In our lives we will encounter challenges that we will fail at.How we Deal with the failure we attack another challenge head on for our Redemption.So for Tina and myself this weekend it was our chance,for me it was the DNF at Vartry 100 mile ultra in April for Tina it was the DNF at the Kerry way ultra only 4 weeks earlier.What lay ahead would change us both and bring peace of mind.Together we stand, together we fall, together we're winners, and winners take all.We had our 9 check points just the same , and the idea was to complete the loop in one continuous go, all as per the official race rules which we stuck to.This report will have alot more pictures then information as i am not the best at writing this stuff down so i hope yee enjoy my effort.
Top Secret Project KWU. 4 weeks ago today Tina was doing the Kerry Way Ultra. She got as far as Galway's Bridge, 110 miles I had been following her on the tracker for the whole event and from talking to her and pat about the race she have given everything she could but just couldn't quite close it out. So talking to her over the next few days she really regretted it and i think she found an ear in myself as i could relate big time from my heart breaking DNF in April on the 100 mile Vartry ultra.I had trained so hard for that race but got it all wrong on the day it nearly broke me dropping from the race.Now how i dealt with it was running as many marathons and ultras since that ultra to prove to myself that i was good enough to call myself a runner but the shame the feeling i had let so many people down and the embarrassment of the DNF stayed with me but little did i know what was coming my way. So 2 days after Tina DNF from the Kerry way I got I text from the legend Pat Rodgers who was just back after an amazing finish at the UTMB ULTRA. Him Self and Tina had came up with a crazy notion...do the whole thing again, and would I be interested in doing it and help get her around and as well as a chance of redemption for me. I didn't even take 10 seconds to think about it I said yes straight away with out even saying it to my stunning wife . So it was deliberately kept quiet, only Tina and Myself and Rose(and maybe a few close friends ) knew about it. So with Rose and Pat crewing Myself and Tina headed off Friday 2 October at 6am after 4 weeks of much planning and some amazing spreadsheets from Pat.So early on I twisted my ankle pretty badly at Torc and hid it from pat which in hindsight was a mistake but by Waterville it was swollen badly I was close to quitting but after saying to pat and him giving me a bit of a talking to for not telling him sooner which he was right to do after all we were a team we got it wrapped i told rose get me going just to next check point and we will see from there.But as i was to learn Tina and myself would have a few low points and we would pull each out of it every time.So as we arrived in the next checkpoint we were tired in pain but feeling good we knew that it was going to be a long long challenge but we moving strong between each check points for the 121 miles some parts were slow and others we flew through.The biggest thing we can take form this was we both ate so much food at each checkpoint or crew had warm soup,lamb stew,potatoes,gravy etc we even had a big bag of chips in kenmare which were amazing I horsed them back. That support given by our crew is what got us through. The preparation and the spread sheets, the efficiency and the untiring love and support given were priceless. They worked tirelessly for us, and they were the pit-stop dream team. Phoning us for our food requirements ahead of each stop, ready to peel off stinky socks, lube the learodi, burst the blisters, top up the toilet paper and reassure and encourage with conviction and love, and then kick us out and back on course in under 20 min. How could we do it without them. We also had the the 'Bing' of the phone telling us that someone was on fb wishing us luck, which just lifted the spirits and gave us new heart time and time again SO A MASSIVE THANKS TO ROSE,PAT, LILLIAN AND PATS AMAZING AMAZING MUM if not for u guys we would not have done it at all.As we went into to check points later on in the night i would say to my wife every time Just get me out of this fucking car fed,warm and standing i will get to the next check point and she did every time i for that i will always tahnk and love her.So 121 miles later we arrived back were we started and we had the redemption we were hoping and looking for. If i was to write down everything that happened over the 121 miles this blog would never end but to say that there was so many wonderful memories is enough and will stay between the runners and crew for ever but i think we all got so much from it.
The challange started in Killarney, and meandered across The MacGillycuddy’s Reeks, across to Glencar, before negotiating the Iveragh Peninsula’s Wild Atlantic Way with its magnificent coastal views. Crossing mountains and paths, between Foilmore,Waterville, Sneem, Kenmare, and across the natural oak and woodlands of the Old Kenmare Road through Killarney National Park, before returning to Killarney. The only thing I will say is you will also be a master on the stair master by the end of the race. Instead of gates the kerry way will give you 100's of stairs to climb across.What sets The Kerry Way Ultra Marathon apart from any other endurance races in the world is its sheer vastness, beauty and untamed landscape.The nonstop endurance race is 189.05Km 121miles but as u can see from the pictures below its stunning.Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes
As you can see from the map below, the route takes in a large anti-clockwise loop around the Iveragh Peninsula. Much of the route nearer the tourist areas is well signposted but there are sections in the
more mountainous regions that are Little poorly marked so this is were in the night section u really have to concentrate which for me was also a great learning experience. This is one of the toughest trai ultras in the country with a mixture of mountain passes, green trails, boggy ground, wire-covered sleepers and country roads.
this is one of my favourite pictures as it is the spot Tina stop 4 weeks earlier and she powered past it this time so so strong
So I am going to end this blog as its already to long and long winded but i just want to give a special thanks to pat and Tina for asking me to be apart of this adventure and to my wife who never gave up on me and got me up and out every time enjoy these last few pictures as I think they will tell a better story then i can ever write.Also on my own personal note it was only 6 days since my last ultra which I ran the giant causeway in co Antrim so it has been one of the most special running weeks I have had to date and an epic holiday.
THE ANKLE YIKES
If the word quit is part of your vocabulary, then the word finish is likely not.The woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep