[The World Mountain Running Championships took place in Temu-Ponte di Legno, Italy on 2nd September. Tom Hogan was there for Ireland. Congratulations Tom, from all in Racing795. Here’s a brief report from the man himself.]
My first world championships started out with a 4am drive to the airport to meet up with the rest of the 20 strong team and catch the red eye to Milan. Tired but upbeat and optimistic we arrived in Milan around 11am to be told that we would have to wait till 3 for our bus to bring us to Temu. The tight Italians decided it would be best to squeeze two or three countries on each bus, so we were stuck until both the Canadians and the Ukraine shot putters arrived. A further 3 hours on a bus driving from the 30 degree sunshine of Milan to the hail of Temu we arrive at our hotel exhausted but the legs need to get moving so we head out for 40 min run to get the blood flowing.
Awake on Saturday morning to monsoon like weather and I’m seriouly worried as I only have racing flats with me that have zero grip. As anyone that’s been away racing will know the day before is unbelievably boring. A couple of short runs and a whole lot of lying around doing nothing and that’s about it. The only excitement of the day coming with the arrival of the drug testers to test one of our senior women. So bored I nearly wish it was me they came to test.
Race day and the clouds have gone and the temp is up, happy days. The juniors and senior women ( some serious talent in this group Sean Tobin 17 ran 3.45 for 1500 this year and Sarah McCormack 15.26 for 5k) left the hotel early to catch the bus and ski lifts to their respective starts but as the mens start is a 5 min walk from our hotel it’s more sitting around studying the course profile and pics and thinking what the f*^k am I doing here. Finally get to the start and spend more time looking at the Africans warming up than getting myself ready. They’re amazing, they jog around in military style formation dancing more than running.
11am, gun goes and the elbows fly, as we enter the narrow almost vertical streets of Temu. The first 2k are probably the toughest of the race as we wind our way through the town and up into the forests. 3k in we reach the races only decent 800m of twisting single track similar in steepness to the downhill track in bunclody. A couple of hundred in I came to a 90 bend the brakes don’t work and I’m off down the slope on my arse, crawl back up and I’ve lost around 15 places. The next 4 km is rolling hills and actually enjoyable but then we exit the forest and have a 300m hill that’s so steep I pass people who are crawling on all fours. Back onto more runnable ground and with the snow covered peaks all around us we climb up through the supporters who were amazing it was like the tour de France with the crowds closing in and running beside you with their flags and drums. With 500 to go its all level to the finish and I kick for home determined to catch a Swiss and Czech runner, pass the Swiss guy who gives up but the Czech guy kicks with me and we fall across the line in the same time. Lungs are on fire, legs are in bits, can’t stand up but I’m delighted, my own personal goal going out was to score on the team(4 to score) so job done.
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