2014 Connemara Ultra 100

Guest post by ultra-runner Paul Brunnock, after Connemara Ultra 100, August 9th, 2014.

I have just spent the last while reading the comments and support sent my way before, during and after the CNM100 on 9th August, 2014 and to say I am overwhelmed is the understatement of the year. Many thanks to everyone. Every comment and message means so much. I don’t really do race reports but with so many people taking the time to support me and my crew I thought it might be a good time to put down some highlights.
Ray O’ Connor is responsible; it’s all his fault! Huge thanks to Ray, Angela, Iain, Niall, Ken and the rest of the Connemara 100 team for the work organising this race and for letting me be part of the family. I thought a lot about Ray in the last 15 miles of the race and it was mostly bad but what he has achieved here is amazing and this race is an absolute gem.
Due to injuries and old age I could not train for this race the way I would like so it really boiled down to 3 runs in the week , 2 cycles and 2 swims. I want to thank Tried and Tested Dungarvan Triathlon Club for all the help support and encouragement throughout. Likewise , thanks to Dungarvan Cycling Club for their support and training, especially the lads in Group 3 Sunday morning spins. Thanks to Marathon Club Ireland for all their help too; a fantastic club and wonderful people.
Of course it’s no secret my number 1 club is West Waterford AC and nothing gives me greater pride than wearing that singlet on lonely roads up and down the country. Don’t forget Ray McConnell was running 100 milers when the sport was in its infancy and in Raivis Zakis and Anthony Whelan we have two of the best ultra runners in the country. Thanks to everyone in the club that always gets behind me; all the people I run with week in week out, Mark Cliffe for his super fast WWAC t-shirt, Linda Garcia for her arm warmers but I don’t think she knows I have them and John Coleman for a variety of equipment. Special thanks to James Veale for super advice on all things running related and more, fantastic support, encouragement and all the rest. He’s a one off and a great man to have in your corner.
The man with the unenviable task then of fixing me up when I break down is Cian O’ Conchuir and I owe him a lot. Anyone who has tried to keep an old rusty motor on the road having failed its NCT multiple times knows what I mean. He also throws in the bit of sports psychology for good measure!
So the race started at 6:00am Saturday morning and I was thrilled to be there on the start line. My crew had everything in place and I had no worries as far as that part of the race was concerned. If you look at the picture of us at the start we are not your typical race start photo. I think Paddy observed that most of us looked as if we could do with a sandwich! One of the exceptions to that maybe being Don Hannon who is a strong and powerful athlete. Add to that the true grit, bottle and talent of the man and you have about as good an ultra athlete as you could find anywhere. When I met Don on Sunday morning he looked fresh enough to go again and, I’d say, would have needed very little encouragement to lace up the runners and get the bandana out!
It was a big thrill to be able to say that I was in the same race as Aoife O’ Donnell , the first Irish female finisher of the 135 mile Badwater Ultra. I didn’t get the chance to congratulate Aoife in person but I am in awe of her achievement and very inspired by her. There too was Gerry Duffy, top endurance athlete , whom up to a short while ago I had only known from his books. My brother Johnny was once introduced over the PA to about 2000 Sean Kelly Tour cyclists something along the lines of ‘Here comes Johnny Brunnock , the nicest fella you could meet!’ to huge applause of agreement. Well Gerry is one of those ‘fellas’ too and I hope we get to share the roads many more times over the years. Also there were athletes I have not really met yet but whom I greatly respect and admire from seeing them in races I have been competing in and following their results like George Webb and Maurice Whitty.
Seconds before the start and I shook hands with Vasiliy Neumerzhiskiy , a true legend, and we wished each other good luck. Vasiliy, in 2011, gave me one of the greatest pieces of running advice I have received and it has saved me many times since. It was in Portumna 100k and he was finishing what would be a win and a course record. I was at about 75k. Vasiliy came back to me on the path and said something like ‘Keep your hands down. We’re running 100k, not 5k!’. It works!
Highlight of the morning was to see Billy Holden take off at 6 minute mile pace. I can’t say what Billy was thinking but I imagined he was laying down a marker , telling the Connemara course that he wasn’t afraid and go ahead and throw what you can at me. It was brave and foolhardy and wonderful and I loved it. I think Billy is what Bob Hilliard would call a ‘real deal rock and rolla!’
The first part of the run was uneventful as it should be. We found our rhythm and I ran with Peter and Colum. Then I ran with an athlete from Dublin and his brother but sadly it was not to be his day this time. He ran with courage and good humour and I hope he gets to come back to CNM100 again. Just before Checkpoint 1 (28 miles) I got a bad pain in my right hip and I thought the day might be done. But Sue gave me a talking to along the lines of ‘There’s nothing wrong with you!’ and that seemed to fix that. Then I ran to Checkpoint 2(55 miles) and enjoyed the scenery along the way. Somewhere there I passed Tom Reynolds and we spoke for a minute and he seemed in good form too. Aoife and George were stopped here as well and I left before them. So I ran to CP3(67 miles) all the while my crew doing an amazing job and I really doing very little. People often ask how do you run these distances and I’m not sure! It may seem like a contradiction but you have to concentrate carefully on every little thing that’s happening in the body and around but, at the same time, zone out so you don’t notice time, distance or discomfort. I’m only learning. Next came CP4(82 miles) and I ran straight through but the wheels were starting to creak. The next 18 miles took about 4hrs45min. My running friends can work that out for yourselves! I had to walk 3 miles approximately and then managed to get running again with 12 to go and ran all the way in to the finish. My crew at this stage were phenomenal and that doesn’t do them justice at all.
During this time George passed me running like a young fella! Tom came by moving smoothly and gave me much needed encouragement which I really appreciated. Alina Brown was the last person to come by and she is plainly a serious athlete. I have to look her up on DUV Marathon Statistic! I was pleased for them that they were running so well at this late stage but I couldn’t help but ask myself a few questions and another talking to was required!
On the laps of the town I met Billy again. I thought he was walking back to his hotel for a well earned rest but when I realised he was still on the course finishing his race he climbed up even further in my estimation. To put down a day as he had and keep going just says it all about the calibre of the man. I have no doubt he will be back to throw down the gauntlet again.
Of course the finish came. It always does. I just wait for that time when I know I will see Ray with his hand out stretched. It’s a simple enough thing. We shake hands. He might say ‘Well done’ and I might say ‘Thanks Ray. Great race’. Something like that. I don’t remember. This moment doesn’t need words.
When the dust settled I heard the fantastic news that Brian Ankers had joined an elite group; athletes who have won CNM100. There are but 3. In 2012 it was an honour for me to get to run the race when Mick Rice won his 4th. I am always trying to put Mick’s tips into practice since I first heard of him when I went to the Connemara International Ultra 2008. Last year it was Grellan McGrath, a fabulous runner. Grellan sent me a message of encouragement Friday night which gave me a great lift and really sent me on my way Saturday morning. And now Brian. For me this says it all. Brian is a runner like you and I , fitting training around work, family and life in general; an ordinary bloke who has done the extraordinary, 100 miles in 15hrs48min. I couldn’t be happier for him. The winner of CNM100 2014 is my friend, Brian Ankers.
It was very nice to collect our prizes on Sunday and meet everyone once more. Ray kept tugging at the emotions and I found myself close to tears many times. It was worse than Saturday that way! I had only one more thing to do and that was get a photo with a true Connemara legend. Maciej Sawicki has completed this race 6 times, getting faster and faster each time. He is one fantastic athlete and ‘sound out’ on top of it all. If I had missed the chance for the photo I would have had to go back in 2015! Thankfully I nabbed him before everyone scattered and that picture will take pride of place on my mantle piece and in my memories for a long time.

