Race 2 Glory

Published in Reports on 20th July 2014

A dreary wet morning greeted the 4 Athenry AC members (Myself, David Noone, Ian Pomphrett and Drew Davison) along with the other 180 or so competitors in Kiltimagh on Saturday morning for Race2Glory. The task ahead: 17kms of running terrain comprised of road, trail, bog, river and a bloody big hill, and another 23kms of terrain on bike which also included another bloody big hill.Dave having completed the race a few years previous offered some sound advice..... “Yeah the first hill is a bit tough alright, kinda like Ryehill”.

Being just 1.7kms from the start Ian and I decided to jog down to the foot of it as a warm-up, “tough” it most certainly looked, “kinda like Ryehill” it most certainly did not. Already nervous at the start, the anxiety was increased when word filtered through that the race would be delayed as the ambulance had broken down and was blocking the road. Bad weather, a tough course, a broken ambulance, a beast of a hill.......PERFECT. We shook hands, said good luck and we were off.

The aptly named Spankers Hill split the field in to pieces, I could see Drew and Dave flying up the road and took a quick check over the shoulder to see Ian not far behind me, time to put the head down and dig in. The helicopter taking pictures from above proved a welcome distraction from what is a gruelling climb and we had soon reached the top and to my shock Dave was right there beside me. Either I was going too well or he was having a bad day.

Next it was through the bog. Being light helps here and I was also glad of hearing the story at the start line of someone losing their shoes in the bog the previous year, I had tied the laces extra tight as a result. One good thing about going up is you have to come down and the second half of the run offers some well needed respite. Back to transition and on to the bike; wind and rain are not your friend on a bike and we had both. Going up Craggagh Hill when it’s the dry is tough, in the wet it’s torture, the tyres do nothing but slip so you literally go nowhere. Once at the top it’s time to be brave, put the head down and hope you don’t end up in a ditch. It worked. Back to transition and the final run lay ahead, running is our game so it was time to pick off some of those big guys who had sailed by on the bike.

Just when you are getting into a running rhythm you are escorted by marshals in to the river, “Just waist high” they said, “It’ll be grand” they said.....at one stage I was almost up to my neck in water, it was just a case of getting through it without falling.

A word of warning for any future entrants; do not wear cycling shorts! I emerged from the river pretty much wearing a nappy and had to stop and ring it out a few hundred metres down the road.

It’s a pretty flat run from there and in to the middle of the town for the finish where there were Ice baths (bins), burgers & masseurs. I would have taken the massage but after coming out of the ice bath I had no feeling in my legs so figured it would be a waste.

There’s something about doing an event like this that makes you crave that dirty burger that you deprive yourself of in training and as I tucked in to my plain ketchup, Dave was loading the onions on to his, Ian was patiently waiting for the coleslaw to come his way and Drew was already half way through his in two bites.  All 4 of us made it home safe and sound, good times all around but this was an event not about times, it was an event to be thoroughly enjoyed for what it is and that we all most certainly did.

As tough as it is, this is a fantastic event, the views (if you get a moment to take them in) are breathtaking, it is brilliantly organised and the locals support it with as much vigour as the athletes taking part. I’ve never seen so many water stations on a route and never heard so much encouragement from a crowd. They had braved the weather even more than we did and deserve a huge Thank You for doing so. Kiltimagh Race2Glory, THANK YOU! ................... We shall be back next year!

Ronan McCarthy