Steve carty and I won our entries in a raffle from the club with Steve taking on the half marathon and myself doing the inaugural 10km event , these were extra events for the lough cutra triathlon weekend which also included single swim events as well as sprint relays.
Other past and present craughwell ac members running today were aoife , colm , deirdre , arthur , rena , jane , mary and kevin. We also spotted val fogarty completing a triathlon event . We collected our numbers at the registration tent near the start where it was set in the grounds of the beautiful and historic surrounds of the Gothic styled lough cutra castle , the organisers had a detailed briefing for the runners before the cross country trail runs explaining the route markings and loops for each , there were also maps on display for all events.
The atmosphere was terrific and very chilled with a real festival feel with all triathlon events going on simultaneously with the races, the weather was great and not too hot.
Food and drink vendors were present along with merchandising tents and play areas for kids such as climbing walls and free yoga demonstrations.
The two distance races started in different waves and times starting from the castle incorporating looped routes generally following a route along the island dotted lake and through wooded trails across varied terrains of sloping rolled fields and gravel tracks and back through the castles outbuilding cobbled yards and curtilage. The half marathon was three loops of 7km route and the 10km completed the 7km and a shorter loop of 3km.
Before the race began we got to see the swimmers set off in the lake with appeared quite choppy for them , while another group of swimmers from an earlier triathlon race were finishing up and going to the transition area for the cycling stage. Great excitement and nice to see great athletes on the move.
Some members ran last year but I was unfamiliar with these grounds but it came apparent from first 750 metres that this was going to be a challenging route with varied terrain underfoot and twists and turns on the loop , concentration on your footing was important with all the rock outcrops and branches through the wooded areas for the first 2-3km, the hillside field parts of the route were particularly tough on the ankles as you felt the camber of the hill , the country scenery in these parts are as described in irish mythology of the tribal struggles between tuatha de danann and the fir bolg. The race stewards were seemingly part of a dance group so we got entertained by a few whom were entertaining themselves while they were out waiting on the route marshalling.
Dozens of triathletes were sharing the route also for their 3km or 4km runs at the end of their triathlons.
I tried keep pace with the front pack with the first five extending their lead considerably after the 6-7 km as we were finishing our first loop through the cobbled courtyard which gave me memories of Dublin City Marathon back in the day when they finished in smithfield market, myself and two others in close proximity to each other for the last 3 km , the terrain was starting to hurt and the pace was lessening.
We were starting we pass a few half marathoners that had started 15minutes before us for their race which mentally gives you a little boost. The final 1.5 km I pushed but did not have enough to pass the runners in front and finished up in 8th position from a small field of runners. The route measured about 10.6 km on my watch and i finished in a time of 53.06,
Aoife also finished in 16th position under the hour.The time for the last in was 1 hr 46 mins and five did not finish which shows that the terrain does not suit all runners.
Craughwell ac’s Kevin Mooney finished first in the half marathon distance in a fantastic time of 1.19.20 with steve, arthur , deirdre in top twenty finishers also , the actual half marathon measure distance fell a little short of the 21km. Time for last in was 2 hr 55 mins with one not to finish the half marathon so tough indeed.
There was about 170 participants between these two races and although it was a tough race it is well worth a revisit.
Water , Fruit and snacks were available at finish line.