Monday, 14 December 2009

Race 5 Winter Series (12.68km)

Race 5 Rostrevor Day Race 12.68km
Saturday 12th December

Every race of the series so far has been blessed with good weather. Today’s race was no exception . Clear skies and a very bright sun low in the sky a cold day but a nice cold. Another perfect day for running. Rowan and Ian must be doing the good weather dance on Friday nights before the races. Another good turn out with competitors for all parts of the country.

Just after 2pm we lined up on the familiar green of kilbroney forest park. Rowan give us the usual race briefing and we were ready to go. A slight change to previous races on reaching the caravan park we took the lower path down through the trees and onto the lower forest road. This was a road I knew from the mtb downhill champs course. Hills and plenty of them. The route would follow the old Ulster way on the edge of the forest. Legs feeling good and good banter from competitors on the hills. As I complained about hating hills I was told “You love the hills that’s why your here” A point I think was very true. I do love this type of race and with climbing they say there is always a reward. I would later find out the reward was worth the climbs. The path started to level out with a few downhill parts. My arm warmers had done there job and as I was well warmed I took them off and opened the jersey to try cool down a bit. I knew for every part we went downhill this was adding to the distance we were going to have to climb. As we crossed a bridge Rowan the Paparazzi popped out of the trees with a camera. “Get the head down and get up that hill” he shouted. This was the start of a big climb. I shortened the stride and leaned into the hill and tried to keep moving. The hill just seemed to go on and on and a few times the run turned into a walk. Around another corner and still no let up. On looking back down through the trees you could see the valley we had just run along and we had climbed quite a bit. Another corner but finally a down hill section.
I picked up the pace and could see the river crossing in front. I knew if I took a big enough stride two steps would have me through it. The water in yellow water river was ankle deep. As I jumped across I got a good footing and my feet didn’t seem to take in too much water. The water proof socks helped keep the feet dry and warm. After the river there was another climb not too long but got the heart racing again. Through the trees and onto the single track trail that would lead us onto kilbroney red bog. A part of kilbroney/Rostrevor forest I had never seen before. With the sun in front at eye level it seemed to light up the small lake to our left. We ran along a raised turf bank along the side of the lake. A peaceful and tranquil setting if not for us ploughing through the middle of it. The path was very mucky with holes and deep puddles. Using the banks of the bog I managed to hop from side to side staying out of the puddles. As the sun was so low in the sky it was hard to see the trail at times. This caught me out on a section where I didnt see a hole. I managed to get my foot in the hole and took a tumble. Slight forward roll and up I got in one movement. Coming into the trees again the path seemed to get worse. Because there was no raised sections we had to go straight through the mucky puddles. With low hanging branches from the fir trees, jumps, puddles etc this turned into what felt like an obstacle course. I was LOVING IT and had forgotten about the pain from the climb. Bridges made from railway sleepers crossed the bog drains. One runner took a fall on a raised bridge section just in front of me I helped him up and we both continued. Some older sections had gaps were bridges once stood. We had to take a big jump or a drop down into the drain. My long legs took me over all these with no difficulty. As the trees opened I could see the forest road and this would mean the end of the bog trail. I asked if the guy was o.k. and he was running fine so I continued on. The briefing we were told the last 4km was all downhill. I opened up the pace and got into a fast run. Gravity and long strides were taking me down the hill pretty fast. It was hard to get a happy medium but I seemed to keep going hard. We reached the road we ran on the outward journey. It was back on familiar grounds and I continued pushing hard back down through the caravan park. Last push down the green and across the finish line.

01:05:19 was my official time for the 12.68km and placed me 29th We were offered mulled wine on the finish line. I passed on the mulled wine in favor of a few cups of water. Soup at the Kilbroney Bar was a nice finish to the day. Another first class event from 26extreme. Great route and great after race refreshments. The highlight of the race for me was the kilbroney Red bog trail. 5 Races down 5 to go and now a break for Christmas. Thanks to Rowan and Ian and all the helpers at 26extreme. A great first half to the series. Hope you all have a great Christmas. See you in the new year.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

NI Athletics Seeley Cup 10k - 00:41:45

Willowfield Harriers hosted the Joe Seeley Cup 2009. This race is a 10k circuit which laps Ormeau park 3.5 times. The race started on ormeau embankment with a record for entries. I got into the pack and when the whistle blew for the start we took off.

A tight pack of runners jostling for position. Bumping and side stepping ensued until the pack spread out. There is always a few who don’t listen to the advice of keeping the start clear for faster runners. I don’t understand why people want to get to the front to then keep people back by running slowly. Belfast Marathon was the same with walkers stuck at the front with runners having to sidestep to avoid them causing a chain reaction down the pack. I wasn’t running for a win but it is still annoying when your rhythm is upset by some idiot who gets in the way. (And breathe rant over!)

We ran along the embankment towards the Ormeau bridge turning left back into the park. I was made aware of a bollard on this corner before the race. It was right in the middle of the path on a blind corner. I missed it but the guy in front took a knock to the knee trying to avoid it. There was a slight up hill section through the park. Nothing more than a bump really but got tougher as the race went on. The path then flattened out before a slight downhill to the corner gates that lead back onto the embankment. Turning left we now had a 1.5km flat road run along the embankment from Ravenhill road to the ormeau bridge. As we got back onto this section you could feel the pack was opening up a bit. Passing the gates to the Ozone leisure centre and crossing the mats for 1 lap complete.

I had more space to run and was feeling really comfortable. Breathing was o.k. and the legs were feeling good. I don’t run to a watch and normally let my body determine the pace I run. I wanted to push myself on this race to get an official 10k time. Keeping this in mind I didn’t want to burn myself out with pushing too hard.

On the second lap I got caught up in a bit of a push for position. I lost concentration on my own running and got into a battle with a group of 5 runners. We exchanged places several times with one guy coming to the front and seeming to slow down. This really got to me and when he cut across in front of me when I tried to pass that was the final straw. I cut back to the outside and took off past him. I could hear someone coming with me and it helped me keep a fast pace along the embankment. I really pushed to get away from this guy. Turning left into the park I had a look back to see none of the original group anywhere near me. On the park section I started to feel bad. Why did I just push so hard to get away from someone? Why was I worried about someone around me? Why was I not concentrating on my own race? These where the things going through my head. Then I it clicked this is a race. Yes I am only trying to get a time for me but in doing so I might have to use others to get me around. These thoughts were like a switch flipped from the sore chest to feeling comfortable again. I kept to a steady pace which I felt I could continue to the end. The last lap was a comfortable one with me lifting the pace anytime I was conscious of me tiring and slowing. Into the park again and as it was the last time I would be on the hill (Bump) I thought it rude not to attack it. I knew there wasn’t far to go and pushed hard picking up a few places. I crossed the line with mixed feelings. From I am feeling o.k. why didn’t I push harder? To thank god that is finished. To I nearly blew up on lap two what was all that about? Then I just took a deep breath and thought mission accomplished my first proper 10k race. I was happy to finish so strong and can use this race to help in the future.

Split times
3k - 00:12:23
5k - 00:20:36

Official race time 10k - 00:41:45

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Race 3 Winter Series (8.01km)

Race 3 Rostrevor Day Race 8.01km
Saturday 14th November

The expression having a bad day springs to mind. The skies cleared for a lovely day sun shine and blue skies but cold. I started warming up but something didn’t feel right. I tried to just block it out and get on with it. We all gathered at the start and away we went.

