Today (June 27th) I ran the Camp 10 Mile Summer Trail Run. It was my second year doing this, and I knew from last year that it was a tough course.
I drove to Camp Village (which, despite the name, isn’t actually some kind of gay commune), parked up in plenty of time, and chatted to some of the other runners – there was quite a cosmopolitan field – I met runners from the UK and the USA as well as lots of locals.
We set off from Ashes Pub, and headed south, towards the imposing bulk of Caherconree in the distance – its peak hidden in clouds. There was no messing around with this route, it was a climb from the start. The first mile brought us on narrow country lanes, climbing all the time, until we turned off to enter a very narrow and steep pathway down to the River Finglas, which we crossed on stepping stones. I took this section at a fairly easy pace, as I knew from last year what lay ahead. I saw a few brave souls go flat out here, and I would pass a few of them later on when they hit the real climbs!
After the river crossing, we were back on roads again, and the climbs kept coming.
At around mile 3, we turned off the road onto a rough mountain track, and I could hear gasps from runners who hadn’t done this before when they got their first view of exactly what was ahead of them.
Caherconree climbed over 1100 feet straight up in front of us, and there was no hiding from it. Nothing for it but put the head down, and keep going. The next mile was as tough as it gets – to paraphrase Dean Karnazes, I ran when I could, and walked when I had to – I didn’t quite have to crawl, though it wasn’t far off it, and I certainly wasn’t giving up!
When we reached the top, the views were spectacular, and, best of all, there was a long, steep, downhill section to come. I ran the downhill section as hard as I could – though I had to be careful, as it consisted of mud, loose gravel, large rocks, and lots and lots of sheep shit. The trail was crossed here and there by large open drains, and these could be a trap for the unwary. At the end of this downhill, there was a slight climb, and at the bottom of this was a very muddy section, around 5 meters across. I came on it at full tilt, and saw a woman stopped, staring at it, obviously wondering how to get across without destroying her lovely new runners. I charged straight through, and I hope she didn’t get too spattered as I went by.
After the slight climb, between miles 7 and 8, we had a long section of much better trail, and I made good time here, passing a few runners who had probably set out too fast. There was a switchback here, and I knew from experience that the return section was a gradual climb that could be hard on the legs, so I ran the out section hard, and saved myself on the return.
After this we were back on narrow country roads again, but this time they were nice, steep downhills. I basically just let gravity run most of the last two miles for me, and it worked a treat – I covered the last two miles in sixteen and a half minutes, by far my fastest section of the course. There was a slight rise just before the finish, and I found that tough – not much left in the legs! After that it was another steep downhill for the last 200 meters or so, and across the finish line.
I haven’t seen my official time yet, but my Garmin time was 1:47:56, which would be around 13 minutes faster than last year, so I’m happy with that.
(*UPDATE* My official time was 1:48:00)
I enjoyed this run, just like I did last year – it’s very different to the usual races I do, and is interesting all the way through – definitely one to do if you can.
Thanks to the organisers, Marcus, Vivienne and the team at Run The Kingdom, and to all the volunteers who helped out on the day – without you there would be no days like these. Family commitments meant I didn’t stay for the barbeque, but I’d bet there was a great time had by those that did!
Well done to my clubmates and friends that ran in both this, and the Waterford Marathon today.
Best wishes, and best of luck to Siobhan, Annie, and everyone else taking part in Ironman Austria tomorrow – knock ’em dead girls!
I’m doing a 6 hour training run tomorrow, which I am NOT looking forward to! Next race for me is the Ring of Kerry Cycle next weekend. That could be “interesting” as I haven’t been on a bike since I did that event last year – and it’s 112 miles with several big climbs. Sore arse time I think.
If it was easy, anyone could do it, and then what would be the point?