Tuesday, 23 August 2016

New Race! Race Report East Cork Harbour Marathon.

About 4 or 5 months ago I heard about a new race on the calendar. In a place I hadn't visited before nor heard of. All good reasons to travel and try it out.

The Race: East Cork Harbour Marathon. The place : Aghada, County Cork. The race is organised by members of Aghada GAA club with the support of Aghada AC.

Aghada GAA is the club of former Football All Star Conor Counihan. In the neighbouring village of Cloyne you can see the statue of the infamous Christy Ring outside the Cloyne GAA ground. There is a very strong GAA background here.

Christy Ring statue in Cloyne!

Arrived the night before the race and stayed in a B&B in Shanagarry. To get there we had to drive passed the gates of the infamous Ballymaloe House and Cookery School. Once we found the B&B and settled in we set of to Aghada GAA for the number collection. This went smoothly and was accompanied by a big welcome and even bigger smile.

This demeanour was a constant for the duration of the race on Saturday. Scores upon scores of marshals and volunteers all with big smiles and matching attitudes. This alone will make you want to come back. A huge, big thank you to all at Aghada GAA and the organisers for such a fantastic event held in great spirit.

Then on Friday evening things got a bit hairy. Setting off for Dinner in Garryvoe Hotel 1.5 miles from the B&B the weather turned within minutes. By the time we arrived at the promenade in Garryvoe the waves were literally crashing over the rocks onto the promenade flooding it and some of the roads around the Hotel instantly. Got to the Hotel and had a nice Dinner during which the weather became even more inclement. The walk back ensured being soaked to the core.

Yet this is Ireland. So when waking up at 6.30am for breakfast the skies were blue and free of clouds! There was a 10K and Half Marathon at 10am and the Full Marathon at 9am. We had separate car parks that were a good walk away from the Start and even further from the Finish. I suppose you can only use the space you have :)

As usual the Marathon Club Ireland gang where there in full force. Great chats were had pre race with wonderful people who travel the length and breadth of Ireland nearly weekly to do what they love most. Inspirational people they are; like Collette O'Hagan, Eimear Hurley, Ann Moloney, Catherine Guthrie, Gerard Fay, Derek Mackessy, Adolfo Garcia, Brian O'Se, Jim McNeice, Simon Hallissey, Conor Cusack and so many more!!

You can watch their official Video of the races here https://www.facebook.com/EastCorkHarbourMarathon/videos/512480955622447/

I also spotted another familiar face in the crowd. I hadn't seen Noel McCarthy at a race for a while. This is the man with whom I ran the second Half of the Limerick leg of his 6 Marathons in 6 Days in 6 Munster counties for Bumbleance exactly 1 year ago. It was great to meet up again Noel and thanks for the excellent company during the first 10 miles (and no I don't know where the 7 mile marker went either :) )!

Here's picture of Noel and myself after finishing Day 2 of his 6 in 6 last year!

As for the race I felt great throughout on Saturday. I'm running more often during the week again and that is the secret for me to feel better during races. Nearly 0 tapering, just 6 to 8 milers during the week beforehand. I'm not asking you to try this at home, just like the 3 pints of Smithwicks the night before a race this just works for me ;)

Though I don't run on times anymore as regular readers might know, I effortlessly moved from the 4.45 pacers to the 4.30 group and at mile 14 was about to tag along with the 4.15 crowd when we took a left turn up a hill. It might be my imagination but we climbed all the way to mile 22 (there was a few downhill sections but they were tiny compared to the uphill sections). This made for a very interesting, challenging section which I thoroughly enjoyed albeit at a slower pace.

At Mile 14 just before the 'hilly' section!

Just as the hills were starting to take their toll a vision appeared. A white car. With a hand sticking out. Holding Jaffa Cakes. And a voice shouting 'Look what I have for you Patrick!'. Add to that an ice cold energy drink and I owe a massive debt of gratitude to Dolores Duffy, the angel in the white car! Your generosity is remembered and you came at exactly the right time as I was being caught by the 4.30 gang again. And you helped so many others too. Thanks so much Dolores!