Paul 567 together with supporting cast: , Sue & Liam

Paul 567 together with supporting cast: , Paddy, Sharon, Sue & Liam


FAQ!!!
There are some questions that people always ask me about the long runs and these answers might be of interest to someone!

What do you eat during the run?
That’s easy. I eat crackers with butter and jam, bite size pastries stuffed with cheese and tomato (Sue’s recipe), boiled salted potatoes and a kind of soupy pasta (Sue’s recipe again). I use Power Bar gels( maybe 8 in 100 miles) and I drink water, flat Coke and maybe an electrolyte drink (Zym or Nunn). I now use S Cap salt tablets too since they have become a bit easier to source. Sue has a system and a few weeks before whatever run she will make me compile a rota of whatever I will eat and when. Then on the day I simply eat, swallow or drink anything my trusted crew hand to me. They sometimes have to get stern with me if I look like I might refuse something but reminding me that I did the rota in the first place usually does the trick!

Do you stop?
My strategy is to try not to stop being a firm believer in ‘relentless forward progress’. Many runners choose to stop and then they can run much faster than me in between. I simply can’t run fast! On Saturday in 21hrs37min I stopped for about 10 minutes and walked for 3 miles. The rest was a funny kind of running!

Do you go to the toilet?
Let’s maintain a little bit of mystery! All I will say is ultra runners are tough but we are human!

And ,lastly, most frequently asked, why?
Not as easy to answer. Big part is the people. Like my friend Frank McDermott. Frank and I can run 30, 40 or 50 miles together and you wonder where it went. I might not be always in the thick of the conversation or making a racket at the post race party but I love being around these people and for as long as they put up with me I will stick at it. Partly it’s to see if can it be done. Then, can I do it? And then ,what will happen to me if I do it? And I suppose mostly it’s because I like running. I like the feeling when my foot hits the ground and the noise that makes. I like the wind and the rain, the heat and the cold, the sun , the clouds and shadows, the leaves on the trees, the water and the grass and the air going in and out of my mouth and down into my lungs. When you run 100miles you know you’re alive.

