Irish Mountain
Running Association

Slí Mhúscraí Half


Mark Horvath

Slí Mhúscraí Half 09/02/2019

Slí Mhúscraí Half 09/02/2019

Here we go again off we start, straight away going in a good pace with Tom in the lead and a good group of people to follow. How I feel, how I feel myself? I just kept asking this from myself.
Well I had a very good run for myself 3 weeks ago in Ballyhoura, but of course that wasn’t a race and the wasn’t the usual top guys there on the half, so I really wanted to see how am I doing here.
I felt between these races that I couldn’t recover well and I gained weight again scaled at 92kg in the morning. I still had my ongoing issue with my teeth, sometimes better sometimes worst, and by the way if your dentist tells you that after the filling you can go for a race no problem, don’t believe to him/her. I know, I am always complaining…
So back to the start. We were going through the first style (1/100) and already was a big gap between Tom and me, so I said I am just leaving a gap between the next one and me. I was running 8th. We got through a farmyard and I have seen Tom going up the rock 2nd or 3rd, so I think he missed a turn. After couple of Styles Alan Shealy said he will pass me because he wants to chase the others, so he went off, I kept telling myself I will keep the energy for the 2nd part.
We go to a field where we headed down and I always liked this part, you can move along although there is like 3-4 Styles to go through (12/100), after that the climb started and I really didn’t feel it in my legs, but I tried my best. I knew that I could take the shorter route through the iron bridge at half way through the field (I asked the RD and he said it is ok), but as no one else did that I took the long way around as well. “Luckily” Tom led the guys the long way so I have caught the front of the field, but I didn’t put up a fight, just got back to the same position, but closer.
The uphill was quite slow for me because some of the lads started to walk, but I didn’t want to pass and use up too much energy. I have seen Dave McCarthy just 2 places in front of me and although Alan went into the lead for a while Tom passed him not much after again and by the time, we were on the fire road, he was leading again.
The fire road sometimes I felt like I am gaining, but sometimes I felt like I am falling back, anyway at this stage (5k ish) I decided that I will run my own pace and probably finish 9th, but I was hoping to wake up at half way somewhere at the windmills.
We met Henry and his crew on the end of the fire road where we started a little steeper climb and then Matt Coughlan just ran by me, however I passed him back on the way down, so it has been settled it will come down to a downhill between us if he can’t get far enough.
We went trough a little forestry section passing a nice stream, but this time I didn’t want to stop and drink from it. Then we hit the muddiest part of the race, this part is really bad, you sink with every steps if you can’t find a stone to step on and there is only few, and then it got steeper and steeper, before we climb through the style 20/100 and we hit a fire road again and passed next to Mullaghanish, where we hit the highest point of the race around 550m at 8.8K and I took my first gel.
I was seeing no one at the top which made me worry, but by the bottom of the hill I was getting closer to Matt and John O’Connell.
It is interesting as soon as we hit the bottom of that quite long descent, and we turn left and get to a short uphill section, there is all the time strong wind against us (well I guess maybe that is why the wind farm is there).
I felt quite good on the wind farm and went through fast, I could see Tom going on the board walk or before the board walk at the last wind turbine, so I measured that I am about 5 min behind. I could see other people. It is unexpectedly long run to the boardwalk, but when you get there it is very wobbly and you climb the next style (21/100) and get to a very boggy section. I could see that I was gaining on the ones ahead of me, but the ones behind me gained on me. I couldn’t wait to get over the mud and put it behind me. I took my 2nd (last) gel and really pushed the downhill. I was surprised that I couldn’t catch Mat, but I recognized I can’t gain a position so I just tried to keep a pace, so I wouldn’t be caught. I felt tired, but I didn’t push it hard through the race and at this stage I really thought it doesn’t matter anymore.
We went through the rest of the 79 styles on this section. I could see Torben from distance and it didn’t look like I am 10 min away (Turned out I was). I caught up with Mat, his knee was bad from a fall, but still walked, so I just left him (although I asked how is he doing, I didn’t stop, I was hoping he will just say “yes I am fine”) . He was as fine as later he actually closed back on me on the last steep uphill. I was a little silly, because I thought I can’t catch anyone else and I knew he was slower then me on the downhill, so I was pretty sure with a busted knee he won’t outrun me on the last section, so I just let him close the gap and then pushed the downhill hard. At the bottom Rob McEvoy was saying if you push it you can catch Tom and I was laughing (I thought he said it because I looked like someone who is pushing it very hard), but unfortunately, he wasn’t joking, because Tom had some bad turns and ran out of fuel, I think. I had my money on him for the win, but sometimes things don’t work out as we plan I suppose.
So on the end it was a very disappointing 9th place and 11 min behind the winner Torben.

The worst was in the race that before the race I gave up. I knew there is a though field and I have chickened out. I made an attempt at the start to push it, but I backed up very fast and just didn’t want to suffer and I knew I am not in that shape (I was in shape, but it is call a round shape). I hope I will be stronger in head next time, then in waist.
Well done to Torben Dahl for the win and the guys behind him they have pushed it all the way as I heard and they fought with each other, it was a good fight with Mat and Also well done Becky Quinn to win the women’s race.