Thursday 9 July 2015

Avondale Forest

Avondale Forest 3:52:29

Avondale House
This was an insurance run in case any of my previous runs are not counted in the various different marathon clubs for some reason. As it turns out this one may not count itself  due to lack of finishers (tbc).

This was day 1 of the Wicklow four day festival of running based in Avondale forest in Rathdum. It was run over the same course as the MCI event in April. I was a very late entrant only deciding at 10pm the night before to do it. It was an 8am start so it was early and I was up and in Avondale for 7:10am. Traffic was nowhere near as bad as I had anticipated.

There seemed to be a fair crowd with some early starters and some only doing a 5 mile or a 10 mile race. Registration was easy and by 8am we were ready to run. It was a slightly different start and finish point to the MCI race and we had to walk quite a distance to get to the start line.

Main Start

Main Group
But at 8am we were off and went in formation for a 1 mile 385yard mini lap before hitting the main 5 mile loop. During this lap Denzil headed off followed by a few including Mark Conlon and me. It was a decent clip at 7:45 pace for the first couple of miles but as we hit the first hill I couldn't keep the pace and dropped back.  I quickly lost sight of the leading 3 in the forest. As we came through the lap half way point I was with Dinny on our own as we entered into the second half of the lap. Almost immediately we came to a junction with
With Dinny
options to go straight or left. My gut said left but straight seemed right. We went straight. I knew from the MCI race that both ways are on the same sub loop so it didn't seem to matter. However after about 1/4
mile a car came up behind us telling us that the marshals were not set up and in fact we had gone the wrong way. So we had to turn and run back the 1/4 mile to the junction and join the race again. At this stage another 6 had slipped passed us. I'm sure this cost 3 to 4 minutes. On the right route now we passed Denzil, Mark and the no 3 guy going the wrong way which is what we should have done and they found their way back on track with exactly the same distance.  Not a great start.

We came through 10k in 53 minutes and I knew that if I did even 45
Coming through Lap 3
minute 5 mile laps,  a sub 4 hr was on. But this was not a given as each 5 mile loop had approx 325ft of climb and the whole thing turned out to be similar to Howth. I pulled away from Dinny and came through the 2nd lap in exactly 45 minutes and felt good. The next lap similarly was 44 minutes and I met Dinny coming the wrong way at me at a junction. A quick adjustment and he was back in track.
Through the finish

The rest of the race was pretty uneventful with lap 4 being 46 minutes and a big effort on lap 5 for another 45 minutes. This brought me home in 3:52.

Denzil came 2nd in a 3:27 and Mark did a 20 sec PB (Amazing really given the course) for a 3:35 but had a slight calf strain at the end. I had managed to catch a few that had slipped past me and ended up 7th over all. It is to be confirmed but I think there was 25 finishers which if it is the case will count for all counts. Any less and it will only count for some lists and certainly counts for MCI.

Still it now gives me an option to do or not do the big trail marathon the UK next weekend and still be good for the big one in Courtmacsherry on the 25th.

Photos courtesy of the event and Vincent Doran and Carol Madden

Polar stats for today

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