I have to finish by thanking my crew. They are amazing. Liam and I have run so many miles together and we can nearly communicate intuitively. He knows when I’m suffering. Sharon, so sweet and kind ,and yet stern enough not to let me away with anything. Paddy helped me no end to get back running after a lay off in 2009 and his easy going, no panic approach is just what’s needed. Money can’t buy you a crew like this and ,thankfully, I don’t have to because they are just simply my friends and my family.
Thanks to my kids Moylan, Megan, Rory and Daithi for their patience and love. Thanks to Sue’s kids Yasemin and Yeliz (and Lloyd!) for supporting me all the way.
Love and thanks always to my sisters and brothers Joanne, Elaine, Johnny and Paddy for supporting me in so many different ways in all the mad things I might do (and my nieces and nephews for their fabulous video!). Special thanks to Mum and Dad for everything. I know you would have loved to have been at this one but don’t worry there will be plenty more jolly jaunts for us to go on.
And the last word…thank you Sue. Frank might joke with me sometimes and say ‘I’d have beaten you today Paul if you didn’t have Sue!’ Well , the truth is if I didn’t have Sue I wouldn’t be there at all in so many ways. You are my one and only.

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Running Review

As the 2014 summer running comes close to a finish, I thought it might be a good idea to create a summary of events. This makes it easier to look back on earlier races, rather than searching back through the posts. It is located as a separate PAGE on the homescreen, and here’s the link to it. The PAGE will be updated as events are completed and a post has been uploaded.

I have organised it along the following lines;

1. The 11 races in the Ger Wyley summer series

2. Other running races

3. Duathlon / triathlon events.

PS. I’ve been thinking recently. It’s something that happens every now and then! I have received very positive feedback on my recent blogging here on Spring Forward. It occurs to me that there are definitely others out there who are interested in recording their thoughts following an event. I would be very happy to create a GUEST space here on my blog. What would you need to do? Well, I’ve got my way of doing a report, but you’ve got your way! Why not surprise me & my readers? You can contact me via twitter / facebook or a message here, or simply email me at runbikespringforward@gmail.com

Not sure that you want to? Well, that’s ok. However, I can be reasonably sure that you’ll be delighted if you do decide to take the plunge..

 

Beam Us All Up, Scotty

The Marine Climb, Friday, 8th August, 2014.

I spoke with Michael Deegan before this evening’s race. We were discussing technology. Michael explained the wonder of an industrial machine being repaired remotely. A technician can log on to the connected machine and tweak the settings without the expense of a call-out. It reminded me of a trucker’s story. Apparently, when crossing the Alps, a driver carrying a heavy load can dial up and download extra horsepower. It can be expensive, so it is bought only for the minimum time needed, perhaps an hour or two.
For the Marine Climb, runners could do with a bit of pre-paid horsepower!  Some might need it for perhaps only forty minutes, whereas those at the back of the field might be happy to pay over the odds for any magic that would bring them from Dungarvan to Pulla to lessen time sore muscles need to work beyond exhaustion.

This is race number ten in the 2014 WWAC Summer Racing Series. It is the tenth evening of wonderfully-organised running here in County Waterford, on  the SE Irish coast. (I’m writing more and more for an international audience, wouldn’t ya know?) Following a deluge of  summer thunderstorms during the morning and early afternoon, the “Lookout” was bathed in warm sunshine for the 7.30pm starting gun. One foot above sea-level. Christy set us off on our merry way through the town and out the Cork road. There was plenty chit-chat, and some serious advice on offer, and because this was my first attempt at this tough event, I was more than happy to soak it all in. Go easy. Steady up. Save yourself for later. Made me feel like a running virgin, it did! Of course, deep down, I knew that all this expert advice was a result of experience, and I’d be a fool to ignore it.

Mile 1: nice and easy. Have the craic. Talk to the usual suspects. Mary’s doing this race next week, Johnny is doing that one. I made a point of thanking Ger Wyley, who was marshalling the roundabout at the top of Mary Street. Onwards then to the edge of town. My buddy Kevin took time out from a busy schedule at Statoil to be there to skoot  me on faster. In fact, the large number of spectators made this race easier. There’s no doubt about it…a kind encouraging word works wonders! Time: 9:30. That’s ok.  Perfect pacing.

Mile 2: I did notice that I was about three or four yards ahead of a few buddies, and it was decision time. Up ahead, at about thirty yards, I noticed a group of about four, and I ignored all my pre-race plans and moved closer bit by bit. There’s a slight rise along the seafront after Statoil Daybreak garage, and it’s not the place or the time to be a hero. It took me a full mile and a bit to close the gap. Pace: 9:34.  Feeling good.

