Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011......WHAT A JOURNEY !!

What a year it's been.This time last year I had just run a 2.38 marathon and began to look for a new challenge.Whilst browsing the web I came across ultra running Ireland.The idea of ultra running really appealed to me but I didn't want to say it too loud !! Working a six day week whilst trying to balance family life with a wife and two kids and a disciplined marathon training programme was hard enough.But I have a very competitive and  addictive personality,and for me I prefer to go balls to the wall,or not go at all.So it was decided.....I would now focus my attention on Ultra Running.Contact was made with UltraRunningIreland.They really sold Ultra running to me and I became even more interested  in the 100km event.Before I knew it I received the call on new years day that I would be selected on the Irish Team to run in the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km.It was like all my dreams had come true.I would be running in an international competition wearing the green of Ireland.I had to pinch myself !!

In the lead up to that race I was invited to run the Donadea 50k.This was to be my first ultra race and I wanted to make an impression on those that selected me for the national team,and prove I was worthy to wear the green vest.Long story short I managed to win the race and this set me up nicely for the ACP in March.

March 27th Perth,Scotland,Anglo Celtic Plate 2011.....My Ireland debut :)
It was a totally surreal experience for me to be kitted out in the Ireland gear and I was buzzing all weekend.
The previous day I met my team-mates and crew for the first time.A really great down to earth bunch of lads,which I think calmed my nerves some bit.One thing I have noticed since I took up running 4 years ago is the camaraderie in the sport,but Ultra running takes this to another level altogether.I was the novice in the team with the other guys boasting a vast range of Ultra running credentials,but the support and advice these guys gave me was invaluable.
Before the race all I had on my mind was running a sub 7.30 100km.This was the qualifying time for the World/European Championships.Of course I couldn't be content with running in the Irish colours or even finishing the race,I had to go one better and try to get the qualifying time at the first attempt !
I did it...Just about...7.28:59.............Roll on the World Championships in September

In the lead up to the Championships I ran the Connemara marathon and placed 3rd.Next up was the Kildare Marathon which I finished in 1st place.Two weeks later I ran the Newry City Marathon and placed 3rd again.
In July Ireland was to host the Trail World Championships and Ultra Running Ireland's Richard Donovan was an outstanding success as race director.From a personal point of view I had never ran a Trail race before,but because I was selected I decided to give it a crack.It was another international cap which I would have been foolish to turn down.On the day a lot of factors contributed to me suffering from dehydration and subsequently being forced to drop out of the race.

I was determined to put my first DNF behind me and my first race on the ultra scene was the Longford 39.3 mile Ultra which I placed 1st and restored some confidence before the big one in Holland.

So September finally arrived.World Championships were here.The whole atmosphere surrounding the event was fantastic.From the athletes village to the opening ceremony to the race itself was an experience.I was completely up for this race and had high hopes of putting in a good performance,but just like in the Trails things didn't go to plan once again.It was a big disappointment but I count myself very lucky to have represented my country at 2 word championships in one year.

October 31st I was a pacer for the Dublin City Marathon.I must say I got great satisfaction from helping fellow athletes accomplish there aims in attaining a sub 3 hour marathon.I still felt I had a decent race left in me before the year ended.I started working with coach William Sichel in early October in the hope to develop my ultra running potential.We selected some races which would be part of my training towards the World 100km 2012 in april(providing I would be selected that is)

First up was the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon.I knew this was going to be a tough race and not one for a fast time.What I wanted was a good work out.Afterall the bigger picture was Italy 2012.
As it turns out I ran a strong race on a hilly course which was enough for me to take 1st place.So that was  2011 wrapped up,and when I look back on the year tonight I just realise what a rollercoaster ride it has been.Lots of ups and even more downs,but even more importantly valuable experience gained.So here's to taking what I've learned in 2011 and turning it in to something better for 2012.

