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.


  1. So you took a tumble? Isn;t that all part of the fun? Looks like another amazing race, wish i was there to join you in a couple (or maybe just the one as i am as unfit as a slug right now!!) Looks like so much fun!
    Keep the posts coming! Happy Christmas!

  2. Well Wee Bro, another fantastic race under your belt (must be a big belt by now!) Looks great, send me some more of the photos particularly the ones in the Red Bog! I wish Rowan and Ian could come to Durban SA for a few weeks and do the rain dance here, we've had nearly 6 weeks of heavy rain and wind and i am truly sick of it, considering it is the summer holidays!! When is the next race, might come home and join in (i wish).
    Great blogs and photos always cheers me up! Thanks and happy christmas Big Wee Bro!!
    Teeny South Africa

  3. Congratulations for your 29th position.I thought I was an sporty man but I started to read you commnets. Excellent.
    Tu amigo de España.

  4. holy god big bro!!!!! thats a deadly time for what only can be called a half marathon! shit!!!! WELL DONE!!!! my next half marathon is on 24th jan, so now at least i have my last time to beat! (thanks to all your suport along the way! maybe when i come home next i can do a half with you!)
    happy christmas! hope you like your pressi!

    love ya loads!
    miss u
    Little sis xxx

  5. Great run and great post...I am inspired by the picture and post...I will start running tomorrow wish me luck..:D