Mile 3: On  the downhill section to Killongford Bridge, I lengthened my stride, and stood tall. I did not push hard, as I was well aware of the serious hill ahead. A hard short incline got me to ring Cross with elevated heart-rate, where I was once again guided safely across traffic by Ger. “It’s easier to drive this”, I mentioned. Hard to argue with that, says Ger! And thus, it began! The lower slopes of the Drum Hills. The mile marker ahead was hidden in slanting evening sunlight, and when I did arrive I was quite pleased that the first half of the race had gone pretty much to plan. Pace: 9:43. T0tal to there = 28:47. Knowing that I’ve not had a run since Ballymac two weeks ago, and my previous 8:45 pace of necessity slipped back towards my jogging 9:30 pace, I was exactly where I expected to be!

Mile 4: There was approx 175 feet of climbing on this mile and I was on my own. I knew that I would lose lots of time if I lost my focus, and therefore the easiest way to keep a good pace was to push on a bit harder and watch my heart-rate. My legs felt good. Again, there was a group of about six ahead of me, but in fact they were making good headway. Then guess what happened? I was a good thirty yards behind approaching the water station at the four mile marker, and some of them actually stopped to drink. Before I could say “Bob’s your Uncle”, I was right on their heels! Pace: 10:19. Very happy with that. Average HR 157, and feeling that I might be able to push on a bit and hopefully hold it to the finish.

The hardest mile ahead, I think. Mile 4 to 5.

The hardest mile ahead, I think. Mile 4 to 5.

Mile 5: The toughest mile, I think. Once again, it was made easier by virtue of the many locals out cheering us along. Similar rise again at approx 180 feet. What suits me however, is that the gradient is constant. No really steep sections, followed by easier bits. It’s a course for endurance over power. Speaking of which, I passed Onra Power and Linda. Onra’s gonna kill me for quoting this, but comments on the course are part-and-parcel of what makes a race memorable! As I passed, and offered a word of encouragement, Onra said to her running-mate  “Now, you’ll be in one of his stories”, referring of course to this blog. You see, word is getting out there that I’m doing a blog, and secretly perhaps many want to be in there!!! I was chuffed at the comment, but was unable to reply in person as my mind was yards ahead of my legs. I was feeling good, and pushed a bit harder again before arriving at the N25 Cork road junction. The section to the lay-by hurt me more as I attempted to close another gap. Finally, the turn-off at the top of the hill appeared, 560 feet above sea-level. The “Lookout” seemed a long way back, now!. Again, I want to mention that stewarding along by the Seanchaí was top-class, and traffic was halted for our safety. Finally, I upped my pace to race the much-anticipated downhill, a full half-mile of bliss that turned to torture as I attempted to pass myself out. I passed Geraldine Barry, who seemed shocked that my Ballymac buddy Tricia was not with me! Geraldine & I had mentioned before the start that we might likely be running together for much of the evening. Geraldine was having none of it, though, and was out of sight quite early on. As I pushed on at my best sprint, I realised that I was not able to hold it. Sure, I know why, as I’ve been biking rather than running between races! I had Denise  Nugent just ahead of me, but when I tried to catch her, my legs gave way. Or, to be precise, my lungs and my legs! Final mile: 8:13 Elevation: approx 80 feet for half mile, then similar downhill to finish.

The Marine Bar, Pulla. 500 feet above sea-level. Journey's END

The Marine Bar, Pulla. 500 feet above sea-level. Journey’s END

Overall time: 57:28
Verdict: Really pleased with that.
Target for 2015: with similar conditions, I’ll hit 55:00. Now, there’s a good solid goal!
Stewarding: Excellent, as per usual
Value for money: €5.00 to borrow a phrase…sure, where would you get it?

An athlete who caught my eye? My neighbour Noelle Conway. Noelle is another back-of-the-pack runner. She epitomises what running can be all about. Give it a good shot. Remember you’re not 21 any more, and enjoy the occasion. I admire you Noelle. Keep it going, girl! Separately, Noelle had been on the old railway track at the final kilometre of the Dungarvan Triathlon course at the end of June. (My first triathlon…even I gotta go back to check it out!) While a large crowd had gathered at the finish line, Noelle was about half a mile back. She was there to cheer on her husband Joe. In fact, she clapped, shouted and encouraged everybody. Not just ordinary, normal cheering support. She did, in fact, go the extra mile, showing obvious delight in seeing a tired athlete respond (myself included)!
Official results here and club race report to follow.