List of races from 2011

Feb -  Donadea 50km  1st place

March - Ireland debut ACP 100km 7.28

April -  Connemara Marathon  3rd Place

May -  Kildare Marathon  1st Place

May  - Newry City Marathon  3rd Place

July -   Trail World Chapionships

August -  Longford Ultra Marathon 39.3 miles  1st Place

September -  World 100km Championships

October - Sub 3 Hour Pacer in the Dublin Marathon

December - Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon  1st Place

Friday, 23 December 2011


photography cork ireland
My first race in over three months saw me make the long journey south to the west cork town of Clonakilty,for the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon.It was my first outing under the 'William Sichel regime'.Over the past couple of months training was going well and I could see noticeable improvements.The week before the race I ran a 5k PB in a training time trial so things were looking pretty good for this race.I knew beforehand that it was not going to be the easiest of courses and so I wasn't banking on beating my current PB of 2.38,and as the race went on I realised I wasn't going to get anywhere near it.

The marathon started the same time as the 10k so I got a little caught up with the early pace running the first 3 miles with the chasing 10k group.As the race thinned out and the marathon and half marathon went there separate ways I was on my own running out country roads with lots and lots of hills to get over !! I have ran hilly races in my time,but I have never seen so many in one race !! I mean it was relentless !! It was hill after hill after hill after hill.The last 4 miles were flat but I think by the time I had got to mile 22 my legs were in a state of shock.I managed to cross the finish line in first place in 2.44:18. I did manage to get a good workout even if the time wasn't that impressive ! It's never easy racing a marathon on your own from start to finish,especially on a hilly course but all in all I'm very happy to have rounded off the year with another victory.

For anybody looking for a scenic winter marathon on a challenging course this race has it all,and more ! Everything from race organisation to stewarding to aid stations to atmosphere(at the start and finish area) was top notch and I could not fault anything with my experience in Clonakilty.

I would also like to thank my sponsors Kinetica who were also one of the main race sponsors on the day as well.They provided runners with everything from energy gels during the race to recovery drinks after.

So that's my racing finished with for 2011.Next up is The Irish 50km Championships which will be held in Donadea in February 2012,and maybe a warm up in the Gloucester 50km in January,just to keep me on the straight and narrow over the festive period :)

(views of scenic west cork) 

Saturday, 26 November 2011


(above William Sichel winning the 8 day "no finish line" race in Monaco earlier this week)

Well it's been a while since I last posted anything,and I've been getting subtle reminders as to when I was gonna update the blog,so i said I'd better string a few lines together and let you all know what I've been up to over the last few months.

Since September I have been looking at ways to try and improve my performances.First major thing that stood out was my diet,so I got on to my Irish team mate Barry Murray at
Barry put me to the top of his busy list of clients when he realised how shocking my diet was!!I was eating all the wrong things at the wrong times.Not getting in enough proteins or fats.I now know what to eat every day based upon the training sessions I am doing on a particular day and eating the right foods makes a massive difference to my energy levels.So that was the nutritional side of things it was time to look at my training and see what improvements could be made at that end.

Following a previous conversation earlier in the year with multiple word record holding ultra runner,William Sichel,I am delighted that he and his training coach Shaun Brassfield Thorpe have agreed to take me on.William and Shaun have a different approach to training,and have thrown in a mixture of new elements to compliment some of what I had already been doing.Before we started working together I agreed to do as they say and to stick to the plan.Check out Williams blog

World 100k championships 2012 in Italy is my number 1 goal.Everything I do with these guys over the next 5 months will be geared towards that race.I now have more structure to my training and every session I do has a purpose and is specific to what I am doing.We have only been working together for 4 weeks but already I can see improvements in my training.

Next up for me as part of my training for world 100k,will be the Clonakilty marathon on December 10th.

After that it will be the Gloucester 50k on January 22nd with possibly another 50k race in february.
All going well that should leave me in good stead for April

Monday, 5 September 2011


IAU : International Association of Ultra Runners IAAF : International Association of Athletics Federations

                                      IAU 100K WORLD CHAMPIONSIPS 2011

I can't believe we are only 5 days away from the world 100k championships!!It's in these days leading up to a big event that nerves,excitement and a whole range of pre race emotions start to kick in.Months of training has been done and it's come to the stage now where less is more as regards training.As I begin my second and final week of the taper it's time to go through the "checklist"........

