World Masters Mountain Running – Clonmel

Race Reports

Report by Guy.

We arrived in Ireland on the Wednesday evening, spending the first night on the coast by Rosslare, which allowed for an invigorating dip in the sea on the Thursday morning, before we set off for Clonmel.
The sun shone as we arrived, and as I recce’ed the first part of the course it was too warm, even walking. The first 2 km was uphill on a lane, with no respite. I train on the mile long hill up to Hanway Common above Richards Castle, but although steep, there is an occasional levelling off – not so in Clonmel. Reports indicated that the remaining 4.4km were tricky, even just walking, so it promised to be an ‘interesting’ race!
Overnight rain, and then a cool start were ideal. At the gun, I saw Steve Herington move off smartly, along with another GB over 75, Martin Ford (a frequent silver medal winner in various events), but I felt comfortable taking it a bit easy till the hill, 300m further on. Almost immediately I realised those walking were moving as ‘fast’ as me, so I alternated, running till I caught the next runner, then trying to keep pace by walking. Martin did it scientifically, running till his pulse reached 149, then walking till it dropped to 143, before running again. That way he finished the hill ahead of Steve, who was 50m in front of me. From there the climb was more gentle, over a stony, rutted track and the M70 runner (Giorgio) I’d been tracking up the hill began to pull away, but I was able to catch a few, overtaking when safe, before we started downhill on a wide forest clearing, which was mostly, perversely, just a narrow path, so overtaking Martin required patience. There followed a tricky climb up through trees, with no clear path, just roots and fallen trees, but I passed yet another(Irish) M75, so I reckoned I now had at least 5 of my category behind me, out of the 13 who started.
Emerging from the wood we ran along a flat (hurrah!) rutted track before soon turning uphill again on a pleasantly sloping path. As I came abreast of another runner (Irish, M70) I asked if he knew the course, and how much further it was. He clearly didn’t know, and had little breath to tell me anyway! So when we glimpsed runners ahead labouring up a hillside to our right it was obvious we weren’t there yet. Fortunately the slope up to the summit was just about runnable, and then just before the top was a big sign saying 500. I guessed it didn’t mean 500m above sea level, or was advertising a small Fiat car, and sure enough at the summit the finish line hove into view 200m below us. Fortunately I didn’t have anyone hot on my heels, since a sprint down the stony track could have led to a tumble.
After crossing the line, photographed by my wife who’d had to scramble 1km up the hillside, second placed Dick Spendlove wanted to know my position for team points. It seems we had 1st, 2nd and my 5th place, giving us a clear lead over the Italians and the Irish.
Due to organisational changes posted on the website after we had downloaded the earlier version, I (once again!) struggled to get to the presentation on time, held up as well by a crowd of runners at the entrance to the hall. My other problem was not having a GB top to don, not having realised that any Tom, Dick or Harry could have one simply by purchasing it. Maybe next time I’ll get it right, though the cut-off point at age 80 threatens to deny me even that faint chance.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.