Wednesday 30 December 2015

Phoenix River

Phoenix River Marathon  3:56:51

Views great
This was with Phoenix Running in Walton-Upon-Thames on their long course. I did this course before in Nov 2014 and the weather was some of the worst I have ever seen and the whole course was waterlogged. It was a real slog fest.

Sky on the way in
Today however it was the opposite and on the 27th of December we had
Sun, Dry, Mud-Free, Puddle-Free, 13 degrees with very little wind. Near perfect conditions. On the drive into London the sky was amazing and red from early.

At 6.6 miles out and backs 4 laps was a marathon. Around 100 were here for the race. As a nice addition to this race series the local leisure center was open for registration, toilets and showers afterwards.

There were 2 fully stocked aid stations at each end of the course with
Registration in the leisure center
further toilets at the turn around. The last time I was here it was a disappointing 4:43. Today was going to be different.
And home

I started off steady enough breaking the race into 8 sections. 30 minutes each would be a 4 hr marathon. I was tracking Michael and the Fox for most of the race and there were a few that went off fast. I was only lapped by the winner though who came in with a very impressive 2:53.

Splits were pretty even and as I came through half way in 1:54 a sub 4 was on.

1   28:40
2   57:27      (29:13)
3   1:25:48   (28:39)
4   1:54:59   (29:11)
5   2:24:36   (29:47)
6   2:54:37   (29:59)
7   3:25:04   (30:27)
8   3:56:51   (31:47)

I felt good today and ran very steady especially the last couple of sections which were very steady and a 2:02 second half was pretty good.

Rik and the crew from Phoenix running put on a great event today and was faultless.

The weather was absolutely extraordinary for the time of year and it was like being on a different
course compared to the previous outing. I much preferred today. i was absolutely delighted with the time today and it puts me in a much better place than where I started last year. Focus now is Donadea in Feb followed by Seville a week later. The hard 5hr cut-off in Donadea now gets my attention and if I manage a marathon in sub 4 there I should be OK.

Nice video of the day:

Polar stats for the day Click Here

Tuesday 29 December 2015

Usual Suspects

Usual Suspects Ultra   50K  5:27:15

Portsmouth Trail  marathon   4:53:16

Medal of the year

Saturday seen us all off to Folkestown for the Usual Suspects 6 hr challenge. This was on the Samphire Hoe course underneath the white cliffs. I was last here for the Alice ultra. It was 16 degrees in December but a stiff enough wind off the sea made the out portion of the 3.85 mile loop tough enough. It was also hillier than I remembered.

Detail was incredible
Stefan and Susie
This was really the Brenda show today. Not only was she doing her 100th marathon of 2015 she also received her 200 badge from the marathon club.

7 loops was a marathon and 8 was an ultra. There was a great atmosphere around with quite a bit of fancy dress and good wishes.

Mulled wine fudge (the best)
The outbound half of the loop was tough but you got the benefit of the wind on the way back which was nice. The hills back up from the sea front was tough. I ran all of this at the Alice run but decided to hike the steep bit today (its only 100m).

I didnt kill myself today but wanted a steady run.  2:10 seen me through half marathon and I kept a steady pace in the second half passing many. Everyone seemed to be finding it tough today and out of 120 starters there was only 3 sub 4 marathons posted.

Brenda on her 100th for 2015
Coming up to 6 1/2 loops I came across Brenda and Anna who were chatting their way round and stayed with them to the marathon distance. This was about 4:25 and I decided to go out for one more loop and stayed with them for this loop. This brought me in with an Ultra in 5:28 which could have been a lot better if I wanted. This was good enough for 9th place overall.

We were rewarded with the most amazing medal which included the names of all the entrants as part of the medal. One for the collectors.

1Km to go on the prom
Sunday saw me off to Portsmouth for a b2b attempt. Portsmouth isn't my favorite. The weather was worse and the course was sure to be muddy and over contested. This is exactly what happened. In addition this year we had a 50K and 1/2 marathon on the course at the same time.

