Sunday, 5 March 2017

UOL

University of Limerick b2b

Day 1:  4:25:51
Day 2:  4:42:49

Day 1
As part of continued training for some long events I decided to do the MCI B2B at the University of Limerick. Being run by the Marathon Club you always get a good turn out and there were more than 140 turned up for the 2 starts (80 at the 8am start and 60 at the 9am start) on Day 1. I choose the 9am start as I was travelling down from Dublin. As it turned out I nearly made the 8am start and saw them off as I arrived.

Start
Derek Mackessy was the race director. I have to say MCI looks to
be in good shape at the moment with some very dedicated and professional committee members and those that help run the race also doing a very professional job. I am confident that it will go from strength to strength from this point on. You can also see that they are investing in their members as they now have full chip timing with the results online almost instantaneously. Vincent tells me that when the new website is complete these results will go on the site again almost instantaneously as well. Its a big jump forward. I was also pleased to see that one of the ideas that I put forward in writing to the AGM (apparently with others) has been implemented and no longer do members subsidise non-members at races with the new pricing structure. I think everyone is happy with this.

The A team
Today facilities were superb with access to the University Boat house with its toilets and room with
Aid Station
kitchen facilities. I have to say however whoever started cooking sausages before the 9am start was evil as I would have quite happily stayed and scoffed the lot. 

There was also a half marathon on today.

At 9am I started with the course being a short out and back followed by 5 5 mile odd laps around the campus. I initially thought it was going to be a road marathon but there was a little too much trail to make it so. The loop itself started on a portion of the main Limerick marathon route (quite county road) but in reverse. After about 3/4 mile you turned left and climbed towards the the main campus entrance. Entering the campus you traversed the cycle paths before
crossing the central bridge. I also recognised this section from the main Limerick marathon. In and out around a few of the buildings and we crossed the pedestrian bridge in the middle of the campus (also on the main marathon route). A short climb briefly brought us out of the campus before a lovely downhill through the university business faculty brought us back in through some rather nice student accommodation to the river tow path. Following the tow path this time under the bridges brought us back to the boat house and the start finish area.
Day 2 briefing

There was a fully stocked aid station with sweets, plenty of water in 250ml sports top bottles, coke, gels and bananas.  Getting through the campus was easy with all road crossing having pedestrian crossings (and on day 2 marshals) and I never broke stride once. It was 5 big loops for a very accurate marathon distance.  Also onsite was an ambulance and I felt very safe and well looked after. I heard no complaints from anyone about anything (except the sausages obviously).

Suspected sausage cookers
I decided to push it a little at the start to see how my training had been going and came through 10K in 54 mins and half marathon in 1:58.  I was with John Chapman and Jimmy Kelly for a lot of the first half and despite being warned by Derek about the Limerick Park run also being on the course at the same time,  I had a head stagger and headed off on the park run course at one point. John, Jimmy and even Dave Brady all shouted at me to come back.

After half way, I then backed off a lot as I was also intending to run on Day 2.


There, and running well was Don and Karina from trail heads and also Anne Jennings who was coming back from injury and put in a stonking sub 4 effort. The usual's Collette, Seamus, Philip, Kathleen and Eimear (Mrs Hurley) were also there and running well. The newest 100er Sheila was there and Paul Comerford (thanks Shaun) though injured was getting his 100 medal. Also there was Susan Dixon (Leo's mum), but because of a bad back had decided not to run. Jill McCann was amazingly running (both days) even after running 3 last weekend in Ballina and also LOS the weekend before. There was also a big crowd from Kerry and the Wexford
Donna, Francie and Michael
marathon club was well represented.



Round and round we went. I had a very slow 4th lap that coincided with a lot of the 8am guys finishing but I decided to put a bit of effort on the final lap which was duly completed in 55 mins for a 4:25 finish.

The kitchen was in full swing and Coffee, buns, sandwiches were plentyful. It was great to catch up with Donna and Francie after (both had done a 3:37, amazing) and hopefully they can organise to do some of the runs we have planned over the next few months.
8am starters day 2

One of the bizarre things today was lost & found picked up some used womens undergarments abandoned at the finish line and the owner is asked to contact Vinnie.

I headed back to Dublin on Sat night to return on Sunday morning (2hrs 15mins each way). On the drive back on Sunday morning Met Eireann  had put out a yellow weather warning with 115 km/hr winds predicted. To add to misery, it also lashed rain all the way down. Around 60 got off  in a break in the weather. It however didn't last with heavy downpours regularly dumped on the field throughout the morning. This led to tough conditions in very wet gear with the towpath sections got really muddied and sticky.

Jill , Gary (and me)
Naturally being day 2 of a b2b I was pretty stiff and went out steady with half way coming in a sore 2:20.  All day, I had a good old too and fro with Jill McCann and Gary Connolly and late in the race with only a mile and half to go decided to put a big effort in and took over Sonic the Hedgehog and Jill and Gary with a 9 minute last mile to record an even split 4:42 and my fastest mile of the day. The race itself was pretty uneventful with everyone struggling in the conditions and it being day 2.
Day 2 (end of lap 4)

In summary it was a great value event with €40 getting you 2 accurately measured events with full AAI licenses, free parking, a pretty course, a fully stocked aid station and chip timing. Before the event there was tea and coffee and after a feed that would choke a horse and great shower
Yes, Kathleen is bending down
facilities and a medal each day. The onsite St Johns ambulance was highly visible and the RD was everywhere looking after everyone. There was no complaints.

This has to be the best value events around. Well done Derek and well done MCI.

Photos  Mary Mockett & Theresa Grimes & Philip Mcevoy

Stats for the weekend

Day 1

Day 2


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