So we landed in Keel Sandybanks Caravan Park, Achill Island, on a beautiful sunny Friday evening. We explored our surroundings and took in the breath-taking scenery; both nervous and excited with what lay ahead of us the next day - The Achill Roar adventure race. Adventure racing is still very new to us, so I suppose this adds to the anticipation as well.
I took Thursday and Friday off running as a mini taper coming into Achill Marathon on Saturday 24th August. My plan was to run this at my Easy pace as a long training run, towards my training for a sub 3 hour marathon in Dublin. This pace would see me finish in 3 hr. 30min. But as the event got closer I thought I might go for a 3hr 20min. The course is a half marathon loop, and there is a half marathon, a marathon and an ultra-marathon (3 loops) run on the day. I decided I’d run a first loop of 1hr 40mins and depending how I’m feeling maybe push for sub 3 hr. 20min marathon and do the second loop in sub 1hr 40min.
What an amazing all-day racing festival the Portumna Forest Marathon is turning out to be. Now it goes right through the day with the half marathon as an additional distance. First up on Sat was the 100k starting at 8am, next came the 50k at 10am, the marathon at 12, the half marathon at 2, and finally the 10k at 4pm. An assorted mix of distances and runners, and paces, to say the least.
This past Saturday the 18th May saw the 3rd running of the Roundstone Bay 8K road race for the local RNLI Lifeboat Service. There was a good mix of local and visiting runners, with entrants from as far afield as UK, Germany and USA, and numbers were again up on previous years with just under 200 having registered.
The only thing missing from Loughrea on Tuesday night last (14
May 2013) was an ark but there were strong rumours that one was
being warmed up down on the grey lake, less than half a mile away
from the start/finish line.
I couldn’t sleep. The butterflies in my tummy were circling like the Hitchcock film The Birds. Clock finally went off at 5.50 and I got up – wrecked. This was going to be a day I was never going to forget for the rest of my life. It was Connemara Ultra Marathon day at last. Weeks and weeks of training and preparation led me to this morning – and I got up absolutely jaded – typical!
On a bitterly cold day, GCH men claimed 1st , 2nd & 3rd prizes in this year’s Colemanstown 10k. Last year’s winner Matt Bidwell from Galway City Harriers was first home again, in a time of 33:39; not quite as fast as his PB which he created on the same course last year.