And Home

The wind was strong, very strong and was into our faces pretty much for the second half. It was muddy, vey muddy and a lot of people fell often. I nearly went myself despite having trail shoes at a boardwalk section.

The beach sections were slow and congested and the narrow trail section was even worse that I remember with the leaders in the 50K coming against us on a track that was only single file at best.

The aid stations were great and the company was great and Anna's Santa
Nice medal
was great. There was a nice buff and medal but it was slow and my time was rubbish. I wont do this one again.

Seaside series

Oyster Bay    4:07:21

Medals for the weeks work

This was part of the SVN seaside series of marathons that was a 5 in 5 in and around the Kent Coastline in Later November. We were lucky enough with the weather as it was relatively mild, dry with wind being the only real challenge.

All the courses were flat and mud free. The series was sold out with about 120 running every day.

Oyster Bay was a new course and was 4 laps around Oyster Bay (at Herne Bay). The weather was pretty bad or more accurately the wind was pretty bad with the out section of each lap into a gale and the backward section quite pleasant. There was also a nasty small pier section at the end of each lap that was very exposed.

I decided today that I would try and push things and went out reasonably fast. I decided to wear my old Asics as I didn't want to risk the Hoka's on a full race. The wind was penal as we went out on the prom and followed the coast into  the wilderness.  3 guys went out very fast with the winner coming in at 2:57 (I just managed to not get lapped).  At the first turnaround I was busting to goto the loo and luckily there were toilets adjacent but this always takes a couple of minutes off. It was a relief to turn with the wind in the back and it was a lot easier and you could enjoy the many beach huts and small marsh sections. The surface was concrete or tarmac which wasn't a problem. I came through the first lap in 57 minutes and turned into the second. It was much of the same and the half marathon came up in 1:55. I knew at this stage that 4 hrs would be a big ask but stuck with the task.

Lap 3 and the wind really took its toll and 1 hr 2 minutes brought me through in 2:57 just in front of the winner finishing.  On the 4th lap the wind got me and I had a slow outward section having to walk into a ever stiffening wind at times. By the time I turned in 3:33 I new that 4 hrs was gone and took the pedal off.

I was really delighted to come home still full of running in 4:07 for 22 place and day 1 complete.

The medal was great and rest was the order of the day.

Day 2 was the at the familiar Viking Marathon trail. It was thanksgiving day in the US and there was a special American theme today including a US Viking medal.

At the Viking
I arrived late and started a couple of minutes down from the rest of the field. This was a 4 lap 10.5km loop out to Reculver castle and back.

I actually didnt feel too bad today. The wind was a lot better though still helped on one 5K and into the face on the second. But nowhere near as tough as day 1.

A nice steady pace brought me through the first half  in just over 2 hrs including a good 5K with Anna Hatton who was ever present.

This was a very uneventful race and an even pace brought me home in 4:28:13. There was lots of American candy at the aid station which was very well appreciated.

Medal collection
Day 3 was the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt and there was the promise of a massive bespoke medal for this one. Arriving very much on time with Brenda and Collette it was very very very breezy on the sea front. The course was a T shape with first a short section downhill  from the aid station to the sea wall. We followed the prom into Margate right through the center of town turning at the far end. We then retraced our steps, bypassed the aid station and kept going for another 3K to the turn around point. This section weaved its way along the coast with the sea on one side and some interesting cliffs on the other. We turned and made our way back to the aid station.

And we are done
Not surprisingly we were a little slower today and I turned after 2 laps in 2:20. The next 2 laps involved  some walking particularly into the tough breeze but managed to do very well inthe last 5K taking about 10 places for a 4:50:59 finish over all.

The medal was truly awesome and up there with my favorites.

