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