This was a new one to me in the middle of county Meath, close to Drogheda and Duleek.
With a 5 mile, 10 Mile, 15 mile and 20 miler for those training for Dublin there was plenty of choice and there were plenty there and I knew loads. Most (43) chose the 20 mile race.
Ray Cassin (after his 100 mile Connemera success) was race director for today and was always at hand keeping an eye on the runners and there for the chat. Well done Ray.
25 finished the marathon though I suspect more started intending to finish the marathon. There was also an early start for those who would not finish under 4hrs 30. Recent form tells me that I fall firmly into that camp.
So it was off to Bellewstown for the 8am start (about 30 minute drive from Dublin) and the first thing that I noticed was there was a horse race course there. Who knew? Well apparently everyone but me knew, and it was one of the oldest race courses in the country.
Registration was at the parish hall with Frank. There really is not much else to Bellewstown, apart from the race course the hall and the "top of the hill" pub. A good bargain though at €25 and I do like the new medals.
|Welcoming Mark and Karen at the finish|
The small loop was on the inside of the race course on tarmac and was slightly undulating but otherwise pretty OK. The aid station was situated on this loop at the finish line which we passed 6 times.
The fist half mile of the bigger loop was gently downhill on a busy enough road before giving way to a reasonable drag uphill for 800m. Summiting we turned left and immediately were swept steeply downhill for half a mile on very back roads. I found this section very hard on my knees and I suspect I was the slowest on the course on this bit. But I was taking no chances and dreaded it every lap.
Summiting we were back on the race course and it was a quick 100m to the finish line/aid station.
I spent a lot of the day on my own which was fine but did spend a lot of it tooing and froing with Elaine McNulty who's chats made the day seem quicker. Just behind me all day was Philip McAvoy with his new Hokas.
It was not a fast course but you wouldn't have thought it with Ger (sub 3) and lots of sub 4's as well as Lesley doing an amazing 20 mile time (in great shape for a 3:45 attempt at Dublin).
I suspect it suited a lot of people better than me as I struggled on the downhill sections with my knees and lost a lot of time.
The weather was very pleasant for running and I was rewarded with 5 minutes faster than Dundalk (on a hillier course) with the first half being 1 minute faster at 2:27 and the second half sub 3 for the first time in a while.
Lets see if I can beat 5:15 next week and target a sub 5 in Chicago 2 weeks after.
This was Road marathon no 93 and ROI marathon no 96. I'm getting closer and closer to 2 rather significant milestones.
Photos today all taken from EOI fb page but include Philip McAvoy, Theresa Taff and Sean & Ray Cassin
Results Click here
Stats for today