Sunday 15 November 2015


Tollymore Trail Marathon    4:20

Unusual rubber medal
I had a terrible week as I had from somewhere developed a septic toe which in affect had stopped me doing anything. During the week it just got worse and worse and worse and by Thursday I was hobbling and barely able to walk. This weekend was going to be a write off. But about 3 O'Clock on Thursday I managed to relieve the pressure on the toe and the weekend was back on. 26 extreme were very good and allowed me to mess around with events to get one that suited me.

Kris was also travelling and was entered into the Ultra. I had done this race last year and loved it and managed a 4:48 which was actually a decent effort in terrible race conditions. The weather forecast was not much better this year.

A 4 am start got me breakfasted and pickup of Kris by 5am. We then hoofed it north with a quick coffee stop and got to the forest park by about 7:15am. I was drugged up and bandaged up and felt that the marathon was a possibility even if I had to walk some. I really had no idea what was going to happen. I decided to wear extra wide Asics which were probably not that suitable for the conditions but it was the only way that I was going to run.

Ultra start
Hanging out with Philip
The Ultra (57 runners) got off in cold conditions at 8am but was dry and I kept warm and had a second breakfast while I waited for the 10am Marathon start (137 runners). It was still cold and it was drizzling on and off. As the morning went on this drizzle stayed with us and it was cold and very blustery. Conditions underfoot were claggy and some flooded areas but it was much improved from last year. Spookily the clouds didn't lift and at the high portions of the course we were constantly running through the clouds.

Coming upto the finish
Kris yards away from victory
I tried not to think of my toe and kept a good pace,  trying hard on the flat and downhill sections and hiking hard up the steep bits. To my amazement as I approached the start/finish area the half marathon hadn't started and I managed to get through the start finish area in 2:01. It was a great atmosphere coming through the start/finish area. Soon after the half marathon with >350 runners started and for maybe 5 miles there was a steady stream of people streaming past me. Included was Kieran McVeigh the brother-in-law who eventually finished in 1:49 (pretty good). I was visibly tiring in the second loop and had a too and fro with Trevor Denton and Clive Nesbit. I eventually managed to break away from them at Mile 23. It was a cold and wet and muddy run and I was delighted to come home in 4:20;28 a 28 minute improvement on 2014. My Toe survived but it still needs attention but I think the worst is over.

Kris had a great run with a 2:01, 208 and 2:19,  3 loop race. She took the lead in the womens race in lap 2 and never gave it back. She eventually came home strong for yet another great Ultra win in 6:28, amazing.......

The medal looked better in the photos than in real life but there was chili con carne for all finishers and a nice T shirt. We eventually got back to Dublin after leaving 13 hours earlier for a long but great day.

Polar stats of the day 

Tuesday 3 November 2015

Hugin Challenge

Hugin Challenge    32.75 miles in 5:37:03

Wonderful Hugin Ship
Saturday morning came with dense fog blanketing the whole of the South Of England. Knowing this I was perfectly prepared not to run today as the event was a 2 hr normal drive away, and I hate driving in fog. I left 45 mins extra early and headed off. The fog was bad with some spots very dense. Fortunately these bad spots didn't last too long and there was little traffic about, and I made good but slow progress across the country. After Gatwick I was committed and felt I had enough time to get there. When I came off the motorway it became very hairy and there were some very serious accidents en route. Thankfully I got there about 30 minutes before the off and picked up my number.

Brenda was there as normal. This is the 3rd time I have run with her this week and in a 3rd different country. She had just come off the evening marathon the night before and amazingly still had enthusiasm. She might loose some after the race as it took 2 days to get home including abandoning the airports and busing it to Holyhead for a ferry.

