28 November, 2009Report 1 John Shiels
While I had planned to trot around the woods this week I was stuck down by a lazy condition and a hamstring problem, so I opted to jog/walk parts of the course and offer encouragement while taking photos.
All was going well as the early birds flew by and I struggled manfully up the first climb while counting down to the main start and the arrival of the hordes. By the time I had reached the point where the returning runners were to leave the forest I met a couple of bewildered early starters who had either taken a wrong turn in the woods or discovered some new pharmaceutical worthy of the tour de France!
The main field soon arrived with the usual suspects leading and a few new faces among them, followed by more and yet more and then a few more. At this point I started to see people passing me for the second time with looks of surprise, shock and other emotions not suitable for this site.
Since the main field had all passed me at least once I headed into the woods thinking I'd follow the markers down and meet them as they came around for lap two, three or four in some cases! After five minutes I was lost but not alone, as disorientated runners stumbled past in clouds of mggies and asked for directions, (I helped as best I could being lost as I was).
After wandering lonely as a cloud etc, etc, I found the my way back onto the course and followed the stragglers home while trying to figure out how lost people had been to achieve such interesting placings.
We'll try again next week
Report 2 Gerard Dillon
The race started off fine, warm but not too hot, lots of flies but no midge. Good wide track to start running on and sort out the running order and a long hard climb to stretch out the field before entering the narrow forest tracks. No fear about getting boxed in or stuck behind a long group of runners. Then the junction that set the whole race around the loop in a clockwise direction (the wrong way apparently). I recall seeing a printed pointer and a person at this junction sending us that way so off we all went. A short distance down this track I came upon a group of lead runners looking for some sort of sign that we were on the right track and going in the right direction. The main problem was we were finding loads of little flags that we were beginning to realize were not IMRA flags. So what to do?
I was happy to follow the leaders and sure enough the leaders moved off through a cut in the woods down the hill. We intercepted a forest road and run back up another hill, now running the loop in an anti-clockwise direction. Soon we intercepted the race markers and the race was back on. And off we raced again. Up down, left right, mud rocks trees, everything was going swimmingly until the leaders had another loss of confidence in the direction we were running in. Because now we were meeting the rest of the field running in a clockwise direction. This caused all sorts confusion, despair and frustration.
The decision had to be made weather or not to continue in the Anti-clockwise direction or double back on my own tracks and join the other group. But I was enjoying the course and wanted to see the rest of the course and off I went again. I was beginning to think the race was over at this stage and would be scratched.
More mud, a stream with no bridge, lots of tracks and roads to make mistakes on and finally back to the famous junction where once more I met people racing in the opposite direction. No mistake this time, over the fence and charged down to the finish line. I enjoyed myself, had an adventure and went home.