Ballyhoura Mountain Ultra Marathon 2018
This race was going to be a training run for Wicklow way and other races ahead this year.Its a good race i do most years to try out and test new gear and nutrition for the year head , as it has some big climbs some flat road sections and nice technical stuff.So Sometime after 6:15, the group was brought together outside for the general safety talk, and the 'start' A quick announcement and off we went.
I had Planned to go off at a good pace or as my friend Tina calls it suicide pace lol,and see how long i can hold it till i blow up but surprisingly i pretty much held a great pace all day except for the climbing up,i really am crap at going up hills get passed by lots of people normally but then on the descents and flat sections a fly past them again very annoying.Note to self need more hill repeat training this year.
The kms in the first 18km loop passed in a blur. Various sections of wide forest track into very dark tree dodging to one-person wide ankle deep mud-trails. At times running solo, at others linking in with others. And then, I'm on the road with the final few km into Kilfinane, turning the corner into the school at our starting point, and aid station, as the pack of runners in the marathon had just started and disappeared around the corner. I was bang on 2 hours for first 18km ans was happy with this and well within the 3-hour cut-off.A couple of minutes to guzzle some Gel and liquid from 1 of my 2 drop bags and then I was off again.An easy couple of km out of Kilfinane brings me to the first of the 'steep' climbs.This next 23km section involved the highest point on the whole circuit and would be good training for those Wicklow way solo hills.As I approached the second main aid station, I was feeling good.I was around 4 hours 30 mins at this stage but i remember from past years was heading into a very hard end to this race
This was something that Neal Mcquaid said about me in his blog who had the pleasure to meet on the day said about me and it pretty sums me up on my races lol
I was feeling good and having a great chat with ultra-marathon runner, Alan. Not only has he found the elixir of youth by looking younger than myself in my late 30's while actually approaching his 50's, he was also a great laugh and chat as we both pushed up across the hill. As we came over the top, the usual happened. I'd have a bit more pace on the climbs so lose Alan there, then somewhere in the following flats, he'd close in again.
So i powered on that last section which has a horrible climb that goes straight up near the end of the race i was now passing the marathon and half marathon runners who had started well ahead of me which is always a great motivate and here i aslo took few mins to help out some people who where cramping in the heat and that last climb.But once i got to the top it was downhill and flat to the finish it was here i really felt strong was pacing 7.30 min miles and passing alot of people and finished with a sprint in just over 7 hours my fastest Ballyhoura race yet and my highest finish and set me up nicely for the year ahead