Last Saturday a crack team of Racing795 commandoes took to the Wicklow Way for the annual IMRA relay. It was a beautiful day and the team did us proud finishing in 11th place against some very stiff competition. A great team achievement, well done to all. Detailed Results
Mike and Peter share their thoughts below.
Great event, looking forward to next year already. Early start but well worth it. Picked up Ross at 5am in Bunclody. Got to the start which was still deserted, wondered if we got the day, or start time wrong. Just before we hit the panic button the mountain goats began to trickle in, and before we knew it the place was full with some serious shapes being thrown. Ross divulged his race preparation secret, as he shared his Freddo Frogs. Who needs gels. The what-to-wear dilemna followed. It may have been a beautiful day, but at 7am there was still a chill in the air, but with 3km of climbing things would soon warm up.
At exactly 7am after a quiet countdown we were off with the serious mountain goats making a dust trail in their wake. The field soon spread out with the leaders disappearing around the first bend. Lack of race experience. !! How hard do you go out when you know after Glencullen Road 7km there is another 3km climb. Settled in behind a guy (Liam Tilly) who looked like he knew what he was doing. We took a few scalps on the climb. Liam took off like a madman when we began to descent toward the valley and I only got flashes of his back for the remainder of the leg.
The second climb was for about 3km and wasn’t too severe. Eamon Hodge and I climbed together but same old story he left me on the descent. (Need to work on that) With the end in sight, (mental that is) and the last 2km a gentle downhill I let the legs go as fast at they would, determined not to loose any more places, one’s enough. Unfortunately I got pipped with 100m to go by a Crusader. Hindsight is 20/20, didn’t start fast enough, reckon there’s a few minutes to be shaved off . My watch clocked 1:07:59 which seems about right as Brian McGuckin has a 1:07:58.
Ross was rearing to go when I hit the barrier for the hand off. After a quick change of clothes it was into the car a head for the beautiful Lough Tay to see if the Freddo Frogs had worked for Ross. As I approached the barrier I met up with the ever smiling Joy eager to continue the crusade. Ross arrived bang on time looking a little worse for wear from over 700 metres of climbing. By now the sun was out in its full glory and things were warming up. Time to head toward home after one last stop at Oldbridge. Peter was there when Ross and I arrived flying the Club colors. After the changeover and watching Peter head off toward Green Road to the waiting Orla, it was time for me to head west.
Truly a great team event. My first time on a relay team ever ( It really is never too late to get started) and my only regret is that I wasn’t able to stay around, and follow it like the hunt. Next year! We’ll all have together for a Team photo at some point in the not too distant future. Lastly Hail our great leader Tracy for pulling it all together. Thanks
Saturday morning found me up at an ungodly hour and off to Glendalough for Leg 4 of the Wicklow Way Relay. The leg was 9.6km with 363m of climbing and was from Oldbridge to Glendalough. I didn’t bother car pooling for this so arrived outside Glendalough at about 8am and walked the 6km over the Wicklow Way back to the start. This acted as a great warm up and was really enjoyable as the weather was lovely and the trails were deserted except for me and the deer, rabbits and sheep.
The relay handover point was a bridge at a crossroads so I settled down to catch some sun and look at my competitors. It was lying on the grass eating banana sandwiches when I realised that I probably should take this a bit more seriously. Almost everyone else was doing elaborate warm ups and stretches and were wearing trail shoes – I had on an old pair of runners and spent most of the time sitting enjoying the sun.
Mike and Ross arrived and we had a quick catch up and then Joy arrived for the changeover.
The first two km were on the road. The first km was uphill, and I mean uphill. It was probably the steepest hill I’ve ever run up. Pretty quickly I began to catch glimpses of two runners ahead who had a good head start on me but who were running slowly enough. I kept them in the sights for the first km – which took me 5.30mins despite running as hard as I could Like I said, steep! The second km was mostly downhill and I ran this hard, covering it in 4mins. After about 2km we turned onto a fire road / wide gravel trail and I caught the two runners ahead of me here. I sat in behind them for a bit. I had to walk some of this uphill, but my walking pace was only slightly slower than their slow running pace. At about 3km I passed them and pushed on.
The heat was brutal, I was sweating like mad on the top of an exposed hill while my bald head sizzled. Kms 3 and 4 were mostly uphill but then it leveled off for another km and here I spotted another runner ahead. I caught her fairly easily but then into km 6 which was mostly downhill on steep narrow rocky trails and my lack of experience caught me out. Two of the runners caught me back on the downhill and left me for dead. Into kms 7 and 8 and these were again mostly uphill. Once we hit the start of the climbs I recaught the two runners again and knowing that the last km of or so into Glengalough was a steep narrow descent I pushed hard on up the hills. When I had to walk I did it after rounding a bend where I couldn’t be seen. I pushed on hard conscious that there were runners close behind me and also that this being a team event I didn’t want to let the team down.
Last 1.5kmn was all downhill and I threw caution to the wind. I couldn’t see anyone behind me so knew I wouldn’t get caught. Into the finish in 52.08 by my watch for 9.6km A crap time for the distance but one I was happy with, I gave it my all. It was a good minute before anyone came in behind me.
Well done to IMRA for a great event, and well done to Captain Tracy.
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