Taking the same route as race one it was up the grassy hill passed the cafe and into Rostrevor Forest. "The Hill" Only this time we could see what was in front of us. Oh yeah and it was twice as long as race one. Instead of turning right we carried on further up the hill this time. I was well warmed up but couldn’t seem to find a rhythm or a breathing pattern. Legs felt o.k. but my chest and sides felt like I was getting stabbed. I walked a bit ran a bit but lost so much time. When we reached the turn the road levelled out a bit. Even on the level parts and downs I still felt terrible. I pushed on at a very slow pace through the forest and then up a bit of single track that lead into the forest above the top car park. Very steep section and this had most people walking. A steep descent into the car park then a climb heading for the stone. Mostly walking paths from the stone back down heading for home. I found myself holding back on the down hill. Every step I took I could feel the pain through my sides and chest. Back onto the same tracks from the first race. I knew it was all downhill from here. Still I couldn’t push on jogging most of the way back in a very disheartened mood. Across the finish line 44th out of 57 and a time off 00.50.21.

The route was tough but in better form I would call it a great route. Race 8 I hope to be back on this one feeling better and run it right.

Bad day eh!

Hopefully be back stronger for the 5th race. I am missing race 4 as I am doing the Causeway Coast Adventure Race. Glens of Antrim 28th November.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Race 2 Winter Series (7.08km)

Race 2 Castlewellan Night Race 7.08km
Thursday 5th November

Sitting in the office looking out at rain. The thought of running in the rain doesn’t bother me. Riding my motorbike to the event in the rain bothers me. As the day goes on the weather eases. I leave work and go straight to the event. 25mile drive to Castlewellan on off rain and side winds the whole way. As I get to castlewellan I follow the signs for the side entrance to the forest picking my way up a pothole filled road.

I am early again so I have a walk around until registration opens. Registration was just a case of getting my number and chip from the previous race. I got ready in the registration tent and went out for a warm up. The sky had cleared and a beautiful starry filled sky lit up the darkness. Slow jog up and down the banks of the lake. Watching as the car parks filled up and competitors started their stretches and warm ups. As 7:30pm nears everyone shuffled to the start line for a race brief from Rowan. Another good turn out for a cold blustery November night.

Three, Two, One and we’re off. We started on the banks of the lake running on tarmac towards the castle. Thankfully a flat start and already we were into a steady pace. As we leave the tarmac for gravel roads I pick up the pace on the first slight climb. Trying to stay within eyesight of the front group for as long as I can. I was feeling pretty good and the pace seemed to suit me. Staying pretty close to the front we pushed further into the forest. Slight climbs with descents straight away meant I could push without fear of burning out. The gravel roads were very wet and sandy in places puddles everywhere. After just 5 mins you don’t seem to notice the puddles any more. As I got into a rhythm my breathing calmed. Into another climb and although this wasn’t steep it did pull the front group apart. I started to get a stitch but I didn’t ease up. Leaning into the climb and shortening my stride this seemed to really help. I could see I was catching someone in front of me and just made them my target. As we started to descend I picked up the pace again. Head up, chest out, long strides. I felt this style helped as I was taking in much needed air. A few moments on looser gravel but thankfully the ankles held up. As the paths leveled out again I tried to find a rhythm. Fast enough to get me past some of the runners in front but not to fast to let anyone catch me. I was aware of someone behind me but wasn’t sure just how close. You aren’t getting past me was the thoughts in my head. As we turned onto another gravel road I could see the lake. Is this the finish surely not yet. I lift it again and then see a small bridge. Yes this is the finish two people within reach I start into a sprint passing them. Around the corner at the bridge. Where’s the car park? This wasn’t the finish I had mistaken the bridge for a similar one at the finish I had seen when warming up. Now with three people behind me I didn’t want them to catch me. I’m sure it was obvious they could tell I got it wrong. I kept it going pushing hard along the side of the lake. Legs felt good but severe pains in my sides meant breathing was all over the place. Breathe out on the left foot down I had been told previously. This worked for me in training but didn’t seem to help here. I could hear the beeps from the finish line. The end was close and so was someone behind. Finally the bridge and the tarmac. I sprint across the line finishing time 00:35:01 That placed me 29th in a field of 71

Another well organised event with a great course. Thanks to 26 extreme and all the helpers. See you at the next one.

Next Race Rostrevor Saturday 14th November (8.31km)

Race Results and Schedule:

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Race 1 Winter Series (6.56km)

Rostrevor forest played host to the first race of the 26 Extreme Winter Series. This race was in Darkness starting at 7:30pm.

I arrived early and got changed and started a light warm up. Head torch on and a torch on my belt I had more than enough light. As more competitors arrived the car park soon filled up. Everyone got registered and lined up for a race briefing by Rowan. A bit of race banter on the line and everybody was raring to go. On a count of three we took off into darkness up a grassy slope and passed the cafe. We got onto the gravel path that passed the caravan site leading into rostrevor forest. As we passed the gate I remembered this being the start of a big climb many a day I had rode it on the mtb. This was a whole different story running in darkness not remembering were the end of the climb was. Head down and sucking up much needed air. The odd glance forward and it looked like no end to the climb. Just as I was about to ease off I see head torches on my right through the trees. This meant the top wasn’t far away. As I rounded the corner at the top I tried to get my breathing back to normal ready for the next climb on the tarmac road. Again in the darkness it was hard to judge the distance so I didn’t push to hard. Turning right across the bridge we started to descend a short distance. This was a good time to get breathing and a rhythm going. From here we turned left of the tarmac and followed the gravel forest track. At this point a slight mist had descended upon us. Coupled with the cover of the trees it made for very warm running. Turning right this is were the fun started. Down the badgers claw. This is single track through the trees very narrow steep sections with roots under foot making for very slippy running. I needed a lot of concentration through this section as it was treacherous under foot. At the end of the trail we turned right back onto gravel forest roads. This was mainly down hill and is were I thought I would get moving. I passed a few runners and could hear they were trying to stay with me so I pushed on catching a few more. I had remembered a hill near the end but at this point there was no way I was going to slow any. Turning right at the forestry cottages back onto the tarmac for a slight climb before turning left back onto the green and a sprint downhill across the finish line.

Slight update to my placing below. I was initially told I was 29th Really I was 26th and there was a mix up in numbers somewhere along the way. All sorted and my time amended.
Official time 00:35:39 That placed me 26th in a field of 52 entry’s. I am happy with how the first race went. I have now got a marker that I can improve on.

Next Race - Castlewellan Forest park 5th November.

Monday, 26 October 2009

26 Extreme Winter Series

The organisers of the Marathon have put together a winter running series. 2009 / 2010 Winter Race Series. This is a series of ten trail races in Rostrevor, Castlewellan and Tollymore Forests ranging in length from 6.5km to almost 13km. The exciting thing about these races is that four of them will be staged in the hours of darkness. On these race nights competitors will don their head torches and with their fellow runners will light up the trails through the forests as they take part in these unique events. The series starts with a 6.56km night run. This run takes place in Rostrevor Forest Thursday 29th October.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Big Day (Official time 04:32:33)

After a good nights sleep I wakened just before the alarm at 6am. Porridge for breakfast for added energy. The weather looked good and the sun was coming up through a sea mist. Cold and sharpe but a really fresh morning, perfect conditions for a marathon. I got my gear and headed to Portballintrae for the registration. An exciting looking start/finish area with flags and advertising lined along the car park. Registration was straight forward well organised and very fast. I got my gear on and started a light warm up. Everyone had their own routine of stretching and light running. The atmosphere was building with both competitors and spectators alike. 8:55am and we all lined up at the start flags. Rowan from extreme 26 (Event Organiser) give us a description of what lay ahead and he also thanked us all for taking part in the first Causeway Marathon. He handed over to the mayor who made a quick speech and give a blast of an air horn to signal the start of the Causeway Marathon 2009.

The Run
On the sound of the air horn we started to slowly filter under the start control. Down a small stony path and across a footbridge over the bush river. A sharpe right and onto a sandy path which lead onto a boardwalk that followed the river. We turned left and followed the causeway train tracks which run parallel to the beach at the back of the sand dunes. Turning left again we crossed the tracks and headed towards the runkerry headland. The craic was good and everyone was in good spirits. The odd joke here and there about taking in the scenery on the way out because we would be in to much pain on the way back. Later turned out to be true for some of us. Runkerry headland seemed to go past in a flash and at this point we were well and truly warmed up. At the Causeway visitor centre we turned left down the tarmac road to the causeway itself. This was a steep decent that dropped us down to sea level past the causeway stones. The first major climb of the day from the sea level to around 450ft up the Shepard’s steps. This was when the pace dropped to a walk as the steps were slippy and very steep. When I reached the top I picked up the pace again. I knew there was a slight climb along the cliff side that levelled out were I could get a breather and a drink. This was the first time I used a water bottle belt and was great to be able to drink on the run. The cliff path was in good condition even with the heavy rain the previous night. I started to get into rhythm and felt really good. A nice cool breeze from time to time really helped keep me from over heating. Headland after headland around the most amazing scenery you could ever have a marathon. A quick glance now and again was all I could take as the path was uneven and slippy in places. As we were getting into the miles we started to hit the ups and downs. A series of rocky steps down then up with the wooden steps over fences was a test of the legs even at this early stage. We passed marshals on the route giving us warnings of slippy steps or dangerous cliff edges. This just showed the professionalism of the event and attention to detail from the organisers. We passed our first water stop taking on some extra water. I passed on the opportunity of bananas and oranges at this early stage.

Dunseverick Castle marked 10k (Official time 01:01:20) with spectators cheering us on from the road side. I got a real boost seeing my girlfriend cheering me on and getting the photos for this blog. (Thanks Marga) I was feeling really good and felt I was sticking to a good pace. The terrain started to get a bit worse at this point with paths crossing through fields with cattle. With the wet weather the ground was very soft and the hoof prints in the muck made for very unsettled running. I found myself watching every step with extra caution as I didn’t want to go over on my ankle. After the fields we climbed a rocky path turning left down dunseverick road. This was a short decent past dunseverick harbour and back onto the trails. The paths from here changed from hard grassy paths to mucky trails. Around a few headlands and over fences we came to a short stony beach again I was watching my step but trying to keep a pace going. After the beach we got back onto a path that lead up some steps through a cave archway. Across some rocks onto the road at Portbradden. This was a tight climb up out of Portbradden turning left onto the main coastal road. Still climbing we got a great view of Whitepark bay and the beach to the halfway point. The road was coned off with a lane for us runners. Reaching the beach and youth hostel road we turned left again and down hill to the beach. Turning right onto the sand I stuck to a steady pace along the beach. The tide was in but thankfully the sand was firm. At the end of the beach I started meeting the front runners coming the other way. A few shouts of encouragement to them and from them to me was great and in keeping with a great atmosphere on the run. As the beach finished we crossed the rocks and over some seaweed. We had to get our feet wet as the tide was in and covering the rocks which lead to the path around the corner. A couple of steps in water up to my ankles was very refreshing and cooled my burning feet. Out onto the path we followed a sandy trail that took us into Ballintoy harbour. The halfway point was down at the end of the pier. (Official time 01:59:03) I got the waterbottle refilled and turned back along the pier.

