Many years ago when the children were young, we decided to go on a family holiday. So one morning with the exception of the kitchen sink we loaded everything and everyone into the car and didn't stop going until we landed somewhere in the middle of France. On arriving there we were amazed at the long straight roads and the miles of vineyards growing in the fields. Soon we were to discover that the grapes growing in the region we were in were the ones used in the making of brandy and that the town of Cognac, home to the Hennessy and Martel distilleries, were only an hour’s drive away.
A chance for the runner to describe their own birds eye view of a run.
I first broke 3 hours in the 2012 Cork marathon, running 2:53. Every marathon I ran in 2013, 2014 and 2015 was under 3 hours. In order, these were a 2:54, a 2:52, a 2:45 (pb from Connemara 2014), a 2:47, a 2:58, a 2:48 and another 2:54. I say this for perspective, because last Monday June 6th in Cork, I ran a relatively slow 3:08:31... yet it was one of the most enjoyable marathons I've ever run.
Indulge me please: I need to write a little about the last six months first, before describing this race.
As the tar melted around the roads of Athenry we made the trip to Sixmilebridge in Clare for the annual BMOH 10km in glorious sunshine. Chris made an unusual comment for an Irishman as we hit the M18 near Gort that "thankfully it looks like there may be some cloud cover ahead". This weather prediction did not ring true.
The London Marathon was the reason I first ran a marathon. I remember watching in 2008 and finally thinking "yes, I'm going to do this." I promptly entered the ballot for 2009, didn't get in, and went to Edinburgh instead. I vowed then if I was going to do London, I'd get in on the good for age which I got in 2013 at Chester. With moving to Oranmore in 2015 I ended up deferring my entry until this year.
It all started in January when plans were being laid for the year. There was lots of chat going on of going to Manchester and I thought well it’s not a scenic marathon so if I am to do it I will have to train hard and race it. It fitted in with plans at home as nobody had any race plans for the first part of the year so it was my turn to put my own training first - so I had no excuses! The previous year I did the HR analysis with Matt Bidwell and got my infamous Zones.
Now in the 40th year, the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon took place on Sunday. 15,149 athletes ran the 26.2 miles (42km) through the streets of North West England. The weather was reported to be very pleasant. It was dry and the sun broke through the clouds throughout the race. A large contingent of runners travelled from Athenry AC to run as race organisers describe a "super fast course" and it is also considered to be one of the flattest marathon courses in the UK!
Loughrea Athletics Club hosted their annual 5km race on Easter Monday. Numbers were down slightly on last years race. 237 athletes gathered at the start line to run a 2 lap course of Loughrea town. Weather conditions were described as perfect with clear blue skies! Proceeds from the race (€1,300) were donated to Cancer Care West. Results as follows
Keith Fallon GCH 15:57
Peadar Harvey Craughwell AC 16:22
Andrew Nevin 17:17
Caroline Whirskey Loughrea AC 19:46
Colette Glennon 20:10
Maebh Brannigan 20:56
The course was 10 laps of a circuit just short of 5km, so there was about a 400m run in at the start of the race. My target had been to try and get 3:30 and I was on course for that until after 35km when a combination of the rolling course, mud(!) and cold started to take its toll. The last 10km were absolutely brutal. A few encouraging shouts from my wife and daughters at the start of the last two laps helped me round, but they were fairly slow efforts.
Ballinderreen 10km was originally set for the 29th November 2015 but due to flooding the race was re scheduled for Sunday 24th January 2016. Ballinderreen village is approximately 22 km south of Galway City and is a part of the townland of Ballinderreen. Baile an Doirín, means town of the little derry or little oakwood, suggesting the area may once have been more heavily forested with oak. This is a popular race due to its flat course offering an opportunity for a PB! Numbers were up slightly this year with 142 athletes taking on the single loop course.