Maulin - Tonduff
20 June, 2014Feeling somewhat like a â€œpimpâ€ I eyed up several men around the car park at The Glencormac Inn. I was somewhat relieved that a halt was called to my furtive mission when John McCann approached and we agreed to car pool. Declan then rolled up in his nice shiny car adding to the gang and offered to drive, though he admitted the air con wasnâ€™t working â€“ we quickly excused him seeing as the only air con in the Punto is the open windows.
Arriving nice and early always affords one the chance to chat and mingle beforehand which usually forms a significant part of my pre-race preparations. I did however make an effort to skip up some of the steps at the start of the first climb just to get the aul heart pumping. I was more concerned in ascertaining that we would not be descending the same way and sought Bernardâ€™s advice. In his true laid-back fashion Bernard just grinned and admitted he didnâ€™t know and didnâ€™t appear perturbedâ€¦I did suggest that he might be leading the race and it would be good to know where he was going (I must be psychic as Bernard did indeed win â€“ well done Bernard).
Soon it was time to line up and after our instructions off we galloped/shuffled/struggled. The first climb up the steps only whetted the appetite to what lay ahead. The heat very soon started to take its toll and after the first climb some people were struggling on the short flat path before the grassy slope. I was feeling good after a fistful of Jelly Babies before the start and found that I was passing people on the grassy slope, the steeper the gradient the better. Mindful that my descending skills are not my strongest point I ignored my screaming muscles and plodded on. I passed and was passed several times by Ercus but knew he would fly off once we started to descend. The usual suspects in the Ladies section were around me notably Niamh Oâ€™Gorman, Helen Dixon, Kim and Siobhain. We all are pals and hugs, hair tips (Jim Fitzharris joined in on this one last week at Sorrell Hill!) and general gossip are exchanged before and after the race and Helen (being a lady) always has the grace to apologise as she gallops past me on the descent and Niamh even gave me a chance to catch up by holding the wire fence for me at Sorrell Hill to climb over â€“where else would you find such comradeship or is it that she is just kind to old Ladies?
Once we neared the summit of Djouce it was a helping hand on the backside from Ercus (always the gentleman!!) that propelled me the last few yards and a quick look confirmed that Niamh and Helen were only 20 metres further back with Kim right behind them. I shouted across a warning not to pass me and off I set in single file behind Ercus down by the wall. The pace slowed somewhat due to a nervous downhiller ahead and to be honest I was relieved but once the path widened Niamh passed me and was not to caught again! It was a fabulous sight to see so many runners out enjoying the evening sun and the quick glance at the views had you feeling glad to be alive â€“ even though you felt you were in the throes of a minor heart attack!
Just before the final descent Helen had the gall to pass me and try as hard as I might I couldnâ€™t catch her but the feeling of elation and delight at the good evening spent with pals was worth the pain in the bum glutes the next day.
Well done to Sam and his team â€“ the best race so far in the calendar in my opinion.