Thursday 1 January 2015

EAMS Belfast Lough

#78  EAMS Belfast Lough   4:43:11

This was a lovely way to finish off the year at the East Of Antrim Marathon Series (EAMS) around Belfast lough.

Waiting patiently at 5am in Clontarf
It was to be a long day that started at 4:20am when I was up and breakfasting. I was due to meet Seamus at the wind monument at 5:10am for a lift to the start. It was a beautiful crisp morning. Seamus duly arrived with Brenda who was continuing today to extend her Irish record to 74 official marathons in 2014.  We headed north with a quick sortie into Dundalk to pick up Collette who was doing her 3 hundredth and something marathon today.

I knew where we were going, and we quickly made it up to the start line in Jordanstown for 7:15am. Magically Seamus produced a full coffee making kit from the boot and we we chowed down on coffee and nutri-grain bars (nice).

Joanne Curran (after 30+ years)
At 8:15am registration opened and we got our numbers and got ready. Unfortunately it started to rain and it was a cold dank start to the day. We were lining up for the start photos when I was shocked, when a girl introduced herself to me (it doesn't happen very often). It turned out to be Joanne Curran (nee Wallace) who grew up in the same street as me and was a good friend of my sisters and whose father was one of my dads best friends. I haven't seen Joanne in well over 30 years. She looked very fit and would end up running a fantastic time.

Toasting the piper for 150th maraton
Just before the off to celebrate Ken Begg's 150th marathon his brother piped us to the start line and there was a great toast to the piper and we were off. Also today was Gillian Barnill's 100th, a 25th and even a 250th?????

The first 6.5 miles were along the tow path into the city centre. The wind was into the face. The field quickly spread out. I was taking it handy as I have run a couple over the last two weeks and I have another coming up on Sunday so there was no real time in mind. A well stocked aid station was at 6.5 miles and we swung back North East past the Oddessy, the Titanic quarter and back to the coast. This is not the most inspiring part of the run but it wasn't as
Samson and Golaith
long as I remembered. Maybe as the wind was now in the back. Just before we headed onto the Belfast Lough reserve the head of the field led by Barry Casserly started passing me. Barry would go onto to be pipped at the post, but still managed to break 3 hrs but sadly was 10 secs outside his PB.

I wound my way through all the expensive houses of Cultra and Hollywood passing loads of other runners on their way back and took a few photos until we reached the turning point which again had a well stocked aid
Gillian on her 100th
station. We then retraced our steps back. The third quarter was now into the wind and I was pushing OK and caught up with Peter the RD and Paul around Shorts and ran with them for the next few miles. A very welcome aid station awaited us just across the bridge and very soon we were back on the towpath. I decided to push on at this stage as I could see Paul Fagan in the distance. I
Peter (RD) and Paul
eventually caught him at Gideons Green which was in striking distance from home. I was delighted to cross the line in a very modest 4:43 (over 30 mins down on the last time but tougher conditions).

Fantastic marshalls
Ann Beggs had the most tasty vegetable soup at the finish line and I stayed around till everyone was home. In the mean time Lindsay drove up from Dublin and we were all ready to hit to Downpatrick for party time.

This race was great value at £20stg which included a medal and
custom Tee-Shirt (to come) and a goodie bag with a €14 Four Star Pizza voucher. Well done to everyone it was a Four Star event.

That was #38 for the year and I must calm down.

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