Irish Mountain
Running Association

Carrick Mountain


Mikey FryWarren SwordsPeter O'FarrellBrian Kitson

Put them down fast...

So let’s start backwards today got home to making kids lunch’s man I still can’t get them done before the kettle boils hopefully I’ll have it down by the end of the league:) showers kind of broken but chilling with tea and toast what a why to end the day..which started as all Wednesdays do thinking about how long before I can how a little treat after the fun always comes down to the lads having pizza again (why can’t they understand it’s Wednesday not Thursday)at bowling this time I had a wee piece but keeping one for the car being just over the hill at Brittas Bay I didn’t have to far to go but the usual the closer you r always pushing for time so met ben at Reg he needed vouchers and we headed up to race nice little warm up and chats with lots of people off on a bit some stretches a wee and back to start..John got us going on this brilliant race coarse made up by Niamh Paul retired from marking coarse so mike stepped in and made a super job..and were off up the fire road hard left and I’m out of breath writing this it’s such a good uphill and long warren put up an article about power walking which I got tired writing that...over the bike jump people pushing hard over the first fire crossing up again places changing a good bit warren passed me so I keep up with him for a bit it just keeps going passed warren pushed on to the top mike send us right down different spot aaron I think was ahead who i passed bernad breathing down my neck and John bell then passes me I push on after John over the crest and down through over grown part really nice I’m literally standing on John bernad standing on me pats up there to with alasdair I think we push tree branches out of the narnia forest and blast down through the trees bernad passes me I over take John and pat flying down we hit the fire road I’m pulling back a bitTrying to hold off John and pat but not happening so I’m pushing down another small hill back onto last stinky fire road Luke maher passses me so in decide to keep up with him hit a hard left and back to the good stuff I eventually pass Luke and head off on the last hill up I hear another runner it’s eoin so he passes me and I follow right behind and I decide no way he’s beating me two weeks in a row so I pass him out hit the top and it’s hunting time for me o love this descent so I go flat out pass alasdair and dude in swimming shorts(don’t worry people it wasn’t John bell))down to last section just managed to pass pat foley hit the fire road but pat passes me and nicks the first m40 well done dude on around a few more bends and were finished phew that was a sweaty one...warm down might be my first with peter in second place Farrell eoin John in third place bell and pat heading back to the pub we meet Owen who unfortunately went the wrong way and ended up at the gaa who was flying at the front off he race also with Ian sorry lads you need to slow down:)back to pub more great chats....

Well done to Luke who’s looking hard to beat this year and to all the other winners...

Conor who after my comment last week I’m the fastest results dude in town...

And off coarse John and his merry people what a race thanks again...

Mikey knackered out....

Warren Swords

The third Leinster League race saw the first real tester of a hill climb.

1.6km climb of 262 metres with an average grade of 15%.

King of the mountain on Wednesday was once again Luke McMullan with a staggering time of 11 minutes 17 seconds, taking almost 90 seconds off the record and a clear 46 seconds ahead of the chasing pack.

Second to the top was Ian Conroy in 12.03

Third was Peter O'Farrell and David Power on 13.03.

What goes up, must come down:

King of The Descent was Mikey Fry in a time of 4 minutes 08, a new record.

Second place on the descent was Warren Swords in 4 minutes 12

Third place was John Bell in 4 minutes 19.

All based on Strava data.

Peter O'Farrell

This was my third Wednesday night race in a row, a fact that didn't go unnoticed amongst some of my wife's friends.

Niamh O'Ceallaigh - Where's Orla?
Bronagh Cheetham - Where's Orla?

and so on. The sisterhood had me rattled, I'll admit it.

On to the race and for the third Wednesday in a row (ahem) we had an absolute cracker of a route. The new Bray was great, the new 3 rock was super and this returning Carrick has a savagely sustained steep climb/descent. To overuse the phrase, it really is a rollercoaster.

I had used up my meagre emotional rollercoaster capacity watching the clock earlier in the evening - 6:10pm appeared and I was still pretending to be a responsible adult at home. I thought of Mikey Fry and him always not eating before the race as I wolfed down a couple of rounds of sambos and a mug of coffee to keep the oul energy levels topped up. I had resigned myself to a local jog around 3 rock when Ronan appeared at 6:14pm like a ray of light and with a burst of optimism "loads of time, we'll easily make it, let's go". Sure enough he was right and we signed on just before the gates came down.

Going to the races every Wednesday also let's you build up a little friendly rivalry. Luke "the winner" McMullen is so far ahead that there's no rivalry there (meanie - 8% quicker) and so instead I tend to focus on my M40 rivals. Sad but true, especially when both John Bell and Warren Swords are better descenders, Pat Foley is faster on the flat and the aforementioned Mikey Fry is faster at the start and the downhill and that's just tonight's competition. We all get a chance to shine essentially depending on the course profile.

The Race Director, the race markers, the marshalls, the sandwich makers and the lovely sign on ladies+gentlemen all did a super job and we raced our little leggies off and had the craic.
I eased into it on the climb, maybe Mikey was right about the 6.12pm sambos, and after a while there was no one to follow - Luke being too far ahead. The marking was good, Mike Jordan on summit marshall duties shouted "there's only one marshall" so I watched for fluttering tape carefully until I saw the marshall and then promptly turned off watching mode and ran past him in the wrong direction. Crazy how the brain works when all the blood is in the legs. He called me back and from there home it was steady eddie with some blood re-directed to the ears for the downhilling assaults of John/Warren/Bernard but thankfully that didn't come before the line.