Brenda at yet another marathon

This was a 6 hour timed run and I felt that I wanted to go longer than marathon but would have to see how it went. I was also trying out my new Hoka's but in truth I had only wore them as slippers around the house. We were off at 8:30am on the 3.275 mile loop around Pegwell bay in Kent. The first 2 miles were around the country park on a flat nice gravel path. The fog was still quite thick and visibility was around 50m so as the field spread out it was quite eerie. After leaving the park we followed the cycle track to Cliffside passing by the wonderful Hugin Viking ship which is just awesome. This was an uphill section which as the laps went on became quite noticeable, but was still runnable. Past the ship we went on for another 800m before turning right into an old Hoverport before a short field section back to the cycle track. We retraced our steps past the Hugin ship (passing others on the way out), then a downhill section back to the start finish area to the picnic aid station which has everything from Cake, Fudge, Crisps, Nuts, Sweets and fluid.

The first 3 laps were just under 30 minutes each. Mid way through the 3rd lap I felt the ball of my right foot get sore. This was not good and immediately the Hoka's were blamed. Fortunately I had a spare pare of Asics at the start finish line and I changed after lap 3. This couple of minutes had an affect and I just about managed to dip under the 2hr mark on lap 4 for a sub 2hr half marathon. I had found my place in the race at this stage and kept plodding on. Knowing that the field would thin significantly at the marathon distance I decided to go further. All the fast guys and girls stopped and I came through 8 laps in 4:13. This would have been good enough for a top 10 in the marathon but I decided to put a few extra laps in. The next goal for me was 50K and see what kind of shape I was in for Donadea. Given there was no pressure at all on the run I was pleased to come through 50K in 5:09. This was actually good enough to qualify for Donadea and I am sure given pressure on the day I would have dipped under 5 hrs. I am also about 10lbs over my racing weight which when sorted should help.
Wonderful Medal

After I came passed 50K I lost enthusiasm a bit and walked up the hill. At this stage I knew this was going to be my last lap so free wheeled into the finish for 10 laps covering 32.75 miles and 5th out of the 90 finishers.

The medal was truly awesome and I think up there as my favourite with the Alice in Wonderland medal. The fog hadn't really lifted all day and the drive home was foggy and dank and I was very pleased to make it back home in one piece. The last bit of luck was the next morning when I arrived at the airport to see a sea of "cancelled" on all flights except Dublin which amazingly got off on time and was the only flight that left Southampton that morning. I really enjoyed this one and I really enjoy the 6 hour timed challenges.

Polar stats for today

Saturday 31 October 2015


#111  Dublin 4:02:28

I managed to make it back OK from Snowdonia via the Ferry late on Saturday night. My Brother-in-law Kieran was due to run and was down just after lunch on Sunday. We spent a very nice time at the exhibition picking up numbers and things. Then a quiet evening with Pasta and Rugby.

Cru at the start
The weather forecast was terrible (just like all my recent races) with rain forecast and very windy conditions but it was not due to be too cold. This is exactly how it panned out with terrible conditions for watching and OK conditions for running (once you got started). I suspect the good guys however found the wind taxing.

We were there early enough and lined up at the front of wave 2 with the 4hr pace group. I knew them all well with Olwyn and Joe from Crusaders and Niall from a while back. My plan was to hang onto the 4 hr pacers till after the park and then struggle to a 4:30. Given the week that would be a great effort.

We were off at 9:10 , ten minutes after Wave 1. I settled in at the back of the 4 hr pace group and off
we went. The first few miles were with the wind and fairly flat until we hit the park. I was still there and despite sore quads felt OK. I was still settled at the back so I kept going. I fell back a bit at the narrow section when you leave the park for the first time. This was more to do with weight of runners than anything else. When back in the park I managed to get back into the pack and settled behind Olwyn and in front of Niall. The atmosphere in the pace group was fantastic with lots of advise being dealt out particularly by Joe.

At 10 miles I was still there and decided to keep this going as long as possible. I came through half way in 1:59:40 and knew that 4hrs wasn't a possibility but I was still about 10 minutes up on where I expected to be.

Located at the back of the 4hr pace group through 15 miles I began to struggle but was still there at 18 miles. At the aid station at 20 miles I was 100m back and I heard Keiran shout over at me. He had just been passed and his race was over. I had to make a choice of stay with Kieran or keep going. Of course I kept going.

