This was the second time I have run this event. I did it last year as part of a b2b with Galway. Having run well in Galway 3:49, I was very slow in Monaghan and had very few memories of it.
Lesley had been promoting it all year together with a b2b and a half marathon it was sold out. I traveled up on the morning from Dublin which was an easy 1.5hrs (despite freaky fog en-route). Finding the Clones Rd we were directed to the KFC car park and it was an easy 400m to the club house/start area. A very efficient registration and great toilet facilities had us ready in great time.
Everyone seemed to be there and we had a good catch up.
|Race in Progress|
starting together.In bright but cold conditions we were off. The first 10K was a loop of the town before coming past the start and doing 4 x 5.25 loops of the beautiful if hilly Rossmore forest.
Steve mcGowan's shorts were special (and maybe the new secret to fast ultra running) and there seemed to be a rash of new boy pony tails which had me very perplexed.
|Town center (photo: Ray Bruen)|
|Photo (Neil McSorley)|
We came past the finish area and headed up a long drag to the entrance to the forest. This was around 10K and I was through in 52 minutes. The calf problem seemed to have moved up my leg and was now bothering my hamstring and eventually hip. Finn came flying passed at this point. She was racing the first half and seeing what would happen and headed off into the distance.
The forest is absolutely beautiful and has some long tasty climbs as well as some beautiful flat running along side a couple of lakes (probably the same lake from 2 sides) and a lovely sweeping downhill. I managed to keep a decent pace going for the first loop but the leg just got worse and worse. I decided I would tough it out until half way and see what happens. I was through half way in 2:00 even and mid way into my second of 4 loops of the forest. At this stage I really had to reel it back as it was just too much.
|Photo (Neil McSorley)|
My 2nd and 3rd loops ended up being close on 1hr each which meant that 4hrs was not going to be even close. I also could not get warm and was freezing for most of the time. Given those around me were complaining of being warm and many deciding to run topless I must not have been well.
I ran with many I knew and a few of the faster ones even lapped me with the guys at the very front absolutely flying (2:44 was the winning time).
Things seemed to settle down for me in the last lap and I was able to get a decent pace back up and took nearly 10 minutes of the lap time and I even started to lap a few people as well. Surprise of the day was Ray Cassin who with 2 miles to go flew past on his own b2b. He would go on to record exactly the same time to the second as his day 1. I managed to hang onto his coat tails and came in 4:21 and have to say it was a very uncomfortable run.
The afters were fantastic with some great soup and sandwiches and lots of cakes and a cup of tea. Yum!!!!
We chatted to a few afterwards and got back on the road to Dublin and was home and settled by 4pm. A great day.
Not many photos today and I will add them when published.
Strava Stats for the day (GPS lost a little in the forest)