RAW ULTRA WICKLOW WAY 100 MILES 2017
So let me start off this little race report by saying this race was my only DNF of 2016 and after i got to 70 miles last year i was vomiting so bad i had to quit it has eaten away at me all year and i was always going to return for redemption this year.When i met Don Hannon the mad man who organizes these events after the race he said these words to me ALAN U NEED TO WORK ON QUALITY NOT QUANTITY as i had run over 5000 km already that year and it stuck with me for the year and even now as i write this.So as i headed into this race again i was already having one of the best years ever in my running hobby,i had finished every race which was alot and i also had taken a first and third place in to big races which i have written about below in my other blogs.So i was going into this 100 miler full of confidence and feeling fit thankfully and what a race it was.
So here is a little information about the WW100 Starting from St Columbus College. This is an Out and Back version of the WW 50 miler .You will have the exquisite challenge of climbing the peaks across some of the most spectacular scenery Ireland has to offer but due to the time of the year u will have at least 15 hours of darkness for this race . You can enjoy the stunning views across the Garden Of Ireland along this scenic route.Mud, Big Rocks, Little Rocks, Some Dirt with Rocks, Rocks with Dirt, Gravel with Rocks, Rocks with little Rocks, a few Tree Roots, Rivers, Boulders, Tunnels of Ferns, Heather and some Grassy Trail sections.The WW100 Mile Course has plenty of downhill sections to match the tough climbs.There is a fantastic mixture of terrain. Plateaus, very fast flat, fast technical trail, fun fast downhill and a scenic uphill.its has 18,400ft of elevation so some good climbs check out the link for a map of the route.
So before you read this report i am awful at writing this stuff but at least my pictures look good so be nice when reviewing this write up lol
Heading up Kilmashogue Lane i had decided to start at the back of the pack and just run my own race so naturally that put me last in the field which was okay with me. With so many amazing runners in the field, I really didn’t mind finishing last,this year was all about the finish and get that perfect year.
So i was 2 hours 22 mins to Crone the first section i pretty much was on my own and it was like that for 99% of the race which was amazing its something i had planned, i did this in the kerry way 200 km ultra as well and just ran my own race and it works for me.i think I'm quiet an introverted person and i feel bad if i run with people i keep stressing i'm going to be slowing them down,or getting us lost our am i being to quiet and not talking lots of silly stuff really but it wastes so much energy so from now on all races will be run alone lol. I spent a good 10 minutes there eating and drinking and getting set for the next section and it set me up nicely for the big climb up to Djouce. So the next section Crone to Glendalough took me 3 hours 49 Min's was absolutely perfect well nearly perfect except for getting lost for the only time in the race . Full moon, barely any wind, but i was getting to confident i was passing people who had gone off way to fast which always happens and its so much fun to pass people during the end of the race and felt strong but when i met up with another runner i got chatting took my eye of the trail and missed a slight turn down to the right and got off trail for about 45 Min's now before this would have knocked my confidence and yes i got very angry and while i was on to the phone to my wife who had rang me to tell me iv gone of track i let out a few shouts and fucks in temper but instead of chasing the time and people id lost i stayed to my pace and said to myself its a long race to go yet to go, things will come back and they did big time.At Glendalough i took the opportunity to fuel up again change so clothes and socks always chance socks your feet need to be looked after in these races but so far the refueling it was going great with my tailwind and GU'S and my wife having hot soup,mash potatoes and gravy at each checkpoint.The next section to Glenmalure would be heading into darkness and a few tricky navigation spots so i made sure i stop for a few seconds to make sure i was heading the right way the weather was getting cold now and a heavy fog and mist was coming in so the next section is Glendalough to Glenmalure took me 3 hours 9 Min's this also was the section where few runners got lost u could see headlights off in the distance on the other side of hills which plays tricks on u thinking are u gone wrong but i stuck to my guns and thankfully i was right.Also my steady pace again on this section i was catching people again so i was starting to feel confident again.So with head torch on some warm trail gear as the temperature was dropping fast was -1at this stage i was in high spirits started to listen to my podcasts and audiobooks and still had a smile on my face feeling so blessed to out there in the darkness pushing myself forward. So at Glenmalure i didn't stay to long as i knew i was heading to the turn around at 50 miles after that and then back to Glenmalure again so got some more tailwind and gu thank my stunning wife for her help and headed into the darkness now from Glenmalure it pretty much is a 4 hour climb to the turn and there are alot of tricky turns u can miss into forest sections with planks that were very slippy as the ice was starting to settle now but i kept moving forward running when i could and hiking when i needed to. This is also an interesting section as u meet the leaders who were an hour our 2 ahead of u heading back towards u as they had reached the turn already this