Saturday, September 15, 2012

JUST A QUICK RUN DINGLE 50 MILE ULTRA MARATHON




























Watching myself slowly becoming something resembling an overweight Tyrannosaur, one day I just I "Forrest-gumped" it and started running. Since then I've done a alot of marathons, 2 ultras and a variety of 10ks, 5ks, and other races.So An ultra marathon is anything longer than the standard 26.2 mile marathon, and the one I picked this time was the THE DINGLE ULTRA MARATHON

 Race distance is 50 miles, making this race one of the most unique and challenging running events in the world. All 50 miles are on road.roads are not fully closed for the ultra. Runners have to run on the right hand side of the road for the vast majority of the route, however runners will need to run on the left for the opening few miles.The start is held in a spectacular setting located on the opposite side of the mountains to Dingle, close to Camp. If you've ever run a marathon before, you know how important pace can be. I obsess over my watch and time my splits so that I finish in a certain time, and I never, ever walk. This was not the case during a Ultra.up over Connors Pass was so steep and a head wind that even the veteran runners were walking. The night before the Ultra I am in bed at 9pm in Dingle. At 6am, the bus left Dingle to head to the start line. On the bus the Race Director, Ken Dunne, gives us a run down on what’s ahead .i.e. Water Stops every 5 miles approx, some will have gels and bananas and there is an 11 hour cut off on the course! Apparently, this is one of the toughest road races in Ireland. – all positive stuff. People exit the bus and take care of a few watering chores. Jokes are made and handshakes exchanged and at 7am we headed off down the road.18 miles in we were at the base of the famous Conor Pass, the highest mountain pass in Ireland and we had a 410 metre climb ahead of us. The Conor Pass brought this 50 mile run to a walk for the first time since we started. It was pointless to try and run up this beast of a climb and especially when it was made even more severe by the force of the wind. At mile 24 and our first food stop, I replenish food drink  and feel pretty hyped at this point about what the next 26 miles will bring. I head up a hill through Dingle and by-pass the official start of the marathon. The Ultra course runs on the hill parallel to the marina. I drink my recovery drink as I run.The next 25 miles were to be a lonely 25 miles. I passed another few Ultra runners, as they walked. The marathon runners that left Dingle were now hours ahead of me. The Half Marathoners were already finished and heading back to the marina. As I ran pass the Half Marathoners returning to Dingle, they clapped and shouted on words of support. I was now running the Dingle Marathon course which I knew quite well having completed it twice before. There was nothing new here. The wind had reduced and the sun had not come out, thankfully. I just kept on running. I had my earphones in, a first time for me to bring an MP3 player. I took this measure because 50 miles is a long time to be on your own in your head.I reached mile 37, another food stop walk for few mins while i ate and drank and started to feel the sugar and salt rush straight away.I was feeling good. I knew I was almost home.At mile 47 as I climb the final hill and i feel strong so i power up it.i summit the hill. Last year I thought this hill was tough but after coming over the Conor Pass, it pales into insignificance.Then the heavens open and it rains. It’s raining hammers and nails but it feels good. The salt has kicked in and my quads are feeling great. Run, breath and drink.Just out side Dingle,50 miles – ‘not long to go now’.turn right at the roundabout and the finish line is a few hundred yards ahead. My heart is pounding with excitement, so I try to calm myself as I still run.I have to say it was the most exhilarating experience from running I have ever experienced. I was absolutely thrilled and cant wait for the next one

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