Listowel Endurance 6hr (30 miles)
This was part of an endurance festival with a 24hr option , 12 hr option, 6 hr option and an unusual 3 x 7K accumulator. All the races were times so they finished at 6pm on Sat evening. Since I chose the 6hr option this meant a 12 noon start on Saturday.
Kris accompanied me and since we had the late start we decided to travel down on the morning and an early start around 7am got us on the road. Some research had shown that we would be passing through Newcastle West just around the time their park run would start so we decided to stop off for that. It was a small run in a 3 lap course round a very pretty park in Castle Domain. Kris headed off like a bat possessed and came 3rd overall and 1st lady. I struggled with sore calf and despite a good first mile struggled to a 25:59 and 6th overall. Still it was very friendly and welcoming. 30 minutes up the road we were parked up and walking towards the registration.
The 24hr and 12 hr guys were on the course already (about 65 of them) with the lead guy soon to go through 100 miles. Jill and Teresa were doing their 100th marathons and would go on to come 1st and 3rd in the 24hr race. I knew pretty much everyone else on the course.
A quick registration and we had an hour to kill before noon. We setup in the Muck Hoggs aid tent with Carmel and used the facilities in the local community hall. I have to say that organisation was faultless with the one aid station fully stocked with everything and tons of water and electrolyte. I was also glad to see an ambulance and crew permanently on the course and even walking it in reverse at times. I felt very safe and looked after.
A quick chat to everyone including Niall who was down crewing for Anto (who went on to do 100 miles). It was great to see Collette doing her 499th marathon and getting close to 90 miles in the 24hr event and the rock steady Paddy Quinn got another 100 miler done.
We started in a very modest field at 12 on the button and headed of on the 1200m loop. It could be split into 3 fairly even sections. Firstly was the flat section through the aid station and past the aid tents and toilets. This was run by most pretty much every time. This soon gave way to the hill which was 400m long and walked by most, most of the time. Everyone seemed to have the spots that they ran to on the hill. They a little run then another walk. The elevation was surprising with the hill adding up to 2200ft of climb over a marathon distance. At the top of the hill it was then an easy free wheeling 400m back to the timing canopy.
I liked this loop. Of course as soon as you started you had not a rashers where you were in the field. You could check your distance as you came through and I only did this once to confirm that I was through marathon distance. One thing I did notice was that Garmin was well off as when I came through marathon it said 25 miles. I suspect that this was because there was lots of tree cover (Maybe 500m of the 1200m lap).
Everything for me was nice and steady all the way through. As it turned out I started out slow and was in 12 spot for most of the race however in the last 6 or 7 miles I made my back through the field to 6th spot overall. You had to do a marathon for it to count and I suspect a few fell short. With a big field in the 3x 7K cumulative that started at 3pm the course seemed really busy but very few dog walkers and very few casual park users.
Well all in all it was a very enjoyable run and I stopped to have the chats often with pretty much everyone.
Prize giving was straight after the race and as well as Jill and Teresa doing well, Paddy Quinn also got third in the 24hr. In the 6hr race Kris had done well coming 2nd overall and 2nd lady having overtaken the 3rd place girl in the closing seconds as she inexplicably stopped 20 secs before the end. In the mens race I got the shock of my life when the Galway Cow was announced in 3rd spot. I though to myself I thought I was in front of him. Sure enough I was announced as 2nd male home and I was delighted to pick up the very nice trophy.
We stayed in Ballybunion for the night before heading back to Dublin the next morning. All in all a fantastic event.
Stats for the day