Its the Wicklow Ultra in less than a week, 32 miles and 1740m of climbing, in the Irish mountains to the south of Dublin. As usual I go in to the event with limited training, averaging only 25 miles a week, and longest single run 15 miles – but a number of double runs i.e running morning and evening in the same day. So, at this point its always good to get your head in the right place, as that will carry you through when your legs start to fail. The Leadville 100, is one of the toughest US ultra’s, created in the early 1980’s as the nearby town of Leadville was dying, following the local mine having shut and nothing much else left in the town. The best quote in the following video is from the guys who set it up “If we do kill someone then will be on the map”
Check out also the Western States 100. Originally a race for horses, but when one of the competitors, shown below, didn’t have a horse it grew from there into one of the largest US ultras
NI Running (www.nirunning.co.uk) has brought the Sky Running series to Northern Ireland, with a challenging 35k, 3370m of climb, race through the Mourne Mountains on Saturday 18th October. The international series is made up of some high profile altitude races across the globe, with some top pedigree athletes in attendance – including Kilian Jornet and Stevie Kremer. The latter will be in attendance in the Mourne’s along with top local runners and challengers from further afield. It is likely to be a tough race, with a combination of steep mountain climbs, and descent, and the uncertainly of our Northern Irish weather. As a participant, or an observer, the Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail race is not to be missed.
I’ve made a last minute decision to enter the Causeway Crossing this Saturday (3rd May) which means no training, and putting my feet up this week. Weather looks good, fairly mild, not too much wind, and dry – fingers crossed. I’m running the 50km route, which will take us from Ballintoy to Dunluce Castle: I’ve only run part of it before so some of it is largely unknown , but by all accounts it’s going to be a stunning route. There are also other distances available,100km and 25km, and having taken part in plenty of other 26 Extreme events I’m sure it will be a great day.
The weather was truly insane last Saturday. Beautiful sunshine, followed by strong icy wind, and hail that felt like an assault from a nail gun. But that is the beauty of running an ultra in the Irish Wicklow mountains – the terrain is tough, the climbs relentless, but fairly predictable. The weather on the other hand can make the journey easy or painful. The picture to the left is me wearing a hat, a hood and two buffs to provide some protection from the worst of the elements. Thankfully, as shown by the next picture this wintry blast was limited, and despite the cold wind, the weather was mostly wild and beautiful.
32 miles is hard going, and here is no hiding, lack of training made the last 6 miles feel relentless, but such a well organised, friendly race, and the most beautiful of landscapes provides limitless rewards. During the event I was grateful for the changing and passing moments, of peace, perfection and exhaustion during the race. Afterwards I was left with the lasting mellow existence that is the parting gift from such run that takes you to physical and mental limits. This is without a doubt a race to return to, IMRA put on a great show, and thanks to all concerned.
Only now getting to do a short post. All of us made it up, and thankfully, back down Slieve Donard, Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon. A tough weekend with sleep limited to cat naps on the, increasingly smelly, team bus. If you wish to donate to the Neo-natal unit at the Royal Hospital, see the attached link – Izzy’s 4 Peak Challenge
For all those who have already donated – a big thank you. The money will go along way to help other babies like Izzy.