18 May, 2022 - Robert CostelloMy last visit to Ardgillan was circa 2005 for an REM gig. And Michael Stipe’s dulcet tones of Everybody Hurts came to mind as we battled the wind and the rain on the beach section on what can be described as a trail race that had a bit of everything, except a mountain. Starting the race I was struck by the amount of pairs of road running shoes on show, even some vaporflys. I felt over/under dressed in my Salomons.
The race began and we were off to find every hill in the demense. First off was a two km loop around a grassy section akin to the dog park loop in Marlay. The TTs among us will be familiar with the relentless tempo sessions on Saturday mornings - this was tempo to the max. We then descended, gradually to the beach but not before a technical climb over a pedestrian flyover. Plenty of lactic inducing steps to contend with. We then hit the beach for two Kim’s of glorious May rain and southerly headwind. We turned and with the wind on our backs headed home to the trails/paths/grass of North Dublin’s finest castle grounds. At this point I was maxing out and in a typical IMRA race you get some respite by a change in terrain or a hike up a hill. Not this time. Instead we were faced with very runnable grassy sections you typically find in a lung busting cross country race. After the third or fourth climb we entered a park trail in what felt like the final section. We could hear the finish line volunteers chatting and cheering the font runners so very close? No so, one more out and back before we get there. I had a great ding dong with Derek O’Brien (a fellow TT). We pulled each other up the climbs but in that final 500m the gloves were off. Derek kicked first and I held back. I thought he was gone but something got me to give it a final kick and a sprint finish to pip him to 12th. Great races and great chats as usual. Well done to Andreas and the crew. A very enjoyable, if different, IMRA race.
Shiny happy people!