come 2nd in the half Ultra and turned around and came out on her bike to cheer us on. It really helped and I soon took over the two in front and soon had a gap. Amazingly my 4th leg was only 1 minute slower than my 3rd and I came in 6:47:47 and 31st place.

Even the big boys seemed well down on previous years which was not a surprise given the conditions.

I didn't hang around too long after and got back in the car for a drive back to Dublin. I got back around 8:30pm after a very very long day. Note to self don't miss bits when applying sun cream.

Dolls Point

Marathon #60  Dolls Point Sydney, Australia


Ginninderra Park Run 
This was another running weekend. I started the weekend in Canberra and had persuaded Paul who we were staying with to come and join the Park Run party. I was amazed that I had a choice of 3 park runs in Canberra, all affiliated with the Park Run's in the UK and Ireland with my barcode working exactly the same. This run was around the beautiful  Ginninderra Park in the middle of Canberra. It was an early start with an 8am kickoff. I did a 24:05 earning a second place in my age group and 32nd overall out of a field of 120. It was a hilly 5K.

Now I had a day and half lined up on the Sunday. It started at 2:30am with a 3.5 hr drive north to Sydney for the marathon. It was in Dolls Point and a 10K loop around the fantastic Captain cook Park over looking Botany Bay. It also included a climb over the bridge over Botany Bay 8 times through the marathon.  The reason for the early start was a 7am marathon start. There was also a half, a 10K and a 5K on offer. It got really busy when all races were on the circuit at the same time.

We are off
We were off at 7am and I noticed a lot of the Australian 100 marathon club were there (nowhere near as well organised as the UK or Ireland). It was cold at the start but it soon heated up and there was a 20 degree difference (centigrade) in temperature from the start to finish of this marathon. It was HOT!.

Getting Hot
With the early start, on the road for a month and a 5K the day before
it was no surprise to come through half way in 2:05. The course was also really busy with switchbacks everywhere and people passing or passing becoming difficult. I ran all the way and came in with a 4:26 and I was reasonably pleased.

I was also delighted to see the world record holder Trent Morrow
(160 marathons on 7 continents in a year) at the end. Trent known as the marathon man ran the Cork marathon in 2013 as part of his world record and I met him there.
Trent Morrow Marathon Man
It was his home marathon but he was injured. We had a good chat and a photo and I headed off to Lindsay's niece Andreas for the night (she lived only 20 minutes away).

I fly back to Ireland tomorrow.

Garmin Stats

Gold Coast Marathon

Marathon #59  Gold Coast Marathon, Queensland,  Australia


This was a running weekend. It was shared with my Brother-in-law to be Col Cafferky. We started from Safety Beach on a 4.5 hr drive north to the gold coast. Col had organised an Air B&B that was 1km from the start and finish line and was a wonderful 2 bedroom affair overlooking the sea and also overlooked the race course.

This was a AIMS Gold medal event that included loads of events and over 30K runners over the weekend. We arrived Friday and picked up our numbers. Both Col and I were entered in the unusual 5.7K on the Saturday and I also had entered the marathon on the Sunday.

At the start line of the 5.7K

Amazingly the first event off was a 10K at 6:30am and we watched the whole race from the balcony. We headed to the start line for 8am. Col had 2 previous victories and a 2nd in his age group and this was his last year in this particular age group 65-69.  At the start line around 50 17-19 year olds lined up from the US cross country Team and they hared off and took most of the top 50  places.  It was over a year since I have run anything other than a marathon so I was nervous enough. I was through the first 1K in 4:05 which was faster than I expected and decided to push all the way. I came through the 5K in 22:30 and I had forgot how lung busting these distances were and I came in with a 25:53. Not surprisingly I was well off my PB for 5K but I havnt been training for this. I earned 153rd overall out of 3834 finishers and 6th in my age group. Not too shabby. But Col did brilliant and did a 27:52 for a age group win and 226th overall. A brilliant start to the weekends running.

The next day it was an early start again with the Marathon starting at 8am. Amazingly as I walked to the start I saw the finish of the Half Marathon which was won by the current Olympic Gold Medalist in the steeplechase. Amazing to watch. The marathon itself had 10 runners under 2:10 so was going to be competitive. As we lined up the elites started to be introduced. After the first it was interrupted by the national anthem and we were off. The weather was gorgeous and got hotter and hotter and hotter as the race went on.

Amazingly at the 5K mark I heard someone calling my name from behind. I turned and it was one of my club mates from Crusaders Kristy Ryan, who was back in Australia on holidays.  We had a chat in shock and Kristy pushed on. The first 20 miles was an out and back and we saw the start of the race pass us on the way back. That was good. I was doing pretty good in the first half going through the half marathon in 1:55. I though a sub 4hr was on the cards and kept going well. As I came through the finish area at 20 miles I was still under 3hrs so 4hr was still OK. I passed Col at 33K but was soon caught by the 4 Hr pacer by 34K. It was hot and I was suffering. I eventually came through in 4:12 totally knackered.

Kristy was in with a brilliant 3:55 and we chatted and took photos at the finish. It was brilliant.

I really enjoyed the weekend and we headed off on the 4.5hr journey back to Safety Beach.

Garmin 5.7K

Garmin Marathon