Posts Tagged ‘running’

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.

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.

Shoe-long to my trainers

Monday, July 24th, 2023 | Life

It’s not just my car that recently left us after many years of faithful service. Two pairs of my trainers have ripped between the sole and the upper.

My Brooks Launch are my every day shoe. I don’t know how far I have walked in them but somewhere in the range of 2,000 kilometres seems plausible. My Hoka Bondi X are my easy miles running shoe. They managed a respectable 1,290 kilometres of running before retirement.

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.

Around The Park, Around The Clock 2023

Tuesday, June 27th, 2023 | Sport

The concept of Around The Park, Around The Clock is simple. Every hour, for 12 hours, we run 3 laps of Woodhouse Moor. It is roughly a 5k course making for a total of 60k over the 36 laps. In between, we sit around getting stiff.

It is organised by Toby who, this year, decided to schedule it on his birthday. That meant not only did we run a lot of laps of the park but we also sang happy birthday over and over again until he hid on the floor in his hoodie.

The weather was kind this year, as it was in 2022. My form was okay. I was pretty tired but plodded through. It’s not an event you need to rush. Nor would you want to: chatting is the best bit.

18 of us made it through all of the laps this year. But it’s not really about that. it is more about the social aspect: people can drop in and out, run some laps, walk some laps, or just sit around and enjoy the sunshine and the picnic.

I even made it to the pub this year where Toby was trying to buy people drinks despite it being his birthday.

Thank you for a lovely team, team. And a big thank you to Toby for organising the event. Finally, thank you to Laura, Toby and Lizzie for the photos.

Dublin Mountain Backyard Ultra

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023 | Sport

A backyard ultra is looped race where you have an hour to complete a 6.7 km loop. At the start of the next hour, you have to be back in the starting corral ready for the next loop or you are out of the race. The winner is the last person standing; everyone else is a DNF.

I packed plenty of spare clothes for all weather and a big bag of snacks including some homemade chicken wraps and a pizza cooked freshly in the morning and packaged up into convenient pieces. The weather was much kinder than at the official recce and everyone set up their camp outside in sunshine.

It has “mountain” in the name for the reason: there were around 230 metres of evaluation gain in each lap. Each loop started with a 22-minute slog up the hill that almost everyone walked. There was then a short section along the top before the bog field and a technical off-road descent through the forest. Finally, it joins a gravel track going back down to base camp. This is the hard way around and the opposite way to how we were promised: perhaps a bit of Irish humour creeping in.

100 people entered the race and 87 people started. By lap three, we were four runners down. The adage is “run your own race” but this was difficult given there was such a big crowd walking the first few kilometres. Being a road runner, I was slower on the bog field so slower walkers would then want to overtake me, and then on the downhill where I would open out my stride (and my gravitational advantage) I would go back past them.

I took my backpack on the first loop to get some hydration but soon decided to ditch the extra weight and eat and hydrate at the end of each lap. This was no easy task, though. Laps would take 52-56 minutes which doesn’t give you much time to do more than one thing. If I needed to sort my shoes out, change some gear, or have a wee, as well as my hourly feed and drink, things got very tight.

I was pretty grumpy the whole day. I was grumpy on lap one because we were going the “wrong” way and the technical bits were hard. Then I sank into “why am I doing this to myself”. After lap six I switched from sports drink to caffeinated drinks, aiming to do between 10 and 12 laps. 10 seemed like a round number. But then 11 would be a night lap and 12 would be one better than God’s Own Backyard Ultra.

After lap nine I grabbed my backpack with a base layer in it and swapped my cap for a buff and a head torch. 49 of us set out on lap 10 as the sun went down. I was feeling relieved by this point that I had reached at least ten. By lap 11 the sun had fully set and I was half excited for a night loop but also suffering. I felt myself wheezing up the hill and the bog field was even harder to navigate because it was impossible to tell what was hard mud and what was soft mud. I got back with four minutes to spare but had already decided I couldn’t face a fourth loop. 33 runners outlasted me.

In total I managed 73.7 km (my watch measured 69) with 2,512 metres of evaluation gain. This is double my next hilliest race, Man Vs Coast. I was moving for 9:48:57 of the 11 hours. Congratulations to Kevin Leahy who ultimately won the race with a course record 29 laps, and to fellow Brit Myles Barnes for the assist.

Dublin Mountain Backyard recce

Thursday, April 27th, 2023 | Sport

The Dublin Mountain Backyard Ultra takes place next month. The organisers put together an official recce event in which we went around the course a few times. It is so hilly. It’s pretty much three kilometres up and three kilometres back down with some technical terrain. Evelation gain is around 250 metres; significantly more than God’s Own Backyard Ultra so I might need to lower my expectations. Gorgeous views, though.