Another fun Howth Winter race
27 January, 2024 - Garrett AhernThe race was so much fun, great to be back and feeling good, I haven’t run it in 4 years, my last one was March 2020.
We started East of Howth Castle, an uphill start to thin out the pack. I found my steady pace soon enough, making good ground but leaving enough in the tank for what was to come. When we reached the level of the hotel, there was yet more uphill to come, a slippy muddy ascent until reaching the top of the sleeper steps, then a fast descent down them and across to Aideen’s grave, sharp left and up and up around the side below Muck Rock (there was a lot of walking runners as legs burned out near the end of the ascent) until eventually reaching the top of the rock, then recovery time with a level to downhill dash across the rocky garden and through the woods including a dip under a tree trunk, swinging right through the bog of frogs area and hanging left just before hitting the golf course, with a hectic clamber to the top of the hill, not as harsh as the old course through the steep scree section, but still hard going and runners walking to recover and legs getting a bit jellied.
After reaching the top, a nice recovery section along the ridge line and downwards to the right for a loop around by the golf curse, then back up by the 3 aerials and fast as possible down all the way to the GAA pitch, round the side of it and flagging, another climb all the way back up to the path level above the GAA pitch, then hanging right and downwards past the bog of frogs then through the woods.
I thought the path would take us straight back to the sleeper steps but no, we hung right through some muddy trails and a very steep climb up a muddy bank above the reservoir, hanging left, then a steep descent down the same bank. Thick gloves were handy here for slipping down it, as well as in many spots for grabbing branches & leaves for balance / slowdown.
After that, soon enough we were back to the top of the sleeper steps to finish behind the hotel.
17 July, 2018 - Tom BlackburnRobbie set this race up a few years ago and at the time I remember wandering where the hill's might be, I am still wandering but no one can deny it is a great run.
We arrived to see Linda and Mairead under a new tent with reg set up and ready for business. The crowd were close behind and soon the car-park was full. The girls identified the route was very short so pushed the start down to the outside barrier in order that the race would be broke up a little before the closed barrier and the single trail. The route was changed last year and is over a km short but it was too late to change the whole course on the night with the maps up and everything in place.
We started out just after 8pm, 80 runners and a mad dash to get to the single trail. I led for a while as I was conscious of getting held up in the narrow paths. As soon as we got back on to fire roads 3 runners passed me Paul Deane, Colm Ryan and Derek Kiely. The pace was lively but it didn't begin to to open up.We worked hard and the pace was quick we were together to the top of the course but when we crossed the river Paul opened up a few yards of a gap on the quad-bike trails and by the second river crossing was 10 yards clear. Colm was second and looking good, I was just a few strides behind Derek but when we got back across the river to the fire roads and no one seemed to be making a move I decided to push on before the Bridge. I passed Derek and tried to narrow the gap to Colm,Trish was stewarding here and as I reached the bridge Paul was just leaving it, Colm was on it and we were heading for a few hard climbs. We worked hard going up the few pulls and Colm was holding the gap but there is a sharp descent half way up and I felt he was getting tierd,the gap narrowed so I went for it Colm had given everything and probably didn't know how close to the finish we were. I squeezed by and just got in ahead of him Paul had secured the win.
It was very fast from start to finish, I think a lot of people got caught by how short it was.
Kealey Tideswell had a great win after the great win she had in the Cahir Half Marathon last Saturday. Debbie Mc Carthy was second Lady and Gwen Conroy was third Lady on the night.
Thanks to Mairead, Linda and All the Volunteers for a well organised event and for the tea and goodies after and the fact that it rained on the night there was fore taught in putting up that tent.