For my international readers, some small parts of Ireland still use the native Irish language, Gaelic. Tonight’s run brought us to one such location, and I was thrilled to get a few feedback tweets as Gaeilge…

Chun crioch a chur leis an scéal seo, fuaireas cupla “tweets”, agus ós rud é gur i nGaeltacht na nDéise a bhíomar anocht, phiocas an cheann seo:

 

Finally, finally: the lyrics of “Climb Every Mountain” from the Sound of Music struck a chord with me. (Struck a chord, get it? God, I’m sharp! There I go again!) In many ways, mountains and obstacles to be overcome and difficult life situations, require passion, determination and other admirable qualities, in much the same way as running does. Following my dream is important to me, and this evening’s tough run was part of the journey!

Climb every mountain,
Search high and low,
Follow every byway,
Every path you know.

Climb every mountain,
Ford every stream,
Follow every rainbow,
‘Till you find your dream.

A dream that will need
All the love you can give,
Every day of your life
For as long as you live.

Páraig / Pat

Altitude Training

Marine Climb: Friday, August 8th 2014

Runners swear by it. Experts promote it. Newspaper articles get churned out about it. It’s a photographer’s dream. Sometimes, bloggers even blog it! Yes, it’s that time of the year again…West Waterford AC altitude training!
The Marine Bar is calling! At an elevation of 620 feet, it’s a bit of a challenge all right. Six miles, but only four are uphill.

22nd ANNUAL MARINE CLIMB FRIDAY AUGUST 8TH AT 7.30 PM

22nd ANNUAL MARINE CLIMB FRIDAY AUGUST 8TH AT 7.30 PM

Back-of-the-bunch report to follow…

Lots of Other Factors: Ballymac 5

Doocey’s Bar Ballymac 5, Friday July 25th, 2014

Running is not just about running. There are lots of other factors, as will be seen (clearly, I hope) below.

Now well past mid-summer, and approaching the final races for 2014, I headed towards the spectacular Nire Valley last Friday evening.

Pre-race: a sizeable number presented at the Community Centre for hassle-free registration, and outside they chatted in the warm evening sunshine. Many, I suppose, chatted about the intense heat of the early afternoon, and were glad that a cooling breeze was sweeping through. Some, I suppose, discussed the good form of friends and maybe even rivals. I’m fairly certain that Garth Brooks was not mentioned. His race was run.

Along with many others, I jogged the short distance to the start line and on towards the valley. I made sure not to go too far, because once again, I intended jogging this race. That sounds contradictory, but the plan was in place, and I intended sticking to it.

Note of interest: In recent races, I’ve noticed that athletes seem to know exactly where to position themselves prior to the starting gun. Helped by locating others with similar times in recent events, and deciding to move slightly up or down the field depending on other factors, it all works like a well-oiled machine.

3-2-1-GO: Quite happily positioned near the back of the bunch, my first mile proved to be a bit quicker than I intended at 9:10. When I passed the mile-marker and noted the above time, it was clear to me that I needed to back off a bit more. My cycling Tour of Meath 160k 36 hours later was a big priority. As luck would have it, I noticed Tricia Cullinane a little bit ahead of me, and decided to move up, but not to move ahead. Tricia was making her first appearance following her Viking half-marathon in Waterford in late June, and she urged me to push on and do my own race. However, my mind was set. I eased back into warm-up pace, and enjoyed the chat along the way. Mile 2: 10:00, mile 3: 9:57, mile 4: 9:55. Now there’s consistency, despite constant slight uphill to the wood entrance, two stiffer inclines through the wood, and some downhill before returning to the final  mile.

We pushed the pace just a little bit, and just a little bit again with 800 metres to go. I was anxious to follow the pace rather than set it, and we had a small little skirmish, without any major injury or fatality. Then out of the blue, with 200 metres to go, my running buddy showed her competitive fangs as she sprinted hard. To her credit, she did shout out “Come on, Padraig”, as she left me two yards behind. And so, battle commenced. I did not realise that it was to turn into several smaller battles, each slightly more intense than the last. As soon as we were once again shoulder to shoulder, off she went again…and again, until by the time we crossed the line, it is likely that the officials thought we had battled in such fashion for a full five miles!

Friendly rivalry

Friendly rivalry

Final time: 47:53, average HR 145. Happy with that. Number 9 completed.

My photographer buddy, John Coleman caught the agony and the extasy of running. Looking at these pictures later, the thought struck me that running is such a powerful thing. It mattered not a tad to us that we were fighting it out for 156th place. The level of intensity that an athlete can pull from deep within, based on training and lots of other factors, is significant. This intensity is very empowering, as it shows (well, it does to me anyway) that the human spirit is designed to feel at its most magnificent best when the unachievable has been achieved; when hard work is rewarded; when a journey is shared; when partnership and quest for victory can live side-by-side.

I knew I'd been outsprinted, so I put on my "camera face"

I knew I’d been outsprinted, so I put on my “camera face”

Finally, thinking a little further about this blog in recent weeks, I’m looking for ways to move it outside the box of an entirely personal perspective. I have received some interesting feedback about the personal participant slant of running or cycling, and it will remain my primary focus. However, beginning with this post, I’m introducing an element where I “notice” and acknowledge an athlete for one reason or other (factors, again!).

