Saturday, 16 February 2013

Clonakilty B2B - Part 1

The weather this morning was in marked contrast to the glorious sunshine that greeted us in Inchydoney two weeks ago. On the plus side I wasn't relying on solar power to get me around the course and the morning drizzle had given way to a dull and overcast sky for the start of the Clonakilty Back2Back Marathons. There were about 150 at the start line for 9:00 this morning - not sure how many were were signed up for both, but everyone I met out on the course today (all three of them) were coming back for more punishment tomorrow morning. I travelled down with Clubmates Denis and Neil, who were sane enough to consider one marathon in a weekend enough. The club representation was completed by Ann and John D (the other B2B'er).

Neil, having run 3:13 on the course in December, was the first out of the blocks, followed closely by Ann and John, with Denis and I taking up the rear. I wore my Clonakilty 2012 3:30 pacing top to put me under a bit of pressure to at least get a sub-3:30 on the first day. There were about 20 to 25 runners in front of me as I settled into a steady pace a few seconds under 8 minute miles, leaving Denis (who was aiming for 8:20 miles) after the first mile, with Anna and John and few 100 yards ahead. As I was on track I was in no hurry to catch up - even stopping for a leak before Mile 3 (23:39 - 21 seconds ahead). It took me another 5 miles to catch up to them, as we hit the Long Strand (Mile 8 in 1:02:51 - 1:09 ahead). I spent most of those  miles chatting with Jim Mullen, a seasoned endurance athlete, with 80 marathons under his belt (including  MDS & Jungfrau ). Jim pulled ahead shortly after, leaving Ann, John and I on our own, with not another runner in sight.

The field was well strung out and apart from a few exchanges of place over the opening miles we did not see or pass another runner until after Mile 13 (1:42:36 - 1:24 ahead) when we passed the 2nd Female. The lack of slower runners ahead suggested that the field was pretty experienced and had not headed out too fast. We kept pretty much together over the hills to the 20 Mile mark (2:39:07 - 53 seconds ahead, sacrificing some of our cushion to the hills). We could see the leading Female ahead (maybe 30 seconds), with 2 male companions and judging by the relative paces we were on course to catch up. However on reaching the top of the last hill at mile 20.2 she opened up the throttle and left one of her male companions behind - more than likely after spotting Ann behind her. The gap quickly opened up again as we turned left at the bottom of the hill along a few circuitous country boreens for the long route back to the finish line. I always find this stretch (mile 21 to 24) tough mentally as we are nearly there but have to work hard to keep pace. Ann begins to fall behind, with John staying with her for a while before deciding to sacrifice honour for a sub-3:30 finish (I had no honour at all).

We hit Mile 24 in 3:10:41 (1:19 ahead) and kept a steady pace over the closing miles around Inchydoney, coming in behind the leading female, a few seconds over 3:28:30 (Chip 3:28:28). Day 1 done and dusted and suitably fucked fatigued that even the though of having to do it all again in the morning didn't bear thinking about. This endurance stuff is beginning to wear me down. I'm sure a good nights sleep will change my perspective. The plan for tomorrow, as for two weeks ago, is to make it to the start line. Good night!


  1. good start. good luck on day 2

  2. Just wondering if you survived the night and managed another sub 3:30 today. That is some stamina you have for an ould lad.
    Liam (Cousin)