Monday, 13 June 2016

Portumna Forest Marathon race report. 50K Ultra.

I've always been a Madness fan. Some people close to me will definitely agree when they read this. Others will know I mean the English ska band from Camden Town. One of their many, many hits has this refrain:
It must be love, love, love
It must be love, love, love
Nothing more, nothing less
Love is the best

I think that  is the best description of how I feel about long distance running right now, pure love! It is the only reason I can come up with as to why I would get up at 4.30am on a Saturday morning in order to leave at 5 for a 50K Ultra in Portumna at 7 and this just 5 days after Cork City Marathon in warm and humid conditions.

I also really LOVE the annual running fest that is the Forest Marathon. Sebastien Locteau and his team most definitely know how to cater for runners. It is an extremely well organised feast that includes a Half Marathon, Full marathon, 50K and 100K. All this on a 5K loop through the beautiful surrounds of Portumna Forest.

I'll hopefully be back next year and highly recommend this race to people who truly love distance running. The fact it is a loop and there is 4 different races with 3 different starting times means you meet with other runners continuously and pass the finish line roughly every 30 minutes where there is lots of supporters. The official food & drinks table is really well stocked and the supporters add to this with their own.

There is room for camping and children and animals are welcome. It is a true running and family feast!!

7am is the start for 50 & 100K, 9am for the Half and 12 noon for the Full. Arriving at 6am on the Saturday morning there was already a jovial atmosphere you associate at that time of day with long distance running. :) We lined up with over 100 for the Ultra distances.

Leading up to the event I had spoken to a fellow Marathon Club Ireland member Louise O'Rourke about running together. She agreed and we spent the next 50K sharing stories, jokes and having (as far as I am concerned) pure fun! Louise is an established Ultra runner and the ease with which she runs and her great sense of humour made the entire run easier for me as I started to really feel Cork in my legs after about 30-35K.

With great spirit and attitude, Louise kept us going and we finished with smiles and lightness in our step. Thanks so much Louise for the most excellent company. Let's do that again some day!

 Finishing the 50K with Louise!
Excellent running company!

Secondly I must once again thank Sebastien and his crew. They really know how to organise running events. From the registration to the location, the support, the food/drink tables, the smiles, the care for the runners, the volunteers and marshals. All were excellent and make sure I will be back again and again. This is very much one of the must run events on the running calendar!

Met with Fleur who ran 50K as well. Ran about 13 miles of my first Ultra in Connemara in her company.
Thirdly a big thank you to all the crew on the side of the road!! To Maura Coppinger for drive up and back. To Brenda Barrett Dunphy, Maryse O Connor Mackessy and Vincent Guthrie for the shouts and offers of drink and sweets. To Mary Mockett for some excellent photo's that will be memories for years to come. To all my fellow runners both from MCI and others I know. If I start mentioning names I'll forget half of ye! It is such a great community to be part of. Every second or third weekend I run I get so much back in hugs, stories, friendship and togetherness. Ye are all wonderful human beings and I love you all!

This is the energy AFTER the Ultra's! :) Great bunch of people!

We are involved in a selfish sport but somehow we get ourselves to care so deeply for each other that it becomes a team effort where everyone should be and is a winner. Look at how we got together this weekend when David went through a rough patch during his 100K! That's the beauty of long distance and Ultra running. And that's the beauty of a Club like MCI that is ideally the embodiment of that spirit!!

For those that love the figures. That was Ultra number 2! Which brings me to 45 races of Marathon distance or longer. 5 to the #50at50. Next run is my longest to date :)

Saturday June 25th (in 12 days) I am taking part together with 99 other brave souls in the Run the Kingdom 40 Miler race in Tralee!! Woohoo! It must be love, love, love!!

Miles with smiles,

Patte xxxxx

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