Irish Mountain
Running Association

Djouce (Earl's drive) trail


David PowerGraham K. BusheMikey Fry

A mountain rain without mountains

What is a mountain run without a mountain to climb?
An "oxymoron" I'm sure all you scholars of the English language will tell me.
I'd sent out a whatsapp message to encourage a few of our Wicklow Way Relay team to come along for a re-union on the hills, describing it as a "gentle run". It turned out to nothing less than full gas from the start, so scrap that easy run idea. On the plus side there was Djouce looming above Powerscourt waterfall, but luckily we didn't have to go up there into the swirling wind and menacing cloud.
Instead we had a fast fast race for 30 minutes. A downhill start got the legs turning, despite the dog getting caught up in things due to Rachel's sudden "3,2,1,go" countdown. Another reason the gentle tag was ditched was the competitive field who showed up. Stalwarts like Ian Conroy, others like Rory Burke, Killian Mooney and Robin Mooney. Thankfully Matt and Ruairí were only marshalling tonight.
On summer evenings, there's no better way to get to an IMRA race that on the bike. A 45min spin from work got me there on time and I even passed 2 participants who ran up the big hill. Fair play to Rory and Martin - I think anyone who arrives on foot or bike should get a 1 minute headstart - it would solve the car parking challenges and do our bit for the environment. Warm up is built in for free!
The race itself was great. Nice try trails, with a few streams to get the feet a bit wet. Lots of log hopping & dodging. More switchbacks through the forest than Alp d'Huez. All nice and sheltered, really peaceful and quiet in there. I was racing Robin for the first half, keeping him on my shoulder. He gratefully called my error on "nearly" taking a wrong turn (I got eager before the last flag on a turn) - we didn't want any DQs or investigations for "not following the entire course". Enough of that earlier in the year.
After the turn for home, up the hill he broke away and then I was chasing the 3 runners within reaching distance ahead - Matt, Robin and some other guy in blue. The descent home was lovely and gentle, really nice fast running, not technical in the main, except for a few mountain bike trail descents.
All in all, much better than doing an interval session around a busy park. None of that looking at splits, or heart rate, or thinking about recovery and pace. Just pure racing, even if there wasn't a mountain involved.

Earls Drive 2022

Wow, what a rush!
I commented to a few fellow runners, that this was my first “Wednesday race” this year doe to other commitments. Looking back at my race results I realised it was my first since July 2019!
With training cancelled at short notice, I decided to pop up to Djouce woods, fiver in hand, hoping to find someone with a spare voucher. That someone turned out to be David Power, Thanks! Signed in and presented my chip at the laptop. Conor was looking intently at the screen, I explain that it’s been a while…
After a quick warm-up and a few chats,. we get the pre-race info from RD Rachel. Then in a flash there was a mad dash - legs, arms, bodies flying in all directions, well mainly one direction, down the fire road. This was quickly followed by a flurry of activity just ahead of me to the right… Jumping , bumping, whistling, more arms and elbows. I notice a dog “running with the pack” having a great time. We eventually passed and I realised this is an ‘all out’ dash as we continue the descent. My watch pinged. 1km 3:33, and I immediately worried about that coming back to bite me. But I hadn’t time to think about it. I was being passed by a number of runners and the leaders were already well out of sight. At last we got to the first stream crossing and I was looking forward to a calmer paced run up the zig-zaks (yeah right!). I managed to take in a stone or something crossing the stream through a small hole in the toe of my runner. I spent another couple of kilometres flicking my foot and kicking the ground to shift it (so if you were behind and wondered whatever was going on…) I did somehow manage to expel it without having to stop. I was listening for the watch beeps, trying to calculate what was left (I know, and I wasn’t even halfway) The positioning had settled for a bit as we ran past the old boathouse. The stepping stones at the next crossing were perfect and I gained (probably 0.1) of a second on the two runners ahead of me who ran through the water, but it was a psychological boost :)
Onto the new section. As I rounded the corner, I spotted Mikey and Becky just ahead. Mikey broke stride for 2 steps so I pushed to make a move, passing Becky as I tried to open the gap, again hoping I wouldn’t pay for it later. But these were two runners I didn’t want to have to contend with closer to the finish. The run through the forest was great. This is a lovely trail and I hope it’s inclusion will be retained. A nice bit of descent followed, though I didn’t really get much more momentum going. Back out onto the original route and I pretty much settled in for the finish. With 1km to go I tried to push a bit, but there wasn’t much in the way of a response. Now I remember what I was missing all these Wednesdays. Phew!
Thank you so much to Rachel and all the great volunteers. Well done for getting this rescheduled and rerouted after all the tree felling. Another very enjoyable evening.

To all the great IMRA gang, remember, if you too liked that new section coming up from the old reservoir and through the forest, this will feature in some of the Kilmac Running Festival races later this year… just sayin’…
g :)

Brutal earls…

Well that felt brutal from the start had to try and get dog to stop running with us and tripping us up I think my whistling might have worked probably cause I had past him so an interesting start to a down hill fast start I decided not to keep up with super fast runners and there were loads of them there tonight just do my own thing up the winding trees being pasted by everything even the trees were faster then me Becky sneaks by my sea swim earlier I thought I’d by a lively rabbit but more like a slug eating french fancies and drinking tea I think the fact that Matt had given me big mouth donuts for latter made my legs turn into donuts:))thanks again they were yummy up the new way puff puff around and down which I usually come alive but struggled down onto the path still running still being past boom sprint home and Brian still manages to sneak by me nice one dude hope you get a good turn out for your race at weekend on Sunday looks amazing..thanks again Rachel and crew you did it again…as I stuff my face with donuts good night Imra lots of fun … Mikey