Sunday 16 February 2014

Donadea 50K

Donadea National 50K championships

5 Hr cut off      4:59:56     for 100th place  (19th in my age group)

Well what a day. With all the storms of the previous week we ended up with the best day for a long time. The forest park was in relatively good shape but was very very mucky and sticky underfoot with lots of puddles. It made the going very heavy and way slower than a road race.

All of the major Ultra runners male and female were there and we were treated to Gary O'Hanlon going under 3 hrs and walking away with the title and Orna Dilworth doing a 3:43 and also walking away with the title. But big Congratulations to our very own Olywn Dunne who defending her title did us proud with a 4:13 for second place.

Paul Campbell and Joe and Olywn Dunne
Also from Crusaders was Olwyn's husband Joe (who was training for Barcelona) and Paul Campbell.

I didn't want to do this run but was persuaded by Paul Campbell while marshalling at the Grant Thoprnton 5K last year. I am not usually nervous before a run but this one had me wound up. Maybe because it was my first Ultra but also as there was a cut off time of 5 hrs which was no push over for me particularly in these conditions.

I had all kinds of strategies worked out for when I went over the marathon distance.

It was pretty mucky out there
It was unusual that we plodders were able to see the elite athletes up close and just to put it in perspective I was 8km in when Gary O'Hanlon lapped me (he was doing a steady 5:30). It was awesome to witness. I knew I had to stay under 30 minute 5k's to have any chance of beating 5 hrs and started off steady enough at 27:30 to 28:30 for the first lot of laps. I was through half way in 1:57 which meant a 4hr marathon was probably not possible and I would be really close to the cut off which rapidly I was growing to hate.

With Ray Cassin head coach of Duleek and District

I shared most of the first half of the race with Ray Cassin the head coach at Duleek and district AC, and it turned out we had pretty much identical times in every race we ran last year. I can't believe I haven't met him before.

I struggled on through the mud coming through the marathon distance in 4:07.

I then deployed a walk/run strategy for over 26.2. It meant that I had a very slow 35 minute lap 9 which only left me 33 minutes for the final lap (and I was knackered).

I could hear the finish line when I got a shout from behind. It was the 5hr Pacer/Sweeper Maurice who was shouting that we need to get a move on to make the cut off. There was then a frantic last 400m at full tilt and I crossed the line in 4:59:56 with Maurice spot on the 5 hrs. There was much congratulations and a beautiful medal and some banana cake from Olywn.

Orna Dilworth National champion 2014 and
Olywn Dunne National champion 2013
Of course it didn't finish there as we ended up in Mulligans in Poolbeg St later for some sweet pints and story telling.

It was an absolutely fantastically organised race.  I love these looped events that are extremely friendly and where you can watch all the races unfold close up which you can't do in a normal race.

It was some day.

Results at Red Tag timimg

Photos courtesy of Peter Mooney

Stats of the day

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