Around here and pretty much from here on in I knew the Crusaders supporters
would be everywhere so walking was not an option. I had a bad period upto Fosters Avenue slowing to 10mins 40 seconds per mile but knew when I reached Fosters Av it was a relatively easy finish. I recovered immediately  back to 9 minute miles and was passing tons of people. In fact at the 10K timing mat I was in 7000 odd position and finished in 5000 odd position so passed about 2000 people.

Marie on her 100th
Shane McGrath nearly deafened me at Milltown as did Aoife Quigley but this really gave me a boost. I found the last few miles easy and enjoyed evey moment. The Cru support around Paddy Cullens and on Elm Park was great and I came in in 4:02 about half an hour ahead of expected.

Kieran struggled over the last 10K but still broke 4:30. We met up after and went off to Meet Marie Chapman who had just done her 100th. It was great to meet Lesie, Kris, Kathleen and many other for a beer after.

Very enjoyable day......

Photos courtesy of David Cuddy, Paul Larkins, Niall O'Connell, Olwyn Dunne and Marie Chapman.

Polar stats for today

Sunday 25 October 2015

BTTF and Snowdonia

Back To The Future  4:15:03
Snowdonia   4:24:48

This was an interesting week be it damp and cold

The Back To The Future marathon was put on by Rik at Phoenix Running in Walton On Thames in conjunction with TZ Runs who are more famous for the Kent Road Runner race. It being a mid week I was lucky enough to happen to be in London so could go along.

The weather forecast was awful and indeed for most of the race it
Very wet
rained. I took the train to Walton On Thames from Waterloo which was surprisingly long and walked the 2.7 miles to the start.  On the way to the start I hit the tow path at the turn around point so pretty much walked the course. It was no where near as muddy as the last time I ran here (different direction) but never the less it was puddly and would be very sticky. I was absolutely saturated by the time I reached the start.

It was to be 8 laps of 1.6 odd miles out and back on the totally flat course. After a quick race briefing we were off. The race quickly settled into a pattern and even though the rain was constant it wasnt cold and the wind was equally into your face and back throughout the race. I quickly found my place in the race and stayed there. Amazingly for the first
Near the end
time I was ahead of Janet who always beats me and managed to stay there. All the regulars were there including Anna and her dogs and Paul (with his new range of clothing now for sale).

The aid station was again faultless and on every lap you picked up a hair
Super Medal
band which were counted at the end. 8 laps was a marathon but plenty stopped early just to get the medal and a few went further to make an ultra. I came in 8th of around 50 that stopped at marathon distance.

The medal was of course spectacular and one for the collectors. We have of course now been tempted by the new "Top Gun" race in May.

A couple of days rest and I was off to Wales for the Snowdonia Marathon. I decided to drive from the South and stop over the night before to catch up with an old school friend and then leave the car at Holyhead en route to Dublin. Traffic was awful and I now regret not just driving up in the morning.

Weather again was atrocious at the start and everyone was saturated on the start line. It was nice that registration was on the morning and was seamless. There was also good shelter at the center. The start line was about a  1 mile walk from registration and we all headed off in unison to it.

The first couple of miles were easy and predominately downhill or flat  and spread the course out. Then at mile 3 we hit the first hill. It was very similar to the "Hell of the West" in Connemara and runnable even though I have to admit to walking some of it (very few walked) but it was nowhere near as tough as I was expecting. We crested at about mile 5 and then went down hill for around 3 miles. This included a 2 mile off road section that was tough enough and you had to have your wits about you. This soon gave way to tarmac again and it was a fairly nice net downhill run until half way. I came through half way in just under 2 hrs. Given I pushed it a bit on Wednesday this was fine. I did however know I had the toughest half to come. After half way there was a steady climb for 2.5 miles. I took it easy walking some portions but kept moving and when it flattened out upped the pace a little.

