This was a really enjoyable training run and was well worth the trip to Kilfinnane. The day looked like it was going to get very wet and cold so I decided to travel with a bottle and a small back pack for a few gels and jacket, hoping that I would be able to get water from one of the marshals somewhere along the route if I needed it. This was my first run back since my Wicklow Way attempt in december where i was very sick during the race and has taken me a while to recover after it. I quickly settled in to a nice pace. There was only a handful of people running the route and this served to make it feel even more like a training session as opposed to a race. The route wound it's way along the road out of kilfinnane until i hit the start of the trail through the first forested area. It basically followed this pattern for the rest of the morning with short road sections linking nice forest tracks and open mountain tracks. There was lots of ascent and descent to cope with so combined with the mix of terrain it worked perfectly as a first long training run. 5 hours after i set off, i arrived back at kilfinnane . The organisers had dinner laid on for all participants so i had a nice munch before i set off back for cork.
There are 3 race distances on offer as part of the Ballyhoura Trail Marathon event which took place on Saturday the 29th of April 2017 in the Ballyhoura Mountains on the Cork - Limerick border.
The events start and finishes in the town of Kilfinane and the routes weave their way through narrow country roads and up forest trails as they loop through the countryside. Runners usually finish from 4-6 hours.
Marathon and Ultra.....The full marathon will start at 8am in Kilfinane. The Ultra will start an hour or two earlier. This is the route for the first 13 miles...
The first 6 miles are a mixture of forest trails and quiet country roads. The hardest part is after 6 miles where you gradually climb up to Seefin which is the highest point in the Ballyhouras (~10 mile mark).
The is the profile for the first 13 miles...
Half-Marathon.....Anyone taking part in the half will be taken by bus from Kilfinane to the start line at Ballyorgan which is at the half way mark in the full marathon. The half will start at 10am.
The two highest points are around miles 4 and 9. This equates to miles 17 and 22 in the full marathon.
The profile is shown below. Note that the gradient is exaggerated somewhat. The first ascent is about 800ft / 250m.
The full and the half will finish in Kilfinane.
Ultra...The extra 10 miles of the Ultra are shown below. Runners will need to complete a 10 mile loop to the east of Kilfinane before starting off on the full marathon course.
Profile.......A pretty gradual climb of about 1000ft / 300m.