Before immigrating in Ireland, i was searching on the internet about local ultra races and when i see the Connemara ultra site, i remember the blog of andrea rigo in Italy (http://andreadicorsa.blogspot.ie/2010/04/connemara-cronaca-al-volo-e-super-foto.html). He ran this race with his friend matteo grassi and the main picture on his blog remained during many months as the one taken in Connemara. Then I tried to get friends from Torino to join but many reasons made them stay home... It will be a training race few weeks after Rome marathon, and preparing for the 100km of the passatore.
The morning I meet John (my club mate) ( http://www.galwaycityharriers.com/senior-news/connemara-ultra-marathon-and-hell-west ) on the way to the cathedral where we are going to take the bus. The bus trip is fast as we spend time to speak about ultra races, mountains... In Maam Cross we meet my work colleague Ivan. He present me to his friend Mark from Cork. We finish to relax listening to the race organiser telling us about the race. It is simple, take right, then right and right in leenaun and right on the bridge to come back to Maam cross where there will be the finish.
We take another bus to go to the start few km before the finish line. In 60km it will be more difficult to run these few km! The day is dry but cold. I have a tshirt, gch top, wind jacket, buff, hat, gloves... The crowd is important at the start of this ultra. It is one of the most run in ireland. 2 other race happen:
- Marathon with a start 21km further 1:30 later
- Half marathon (with 2000people) further 21km, 3h after us.
With my speed I will be behind these 2 groups. Ivan told me we should try to run in less than 3 hours the marathon to avoid the crowd, but i prefer to start slower.
The line is setup in the middle of nowhere and the small pack of runner is not rushing to be on the front. A guy on a push chair is on the front and with Ivan we follow. Three or four runners start stronger. I try to keep the good speed, i plan to run in 1:35 every half marathon. Ivan stays with me even if during these last weeks he could not train. We can discuss and we don't know really the position, but we don't' t pass or get passed.
I have my new long trousers with 2 large pockets for the 5 gels: one every 10km. I take my first gel at mile 6 just before an aid station and drink some water on top. On the first right turn, we get overtaken by a runner wearing uarash sandals. We let him go. This time the wind blows against us and it is good to run in 2 to get protection. I keep the speed, but feels that Ivan start to have difficulties to keep up with the rhythm. We are along a nice lake and i tell Ivan that it is a beautiful place. As an answer I just get huuhuu... It is the end of our common race... Just before the half marathon mark I start my lonely run. It is 1:33 when i cross the marathon start line and they are all gone for 3 minutes.
I start to overtake the last runners quickly. The road is large enough and i just try to keep covered from the wind when i can and keep my speed. I see the guy with the sandals and keep reducing the gap. Sometime i see some Italian runners who came to salute matteo grassi memory. Matteo passed away few weeks before. I keep the speed and continue with my gels every 10km. The stomach, the legs, the feet are all ok after 30km. I overtake one of the ultra runner who certainly decided to cross the 13 miles line before 1:30 to avoid overtaking... Then i arrive to the guy with sandals. He pushes when he see me. We have 500m going down i accelerate to see and he follows. Sandals have no cuscioning and he will pay later this downhill. When the road is going up i let him go and pickup back my speed. The marathon runners start to have the same speed and we turn right again to run down to leenaun. The wind this time in the bay is blowing very strong against us. I prefer to slow down and keep protected by runners from the marathon in front of me. The race will start on the last 13miles. The sandal guy is only 50m away. Just before leenaun i pickup a faster group and we cross the marathon line in 3:06'.
Let the race begin!
At the aid station I take my 4th gel and i flush it with water. The group dissolve and we turn right. It starts very steep. We see the last runners of the half marathon struggling with this hill. 2000 runners are filling this very narrow road of Connemara.
I don't see sandal man neither the marathon runners who were in the group. I try to overtake wherever i can but get stuck behind the crowd. It will be complicated. I then start to keep the left of the road shouting "left" "left". Most of the runner let me through, but some struggle or have mp3 players and don't ear me. Sometime it is very close and I risk to drop or need to run in the grass. It is not comfortable at all but i forget the race and the steep hill and try to find my way through. Slowly the road start to be flat again but I cannot accelerate because of the crowd. Then a motorbike and a car from the organizer get through and ask the runners to stay on the left side of the road and tell me to run on the right. Thanks a lot for that, I feel like Moses and I finally get a free road. I accelerate and I can see it after the race on my km speed. I feel good and every small hill is passed comfortably. Now I know the rest of the road because I ran it few weeks before.
I take my last gel, but my stomach has problems to take it. I need to reduce speed for few km. We then turn right over the bridge to head back to Maam cross. It start gently then the biggest hill stays in front of us. The wind blows against us and I try to keep a steady pace. Helen is waiting for me with her bike half way to the top and get difficulties to keep the speed. I continue to overtake some runners but the road is not full any more. At the top, I start to accelerate, the race is nearly over and roughly 3 km are missing.
My friends from the club (gch) are here to cheer up, thanks to them.
I finish in 4:40' in a good fourth place only few minutes behind the third. I ran a perfect constant race and my last split was the faster of all ultra runners.
My training for the 100km Passatore is proceeding very well.
I wait for my friends to arrive. Ivan finished very slowly and was passed by John. We don't wait too much and drive back to galway. We meet with John in the nice Oslo pub (http://www.galwaycitypubguide.com/all-pubs/oslo-bar.html) in Salthill to enjoy a nice burger and few pints!
Commentaire de Kilukru posté le 06-09-2013 à 09:11:57
Bravo Jérome ta prépa pour spart a l'air de bien se dérouler et en plus tu as l'air épanouï. Change rien et au plaisir de te,vous voir. Bises de JF et mimi
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 06-09-2013 à 22:30:10
merci JF et mimi, oui des fois le changement a du bon :-) une vacance en ardeche pourquoi pas... bises
Commentaire de Le Lutin d'Ecouves posté le 07-09-2013 à 19:41:30
C'était en plein hiver ?
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 08-09-2013 à 14:17:27
salut le lutin, non une belle journée d'Avril :-) Le Connemara est très sauvage (meme la météo)... Hier on a profité de 3 heures sans pluie pour notre sortie de 6h! Le reste vraiment beaucoup d'eau et 10°C!
Commentaire de brague spirit posté le 08-09-2013 à 15:10:57
bon Spartathlon à Marathon.La météo devrait etre plus estivale.
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 15-09-2013 à 12:59:10
merci... la météo sera un gros challenge aussi en Grèce!
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