Monday, 21 July 2014

Courtmacsherry

Marathon #61  Keith Whyte waterfront Ultra in Countmacsherry

36 Miles   6:47:47      31st out of 64 finishers.
Beautiful Courtmacsherry
Ok, So this was a nuts idea. Lindsay and Libs were still in Australia so I had the weekend to myself. I found and decided to enter the Keith Whyte Ultra in Courtmacsherry. I'd met Bob Hilliard the race director several times on runs in and around Dublin and the West over the year and had heard great reports about his races.  I looked into staying overnight but it just didn't work out so I decided on an out and back on the same day.

I got someone to look after the dog for the day and headed off to Cork at 4am for a 9am start. 3.5 hrs later I arrived in plenty of time for the off.
There was a 10K , a Half Ultra (18 miles) and a full Ultra (36 miles) on offer. I decided to run the 36 miles. Not only was this 10 miles longer than I am used to it was also 5 miles longer than I had ever run. Add to that 100% humidity and 25 degree temperatures. It was going to be tough.

Joe and Leo
There was lots of friendly familiar faces at the start line including Joe O'Reilly from Crusaders. I have a habit of running into club mates at unusual races. Joe on holidays in West Cork had been given a pass from the new wife and had plugged for the Half Ultra.

The Ultra was two laps of the out and back route that followed the bay. All races went off at the same time so for the first 3 miles until the 10Kers turned it was quite busy.

My strategy for this race was to go slow because of the humidity, temperature and distance.  For me that added upto a very good run of 6:30 and a plan B of 7 hours. That is a long time to be out there.

It was fairly flat with only one hill of any note at the 8 mile mark that we would come across 4 times. I came through the 9 mile mark in 1:29:39. I felt Ok but was taking a lot of fluids on board. 

Turn around after 18 miles
Back I went for the second 9 mile section. Not surprisingly this was a little slower as I was trying to conserve as much as I could. I came through in 3:08 and had a quick chat to Joe before heading out again.

My third  section felt the toughest with the heat blistering and I was drinking loads still. Thank goodness there were loads of aid stations with coke and "cold" water. In fact the race was brilliantly organised. I turned again at 27 miles on a 1:48 leg. I was nervous for the last leg as 7 hours was looming.

Still running after 34 miles
I did a run on the flat and walk the hills strategy keeping the guys in front in view. They were also on the same strategy. I came
through 50K and was still running. Just about now a cyclist pulled along side me. It turned out to be Lynda Fay who had just come 2nd in the half Ultra and turned around and came out on her bike to cheer us on. It really helped and I soon took over the two in front and soon had a gap. Amazingly my 4th leg was only 1 minute slower than my 3rd and I came in 6:47:47 and 31st place.

Even the big boys seemed well down on previous years which was not a surprise given the conditions.

I didn't hang around too long after and got back in the car for a drive back to Dublin. I got back around 8:30pm after a very very long day. Note to self don't miss bits when applying sun cream.


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