Monday 25 July 2016

Mt Lucas

#145 Mt Lucas Wind Farm  4:03:32

This was my first MCI event since LaHinch in 2014. The club has grown since then and this event formed part of a b2b in Offaly. This was also my first run in Offaly making it county 32 of my 50 county challenge.

Miserable at the start
The day was hosted by Johnny Healy and his family and ably assisted by Vincent Gutherie. It was exactly what I expected from them in terms of a slick and efficient organised race. It was also €10 and great value as it included a MCI medal.

The venue was unusual to say the least. It was in and around the Mt Lucas wind farm which was a huge facility, with many of giant wind turbines in operation. We basically had the facility to ourselves. There were three starts at 8am, 8:40am and 9am. I choose to start at 8am as I had to travel on to Galway city after before returning to Dublin.

I left Dublin early doors and it was very easy to find. Registration was straight forward and a big crowd of us waited patiently in the pouring rain for the race to start at 8am. Vincent gave us all a stiff talking to about litter and how previous MCI events had been a disgrace. Johnny then gave us instructions for the day. It would be one 7K lap followed by 7 5K laps and a bit extra to make Marathon.

Time for a jig
We were off and the route wound its way through the wind farm getting up close and personal with the giant turbines. On the first lap we took a 1km detour out and back over a couple of railway tracks before joining the 5K loop again. Conditions were wet to start but by 9am it had cleared somewhat and coats were disguarded.

I found the surface tough enough as it was rough gravel. It probably didn't help that I still had sore feet from last week. But if you stayed to the bare tracks on the gravel path it wasn't too bad. The rain made the dust settle and it stuck to back of your legs like concrete. I found it a little sticky. There were no hills to speak off and we quickly got used to the course. Mark Conlon however seemed to go off piste and he stopped me after an hour as he seemed to have gone 1 mile off course somewhere. He quickly managed to get back on track however.

I found the wind turbines very unsettling and spooky. They were very silent and towered over us. It was highly unusual.

I started off slow enough but had a good 2nd 10K to bring the half marathon up in 1:56. I held a thought for a while of a sub 4 marathon but that faded as I did later in the race. The 8:40 starters headed by Eimear Hurley started as we finished lap 1 and the 9am starters with Marie and Leslie started as we finished lap 2.
Catching up with Marie

The aid station was fabulous with plenty of water and coke and sweets and sausages. At the end there was a beautiful cup of sweet tea. Very good, and all for a €10er.

By 20 miles I was a couple of minutes off 4hrs and it stayed that way to the finish when I came in at 4:03. Satisfactory enough give the 100 mile effort earlier in the week.

All in all it was quite some time since I stopped at marathon distance and I felt the whole thing go very quickly and this report is probably not as colorful as normal.

I hung around for a while to see Tiger come in on his 100th and chat to Leslie and Marie before getting on the road to Galway.

All in all a very pleasant morning.

Photos courtesy of MCI Pro and Elma McEvoy.

Strava for today

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