After that boost came a downhill and a straight few miles to the Finish line. It was on that straight I met Philip from Waterford. Philip was running his 5th Marathon, his first in 2 years. We started chatting and easily ran ahead of the 4.30 pacers, reeling in a few runners as well. Thanks Philip Knox for the company Mile 22-26!

Finish East Cork Harbour Marathon with Philip Knox!

At the Finish Line we got personal congratulations from the Race Director, a nice t-shirt, medal and burger with Ballymaloe relish!! There were plenty of activities at the GAA pitch for all ages and tables in tents with all kind of goodies too.

This was their inaugural Marathon and for a first it was very well organised and the friendly faces and great energy were infectious. I recommend this race and will try to come back myself!

To top off a wonderful Saturday for my 51st Marathon, I also received the 50th Marathon medal of Marathon Club Ireland from an absolute legend in long distance running; Collette O'Hagan. I have immense respect for Collette and she is my number 1 running inspiration. To get the medal from her made it extra special for me. Thanks Collette!!

Getting the 50th Marathon medal from Collette!

What's next?? In 4 days I'm running Craughwell AC Marathon in yes you guessed it Craughwell, County Galway. It is my 2nd time doing this race, I'll let you know next week how number 52 went!!

Miles with Smiles!!

Patte xxxxx

Friday, 19 August 2016

Race preview: East Cork Harbour Marathon.

And we're off! To a place I've never been before. So that's a double whammy then. A Marathon and travelling to new places. 2 things that make me happy.

Destination: Aghada, (East) County Cork. Event: East Cork Harbour Marathon.

This is a new marathon on the scene, organised for the most part by members of Aghada GAA Club supported by Aghada Running Club. I met these wonderful people at the Expo of the Barrington's Hospital Great Limerick Run. The were very enthusiastic and energetic about the whole thing so I decided to sign up.

With new events comes wonder, another thing I like. Wonder about the course, wonder about the people, wonder about the facilities, hills, scenery and so much more. And even the course profile is full of wonder as I am completely new to the area. Here's a link to the routes for those in the area or taking part or supporting! http://eastcorkmarathon.com/the-routs/ And here's their Promo Video which looks great! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHbSks1QMXg

This time 2 years ago I had completed 15 Marathons, in the next 2 weeks I am running numbers 51 & 52 and I am privileged and very thankful to receive my 50th Marathon Medal from the amazing and wonderful people at Marathon Club Ireland tomorrow.

I'll let you all know here on Monday what East Cork was like.

One more thing. A Big Massive Thank You to all of you who read and share this Blog. A Big Massive Thank You to all of you who have ran with me over the last 2 years or more. A Big Massive Thank You to all who support us running.

Thanks to all of you this Blog is possible. And thanks to all of you this Blog has been shortlisted for the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016 in the Sports Section. You can vote here until Tuesday: http://blogawardsireland.com/

Have a wonderful weekend,

Miles with Smiles!!
Patte xxxxx

Friday, 12 August 2016

Tralee 100K inspires!

I thought about writing a race report for last weekend's Tralee 100K. Then didn't. Because I didn't race, I crewed. And learned. And was in awe. And learned. And got inspired. And learned. And saw pain. And learned. And saw persistence. And learned. And saw elation. And learned. I will write to people individually over the next few days/weeks to congratulate them.

100K is more an experience than a race. Just like the 40 miler was for me earlier this year when I fell in love with the unknown. http://howmanybelgians.blogspot.ie/2016/06/run-kingdom-40-mile-ultra-race-report.html

Crewing for Shane Dunphy (Congrats again on your wonderful achievement), who ran with an equally impressive Derek Mackessy, was an experience too. I saw the highs and lows of Ultra running. The beauty of growth through pain. The pureness of mind over body. The graciousness of people in flow.