Today monday was just a very easy 7 mile run(in the lashing rain as usual!!).Tomorrow will be another short run of 8 miles with a few miles at race pace thrown in,just to make sure the legs aren't getting too comfortable :)

Wednesday I am booked in with Leon in for my pre race massage.After Longford I didn't feel too sore except for slighty tight calf muscles and then the quads were starting to play up a little but Leon sorted them out.So basically the massage is just to make sure that everything is ok and to loosen out any tight spots.I couldn't recommend highly enough the benefits of a good rub a few days before a race.

Thursday we depart for the Netherlands...........
I will probably do a light run on thursday and likewise friday.Nothing too strenuous :)
Race start is saturday at 10am local time(9am irish time)........This is where the taper ends and the small matter of racing 100k begins !!!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011


This past month has all been about getting the disaster that was Connemara out of my head!Time to knuckle down and put in some quality workouts and get ready for the World 100 in September.I knew that physically I was in good shape,even in the lead up to the trails,so it was just a case of building on that.Training over the last few weeks has gone very well but I needed a race to really see proof that I was getting things right in training.Sunday saw Longford Marathon celebrate they're 10th anniversary and for the occasion they put on a 39.3 mile ultra marathon.I decided that I would give it a shot.
For the upcoming World 100 I have 2 specific goals....."Goal A",and"Goal B"
To see if these "goals" were in fact realistic and achievable and would use The Longford Ultra Marathon a testing ground.The aim was to run Longford at 80% effort.I wanted to feel like I could continue running at a similiar pace for another couple of hours after crossing the finishing line.Whether I finished the race in 1st place or 10th place was irrelevent.This was a training exercise with the bigger picture in mind.
Long story short......I completed the race comfortably in 6.30min\mile in a time of 4hrs 16mins.I was feeling fresh when crossing the finish line and without getting dragged in to a race I managed to place 1st!Even though I ran most of the race shoulder to shoulder with 2nd placed Vasilly Neumerzhitskiy it did not feel like a race as for me it was just another sunday long run,except this time with a bit of company!Feeling strong over the last couple of miles I opened a 2 minute gap and maintained it to the finish.
All in all it was a great days training and even better to get the win which will do my confidence the world of good leading up to Holland :)
 28 August 2011 10th Annual Longford Marathon Ultra marathon winners  1st Keith White  2nd Vasily Neumerzhitky

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Kildare man John O'Regan wins Belfast 24-hour race

I am delighted to say that my Irish international team-mate John O Regan has won the national 24 hour championships.The 24 hour event is John's prefered distance and to put in a performance like this so soon after the World Trails shows his incredible talent as a top ultra runner. 

Kildare man John O'Regan set a new track record of 132 miles as he was crowned Irish champion by winning the Belfast 24-hour race.
O'Regan's distance beat the 127 miles set by last year's inaugural race winner Fermanagh man Thomas Maguire.
With Maguire dropping out after 16 hours, Madrid-based Belfast man Eddie Gallen finished second with 127 miles.
Tipperary native Deirdre Finn was first woman finisher as she produced 112 miles which left her sixth overall.
Limerick man Michael Cunningham, 46, set the early pace at the Mary Peters Track as he covered the opening marathon distance of 26.2 miles in three and half hours.
However, O'Regan, 41, moved into the lead by half distance and he went through the 100-mile barrier in under 17 hours.
O'Regan stayed on the track round-the-clock in the Energia sponsored race as did 48-year-old runner-up Gallen.
Powerful Icelandic competitor Gunnlauger Juliusson finished in third place on 120 miles.
However, performance of the race came arguably from women's winner Finn who added 22 miles to last year's best female time set by Lynne Hanna.
Hanna improved her personal best as she also went through the 100-mile barrier while Hungarian Timea Bontovics was third best female with 91 miles.
In all, 18 athletes went beyond 100 miles in the day-long event.
Belfast mother-of-two Susan McCartney collapsed in the middle of the track after running for 12 hours but after resting for four hours, then resumed the race to complete 86 miles by the finish.
The 12-hour race was won by Welshman Sean McCormack who achieved 68 miles while the Orangegrove quartet of Liz Leitch, Gary Keenan, Colin Fulton and Ralph Coetzee won the relay event with a total of 170 miles.
Race director Ed Smith spoke of the "true heroics" produced at Mary Peters Track.
"It's mind over matter stuff. And, the miles covered were amazing - especially with a very cold night and a very hot day to cope with. Well done to them all," added Smith.

