Glasnamullen and an anti-clockwise lap of Djouce
29 May, 2014In the absence of better qualified race reporters, slicker of pen and quicker of foot, I'll give it a shot.
Brendan Lawlor was at the helm for the Glasnamullan & an anti-clockwise lap of Djouce race. Restrictions from the National Parks and Wildlife Service enforced a cap of 200 runners and meant the original route was not going to be allowed. But Brendan and his team turned what could have been a negative into a positive and delivered a beaut of a race with something for everyone. Fire road, trails, river crossing, boardwalk, some open ground and of course the mandatory slog up Djouce.
Brendan was coy about how long the new route was, roughly 10 or 11km, but I loved the fact that just as the countdown to set off the early starters was commencing, he appeared at the back, bellowed at them and dragged them back like naughty schoolchildren to the barrier. It might be "roughly 10 or 11k" but he was damned if it wasn't going to be EXACTLY "roughly 10 or 11k". Brendan stalked through the early starters full of horrifying tales of what is done to ringers who's finishing times are less than 160% of the winner's time (rightly so) and then sent them packing.
The rest of us started on time and threaded up through the fire road and out on the tracks towards the Wicklow Way. For myself I stuck close to Niamh O' Ceallaigh who I was hoping would keep me honest on the ascent and we all trucked up to the Wicklow way, turned right along the trail and then drove up Djouce. The only time I had run this race before was when we did the clockwise loop rather than the anti-clockwise and as a poxy descender I much preferred this version, running of the shoulder of Djouce.
Hats off (if I'd thought to bring one) to the cold marshall with the warm words at the summit and then down we went. Alas a few years off haven't changed how my races go and I haemorrhaged places on the descent. I noticed that although I summitted Djouce just in front of her, Niamh finished 16 places in front of me at the finish...fair play!
The boardwalk was fun but a little nervy and required concentration not to catch a stud on the chickenwire. We jumped off at the marshall and descended beside the forest and then a short cut across open ground to the Glasnamullan woods again where as always there is one more bloody turn of fire-road than I remembered.
A great race, won by a Junior, Killian Mooney. Is this the first time that a junior has won a senior race? Amazing performance.
Perfect course marking meant not one out of 209 runners got lost. The new (to me) scheme of only marking the turns makes massive sense.
One DNF, I saw Mick Hanney returning as we slogged up to the Wicklow Way, I hope it wasn't anything serious.
The race couldn't have been put on without the use of the field for parking so it was great to see that IMRA is building on relationships with the locals to allow this, long may it continue!
Thanks to Brendan and the team for my new favourite race!
Brian O Murchu
29 May, 2014Ah Djouce, twice in two weeks. What a test it is to get to the top without walking at all. The mountain itself seems to have a micro-climate of it's own regardless of the surrounding weather conditions.
This race does have it's own appeal and quite a varied terrain. Some things have changed from when I did this race previously in 2012:
-The narrow start has been widened by some works on the forestry road.
-Taking shelter behind Mikey Fry is not currently an option to due to my lack of conditioning to be in the top 15
-A scenic extra 2k on the way back off the summit
The anti-clockwise route is a much kinder descent than two weeks ago for those that don't have a flair for downhilling. Although I still lost around 20 places off the summit in both races, I would so love an 'uphill only' race!
Well done to Brendan & co. on a v well organised race, and such a bonus to have a few snaps from the marshals en route.
Roll on Carrick with it's long fireroad descent!