Mary Mangan Dyer ran this event in 37:11. and as she mentions in her post-race interview “I’m one happy bunny”. Here she is coming home to a wonderful PB. Well done, Mary.

A personal best to remember! 37:11

A personal best to remember! 37:11

Other other factors:

  • I am sure that the good local folk appreciate the beauty that surrounds them on all sides. Ballymacarbery and the Nire valley area is a truly spectacular place, from the lowlands of the village, changing several times on the approach to higher ground to Powers-the-Pot. Now, there’d be an amazing endurance run!
  • Many locals came out to watch the event and cheer us on tonight. On such a beautiful evening, they sat on garden walls or stood by the roadside. Many were small children, perhaps runners in-the-making.
  • Perhaps there are further other factors, not mentioned here. Do feel free to add your own other factors as comments.

 

Official WWAC report: The link is here and Race results here

20th ANNUAL GER WYLEY SPORTS/SKINS SUMMER SERIES 2014-RACE 9.

19TH ANNUAL DOOCEYS ORIEL BAR BALLYMACARBRY 5 MILE ROAD RACE

You can’t get to much better than this as our race sponsor commented ,Yes the sun was shining and one of the largest turnout of runners seen for many a year attended last Friday evening’s Ballymacarbry 5 mile road race, the third last race in the 20th annual Ger Wyley Sports /SKINS summer series for 2014. Anyway, The Doocey’s Oriel Bar sponsored Ballymac 5 mile road race saw a field of 175 complete the scenic course on the night. Our sincere thanks go for the 19th time to the Doocey family of Doocey’s Oriel bar who once again this year sponsored the race.  Thanks to Michael Doocey who was on hand to present the winners with their prizes. We are indebted to Race director Frank Bolger for all his practical help ensuring the runners had a safe and enjoyable run in the Nire Valley. Frank was one of the founding race committee members way back in 1995 when this race started and his still the leading figure each year since. Frank was our honorary race starter last Friday evening also and finished off his evenings work by also doing race sweeper, many thanks Frank. Our thanks to Coillte and local forester Kevin Power for his ongoing help and assistance with holding the event through the wood . Thanks to Danny O Rourke all at the community centre for permitting the use of the fabulous facilities, entries were taken at the hall and changing and showers were also available which was really appreciated by one and all.  We would like to especially thank John Condon once again this year as indeed he has now for many years given us permission to go through his land which is part of the race course. Thanks to our committee members who made the sandwiches, to John of DC Images on camera duty.To Ann for the prizes and to Brid, Megan, Shirley, Sharon and Liam for the entries and results. Our thanks to Jim Fleming for all his help with this race also.Thanks to Conor ,Jamie and their new assistant Patrick who were on duty out on the course and to Liam O’Donnell on the van duty. Our thanks and appreciation to the Spellman family who provided the water station at mile 2 mark this was much appreciated by the runners. All in all another great community effort saw a most enjoyable nights racing in the beautiful Nire valley se you all in 2015.

KEVIN MANSELL GIVES POWERFUL DISPLAY TO WIN HIS FIRST.

Running the Ballymacarbrty 5 for the first time is a goal for many but for one individual who not alone was running the race for the first time last Friday evening but he actually went on to win the race, now that is defiantly some achievement. One of Tipperary based club’s finest athletes on the circuit presently Kevin Mansell put in a brilliant run to take the title for 2014 with a time of 25.55.Holding off a stiff challenge from previous race winner Philip Harty West Waterford AC who was 2nd in 26.11 .The two battled together for the first 3 miles with Philip actually setting the pace for all of the first 3 miles of the race, when in the Wood section of the course on the hill after the 3 mile mark Kevin put in a surge which was to settle the battle between the two as he opened up a nice gap on Philip over the top of the climb and by the time the race was back on the downhill road section there was only going to be one winner as Mansell powered his way over final mile to cross the line 16 seconds ahead of Harty. the split time’s for Kevin were 5.08 mile one,10.29 mile two,15.45 for mile three and 20.48 for mile four. Waterford’s Trevor Power who was with the first two finishers for the first 2 miles finished 3rd in 26.54 well clear of twice race winner Raivis Zakis West Waterford AC who was 4th in 27.43.The over 40 category was claimed by Alan Ryan West Waterford AC 30.52 with Waterford’s Jim Baldwin taking the over 45 prize in 29.56. Ray Hahesy West Waterford AC has recently being making the over 50 section at all local races his own and last Friday evening was no exception as he once again claimed that category with a very good time of 31.09 Tommy Cahill Clonmel AC  claimed the over 55 prize with a time of 33.51.Well done to all winners and runners.

