|10th and 8th (1st woman)
It was a 7am start and we traveled from Galway city getting to Portumna in plenty of time. Registration was straightforward and we had organised in advance to put our food and things in the ever present FilIrish tent (thanks Paulo and Rolando). There were around 30 starters in the 100K and maybe 100 in the 50K that was due off at 7. The half marathon would kick in at 9:30 and the marathon at noon.
early afternoon. The second km opened up to a wide gravel trail that seemed an endless drag. Eventually it joined the out and back section which was roughly a km each way. This section out was predominantly a drag up as well as it passed the marina section and wound its way getting steeper passing the ruins to the turn around point that had a very good aid station. Turning back on ourseves this time downhill for another km we retraced our steps to the 4km mark (this section always seemed like a rest). A sharp right turn on a nice gravel track brought us up hill to the start finish area and another well stocked aid station and our own stashes. It was 20 laps for the 100K with each runner being responsible for their own lap count before peeling off to the finish area.
I started reasonably fast at around 28 minute 5K's and have to admit that I got caught up with the 50Kers a little and was way too fast. I spent some time with Finn and Paddy Quinn during the first few hours staying steady at just under 30 min laps. Half marathon in 2:01 and full in 4:02 was testament to steady running. It then started to get warmer and warmer. Between marathon and 50K I again got caught up a little and over stretched for a good 50K time of 4:50 (which in itself would have been good enough for a top 25 in the 50K and 2nd in my age group). Finn followed me over the line for a massive 4:52 50K PB (good luck to her in the Energia 24hr). Kris was through in 4:54 with myself in 10th spot and Kris in 11th.
I kept going into the second half and as the sun was now up I had slowed to between 30 and 33 mins per 5K loop.
I felt relatively comfortable and came through 39.3 miles in exactly the same times as Tullaroan the previous week and through 50 miles in the same time as Fowlmead in April. If I had a plan I was on it.
I walked very little though my pace had dropped. For hours, I was not being passed or passing anyone and eventually when Kris who was getting ever closer passed me after 36 miles I was still in 10th spot. Kris was pacing things perfectly and was easing her way through the field and she inevitably lapped me after 50 miles and by that time had long since lapped all the other women in the race and was well ahead.
The last 4 laps were tough and the 100Kers were on our own now with the half, Marathon and 50K long since over. It was freakishly empty except for the start finish area which still had a great buzz.
I had now dropped to 35 -37 mins per lap and it was a tough old slog home.Then on my 20th lap I spotted Kris coming against me on the out and back. By my reckoning she should already be finished. We quickly checked her Garmin and sure enough she was at 64 miles and on lap 21. It wasn't funny at all and off she went to the finish. She was first across the line regardless as she had already lapped all the other women in the race at least twice, and at the finish her 20 lap time was recorded as 10:10 which was a massive 1hr 30 min PB and another victory. Meanwhile I was eyeing up a sub 11hr finish and as I came through km 98 I knew I had to get a move on and really sprinted at 11:30 pace for the line. Eventually I came over the line in 10:57 and delighted to still be in 10th spot. Plan A success.
This again was a super organised event and I love it, but will have to pay in next year.
Photos: Peter Mooney and Mary Mockett and Amy Devlin (Amazing posters)
Strava stats for the day