is so cool because u get to chat to them and also cheer each other on and ask if they our u needed anything drink our food wise.That's what's so great about the ultra running doesn't matter if ur elite our the mule moving slow at the back everyone helps each other,any back to the race.So i reach the turn in 13 hours 30 Min's and that section took me 4 hours 9 Min's i was 30 Min's slower than last year but was in such a better place felt so strong and had not vomited once.So at the turn i decided to take 30 Min's eat rest and make sure i left there happy as i head back to the finish line.The Rain was heavy at this stage so i sat in the car as i ate my mash gravy and soup which is always dangerous never sit in a warm car it's so hard to get back out but my wife as always did amazing job took no shit off me and told me to move my arse lol.I was also in 12 place our 13 place at this stage but anyone who knows me if its a marathon and ultra i always finish strong and i seem to embrace the pain and push harder second half of all my races.The Turn back to Glenmalure took me 3 hours 50 Min's which was faster than the way out as it was nearly all down hill.When i arrived into Glenmalure my wife said Jesus Alan u are flying i had made up 30 Min's on 2 runners as they were just leaving the check point as i came in this got my competitive juice going as i came in i shouted to my wife pet it's going to be a fast checkpoint as I'm going to start chasing people the other crew people in the car park park waiting for there runners started to laugh and cheer me saying i was the happiest and most positive runner on course that day as i shouted SHINE BRIGHT LIKE A DIAMOND as i left the check point.So the next section is the return leg Glenmalure to Glendalough again it took me 3 hours 1 min again which was 8 Min's faster than i did the way out.Now like i said to you earlier i was chasing people and in this section i passed 4 other hundred milers,also on a side note the 50 mile runners had started there race from half way at 7 am so they would be passing us soon and as they passed u they would cheer and support alot of them knew me from other races so would shout hastag Gingerbeastmode at me just check it out u will see alot of my pictures link to that hastag on line and gingersuperman as well.So back to passing people like i said earlier in this report there's no better feeling then passing runners towards the end of a race and i always try to pass them fast a quick chat ask them if all is OK but push on and break their spirits a little as will stop them chasing u down.So i passed 2 runners going steep section coming out of the forest into a car park as i ran a long this section there where 2 more runners ahead of me i was in shock i was flying passed them they said how was i running so strong after 70 miles i thank them and said trust me lads i was hurting like them don't worry just ignoring it.I arrived into Glendalough where my wife was in shock how well i looked and was running it was also here the first 2 runners of 50 milers runners passed me the legend eoin keith(google him)who holds so many world records and holds the currant record for the spine race in England he would go on to win the 50 mile race but then the best think was my mate Barry who would finished second came into the check point.So we left together as we hiked and ate and had a great chat and he was so motivating was so good to to run with him so the next section again is the longest of the race Glendalough back to Crone it took me 5 hours 15 Min's an hour slower then the way out but this also has the biggest climbs on the whole race as u run down hill on the way out and all up hill on the way back.The good news the sun had come up and the sky was blue still cold do but as i climbed up over Djouce the weather turned so bad it was crazy U there but again so much fun lol.It was also here i passed my last runner of the race and moved into 7 place where i would finish at the end of the day.He had a pacer as well which i didn't know we could do as don is pretty strick on this but we had a good chat they left me go ahead climbing over the gate and again i put a little burst to put them behind me my good friend john Boyle was ahead of me and yes i was catching him but was running out of miles and he would stay ahead me in the end.So i arrived in Crone in great spirits but it was getting dark again this race u spent up to 18 hours in darkness so makes it such an interesting challenge.My wife had everything ready for and i changed clothes and ate lots of food before heading into the last section.It was very cold which was all the motivation to push harder to stay warm.So Crone to St Columbus College it took me 3 hours 53 Min's the finish had a massive climb up the first half but i was moving slow as the fog had come in so strong u had to look at your feet as u couldn't see u hand in front of ur face it was a technical section as well so running was difficult but the reward at the top is u hit road and its all downhill and i mean a steep down hill.I decided to push hard and i started to pass 50 milers who had past me earlier on in the day again gone out to fast this gave me such a boast and i sprinted the last mile i have i thing i love to do is to try and make my last mile of any race the fastest of the day and that day my last mile was 7 min 6 second mile i sprinted past the finish line into the arms of my wife in 7th place and i HAD MY REDEMPTION the DNF was wiped off my list.
I just want to thank Don and all the volunteers who were out there that day and all the support we got the race was so well organized and run but the biggest thanks goes to my wife who without would have never gotten to the finish of any of my races this year love you pet