Monday, 25 July 2011


As I briefly mentioned in my last post,my world championships debut did not go according to plan.In the lead up to The Trail World Championships I was very confident with my preparation for the event and had trained harder than ever.So to say that I was disappointed with my performance would be an understatement,especially the fact that it was down to a novice mistake of failing to keep myself properly hydrated.Months of hard work and sacrifices all thrown out the window just because I took the nutritional side of my game for granted.If this had happened to me during a training session I would be p***ed off,never mind a world championships!!
Well after a few days of mixed emotions of frustration,anger and feeling sorry for myself I took some time off to spend with my wife and kids.I think the couple of weeks break have done me good and now I can start to focus on what is my prefered ultra distance event The World 100k Championships in september.
So as I prepare to enter another block of training I will have learnt a very valuable lesson from my day in connemara.Each race is a learning experience,so even on the bad days there are always positives.

Monday, 11 July 2011


The official Trail World Championships took place in Connemara on Saturday 9th July and the event has been heralded as an outstanding success.
Elite ultramarathon runners from every populated continent took part in the race, incuding over 120 athletes from the athletics federations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain and the USA.
The event was also filmed for broadcast on Channel 4, Eurosport, Setanta and a host of other international channels over the coming weeks, surpassing the guaranteed international coverage of any other athletics event in Ireland this year. In addition, official London 2012 Olympic photographer, Mike King, travelled from the UK to photograph the event as well as journalists from France and Italy, which are trail running strongholds.
It was the first occasion an official world championships at trail running came to the country.
Race director Richard Donovan, who also organises extreme runs in the polar regions, planned an ambitious route of 70km, starting at Kylemore Abbey and encompassing mountains, grassland trails, compacted gravel trails, bog, loose rock trails and open countryside. He said Connemara was an obvious choice of location for such an extreme race given the amazing natural beauty of the region.
The Reserve Defence Force, Red Cross, Mountain Rescue and local volunteers were all out in force to guide and support people over the specially marked route. Meanwhile, thousands of people around the world logged on to live updates available on the race website
Incredibly, the first runner home, Erik Clavery (FRA), took only 6.39.07 hrs to complete the gruelling course. He was closely followed by Jason Loutitt (CAN) and Patrick Bringer (FRA). France dominated the team competition with Italy and Norway taking silver and bronze medals, respectively. Ireland finished 7th in the team competition and the first 3 Irishmen were Daniel Doherty 17th (7:19:18), Paul Tierney 24th (7:29:35) and Eoin Keith 27th (7:34:27).
Meanwhile, the women's race was won by Maud Gobert (FRA) ahead of defending world champion Cecilia Mora (ITA) and Lucy Colquhoun (GBR). France once again dominated the team competition ahead of Italy and Canada.
Richard Donovan said "It was a fantastic day for everybody and the bonus good weather ensured that Connemara will be showcased to millions of people around the world in a way that the region has never been shown before. The aerial footage of elite ultramarathon runners moving at speed over difficult terrain is incredible."
Adding to the day's success, the International Association of Ultra Runners awarded the Order of Merit to the organisers for their execution of the event.
On a more personal note things didn't go quite according to plan for me.Due to stomach cramps and subsequent de-hydration problems I was forced to withdraw from the race.As devastated as I was,a member of the camp told me that "each race is a learning experience so there's always a positive to take".                                                                                              
Hopefully I can learn from this and bounce back with a decent performance in Winschoten,Holland in the world 100k in september.Regardless of my dissappointment the Irish team put in superb performance and deserve great credit on what was a really difficult race.
Men1. Erik Clavery (FRA) - 6:39:07
2. Jason Loutitt (CAN) - 6:40:32
3. Patrick Bringer (FRA) - 6:47:50
1. France - 20:24:50
2. Italy - 20:56:36
3. Norway - 21:29:02
Women1. Maud Gobert (FRA) - 7:41:31
2. Cecilia Mora (ITA) - 7:50:02
3. Lucy Colquhoun (FRA) - 7:57:20
1. France - 24:00:42
2. Italy - 24:21:35 
3. Canada - 27:01:08

Thursday, 7 July 2011


Live Race Updates

Follow the Runners on Race Day!