 Crewing the 100K for Shane Dunphy with Brenda Barrett Dunphy was quite an inspiring experience! (Pic Run The Kingdom - Frederick Loveridge).

The magnificent tandem of enhanced human endeavour and natural beauty of places like Kerryhead, Ballyheigue, Banna Strand, Fenit Pier, Barrow Hill etc...

It was poetry in motion. Movement through stillness. Calmness in wilderness.

It was utterly beautiful. And inspiring.

Count me in. Next year. Tralee 100K.

It's prominent on my list of so far 8 Ultra's for next year. I'm hooked to the beauty and mindfulness of the solitude of the long distance runner. With a bunch of wonderful running mates thrown into the equation.

I'm taking the rest of this year to prepare for the running experiences of 2017 by training 5 to 6 days a week, eating better, cross training and doing 6-7 more single Marathons and one 30 mile Ultra. Pure fun!

Congrats Marcus Howlett and Jim McNeice for the experiences this year in Tralee. I'll be back!!

Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxxx

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Why crew when you could run? Crewing at this weekend's Tralee 100K.

All the reasons I am starting a new venture called The Intentional Academy are in it's mission statement. It reads: 'Our vision is to promote, communicate and inspire belief in a way of life that is based on purpose, self-reliance, contribution and well-being.' For those who may be interested I've started a new blog on this at http://itsallintentional.com/

Distance running fits in beautifully with that vision. Among other things it serves the purpose of creating headspace, facilitating meditation and meeting like minded people. It can be quite self reliant at times when running on your own at mile 29 of 39 in a 50-60mph head on wind & hailstorm on top of a hill range (Connemarathon this year). It most certainly assists with my well-being both physically and mentally.

Now for the contribution part. I am happy to assist novel runners with training programs and even to go run with them. I am happy to share my stories in order to hopefully inspire others to start moving and exercising. I am happy to help out at running events because runners know what runners need.

What I haven't done yet is help crew for someone at an Ultra Marathon. Having run my first 3 ultra's this year (Connemara 39.3 mile http://howmanybelgians.blogspot.ie/2016/04/connemarathon-ultra-race-report.html, Portumna 50K http://howmanybelgians.blogspot.ie/2016/06/portumna-forest-marathon-race-report.html and Tralee 40 Mile http://howmanybelgians.blogspot.ie/2016/06/run-kingdom-40-mile-ultra-race-report.html) without crew I guess that once you go towards 100K or more it might be nice to have a crew to look after food, ailments, mental health, support etc...

As I am preparing for longer races in 2017 and because I like to contribute and give back I have volunteered to help crew for a good friend, Shane Dunphy, who is doing his first 100K race this Sunday in Tralee! http://runthekingdom.ie/events-calendar/aug-tralee-100k-ultra-marathon/

Shane will do the running, his fellow Marathoner wife Brenda is in the car with another Marathoner Paddy Mockett and myself. We start Sunday at 6am with a 9pm cut off time. The Cut off time means we all work together to get Shane to the Finish Line before that time, with Shane doing most of the work obviously. Personally I have agreed to jump in and run the last 20 or 30K with Shane if wanted/needed. Here's the route! http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/926232191

I am so looking forward to what will be an adventure, a long day and an exhaustive day. I'm also looking forward to supporting all the other athletes en route, many of them come from our wonderful circle of friends in Marathon Club Ireland, Born To Run Tralee, Kerry Crusaders and many, many more! What a glorious way to spend a Sunday! And don't tell to many people, yet this race if still on next year is on my to-do list. :)

I'll be sure to have a report here on the event and how we got on next Tuesday as I'm staying in Tralee Sunday night and returning Monday afternoon!

In the mean time I'll just go for a wee 6 to 10 miler each day this week to warm up for it!!

Miles with Smiles,

Patte xxxxx