RESULTS OF BALLYMACARBRY 5 MILE 2012

1st Kevin Mansell Clonmel AC 25.55

2nd Philip Harty West Waterford AC 26.11

3rd Trevor Power Waterford AC 26.54

0/40 Alan Ryan West Waterford  AC 30.52

0/45 Jin Baldwin Waterford AC  29.56

0/50 Ray Hahesy West Waterford AC 31.09

0/55 Tommy Cahill Clonmel AC 33.51

Junior Philip Hunter Sligo AC 30.42

ORNA MURRAY RUNS 2ND FASTEST TIMES EVER TO WIN LADIES RACE.

Young Orna Murray set the Nire valley alight last Friday evening with a brilliant run in the Ladies section of the race. Orna who recently returned from athletic scholarship in Stony Brook College will pursue her academic career next year in UCC as she goes on to further her studies. Oran runs with Ferrybank AC and her time of 30.12 was the 2nd fastest time ever recorded by a lady over this Ballymac course. The record is held by Pauline Lambe who in 2009 set a time of 29.48.Onra from the gun meant business clocking 5.49 for the first mile and followed with a 6.15 a 6.07 and a 6.08 over the hilly wood section of the course, she finished 8th overall from the field of 175 finishers, brilliant running from young Orna who we can expect to see a lot off in the winner enclosure in future races. Previous winner of the race Clonmel’s Angela Mc Cann  finished in second place with a time of 31.16,this was  a very good run by Angela as this time would on another day be good enough to win this race but for the exceptional run for Orna. One of the leading contenders for this year’s overall series West Waterford’s Sinead Mansfield finished in third place in a time of 32.20. The category prizes were over 35 Mary Molloy 39.23 , over 40 Brigid Coffey for the 2nd year in a row 39.23 , over 45 Ann Dunford 34.34 who also won this section in 2013. the over 50 winner was Una Uí Mhuirithe 37.46 mother of our race winner, and Ciara Burke once again picked up the Junior prize with another solid 37.46. Just to mention a big well done to all the Ladies who were running their very their first Ballymac 5 last Friday evening Ye did superbly well, we hope it won’t be your last outing over this beautiful scenic course.

LADIES RESULTS

1st Orna Murray Ferrybank AC 30.12

2nd Angela Mc Cann Clonmel AC 31.16

3rd Sinead Mansfield West Waterford AC 32.20

0/35 Mary Molloy IND 34.55

0/40 Brigid Coffey West Waterford  AC 39.23

0/45 Ann Dunford  West Waterford AC  37.49

0/50 Una Uí Mhuirithe IND 34.34

Junior Ciara Burke IND 37.46

ZUZANA MALIKOVA VOUCHER WINNERS FOR BALLYMAC 5.

For each race in this years Summer Series, as she has also done for the past 2 years, Zuzana Malikova has generously sponsored 2 massage vouchers.The winners of the vouchers for the Dooceys Bar 5 mile race are Niamh O’Donovan and Anthony Flynn.Zuzana is a Neuromuscular Physical Therapist and Massage therapist and is based at the Complementary Health Clinic, Tournore, Abbeyside. She can be contacted at 087-1218721

 

Solo Run. Closer to God?

This is my first year running right through the summer. I have been running for about ten years, but it always played second fiddle to my cycling. The usual plan was to run during the months of September to December or January, and stop completely to concentrate on my biking. This year, 2014, I decided to keep both going side by side.

My recent runs have given me strength and perseverance. I have kept them interesting. I have mixed the easy and the challenging, the long and the short, the racing and the training, the solo and the group.

I want to write a little about one facet of running, namely the solo run. I love solo running. Most of my training is solo running, and I have discovered that there is something really really good about this type of run. I came across a link outlining the advantages of solo running, and I understand now how beneficial it is for me to head out for a run on my own. To summarise, the article mentions five benefits:

  1. You’ll listen to your body. When you only have yourself to listen to, you’ll hear what your body has to say.
  2. You can disconnect. Take a deep breath, take in the natural world, or just take an hour off from thinking about anything at all.
  3. Your run is your own. Going solo means you can run where you want and when you want.
  4. You won’t compete. When you run by yourself nobody is bored by your snail’s pace or judging you for having to walk up that steep hill. Your only critic is yourself, and you can be proud you got out to run that day.
  5. You’ll become more resilient. Running solo is more difficult mentally, but you can learn how to cope with a challenge, get better at testing your limits, and ultimately become a stronger, prouder runner.

I think one of the biggest factors for me is number one above. Since early spring I’ve had some slight niggly pains, particularly outside my left knee. On several occasions on my solo run, I’ve noticed the pain earlier and I’ve been able to rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. More importantly, however, I’ve been able to decide to stop running without feeling guilty. In fact, I compliment myself on making a sensible decision at a timely point, rather than waiting until it’s too late. Sometimes, the walk home is even better! Sometimes, the little ache or pain is my body telling me to take it easy.