Great stuff and we even cajoled Mikey into a cooldown after, he was very suspicious of such a notion but tried it out.

Super race, well organised and a great little pub afterwards for a pint and those yummy sambos.

The Battles that Matter

Last night at Carrick, half way up that brutal bloody slog of an opening climb, I found myself in an almighty battle with a young whipper-snapper. I’ll admit it caught me off guard. There I was, head bent forward, sweat pouring from my face like a watering can as I huffed and puffed my way up and this young lad just breezed past me. Cool as you like, like. I had abandoned any notions of actually running up the hill approximately 30 seconds into the climb and instead adopted my trusty ‘plan b’ strategy of a plodding power-hike interspersed with (very) short bursts of running. To be fair, I was moving at slug’s pace and there was a procession of runners easing their way past me but this young lad passing me by completely took the biscuit. The brazenness of it, and worst of all it turned out to be Caoimhin MacMaolain’s eldest lad, Rian. The betrayal! Earlier in the evening I’d had a very pleasant journey to Carrick with Caoimhin, Rian and his two brothers, Donnacha and Cathal. Rian is in the middle of his school exams at the moment and like all the MacMaolain boys (of which there are many) he is polite and pleasant to a fault. So, you can imagine my shock that he’d pass me like this. Nonchalant as you please and not even the faintest hint that it was taking anything out of him at all. Young people today, no respect for the elderly.

In truth though, despite the floods of sweat I was leaving in my wake and looking, to the casual observer, like my head was about to blow off, I was happy enough with my progress. I couldn’t go any faster but I wasn’t getting any slower either and after an epic dual to the death, which Rian was completely unaware of, I finally managed to pull away from him. By the time I had reached the winding trail up towards the top of the initial climb I was feeling reasonably recovered and ready to push. Gareth Little had been the last person to pass me on the gully and we now exchanged positions once more before clambering over the rocks where Mike was stationed.

This is a race for those with rubber ankles, and rubber ankles I have not. I’d reccied the course on Sunday with Sonya, so had a reasonable sense of this top loop. It’s undulating with plenty of rough ground and I cursed myself on the way down from the initial summit traverse when I rolled my ankle on the heathery single track where foot placement was difficult to see. A weak ankle is my Achilles heel. I’ve been managing it for a few years now with an on and off regime (mostly off tbf) of ankle strengthening exercises. It felt good lately and was lulled into the false sense of security so it was disappointing to feel that old familiar pain. I ran a quick diagnostics check and it didn’t seem too bad though and felt that with careful foot placement it shouldn’t cause me too many problems. I pushed on and was consistently picking off runners for the rest of the loop until I arrived at the final big climb back to where Mike was based. Looking up I was surprised at how long and steep the trail ahead looked. Perceptions change and grades increase depending on whether one is climbing during an easy recce or race conditions. I had resigned myself to losing places as I’d need to resume my ‘plan b’ hiking strategy. However, the grade was just about manageable enough to keep my legs ticking over the whole way up and I even closed the gap on a couple of lads ahead of me.

But by the time I dropped off the rocks to descend they were already out of sight. I gave chase but the careful foot placement my ankle required isn’t really an option blasting off a steep technical descent like this and it was frustrating not to be able to fully commit to this magnificent downhill. I was still moving reasonably well enough and just managed to catch a couple of people before I arrived at the high mountain bike jump located just before the fire-road. This would be my final flourish. I’d leap from this platform like a national hunt thoroughbred! In reality I skidded, stalled, picked up four faults and embarrassingly shimmied down on my backside to the ground below.

Ben Mooney was among the procession who’d passed me by on the opening climb. I’d managed to finish ahead of Ben in a couple of recent races and my chest was beginning to swell with pride. Who would have thought I would ever be up racing with Ben Mooney, I beamed to myself? This was a different type of route though. Proper hills and in Ben’s back yard and he simply blazed past me on the climb and tore off into the distance. But who should I see on the fire road back to the finish line only the man himself. ‘Game on’, I thought. One doesn’t catch a pro like Ben without putting in a shift so, I let fly. Unfortunately, he let fly too. Oblivious to the fact that he was in the fight of his life he cruised across the finish line five seconds ahead of me and he began shooting the breeze with other runners while I planted my hands on my knees panting for next 15 minutes. Touché, Mr Mooney.

What an evening of wonderful running. Many thanks to John and his team for putting on such a terrific experience.

Glancing to my side on that gully, I noticed something in Rian’s eyes as he passed me. A steely look of unshakable determination. Of course, his eyes were on a much more substantial prize than me; the old man. Every boy craves the primal satisfaction of finally beating his father. Rian bounded up that hill past his dad like a spring deer and opened up a nice gap as he sped around the top loop. Coming into the gully that led the way back down he held his breath for a moment and dared to think of the possibitity of what might be. He dashed through the forest, 1000metres to go…900m….16 years following in the father’s footsteps but now the father follows in his…800m…700m and then finally…inevitably, crushingly he hears the words, ‘good running, son’ as the father passes by. Isn’t it great to have the whipper-snappers out all the same? Til next week.