East Of Antrim Race Series Jordanstown - Cultra and back
This brings my strike rate for the last 12 months to 26, or one every 2 weeks. Isn't that insane?
I never have had much occasion to visit either East or North Belfast before. This despite being born and bred within 20 miles of this marathon course, in Downpatrick. I guess when growing up in Northern Ireland in the 60's and 70's you didn't have much need to leave your own community. Indeed when I went to University in Belfast in the early 80's there was also no need to stray too far as everything was self contained in the university area.
|Panoramic view from the start
I was still on a high from having helped out at the Killeigh marathon on Saturday. We had a blast and witnessing the excitement and pure emotion of Brian O'Kelly and Barry Casserly going under 3hrs for the first time was just magic.
|Gary, Lorna and I waiting to go
I was looking forward to a nice flat run by the sea and running through areas that should be familiar, as either iconic landmarks or no doubt parts of the Belfast main marathon route. This was a fantastically run event, up there with the best in the country including EOI, MCI, Donadea 50K and Achill (I think that has covered my ass). I would recommend everyone to try one out and support the race series as its fab. I saw the route for the race in April and it looks special.
I loved and hated this route with equal measure. I loved the sections along the lough and the city center but hated the industrial estates that connected them. I have the same love hate issues with the main Belfast marathon but yet I return and return.
|Ready and waiting
We did the obligatory photo's and instructions and we were off. After the first mile we hit the main Belfast marathon route along the cycle path
|Anyone got the time?
|Some great iconic sights
The field was very spread out now and I was on my own for the next 7 miles. I crossed the Lagan at 20 miles in 3 hrs exactly. The same as the last 2 weeks. I was however quickly overtaken by Leslie who was training for London and looked strong. There followed a tricky section of turns in the city center to get us back onto the cycle path. I don't know quite what happened but I stupidly seem to have ended up doing 500m extra in confusion before getting back to where I should be. A side affect of this dalliance was I missed the opportunity to take on water or gels and had to do the rest of the race on empty.
Beautiful showers at the finish line were a bonus and it was off to Downpatrick to see the folks, family and friends. Apparently the last time I was home was before Christmas.