The big hill loomed at mile 22.5 and when it arrived the whole field was walking. It lasted a mile and a half and was similar to Mamore gap. There was nothing to be done but walk. At mile 24 we crested and the last 2 miles were off road and steeply downhill to Llanberis. It was treacherous and muddy and puddley. Wearing road shoes I had no grip and ended up on my bum a couple of times and I tentatively made my down. It was quad crushing stuff. Eventually we hit tarmac again but it was still steep. I was wearing 1000 mile socks and at the end I had managed to break through the toe box on both socks. Serious pressure. With about 400m to go we entered the village and crossed the line. I managed 4:24:48 and knew that I had to do a sub 4:30 to make the ferry. I immediately headed off to Holyhead and managed to catch the ferry (it was delayed by an hour).

It was a great race but logistically challenging to get there. Next year it is the day before Dublin so maybe not.

Tuesday 13 October 2015


Budapest  3:50:51

Budapest Marathon

OK, so I got lucky with this one. I just happened to be working in Budapest on the Monday and Tuesday and the marathon was on the Sunday. At very late notice I got an entry.

Direct flights from Dublin via Ryanair and remarkably cheap hotels (4 star for 40 euro a night  B&B) also made the trip really affordable. It was a late flight on Saturday night 19:40 which landed in Budapest at 11:30pm. Quickly through immigration I immediately found a taxi. By booking a taxi at the airport you are offered a final price and its a very efficient service. You could pay in Euro or CC and it was 24 euro to the hotel. I was in bed by 12:30 am. It would have been perfectly possible to do this trip in under 24  hours (one hotel night) as the flights were very favourable and the race pick-up flexible.

Lucy Foley abroad again 
There was morning pick-up of the numbers on offer but Lucy Foley was also running and had picked my number up for me. A 9:30am start for the race gave plenty of time for breakfast and a 2.2km walk to Heros Square to meet Lucy. It was lashing rain and wearing my bin liner I made it in plenty of time. Lucy was on time and we headed to the baggage area. Even though there was 14000 running it didn't feel that busy and everything worked like clockwork. Very fortunately the rain stopped just before the start. Lucy and parted company to get ready.

There was also a relay on and it was testament to how well the race was run in that I hardly noticed them. I lined up in pen no 3 and the race got off on time. It was only a couple of minutes before I crossed the start line. This was my first time in Budapest so didn't really know the city but there was many, many beautiful buildings and wide streets en-route. There was also much music with several full choirs belting out great songs at what I presumed were opera houses.

Finish area
The weather continued to behave and we had cold (slightly windy) but otherwise good conditions. I found myself cut adrift from any pace groups with 3:30 well in font of me and 4hrs nowhere near. I paced the first half pretty good coming through in 1:51. It was a very flat course with most of it in and along the banks of the Danube but there were plenty of parks , tunnels, countless bridges and beautiful architecture to distract. There were many, many aid stations fully stocked with water, Poweraid, glucose tablets and Magnesium drinks as well as bananas and lemons. So no complaints.

Sub 4 was never really under threat despite my Garmin having the course at about 1km long. This may have been because of tunnels.
Hero's square

The start and finish was in Hero's Square and it was a welcome sight to see after 42 km despite the last km being a detour around the park at the square. Typical of big city marathons the finish area was great with a great atmosphere, screens and noise. Overall I thought this run was every bit as good as Dublin (better course) it could do with few more supporters, but this is just nit picking.

I tried hard to get under 3:50 but it wasn't to be and a 3:50:51 in the end was pretty good.

Polar stats from today

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Galway Bay and Monaghan

#106  Galway Bay   3:49:55
#107 Monaghan       4:42:18

Presenting Leslie with 100th medal
This was a super weekend of running in near perfect conditions all over the country. It started on Thursday night outside the office in Sandyford when my work colleague was involved in organising the 5K Twilight challenge in and around Sandyford industrial estate. I had been entered unbeknown to myself. The company had put in 5 teams of mixed ability from reasonable to walkers. It was a 7:30pm start so they got a couple of extra hours work from us. It was a beautiful evening and around 700 turned up for the event. It had 200ft of climb which was a lot for a 5k. The first mile was downhill and I busted it doing a 6:35 and knew it was too fast though still was well behind Suzzanne from Cru!. The second mile had a lot of uphill and I slowed significantly. After 2 miles Ronan and Denis Murphy (Cru!) plodded past and I struggled to a very acceptable 22:04 and 109th place. The goodie bag was interesting and there was lovely refreshments from Spirit Motor Group.
Lap 1

3:30 group
Friday night it was off to Galway with Libs, Roxy and Kris in tow. Having travelled to Galway for close on 30 years now I was shocked
when I missed the turn off to the N4 and ended up on the Sligo Rd. We were way behind schedule now. Because of this mishap we had to pick our numbers up the next morning. Kris was there as a warm-down to her 100 miler and had no idea how she was going to go. The course itself was the flat Salthill course based around its 10K loop. Conditions though starting off cold were otherwise perfect with virtually no wind. Kris went off with the early starters at 8:30am and I waited to the main start at 9am.

Ahead of 3:30 group
And Home
Marie no '98, with Kris and I
2 loops of South Park were done before heading onto the main 10K loop. I found myself with Dipak and the 3:30 pacers. I knew this was far too fast but got chatting to Mo and stayed with them. To my surprise I was still with them after 10 miles and even in front for a while. I was laughing at myself as to how stupid this was. This was absolutely ridiculous and I knew that I had to pull back. Never the less I still came through half way in 1:44 which was even faster than Derry and my fastest half for the year so far. Conditions continued to be perfect. Because of the way the races had been staggered I never even seen the 10K with only the first 10 passing me. We were well through the second 10K loop before the half marathon started so that was no issue either.

With Stephen
I naturally slowed in the second half and even had aspirations of a sub 3:45 for a while but in the end had a strong last mile for a 3:49 and I was very happy with that. Kris amazingly after her 100 miles a week earlier came in at 4:19 in a fantastically strong performance.

Rossmore Forest Park
Through Town
Back to Dublin we went on the Sat night. I picked up Kris again on Sunday morning early and off we went to Monaghan. This was to be a very special day as it was Leslie Crawfords 100th and the event was sold out because of him. We arrived in plenty of time for the start and there was a great atmosphere around. Leslie was in great form. There was no early start and we were off at 9am. The race started with a 10K loop around the town. This was brilliant. As most people had raced either in Galway or as part of a b2b in Monaghan the day before there was little racing and it was more survival.
However there was a few up from DBRC who were fresh and off they went. Ger (in his 99th marathon) would go on to win in 2:52 in a very strong run followed by Barry Casserly (also in his 99th marathon) in 3:03.  I would stay with Leslie and Marie and Cezary and Kris for most of the first10K and there even was a brass band in town which was great. I really pushed it the day before and naturally fell back before we entered Rosmore Forest Park for the first time. We had 4x5 miles loops of Rossmore Park. The course itself was surprisingly hilly and ended up at 2000ft which is similar to Howth (god help us).
And Home

The Champ
I plodded most of the rest of the race not surprisingly. Half was was in 2:15 and I came in a very tired and sore 4:42. Kris again did amazing only being 3 minutes slower than Salthill on a way more difficult course in 4:22 and Marie Chapman in her 99th marathon followed up a 3:55 in Galway for a 3rd place 4:04. Amazing really.

There was some mighty soup and samdwhiches and some very nice home made shortbread after and the highlight for me was presenting Leslie with his 100 medal.

A great weekend all round.

Photos Elma McEvoy and Marie Chapman

Polar stats for Galway
Polar stats for Monaghan