Maulin Winter League Route
Deceptive tough race!
19 March, 2016 - Brian O MurchuConditions for Maulin was dry and cold. In fact it had been dry all week, and the slippyist part of the course was going uphill on the famed grassy bank!
Race Director Angela Flynn got us underway at 10:30, and I found myself near the front with what seemed a relaxed pace. So much so, myself and John Bell were having a rather casual conversation going up the first ramped section. Turning into the second ramped section, there was a group of supporters offering support and taking photos!
I had done a recce of the course the week previous and I had mistakenly thought that the section between the second ramped corridor and the grassy bank was undulating....which meant I pushed a bit too hard on the fireroad. Seems my memory had blotted out how much incline there was. At the same time I tried to keep some casual chat going with Rory Campbell, as if there wasn't a race ongoing.
Just before turning into the grassy bank, there is a slight downhill, which I used to pass two runners. Then starting the climb, it was all hands and knees type of steepness. I passed another runner almost straight away declaring "this is where the fun starts". Dermot Murphy was leading the way up the grassy bank and I didn't get much of a chance to revel in 3rd position as Bernard Fortune had caught up behind me. Competition is a strange thing, instead of going at my own pace, I became very concerned that Bernard might pass, so I pushed hard -climbing on all fours obviously. Nearing the top, I got quite close to the front two but my legs were starting to burn. Once onto the trail I needed a breather, and promptly got passed by Bernard. I managed to speed up eventually, but was still trying to catch my breath and got passed by two more runners.
Once over the summit, and passed Rachel (summit marshal), there is a small trail along the wall, but it's a very rough trail. I tried to avoid this trail by running or rather jumping up and down over the heather on the descent, with the Little House on the Prairie theme song intruding in my head. I even managed to pass someone (an unusual occurrence for me on descents). When I got to the next course marshal, Des, I thought I was doing really well but then 4 people passed me at the turn in the course, and then disappeared ahead on the zig-zags. When I had almost summitted Maulin, I had looked back to see a sizeable gap to everyone behind me, which was now undone on the descent...doh!
Barry Murray then stopped ahead due to a shoe malfunction, but got moving again before I could catch up to him. Once we got to Andrew Hanney, it was time to take another ramped section. From the recce the previous week, I had envisioned running up this section. But it was a walk the whole way to the stile. There was a short flat section before we got to a wall and a left-hand turn. There was no evidence of the dead animal that was at this corner the previous year.
Down the descents everyone ahead was no longer to be seen, and when I got to Anthony Cahill for the final climb, six people re-appeared ahead of me. I thought I could catch them all, and ran the whole way to the top. Although none of them waited for me and I didn't see any again til the finish.
Superbly organised race by Angela:) My first time completing a League since 2014!