I arrived at the Premier Inn nice and early and one of the best things about this race is that the hotel gives over its facilities for the race and toilets and free parking is a bonus as well as some decent food afterwards.
|Beautiful day (aid station)|
This was part of a running festival (all world cup themed) with 2 marathons and half marathon the day before. All were well attended by all accounts and several were back today for marathon 3 in 2 days. Big shock was Brian Mills who is approaching his 1200'th marathon didn't finish all three marathons only completing 2. This was un-heard off and unprecedented.
There seemed to be a modest enough crowd for this race with only 63 on the start list, but I suspect that some of these didn't turn up as it felt smaller.
The reverse route was relatively flat and hugged the lake (always on the left) and was just over 3.7 miles. The race its self was 7 full laps and a small half mile loop around the weir to start. I found the route very busy with pedestrians and cyclists (who gave little notice to us) and lots of families and couples with an extraordinary amount of loose dogs. Also every lap we had to run the gauntlet of many Canadian geese that had a habit of getting in the way. On one particular loop I came across a new obstacle in that just after the geese a group of people decided to light up joints and the smoke wafted across the course. That was different.
|Noel Kennan and I at the start|
There are lots of bridges on this course and I have to say I had difficulty with one of them. It was long and flat, just before the lake side section, but seemed to have a hypnotic effect in that it bounced in front of the eyes. I stopped running it after a while as it made me feel dizzy (very weird). I think I prefer the reverse route as the second half of the loop is more interesting and seemed to go quicker.
A sub 4 was never really on the cards today as I lost interest and focus during the second half and wasn't even at 20 miles at the 3hr mark. I did rally a little when I got the bell for the final lap and had a strong last couple of miles for a satisfactory 4:07. The medal was nice and featured the Jules Verne trophy. I ended up 14th out of 51 finishers. Results Click here
After the race I didn't stick around much as I had to get back but I did meet Noel Keenan whose parents are from Monaghan. Noel is eyeing up Samphire Hoe 100 next year and I think his plans are similar to what I did this year. Good luck Noel with that and I'll catch up with you at many events over the coming year.
Photos: Rich Harrison