The organisation is great, the volunteers numerous and good humoured, the bling class too. There is a Double Marathon (52.4 Miles), a 30 mile, a full Marathon (26.2) and a Half Marathon (13.1).
Here's the twist that makes this race unique. It is run on a 1 mile loop through the village with a hill half way through the loop. In other words yesterday was 'Hamster Time'. :)
An injury last year meant I ran the Half Marathon in 2014. I enjoyed it. So I returned this year to do the Full Marathon for number 15 this year and number 32 in total. Upon arrival at 11am the Double Marathon runners were on the road for 4 hours already, the Marathon walkers had started at 9am and the 30 mile race was just starting.
Our race was due to start at Noon with the Half joining us at 2pm. That way there are always runners on the loop which is really encouraging when you are climbing that hill for the umpteenth time.
My utmost respect goes out to everyone who took part yet to those who did the 30 and 52 mile races I say thanks because you are part of my inspiration to check how long I can go and I am including some smaller ultra's in my race schedule for next year as a result of watching you.
A couple of things of note. 1- Vincent Guthrie was MC for the day and stood at the Finish Line with a mike and talked incessantly, encouraging everyone completing another loop by name and making us all smile. Brilliant stuff. Thanks Vincent. 2- Multiple Long Distance Running in Ireland is a family of about 500 people (educated guess) and when we meet at the races it is like an extended family. The support, good humour, positivity, energy and love is all encompassing and infectious. For me it is the best possible way to spend a Saturday or Sunday and I am so privileged and humbled to be part of it. Amongst them Marathon Club Ireland rocks solid!!
And that is yet another reason why I have trained myself to achieve a level where right now I can do this in average every 3 weeks without taxing myself too much.
The race itself was a combination of chatting to and running with lovely people. I was also lucky enough to run 2 laps with Team Kerr. TEAM KERR is an assisted running team from Northern Ireland, consisting of Mum (Sandra), Dad (David) and the main man Aaron!!. Their main aim is to promote assisted running and inclusion for all. They have the first Hoyt Running Chair in Europe and hope to inspire others to join their community and even come out with them for a run/jog/walk. These are truly inspirational people. They pushed their son inclusive of wheelchair up that hill 26 times. Amazing. It is an honour to know them and share the roads with them.
The wonderful Team Kerr
It was also great running through the Finish Line every mile and get the crowd support. And yes there was wind and wet conditions. And yes climbing the same hill got to my head after 22 miles but it didn't defeat me. I looked it in the eye and left my fastest ascent for the 26th visit.
Thanks Carl Ashley for the Finish Line pic.
So I finished my 15th Marathon of the 12 Marathons in 12 Months challenge for Gorta Self Help Africa. You can donate to the challenge here http://www.mycharity.ie/event/patrick_mercies_12marathonsin12monthsin2015
I will hopefully return to Sixmilebridge next November where it is my intention to tackle the third distance in my 3th year there, 30 Miles!
Those who are good at counting know that 3 weeks from now is the weekend of December 5th and 6th. That's my next Marathon. The 6th edition of the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon. There is a 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon all around the 'gentle slopes' of gorgeous West Cork and you can still register for those at http://runclon.ie/
We also have our club end of year party that night so Clonakilty better prepare for an invasion of love, laughter, positivity and the endurance of hardened long distance runners.
Miles with Smiles, a Life of Passion and Love.