54.4 Miles in 13:09:08
|Castleward house (Andre, Bobby, Shaun..)|
|Pat and I on the first section at dusk|
We arrived on Friday night and picked up our numbers from the Cuan bar in Strangford (about 2 miles away). Everything was smooth and we stayed for dinner and had the pleasure of sitting beside Bobby Irvine (winner of last year) and his wife. The food is excellent by the way.
|End of Lap 1|
|Gina Crew #1|
The loop was surprisingly hilly and technical. Recce is recommended. This was also a very northern affair with the vast number of participants being from the north. Be prepared for lots of "keep er lit" or "Howya gettin 'er".
The first few laps were very busy as the whole field was pretty much together. This got hard/annoying on the narrow portions when quite a few walked side by side and a right traffic jam happened. Etiquette should be published for this. The first lap was done in 49 minutes and the next few a little faster as I went out at the front to avoid the traffic jam, before I settled down to 50 minutes odd for the next few laps. In retrospect I would stretch this to 53-55 mins if I ever did this again. I found the stopping and starting quite odd and the area where the runners was a right picnic with everyone stuffing whatever the could into them in the early stages. This in the later stages got very quiet and was more like an A&E triage.
I spent some time in the early laps chatting to loads of people as the pace was very conversational. I spent
|34 miles in with no one fan Aine|
|Cru on tour (40 miles in)|
wasnt able to eat anything and when I went out on lap 12 I found it really really tough and let the lap slip to 56 minutes. I had every intention of giving up at this stage but decided at the last minute to do one more (sorry Gina). There was less than 50 runners left as I went out at midnight for lap 13. I immediately fell off the pace and the back of the pack and was on my own and walked more than normal. I knew early that I was going to be timed out and I was happy with that. As I approached the finish line in 1:09, Sammy was there with the medal and the every present Gina was there to look after me. Support crew on this event was invaluable.
|100 mile club after 24 hrs.|
Meanwhile Kris was still crunching out the laps sub 50 minutes and in the middle of the night only 2 ladies where left. Kris and Louise (current Irish National 24 hrs champion). Both looked great and Kris decided early that 100 miles was her goal and she duly stopped after 24 hrs and 100.8 miles. Louise stopped the next lap to win. The men went on and on and on. Eventually at 2am on Monday morning the last 2 were timed out on lap 36 or 150 odd miles. I really dont know if that means there was any winner or 2 winners.
Well done Atlas running for a great though highly unusual event. I think this will continue to be popular and was certainly the buzz around the country in the marathon/ultra community.
Photos: Philip McEvoy, Paul Fegan and Atlas running.
Strava for the day: