Monday 30 July 2018

Sliabh Bawn

Back to Back at Sliabh Bawn wind farm Roscommon

Day 1 6:16
Day 2 6:06

Dont let the times fool you. I worked hard both days for this. Originally booked into the b2b 50K I dropped to the b2b marathon. Boy was I glad I did.

This was 2 days on the same course at the Sliabh Bawn windfarm that rises 253m to the highest point in Roscommon.

Day 2
HQ was the GAA club in Ballyleage where we registered, got a coffee before we started and parked. A bus then brought us the 5K or so to the windfarm. The start of the marathon was about 1 mile into the farm and start time for me on day 1 was 8am and day 2 9am.

Starting we ran straight downhill past the finish line, past the 10k start, past the half marathon start
and past the 50K start. It was approx 1 mile straight downhill. When we got the bottom of the windfarm we turned around and retraced our steps straight up past the finish area and onto the loop. It was a horrendous start with virtually all the up hill walked.

Just past the finish area we continued to climb before flattening out for 400m. Then up sharp for around 200m before a long 800m gentle downhill. All this was on very stony open gravel trail.
Lucy and Collette

On day 1 the weather was very windy and cold at the higher levels with downpours of rain on and off during the day. Day 2 was much better.

All the time we ran past the massive trubines that were wooshing around all day.

Nice medals
Turning off the main trail onto a walking trail we skirted in and out of a forest with very marshy if not swampy conditions before coming back onto the main trail and up again. This time for 800 to an aid station before truning right and more uphill to the summit and turning at the highest turbine at the wind farm called the summit (253m). The we started downhill. I struggled with my knees all day on the downhill and this had a huge affect on my time. 800m of downhill brought us to some sharp uphills for 600m to another aid station and a shimmy of downhill brought us onto softer trail through a forest section as we zig zagged our way down the mountain.
Day 1 finish , very slow

Finishing the forest section we had an out and back to a turbine before a serious uphill trek on the main trail had us turning right and the final push to the end. Gentle downhill past a few trurbines and another aid station brought us on to a bouncy newly laid bark track that was freaky underfoot and I didnt like it. Exiting this we had a short out and back before the last push back uphill to the finish area.

Laps for me seemed to be around 1:20 to 1:30 and it was tough, really tough.

There was lots of medical help all over the course and the organisers were permanently spinning around on the Quad making sure we were all OK. Even Anto added to the atmosphere with his finish line humour.

HQ on the mountain
I spent a lot of the first day with Qussey an IBMer from belfast (whom I ran with in Tollymore and Belfast 24hr in the past) but spent most of the second day by myself. This was quite a small event but the numbers were boosted by lots of 10Kers and half marathoners. There were not many in the 50K options which is half the reason why I dropped to the marathon. I also made the choice to travel to and from Dublin each day. That worked out OK.

Claire did a great job organising this and I felt safe and looked after at all times. It was a nice touch to have showers , massage and hot food both days back at HQ.

There was also a very novel interconnecting medal for the b2b.

Stats for day 1

Stats for day 2

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