Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Griffeen parkrun

Sunday, September 17th, 2023 | Sport

Another week, another new parkrun. This is two laps of flat sith a short stretch through some trees but otherwise around the edge of fields. Unfortunately, I felt ill on the second lap and had to walk most of it. But I still came home in under 40 minutes so the first lap can’t have gone too bad. I managed to get a post-run brownie from the coffee van, too.

Waterstown parkrun

Sunday, September 10th, 2023 | Sport

Waterstown parkrun celebrated their 400th event this week. Which meant there was cake! It is a lovely course, too, although has a fair few hills in it. Nothing too step but it is is up and down.

Dodder Valley parkrun

Sunday, September 3rd, 2023 | Sport

I’ve been doing some parkrun tourism recently. Yesterday, I did Dodder Valley. It’s a nice course. Two laps and mostly flat, with a slight rise on the second lap. Some lovely views looking down into the valley, too.

Antrim Coast Half Marathon

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023 | Sport

Did somebody say Hyde Park Harriers club trip time?

We headed over to Larne in Country Antrim, Northern Ireland for a half marathon along the coast. The route is roughly divided into three sections, with a 7k loop of the down, 7k down the coast to Ballygalley and 7k back. There is a bit of up and down but it is mostly considered a flat course with PB potential. Indeed, the women’s world record was set here in 2021, only for them to discover the course was 54m short.

I don’t think I’ve continuously run for 21k since the Clontarf half marathon last November. I ran around a 2:05:xx at both Lough Cutra and Metalman so I thought I had a good chance of running a sub-2 and lined up with said pacers, alongside Grace who was hoping to run her first sub-2.

The early stages of the race were crowded and it was difficult to find space. It did thin out over time but the coast road also got narrower, which meant there was never much space to drop into my natural stride. The weather was good: cool and cloudy which meant we did not get too cold standing around in the pens for an hour, but also did not sunburn.

There is a reason it is so crowded: the views are spectacular. The town was fine but once we were out onto the coast we had a constant view across the sea and the coastline.

I didn’t get chance for a toilet break before the race so I stopped at around 7k. I caught back up to the two-hour pacers fairly easily only to find Ged reporting that Grace was now way down the road ahead of them. I managed to catch up another few kilometres down the road and we headed into Ballygalley for the turn, as Clare came the other way with a convincing lead over the rest of us.

The way back was even more scenic because we were running on the left side of the road, right next to the coast wall, and could see down to the shoreline. We were both starting to feel it by this point and it was relief to see the remaining kilometres tick down.

My official time was:


Third Harrier across the line and first male. Not that I was counting. A big thank you to Ged for taking it easy on me. And a massive well done to Grace for completing her first sub-2 half marathon. Not just completing it but smashing it with over three minutes to spare. And well done to everyone who made the trip over for the race.

Helmsley Triathlon

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023 | Sport

Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool run a triathlon as a fundraiser each year and it has been on my list for a while: a swim in a heated outdoor pool followed by a bike course around the Moors and a multi-terrain run. It did mean getting up at 4:15 am to drive to Helmsley but surely it would be worth it for the views.

The swim

The pool is beautiful. I wouldn’t quite say bath water but it was a perfect temperature once you were swimming. The swim consisted of 32 lengths (800 metres) and I seemed to seed myself just right, with one overtake and one giveaway during the swim. My lane counter was also wonderful encouraging.

I felt a bit overwhelmed at times during the swim. It’s been very disappointing going from multiple-Ironman finisher to lacking confidence in open water again and here I wasn’t even in open water. It was just a pool that happens to be outside. It has been difficult for me to swim this year and it really shows. I was happy enough with my pace, though.

With one DNF and two cancelled swims, this turned out to be my first completed triathlon swim of the year.

The bike

They said the bike course was hilly. But they also posted a screenshot, with no GPX supplied, saying the elevation gain was 323 metres. I took this to mean they were warning anyone coming up from Lincolnshire that Yorkshire was a bit hillier than home.

But the elevation was simply wrong. We took on the Bransdale Loop through the heather of the Moors, which was very beautiful, but also amounted to 732 metres of elevation gain. There were multiple steep climbs with a maximum gradient of 18%. I was running out of food by the end because I did not expect to be out on the bike course for so long.

The views were stunning, though.

The run

The run starts with a four-kilometre climb up the hill we had just cycled down. I went for a run-walk strategy. Once the hill was completed we turned off the road and went onto trail which was practically all down hill. Game birds were hiding in the hedges and would often run out in a panic as we approached.

Most of it was well-signposted and I only got lost at one point after the farm. The answer was to just keep following the bridleway and I eventually discovered I had indeed been going the correct way. There was a final little hill to get back to the pool and then it was a victory lap of the field.

The result

My total time was:


And my splits were:

Discipline Time
Swim 19:41
T1 2:52
Bike 1:56:52
T2 2:31
Run 1:05:38

This put me 32nd out of 46 in the open (men and trans women) category. This year I have been concentrating on ultrarunning and not training for any kind of speed so it is probably a fair result.

A big thank you to all of the volunteers at Helmsley Open Air Swimming Pool that made the race happen.

Women’s World Cup 2023

Monday, August 21st, 2023 | Sport

What an amazing tournament the Lionesses had in this year’s World Cup.

I managed to catch all of the games, except for the final as I was racing Helmsley Triathlon. Could they somehow sense I was cheering them on in earlier games and that carried them through? Who can say, unfortunately.

It’s unclear how we’re fourth in the world rankings despite being the reining European champions and World runners up. But at least the England team made it through the final without sexually assaulting anybody.

