I have to confess that I don’t much care for writing blogs and this was only ever meant to be an occasional blog but I think that once a year is probably pushing it a bit! Truth to tell I’m only writing this because that magnificent ultra runner abradypus asked me to write about my weekend at the Great Limerick Run but before I do that I’ll recap on what’s happened in the intervening year.
Due to working every other Saturday I have not done as many parkruns as I would like but am now up to 117 in total with 72 different ones. I ran the Midnight Sun marathon in Tromso last July and enjoyed it immensely just managing to beat the cut off of five and a half hours. I also ran the inaugural Yorkshire marathon last October in 5h 19m and enjoyed that one too though you do tend to enjoy them all with hindsight! I also took part in Juneathon, Janathon and Jantastic challenges all of which I completed and had a truly magnificent weekend with some fantastic people at the Thunder Run in Catton. A reasonably successful lambing time has resulted in 12 healthy lambs which are growing like weeds! So that’s it, you are up to date.
When I was unsuccessful in the VMLM ballot for this year I started casting about for another marathon to do and having narrowed it down to Belfast, Hamburg, Geneva or Limerick I eventually plumped for Limerick as I’ve never been to Ireland before. This was at the tail end of last year and I entered the marathon, booked a hotel and ferry crossings and duly forgot about it. It was only on the Thursday night before travelling that I thought I ought to check to see how long it would take me to drive to Holyhead and I was stunned to find it was four and a half hours and I needed to check in for 8.15 in the morning, whoops!
To cut a long story short I boarded the Stenna Nordica and after a very smooth crossing was disembarking in Dublin just over three hours later. A further two and a half hour drive (for some reason I hadn’t expected the distances to be so big!) saw me arrive at the rather swish Maldron Hotel in Limerick where I checked into my room that had an enormous bed then nipped across the road to Tescos to get a sandwich for my evening meal (I know how to live the high life!)
The next morning it was up bright and early for the 70 mile drive down to Macroom for the Castle Demense parkrun. One circuit of the tennis courts then a gentle downhill alongside the river before an exceedingly steep zig-zag uphill, along a shale track past the golf club before reaching a turning point, then do the whole thing again with a lovely uphill finish. Free coffee and biscuits and a nice chat in the leisure centre made for a very enjoyable morning; I was last finisher but then somebody has to be and it was a wonderfully scenic course!
Sunday morning saw me walking to the start of the Limerick marathon and I have to confess to being surprised that there were only 600 or so of us on the start line, I thought there would be more! The weather was perfect for a marathon, neither hot nor cold with barely a breath of wind and no rain so when the gun went off I set off feeling quite good though this wasn’t to last! By 6 miles I’d had enough and was ready to hang up my running shoes but the thought of Louise punishing herself in the Thames Path kept me going and as I plodded on, things got marginally better.
What I hadn’t realised was the the half marathon and 10k run were both using parts of the same course, just starting at different times so I was ever so slightly amazed when, as I was happily pootling along on my own at about the 14 mile mark, a lead car with a clock on it came past me shortly followed by an extremely fast Kenyan and then thousands upon thousands of half marathon runners, I was not to be lonely again! Things had started to thin out a bit when much the same sort of thing happened at around 20 miles when an awful lot of 10k runners came past me! I’m still not sure how I feel about this, in one respect I found it more than a little disconcerting but on the other hand it gave me people to run with and kept me going as otherwise I suspect I would have been very lonely!
I crossed the finish line in 5hrs 18mins 31secs which is about a minute quicker than my last marathon so I’m improving by about a minute a race! A nice bit of bling, a tee shirt and a good goodie bag was my reward as was fish and chips when I got back to the hotel! The following day I took my tired though still functioning legs to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park – I had visions of lots of beardie weirdies sitting round in kaftans playing acoustic guitars and singing nasally but I was to be disappointed as the folk park was actually a living museum of Irish life, nice day out never-the-less!
A long but uneventful journey, pretty much the reverse of the outbound journey, saw me return home to see my wonderful sheeps after a very enjoyable weekend. I rather like Ireland and will return some day! (And just in case you are wondering, I started writing this in late May, got fed up with it and left it on the computer as a draft and only finished writing it in October!)