Second Leg
With my legs still feeling good I started the homeward journey. Across the sandy path and back into the sea for a second refreshing dip for the feet. The beach run was really nice and I kept a steady pace. I passed a camera at the start of the beach road. With a quick thumbs up I got the head down for the climb out up to the main road. I had to walk at a few sections to get my breathing back to a regular rhythm. Onto the road turning right I caught up with my mate Ivan. We got into a rhythm and running together along the road section we got back to a steady pace. As we reached the end of the road it was back across the rocks at portbradden and through the Cave Archway. The steps down at the other side were very slippy so I took it easy to avoid any problems. The stony beaches and rocky paths seemed a lot harder and with tiring legs I was using a lot of mental energy to watch every step. Dunseverick Harbour and a small uphill road section give the head a break and my rhythm just pulled me up the hill. Turning right down the steps to the coastal path and back to the fields. Crossing the fields with the uneven ground was a real drain this time around. Watching my feet on every step and lifting heavier legs was a good test of what was to come. Passing Dunseverick castle again I knew this was the 10k to go marker. A long up hill section with a fence crossing up and over steep steps. This was the first time I could feel the niggling of my muscles. I knew the feeling was cramp but as I ran steady it was coming and going. I took it easy and slowed right down on the up hill sections. I got to the water stop and filled the water bottle and took a few quarters of oranges. The oranges were such a welcome to a drying mouth and got my taste buds fired up again. I got a phone call from my sister Paula who said the family were waiting at the finish line. Hearing this was good and took my mind of my sore muscles. I followed the cliff path and took it easy on the up hills and picked it up on the downs.

Hitting the 20mile mark (Official time 03:11:16) this is when it all went down hill. I came to a set of steps down that had a steep set going up at the other side. I ran down too fast I could feel the muscles tightening and as I started to climb the cramps started. I had to stop and stretch but every time I tried to carry on the legs took really bad cramps. I thought if I can just get to the top of the steps I could walk it off. I took a drink of water and suffered the pain and pulled myself to the top. Walking and stretching the cramps eased a little but I could still feel the pain in the legs. I started jogging slowly having to stop now and again and stretch the legs again to stop the cramp. This was the pattern for the rest of the journey home. Finishing my water I struggled forward. As I rounded the headland over looking the causeway I knew I had a bit of a downhill to try get a run going again. I passed many tourists that cheered me on and give me a bit of much needed encouragement. As I passed the Causeway centre I took on a lot of water and refilled my water bottle.

Around runkerry headland with jogging and walking I could see I was loosing a lot of time. I gritted my teeth and tried to push on. The legs just didn’t want to work on the uphill sections and had me walking again. The last stretch and a couple of fellow runners (Niall and I didn’t catch the girls name. I think it was Anna judging by the results sheet) caught me up. They give me a bit of boost by chatting and it took my mind of the pain in the legs. We turned right at the markers back along the boardwalk around the Bush river. Crossing the footbridge looking towards the short path to Portballintrae was a welcome sight. I put the head down and got across the finish line (Official time 04:32:33) to applause and cheers from Marga and some of the family. I was in such pain and the legs were totally exhausted. I got a bit of water and took a few deep breathes. It suddenly started to sink in that I had finished and the smile slowly returned to my face. After I had a chat with a few friends around the finish I headed back to Portstewart. I stopped at the herringpond (a natural seawater pool) I went down the steps into the icy cold water. At first it was shock and pain but I could feel the legs getting better. After a shower and some food I was feeling great but tired.

Summary: A very enjoyable event that was extremely well organised. Amazing scenery and a great course.

10k - 01:01:20
Halfway - 01:59:03
20 Miles - 03:11:16
Finish - 04:32:33

Bad Points: My lack of training, next time I will train for the event and not just leave things to the last minute.

Big Thanks
Firstly I have to thank Marga for getting up with me at 6am and cheering me on around the course. Also for the photos above. T'estimo Molt ;-)
Paula, Aideen, Sarah and Eimear. Max, Fiona, Ben and Josh for coming to the finish and cheering me across the line.

Also a massive thanks to Rowan and everyone else from 26 Extreme for Planning, organising and making this a marathon to remember. Roll on next year when I want to finish stronger.

