Irish Mountain
Running Association



Maik ErlerMick Hanney

Video from a runners perspective

Hi all,
what a great day out!
here is a video of the race from my perspective at the back of the field:

A record setting day on Carrauntoohil

Carrauntoohil is one of the highlights of the IMRA year and with the weather looking promising I was keen to give it a go this year again. For a change the race was on the Saturday of the Bank holiday weekend, with the lure of another race organised by John Lenihan on Sunday for those whose legs still worked then.
For a change I stayed over in north Cork with family on Friday night and drove the short journey to the Bridia valley in plenty of time for the race. The yard was busy with cars and the usual pre-race bustle. The mountains were looking spectacular. There was some wispy clouds on the high peaks but with the sun rising up the hope was that the clouds would disappear. Pre-race it was warming up, around 16 degrees according to the car. There was no wind to speak of.
I wasn't sure what shape I was in for this. I has struggled on the Wicklow way relay the Saturday before and I'd dnfed on the Weds race as the body wasn't feeling 100%. A couple of days of easy and no running had helped though.
Figuring on warm temperatures I made the sensible decision to carry a small water bottle and some jellies and wear a peaked cap. I wore a cycling top to avail of the handy pockets. I made a few notes of the bearing to take from Caher and Curraghmore on the way down, figuring that the way up would be okay. Compass stowed in back-pocket where it would happily stay for the race.
At bang on 1 o'clock Vivian gave one of the shortest pre-race briefings ever which for those new to the route must have been worrying. It was along the lines of "I'm not going to tell you about the route, I assume you know where you are going. If you reach a lake on the way down you have gone the wrong way. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Go." From the off Tim O'Donoghue led out the runners. From mid pack I could see another East Cork runner then Jason Kehoe 2nd and 3rd on the initial climb on the Kerry way. I made steady progress on the first section of climb, not too far off Brian Flannelly with Dermot Murphy not far behind. The ground underfoot was pretty dry, moreso than previous times I reckoned.
The section to the stile on the Kerry way seemed longer than usual (maybe its me getting slower). Right turn at the stile and over rougher ground along the fence line. I made some mental notes of the fence we crossed and the fence corner we passed. On the return journey I didn't want to take a wrong turn and last year I was a bit confused to be crossing a fence I hadn't taking stock of.
Passed Eoin Keith as he was out walking the course in support of Helen and taking some snaps of the race. On the rough climb up Curraghmore Brian Flannelly easily stretched away from me. Some other runners eased passed me including Ger Griffin who was going well. Diane Wilson went past me as she normally does on this IC races. I was striding along for the most part but making decent progress and I was surprised to find myself matching Diane for pace on much of the climb towards Caher. We chatted briefly remarking on the views and on the lake on the right (Curraghmore) that we hadn't seen the previous year. We had seen very little the previous year! Valerie O'Sullivan was on the hill yet again taking some photos on the climb towards Caher. A better day for photos this year than last thats for sure. On the climb I took regular sips of water and a jelly every so often. It may not have made a difference but I convinced myself it was helping. We topped Caher and around this time we saw Tim O'Donoghue already on his way back. It seemed a while before I saw the next descender and I may have missed some as I was concentrating on my footing on the Caher technical bit. This section was a bit of a blur but I think I gained back a couple of spots along here.
I got the legs moving on the final climb to Carrauntoohil as a flurry of runners headed past in the other direction. Jason, East Cork runner (Kevin), Tom, Mike etc. Then Ger Griffin, Diane Wilson.. so the cross was quite near. A hello to Conor Murphy who was marshalling too. It was nice to have a clear run and sight of the cross this year. No big crowds of walkers this year to battle through.
Around the cross and back the way we came. Past the lines of climbing runners. Alan Ayling wasn't far behind. Dermot, Brian, Eoin and others I didn't recognise. I took it fairly conversatively on the Caher ridge. Alan got past me on this rocky section and in moments opened up a sizeable gap. I tried to keep him in my sights and hoped for a runnable section that would help me bridge the gap. On the rocky sections though Alan was tremendous and there was no staying with him.
The time went quickly on the descent. It wasn't long before we were passing the little rock cairns on Curraghmore and bouncing down the ridge towards the fence which would be our hand-rail to the Kerry way. My progress was pitifully slow along this section and a couple of fast moving, I think Northern, runners skipped past me here. A couple of boggy sections nearly put me at a standstill at places. And a couple of tiny climbs that seemed to forget descending on the way up!
No problem finding the route down and happily the Kerry way style was manned by Valerie taking more snaps. I went down the Kerry way path as fast as my old legs could carry me but it wasn't fast enough to hold off a fast-descending Brian O'Meara. One more stile to cross and the finish line. 1:46:46 or thereabouts for 20th place. My fastest time on the new route and highest place so very happy with that and obviously lots of room for improvement. In retrospect I was very happy with my decision to carry some nourishment. I think it helped.
Spoke briefly to Tim and Kevin after. I didn't know at that stage that Tim had set a record time on the route. He didn't even seem out of breath. As I was driving off (I couldn't hang around) I met the East Cork pair jogging out the road. You can never do enough running!
Well done Tim. Thanks Vivian and volunteers for your help in organising another great event and to the gods for organising a great day.