Connemarathon, 14th April 2019
The Slacks have been on their travels again and, as usual, getting some running in! Here is Richard’s report:
Regular readers may recall overseas running ventures by Richard and Marie around Easter time. This year, it was a short trip to Ireland and the Connemarathon festival in Connemara – West Coast of Ireland, an hours drive West of Galway. This is actually an annual walking holiday for us and some friends but the weather intervened in its own way!
The weather forecast for the weekend was pretty poor, nigh on abysmal with rain and wind of biblical proportions promised for the Sunday. That meant that walking on the high mountains was pretty much a definite no – especially so after Richard was nearly being blown over on the Mamturks ridge on the Saturday walking with another group from the hotel! So what to do instead with this pretty poor weather outlook. Options were to bag the day and drink guinness (other brands also available) or sign up for some running. Well, every year since we have been going, Marie and I were aware of the Connemarathon festival which comprises a half, full or ultra (39 miles) events on the Sunday. We duly signed up for some final pre-London training with Marie entering the full and myself the half, with appropriate carb loading and drinks for me on the Saturday evening to fully prepare for the weather deluge.
The marathon route (10.30am start) is 3 sides of a square running initially North (wind behind) past Lough Inagh and the 12 Bens or Pins (Mountain range) for around 7 miles. The route turns to face due East (past the church on the hill where you can ‘stop and pray’) and down towards Leenane Town (more of a village really) at the end of Killary Fjord – that is where the Half (12 noon start) started from. From there both the full and half head due South-East for the final 13 miles – and joy of joys straight into the howling wind from the South East! However, only a limited amount of rain (miles 1 to 4 on the half or around 10 to 14 on the full) although pretty cold at only around 4 degrees. This final 13 miles is a real roller coaster with the first 2 miles and miles 9 to 11 real uphill battles with intermittent ups and downs in the middle section.
In all around 600 hardy (mad) souls did the full and 1,200 did the half. The shared route for the final 13 miles was on a totally closed road through beautiful mountain scenery and ample provision of water stations and also toilets – although some had blown over – but at least no runners inside!
Great after run party in Peacocks motel with jigging and beers to an Irish fiddle band as well as good provision of hot soups.
What better way to spend a rainy windy day!
It is a great event and one to add to our list of overseas locations – although not a capital this year!
Richard (Half) 1.51.37 (214th out of 1122 finishers).
Marie (Full) 5.17.48