ACHILL ISLAND ULTRA
This season is concentrated on one big objective: the Spartathlon in Greece with its 247km or 153 miles. The training is proceeding and on the weekend I need to run long to very long sessions. This weekend I would like to run 60km and by surfing to the internet I find this 39miles race on Achill island. Some colleagues from work told me that it is a great place to visit. It will be a great opportunity to visit this part of Ireland and train on a long distance without carrying my water / food.
On Friday, Helen pick me up in the office and we arrive early enough to pickup the race bib in the local pub, check in the B&B, drive around to see the great beaches / cliffs of this island, eat and be in bed at 9:30.
The start of the race is at 8. We will run 3 laps of half marathons.
Marathon is starting at 10 and the half will start at 12. It is they first edition of this race, we are roughly 25 at the start of this ultra, 80 on the marathon and 150 on the half.
Few pictures, Helen is watching the start before going to her jog. At 8:02 we start.
One guy is starting "fast", I am second running at roughly 4:30'/km and 2 guys follow. I can hear them discussing. I wanted to run it in 6 hours at roughly 6'/km but I will try to run the first half in 1:40' to see how the other runners are doing.
The first part is nearly flat along the bay.
The temperature is ideal and dry. I see the first leaving slowly he will run in 1:30 the half, i don't want to push as my race will be in one month. The first aid station comes fast at mile 3 on a pub car park.
Then we turn right and we are on the sea. It is the best part of the race. It is difficult but so nice.
The tide is high and the waves are making the cliffs so wild. I am on my own and I have a great pleasure to run here. The 6miles aid station is with the coast guards on a small car park in front of the ocean. I get my first gel and take a bottle of water. I thank them and continue on this first hill. I see the first, and don't look back as I know the 2 guys are not far. It is too soon in the race to look at the other. And it is a training, even if it is very difficult for me, not to race with a number on the chest. The panorama is just great, some cheep are eating quietly on the side of the road. Sometime a coast guard car is driving, or some tourist but on the first lap it is very quiet. I go down and can see the first starting the second climb. It is a very long climb that finish high over the sea. There is a camper van parked and I presume it is the end of the climb. I slow down and think it will be painful at the third lap. Then the view on the top is just great. The downhill is steep. It is the cork screw:
On the bridge i run between the cheeps but i am more interested on the next hill. It is short and very steep. But it is a great place to monitor the other runners.
On the top we go left. After 500m i see the opening bike with the first runner.
The ridder from the organiser tell me to go to the cone at 500m and turn round. I see a cone on the road with another organizer who sheers up with us and propose water. I refuse and turn around. I have roughly 4min from the first runner. On the way back to the next crossing i see the third and fourth together. I have few word for them "great job runner" or something similar :-) I have roughly 4 minutes from them as well. Then on the crossing see other 3 runners from the ultra.
I arrive on the aid station on km 15 and get water. The road is going down and the speed is increasing. I try to keep over 7'/mile. Then we arrive quickly on the bay side and do the first mile in the back direction. 500m before the start/finish line, i see the first. He is fresh and has taken a camelback for the rest of the race. I take half of a protein bar. It is a try for sparta, but I took big pieces and it is not easy to chew. I need yo remember for future uses. Marathon runners are starting to come to the start line for their start at 10.
The first loop is done in 1:39', too fast for my initial plan but very comfortable.
Let's start the second lap. I meet few ultra runners on the first mile and i receive and give some cheers to the runners. Then i am on my own, even Helen missed me as i told her to come around 10... Then in continue on the same pace. On km 31 on the cliffs i take the second gel and i feel my body needs sugar / water after this proteins bar. On the far end of the cliff, i monitor that the first increased his advance and i slightly increased mine on the 2 runners. I hope to keep a place on the podium. On km 42 before the finish line I take my third gel. 3:29' on the marathon but another loop is waiting for me.
I have first to do a 2' pitstop and I am starting this third lap slowly to ensure my body is ok. The group of 3rd / 4th is broken and the third has still 6' delay on me. I start to meet marathon runners. It will hopefully bring some life in this solitary run.
The wind is blowing hard against us and the rain start to wash the last energy in every runner out. After the graveyard I meet finally Helen who missed me on the second lap as well :-) It is nice to have her. She has bag with some items (jacket/cap...) But I don't need anything. I told her that we will meet at the finish line. I reduce the speed as i start to have experience with wind. It will push back on the return road. The cliffs are so nice with this crap weather. So mystic place. The first marathon runner overtake me in the second long climb. He has only one minute over the second (and first woman). She overtake me in the cork screw, and the third guy after the cone turn. I cheer them up and i am in the first line to see the battle for the marathon win. I don\'t see the first and nobody is following. My second place is secure.
The end is just a fast downhill to the bay side and I just enjoy the last mile. I even do the plane to finish this ultra in 5:02' (including the 2' pitstop :-) )
We speak briefly with the organizer, other finisher but the rain is not appealing. I get change and we go for a lunch in the next pub to refill the levels...
Wonderful race track. I would prefer a longer loop for the ultra but the cliffs are so nice that running them 3 times is fine. Well organized for a first edition.
See you in Anthens
Commentaire de franchino posté le 15-09-2013 à 18:16:10
Bravo Jerome! Il Google Translate non rende bene l'idea di tutto il discorso ma ho capito abbstanza. Sicuramente dalle foto si capisce che hai trovato un panorama molto bello!
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 19-09-2013 à 21:10:43
grazie franchino, se vuoi venire in 2014? Fai un solo giro di 21km! Percorso bellissimo
Commentaire de Goldenick posté le 15-09-2013 à 18:31:01
Super Jerome. Bravo pour la détermination à préparer ton Sparthatlon.
Ça doit passer, pas d'autre choix!
Good job runner
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 19-09-2013 à 21:11:29
tu sais bien qu'avec un superbe objectif, il est beaucoup plus facile de d'entrainer comme pour la leadville!
Commentaire de Le Lutin d'Ecouves posté le 15-09-2013 à 20:00:09
Bravo ios lenktynes! Visada daugiakalbė ...
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 19-09-2013 à 21:11:53
eh c'est en verlan?
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 19-09-2013 à 21:14:12
j'ai trouvé c'est du leton: "Bravo pour cette course! Toujours multilingue ..."
Commentaire de PhilKiKou posté le 16-09-2013 à 06:28:55
J-10 avant cette épreuve légendaire et impressionnante !!!
bonne fin de préparation ... et @ bientôt pour des nouvelles sur Kikourou
(en grec le récit ??? )
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 19-09-2013 à 21:14:37
oui J- une semaine maintenant... Ca s'approche
Commentaire de ptijean posté le 16-09-2013 à 10:13:58
Il est bientôt temps de faire du jus mon petit Jérôme. Arrive reposé pour cette course, c'est le mieux que tu puisses faire pour prendre du plaisir et voir Sparth.
Commentaire de jerome_I posté le 19-09-2013 à 21:16:16
Oui je commence le jus. La semaine dernière j'ai couru "seulement" 114km et ca sera a peine 70km cette semaine, puis 0 la prochaine!!! Le repos pour un ultra j'ai appris en Mai pour le Passatore où je suis arrivé fatigué et j'ai coincé au km60!
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