Conversely, even when I get an ache or a little dart of pain, it’s not always my automatic reaction to stop running. I have become smarter at knowing when to stop, or slow down, or indeed push through; and if I decide to push through to see how it goes, I am pleasantly surprised to find that I am able to do a good workout despite the little warning signals. When this happens, I am even more convinced of the value of proper warmup routines, and plenty cooldown time with stretching after my run.

I do not run with music. I have tried it a few times. It’s not for me. Instead, I can easily enter into a dream-like state quickly. I know that I  sometimes run with eyes facing the ground ahead rather than directly ahead, so whenever I am road-running, I have to be very aware of traffic ahead and behind. Anytime that I an off-road, however, I am happy to tune out, and just day-dream my way along.

Solo running is good for me. That’s not to say that I do not need or enjoy company along the way! Far from it. I like the chat with similar-paced racers, as we pull one another along the tough patches, compliment one another on our “great run” last week or last month even, and generally support one another in whatever way we can. Of course, I’ve seen it happen also that good company on a race is fickle, because quite often the runner disappears into the distance leaving me to plod along behind, unable to up my pace. Equally, I’ve done the same on good days!

Tree, near Newgrange in County Meath.

“When you can see the beauty of a tree, then you will know what love is.” ― Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You

I went a-googling to find some tree-quotes, and while the caption for the picture above might be a bit ott, I decided also to use this one from the Bible: “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.” I admit I am not a biblical person, but the idea has just struck me that running alone is a form of closeness with God. Perhaps you may think that’s ott! However, not me.

 

Have you particular thoughts about running on your own, or about running in general? I’d like to hear what you’ve got to say…

 

Touraneena 5k

Touraneena 5k, Friday 31st May 2014.

In my continuing effort to record my running events this year, here’s my Touraneena 5k report.

Race number 5 in the 2014 Ger Wyley Sports/Skins WWAC Summer Series took place in the beautiful village of Touraneena (duh). The village was beautifully decked out, and a real welcome was afforded to all runners & walkers. The race started at 8pm, in warm close conditions.

The magic of downhill running

The magic of downhill running!

Mile 1: My watch would not start. I must sort out the auto-lock feature, because it’s very annoying. Anyway, got it sorted quickly, and enjoyed (really enjoyed) the initial downhill start to the village. Looking at the photo above, you can see how much everyone loves this downhill section. From here, we were faced with a slight uphill drag all the way to the Clonmel road Yes, whatever goes down must go up! So my plan was to take it handy and save myself for the flat section later. Time: 8:46. Good. (Actually approx. 9:00 taking into account not starting watch at the start)

Mile 2: just a short section uphill, and then I stayed at comfortable pace just for about 30 seconds, before pushing on hard. I was happy to have a runner about 20 metres ahead, and I closed the gap and sat in behind for a little while. I did this three or four times. After passing the highest point, I stayed at a strong pace and finished the second mile in 8:03.

Mile 3: Downhill. However, I was careful not to push too hard, because of the horrible hill near the finish. What I did not realise when I was driving out earlier was that there is a completely flat section at 2.5 miles, and I needed to keep an eye on several even-pacers ahead in order to stay focused on a good strong pace. Turning back down to the village, I was delighted to have a bit in the legs to pass three others who had passed me earlier. Knowing that there was a real sting-in-the-tail just after crossing O’Keefe’s Bridge at 200 metres from the finish, I readied myself for some suffering! Time: 7:51

Last .1 mile: I shortened my stride to baby steps, and pushed really hard. Again, passing two runners gave me a real focus to stay going, and I sprinted to the finish from about 100 metres. Looking back now, I think I eased up on the sprint before the line, and I will hopefully watch not to do that in future races. Time: 23 seconds

Also, it was a pity my watch was auto-recording mile-intervals instead of kilometres for this race, so I’ll have a look at sorting out switching easily between both, and have it ready on the watch before going to a race.

My overall watch time was 25:03 Official clock time was 25:17, which is a PB for me ahead of my 25:46 in Ballinroad back in March. Very very happy with that. Speaking with a very pretty lady (nameless, of course) afterwards, I was given some great words of wisdom. Quote: “You race the first third with your head, the middle third with your legs, and the final third with your heart“. Looking back on it, I reckon that’s just about what I did!

Post-race: strawberries and ice-cream. Plenty refreshments at the Community Centre. Prize-giving and drive home with Ray, Ciara & Tom. Special shout out for Ciara who took a prize for first Junior runner! Good on ya, cousin! home, feet up. Good night’s work. Prepped for open-water swim at Clonea on the following morning.

Updated selfie-gallery here.

Link to WWAC results here.

Great local link here.

 

 

Question: How (when, where?) was your most recent 5k event?