Monday, 15 June 2015

Portumna Forest Marathon race report! Feck, that hurt!

The plan was hatched a good few months ago. Get strong enough to step up the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa to include 5 Marathons in 8 weeks in June and July. All was going well. After the initial 2 Winter Marathons in Lilliput and Lough Derg I ran 4 Marathons within 3 months all between 4h05 and 4h15.

I was feeling strong and am getting stronger. So I ran for 7 of the 11 days between Cork Marathon and Portumna Forest Marathon. Last Sunday I felt great and ran just over a Half Marathon in training in 1H54! Getting stronger by doing more. The way I like it :)

Got up Saturday at 7am to get ready and leave for Breakfast at our beloved Limerick Milk Market at 8.30am. A cup of Harper's Coffee always gets one going. Then we set off for Portumna and arrived within the Hour just around 10am and registered for the 12 Noon start.

Heard noise, clapping and cheering from near the registration desk so I headed that way as that kind of noise at a Marathon usually comes from Marathon Club Ireland members, the slightly bonkers people I am privileged and honoured to call friends and club mates! Brian and Julie's camper van was the MCI HQ for what was a feast of distance running (Half, Full, 50K and 100K) in a stunning location! On a 5K loop we ran through the Forest, past the Marina, the ruins of what I think looked like an Abbey and a stately home. Gorgeous place, great route and I must say superbly organised. Sebastien Locteau and crew are pro's; I'll be back!

Some of the amazing MCI gang before the Start!

We started supporting and assisting our club members that were running the 100K and 50K Ultra's until it was time to head to the start which for the Marathon was 2km195 from the 5K loop finish to get the distance right. We started on time and I settled at the back of an 85 strong field as I always do. In the first 4 laps of 8 after the 2Km start I had gone past about 30 runners and was feeling great and that's where it happened.

We ran on paths, gravel and road and the continuous change in surface requires concentration. On lap 5 I saluted a fellow runner on a loop back and misplaced my foot. The ankle that had given me trouble in March and April locked out of place. In other words a bone settled in the wrong place. I had about 2K to go to the finish line and tried to run it off but the pain got worse.

When I arrived at the finish line I 'dashed' behind the camper van, took off the left running shoe and had to click the bone back in place. A dart of pain shot through my left leg.

I am privileged to not have had a DNF yet at a Marathon. DNF is the dreaded Did Not Finish. So I am willing to do whatever it takes to keep that record as long as possible. After clicking the bone back in place, I concentrated on the fact it was only 15 more kilometres, that's less than 10 miles.

This is where the unreal people in the Club become gold dust. They spotted I wasn't 100% and limp running lap 6. I got shouts of encouragement, offers of assistance, offers of pain killers, food and drink. Some of them had completed 60K and had 40 to go and they still offered me their time and goodies. What a Club. If you are in any way inclined to do Marathons, MCI is literally THE club to join. All you need to fit in is 1 Marathon completed, a positive outlook on life and a givers attitude.

I got through laps 6 & 7 slowly and concentrated too much on the leg so I dehydrated slightly. At the last stop someone offered me part of their electrolyte drink and Brian told me melons are a super food for long distance so I tucked into them. Lap 8 was my fastest since half way and I finished in 4H42, about half an hour slower than normal.

7 Done!

What I remember is: Great location (it's only an hour from Limerick too), fantastic organisation, I am privileged to be a member of THE best Club in Ireland, Marathon 7 of the Challenge done and number 24 in total, still no DNF. I am not a quitter and love a Challenge! Now to implement that in my business :)

Next up we will attempt the only 12 days from NOW!! *insert scared looking face here* Looking forward to the trip to the Deise with nervous anticipation. It will be my 8th in the Challenge and my 25th in total. A quarter century of Marathons, that will be something to be proud of :)

You can sponsor me for the Challenge on

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