Selby parkrun

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 | Sport

If you’re looking for a flat parkrun, Selby is a good shout. It takes place on an airfield and you run an out-and-back hockey still shape that is entirely flat. There isn’t much else to look at but I didn’t find it boring and there was a good crowd. Thank you to all of the volunteers for making it happen.

Kilkenny Triathlon

Thursday, July 20th, 2023 | Sport

Even with a leisurely start time, my alarm went off at 06:00. I debated whether to get up. After a hard time at Lough Cutra and a hard time at Metalman, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to take on Kilkenny. But I also need to get back into the water.

In the end, the swim was cancelled due to water quality anyway. Replaced by a 2.4k run along the same run course we could take on twice after the bike. The first run was easy enough. A lot of people sprinted off and soon realised that had over-paced themselves. Even after T1 the running wasn’t over as the mount line was up a steep grassy hill.

The bike was great. Lots of clear junctions or guards stopping traffic for us. The first half of the course was into a headwind and few other people were using aerobars so even riding at less than 200 Watts I was passing long lines of athletes who were struggling into the wind. Maybe only three stronger cyclists came past me, although I was in the third of three waves.

The second run was also comfortable enough. It is not a flat course but I was just about able to pace myself up the hill. We finished on the top lawn in front of Kilkenny Castle.

My overall time was:


I just scraped into the top half coming 100th out of 212 athletes. Of course, I’m in the M30-39 category, so that only translates to 21 of 34. My splits were:

Discipline Time
Run 1 12:02
T2 2:10
Bike 39:49
T2 2:04
Run 2 24:20

Pace wise, I was 165th in run 1 and 77th in run 2, so some nice negative splits going on there.

Waterford Viking Marathon

Friday, June 30th, 2023 | Sport

What could be better than doing a middle distance triathlon an then resting? Following it up with a marathon the next day! It is very much unclear why I thought this would be a good idea at the time.

I missed a spot on my collar while applying suncream on Saturday, and even the area I did cover were not looking too fresh. otherwise, I felt an acceptable level of stiff. You might ask how I stayed hydrated the evening before given I had just done a triathlon. This is how:

There were around 26 of us from the running club down at the event so we met before the race for a few team photos.

The first 10k of the race is hilly. I was aiming for a “let’s just get around but it would be nice to go somewhere between 4:00 and 4:30” mood. Given how tired I was from the day before, it soon became clear that 4:30 was going to be difficult but possibly achievable, even with talking the initial hills.

After this, the course moves onto the greenway and levels out. The morning clouds were gradually giving way, though, and the sun kept coming out and slowly baking us all. The organisers had put additional water stations on so I was able to douse myself every 4k or so.

I was tired the whole way around. It felt good getting to the half way point but I began to feel quite anxious after this. I’m not sure if it was the no-mans-land of being past half way and yet no way near finishing, or just being so far away with it being and out-and-back, or just the rest of life getting on top of me. Really disappointing, though, as running is my thing. I kept moving with some running and some walking.

Having raced the day before, it was impossible to come into the race with perfect hydration, so I ran with my backpack and flasks. This mean I had 250 ml of Red Bull sitting in one of them that I saved for the 30k point. The combination of closing in on home and caffeine kick gave me the boost to get through the final hour.

Best of all, there was a crowd from the club cheering us home. My official time was:


We finished the day with a celebration at the pub, followed by a meal and craic. It was lovely to get to know everyone better and thank you for making me feel welcome.

Metalman Triathlon

Thursday, June 29th, 2023 | Sport

Metalman is a middle distance triathlon on Ireland’s south coast. It takes place in the town of Tramore just down the road from Waterford.

The was on the Saturday so we headed down on the Friday to check into our hotel, get registered, and get a quick fish and chips by the sea. Tramore beach itself is quite exposed with some arcades and a fair ground with a Bridlington feel going on.

The swim

Rough seas meant the swim was cancelled so it was straight into a 90k bike ride. I was very relieved. I’ve struggled to acclimatise to sea swimming over here and that was before all of the jellyfish started appearing. Still, we went in reverse alphabetical order so I was one of the first people on the start line with a hundred super bikes behind me.

The cycle

The route was described as challenging but when you are from Yorkshire, it would very much be labelled as “Yorkshire flat”. That said, the first half of the loop to Dungarvan included a bit of a headwind. Nice straight roads made for plenty of aero time for those that had been practising it.

After the half-way feed stop it turns back along the coast road. This offers some glimpses of the seas before moving inland for a while and then comes back to the cliff tops for some more undulating terrain. I stand by my previous comment about the profile but there was one climb from a beach to a cliff that did briefly hit 15%.

The run

Once back into transition it was onto the run. This was hilly. There were some flat bits but some quite steep hills, too. One of the hilliest triathlon run courses I have done. Thankfully, it finishes with a long downhill. I walked a lot of the uphills but mostly ran the rest of the way.

I thought the race instructions promised Red Bull at the half way point but alas, there was only water. There was plenty at the finish line, though, which I was very glad to see.


My overall time was:


That was good enough for 165 out of 192 athletes. My splits were:

Discipline Time
Bike 3:23:33
Transition 5:38
Run 2:05:27

In an improvement over Lough Cutra four weeks ago, this one was not a DNF. My bike spit was faster by 25 minutes. Lough Cutra was about five kilometres longer but I was definitely in a bit better shape this time, though I had skipped a swim. My run time was less than a minute behind despite all of the hills and none of the cola.

While in some ways it is a defeat because I don’t think I would have made it around the swim course if the swim had been on. But accepting that life is hard right now, the rest of the numbers are promising. I would like to say thank you to the race organisers for being so kind and welcoming.

I did make it into one of the official race photos. You can see me sitting on the wall in the bottom right: