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

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