This was a deferred entry from last year and I could have done without doing these races but I was there so I did them. It was only my second Back to Back and the last one was horrific. I was staying with a friend of mine Joe in Derry. I arrived lateish on Friday evening into the Waterside. Joe happens to be the doctor to Derry City soccer team and Derry City were playing league leaders Dundalk united at the Brandywell. We were just on-time for the match. Being part of the set-up at the Brandywell and with Joe, I was welcomed in and treated very well with full access to the ground and great vantage points and even cups of tea on tap. Dundalk won 2 nil in a travesty of refereeing decisions. Never the less as the team are sponsored by a well know Pizza outfit carbo loading for the next day was sorted so it wasn't a compete waste.
|Getting on the bus|
We started catching the early starters around mile 14 and the half marathon leaders came past us soon after. At mile 16.5 the climb to Mamore Gap started. It was over 1.2 miles and rose around 750ft. I wouldn't call it the worse climb I have ever done but it was tight enough and totally un runnable for me. Some did try. The views were spectacular and this section of the course was up there with Achill and Connemara. From my stats below my per mile time slowed to 13.5 mins per mile over this hill and didnt gain any on the downhill. This meant the hill cost around 9-10 mins overall.
|Up the hill|
Eventually we crested and had the very steep decent for the next couple of miles. This was dangerous stuff and I held back quite a bit fearing injury.
|Down the hill|
The less said about the next few hours the better. Suffice to say is that Stella "Wife Beater" Artois, Guinness and marathon running are poor bedfellows.
The next morning I got up early (very hungover) and made it to
|getting some advise from Mr Beggs|
|Enjoying the afters|
In my opinion, the course itself was one of the most uninteresting I have ever run. It was mostly in the hard shoulder of busy roads with traffic whizzing past. The hard shoulder itself at times was very broken up and tough enough to run in.
|Disappointing course 4|
Photo's courtesy of Elma McEvoy and Donna Owens