I was a relatively late entry into this event and am using it as my last long training run before the 100K in Portumna. Vincent Guthrie is the race director and I always have promised myself that I would do one of Vincent's races in his home turf. It was also Catherine Gutherie's 100th marathon and had shared a lot of Catherines events over the last few years,
It was an early start at 3:20am to get breakfasted and on the road for the 1.5hr drive to Tullaroan in Kilkenny. We were due off at 7am and I was on a tight time schedule for the day so was not going to start late. I picked up Kris at 4:15 and an uneventful trip got us to Tullaroan early. This was my first race in Killkenny and county no 31 in the my UK and Ireland County challenge.
It was muck spreading season and Tullaroan smelt beautiful in the warm early morning. It was funny seeing Kris gagging on leaving the car declaring it smelled just like Laois.
Vincent, the RD got us parked up and we met with Louise who had made the long trip from Galway and was also early. At 6am registration opened and we got our numbers. It looked like there were 37 entries in the first running of this Ultra. There were also 3 starts to the marathon with those also doing Derry and Cork joining the 7am start with the Ultra. There was much talk of hills. It made the results of the marathon quite confusing as the top 10 came from a mixture of all 3 starts. We briefly met Catherine on her 100th but the way the events fell I didn't see any of the 8am or few of the 9:30am start marathoners and it was also Paulo's 100th but I didn't see him.
|Roasting at 7am|
I felt a lot more comfortable and set about catching everyone that had come past me. First up was Derek and Shane who were running with John Dolan from DBRC. I stayed with them for a bit but John and I pulled away on the steepish downhill section after the house with the gnomes. We turned left and passed a well stocked aid station and kept straight on for once a flat bit. I pulled ahead a little form John but heard a shout "Leo this way".. I had missed a turn and was happily going the wrong way for around 100m. I got back on course to find it was actually well signposted and I had obviously just zoned out. I would rue this 200m detour later as it cost me one or two places.
|Bob on way to 2nd in the Mara 3:01|
|Kris and Gina in background|
Kris meantime had run a steady race with each lap under 2hrs, for a sub 4 marathon time and a 5:58 overall time and a massive PB. This gave her 4th overall and first lady for a famous victory.
I cant fault the organisation. There was a wonderful atmosphere and a fantastically organised race and a feed that would choke a horse at the end and there even was a bar and an ice cream van.
I had to rush home to Dublin for a dinner appointment but it was a good day.
Strava results from today