Oh and how could I forget my wee Sister Lizi in Newzealand. Thanks Sis for all your encouragement and words of wisdom. Also all your crew out there for following the Marathon.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

What lays ahead (Photos)

Here is a link to some photos of the route we will be running.

Weather Forecast for Saturday

Saturday 10 Oct
High: 11° Low: 8°
Cloudy skies. High 11C and low 8C.
Winds W at 10 to 15 mph.
Precipitation Chance 60%

Monday, 5 October 2009

Kit Checklist

Running shoes (trail runners or ordinary runners) /Walking Boots
Hydration pack or water bottle
Energy snacks
Mobile phone in waterproof bag /container
Windproof top
Hat or Buff ®
Whistle & Space blanket (foil blanket)

Training or lack of in my case

My training started great then I suffered a back injury which got me off my feet. I lost a lot of valuable training time. I think in terms of effort though I probably did the same as I done for the Belfast Marathon and I was able to complete it.

This marathon is going to be on a whole different level though. The terrain, and the series of steep climbs, steps, beaches etc. The route is very exposed and having no shelter from the elements will prove to be an extra battle of mental and physical strength.

My main training runs were around belvoir forest, lagan valley, tow path, Mary Peters areas. All the trails I would have biked before. I also visited cavehill to get good steep runs. The thing with cavehill is it kills me to be there without a bike.

This time I had planned to train properly starting slow and building on it. All was going well and although I wasnt following a training plan I was getting the miles in. I was running off road as much as possible and using the hills as sprints. Taking a breather on the decents and slowing up so I was ready for the next hill. Is it a good method? I have no idea!

I tried to mix my training with a few evenings a week on the road bike or the XC bike. I also completed Lap the Lough 142km road cycle around lough neagh. I was thinking all running may have been a bad thing and even if only for my sanity the biking was a welcome. This is when my injury got worse 5+ hours in a tuc posistion on a road bike. I went to the physio and she done a great job in a short period of time. Was I ready to start training again? Only one way to find out. Drove to the National Trust Car Park on divis mountain and headed out up the mountain road. It wasnt a long run but it was a hill and a steep one at times. The back was fine the next day so training was back on. Only problem I was running out of time. I didnt push it and tried to ease back into the miles. With lazy weekends and other things happening I wasted more time. Three weeks from the event and a Holiday to Barcelona. I didnt lay around tho and done some good training runs in the mountains some mornings and evenings. Tough going in the heat but great to get running in such beautiful hills around the great city. Two weeks left and I do my last "big" run a half marathon on both roads and off road which took in Cavehill. Thats it then less than a week and I am resting.

Am I ready for what is going to be a great event??? Not as ready as I could be but then I never seem to stick to my plans. My new years resolution has come early I think.

The Causeway Coast Marathon

This Marathon will be an “out and back” route and will follow the paths, tracks, beaches and coastline of the Causeway Coast Way, between Portballintrae and Ballintoy Harbour - probably one of the most spectacular coastlines in the whole of the UK.
The entire route passes through magnificent coastline scenery with fine views of wide bays, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs and off - shore rocks, all of which characterise the Causeway Coast, making its beauty and uniqueness world famous.
This coastline has inspired tales of giants, fairies, battles and shipwrecks – hopefully each and every competitor in this event can return home with memories and tales of this fantastic event.
The event date is Saturday 10 October 2009.
In addition to the Marathon there will also be a Half Marathon and a 10k run/walk incorporated into the route – these races, like the Marathon, will also finish in Portballintrae. There will also be a “Challenge Walk” on the day along the same route of the Causeway Coast Marathon.
The main event will see competitors race the Causeway Coast Way from Portballintrae to Ballintoy Harbour. This route is an “out and back” route, almost entirely off road, passing The Giants Causeway, Dunseverick Harbour, White Park Bay, Ballintoy Harbour before turning at the quaint Harbour and returning along the same route. The scenery on the outward and homeward legs of the event is truly spectacular.