The public can follow the race competitiors' progress live on the Internet as they pass though the race course.
Runners will be tracked at the following approximate kilometre markings: 12KM, 28KM, 40KM, 48KM, 60KM, 70KM (Finish).
Progress is expected to be slow from 28KM - 40KM and 48KM - 60KM as these areas include a mountain section.

The Countdown is on!!

Global TV Coverage for Race

The official Trail World Championships at ultra running will take place in Connemara on Saturday 9th July 2011 and this amazing event is being filmed for broadcast globally.
The Championships will be operated in the picturesque area of Connemara National Park in Connemara, Ireland starting at the world famous Kylemore Abbey and finishing in the nearby village of Letterfrack.
Elite ultramarathon runners from every populated continent are now arriving in Connemara to prepare for the International Association of Ultra Runners event. They include over 120 athletes from the athletics federations of Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Spain and the USA.
A strong Irish men's team could feature in the final shake-up for team medals for the host country.
The athletes must run a total distance of 70km on a course that encompasses mountains, grassland trails, compacted gravel trails, hard packed trails, bog, loose rock trails and open countryside. During the race, they will also run over Benbaun mountain twice, which has a summit height of 729 metres.
Aerial footage will be spectacular and race director Richard Donovan confirmed the event will be filmed for multiple half-hour broadcasts globally to millions of people. Among the confirmed broadcasters are Channel 4 and British Eurosport as well as a host of other networks on every continent bar Antarctica.
Furthermore, official London 2012 Olympic photographer, Mike King, will travel from the UK to photograph the event.
A parade of the nations will take place on Friday 8 July at 5.30pm in Letterfrack, Connemara and the race begins at 7am on Saturday 9 July at Kylemore Abbey

Monday, 4 July 2011


Well it's race week,and undoubtedly the biggest race of my career is only days away.After months of training and a few weeks taper I'm ready to race in my first world championships!If someone told me six months ago that I would be running in an Ultrarunning World Championship event as part of the Ireland Team I would have laughed at them,but fast forward to now and that dream is a reality!
The last two weeks of training for me were quiet difficult as I suffered alot from fatigue and couldn't figure out why my energy levels were so low.It got to the stage where I was getting so tired I paid a visit to my gp to get bloods done.In the meantime I have been forced in to taking a slightly longer taper than I planned.Turns out my iron levels were very low,which explains a lot!Luckily I got it checked in time and have had time to get some proper iron supplementation in to me.It's funny how we all underestimate the power of rest.Now that my body has had time to recover and repair itself, my energy levels have soared!I have been doing some shorter faster workouts this week and I feel totally recharged.I don't want to jinx myself,but I feel in the best shape of my life,and hopefully I will peak at just the right time.........THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
We have a very strong Irish team for this event and also we have the advantage of being on home soil with hopefully lots of local support to encourage us along the way.
So the rest of this week will see me running some easy miles and plenty of stretching before making my way to Connemara.First on my list is a visit to Leon in Physiozone for my pre race rub just to loosen out any tight muscles.Leon has been a great help to me during my training.When I'm out training hard damaging my muscles it's Leon who has the job to repair all the damage I've done,and when you are running lots of miles it takes alot out of the body.I couldn't recommend highly enough the importance of regular physiotherapy to supplement ones training.
So the hard work is done......I hope!!The miles have been logged.The hours in Ozone gym have been put in and the body is now recharged and ready to go!
Keep posted for updates on

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Just back from recceing the course for the upcoming world trails in Connemara,and I have to say it has all the ingredients for a cracking race!!It was great to meet up with my Irish team-mates again and also to meet a few new faces in the squad.The course has something on offer for all tastes,forest trail,gravel path,grass roads,bog and some stunning mountain peaks.
I'm not sure how this course compares with other world championship courses but I think every competitor will relish running around such spectacular scenery.The fact that it is a 2 lap course will make it all the more

Friday, 3 June 2011

Irish Team For World Trail Championships

Today is a very special day in my sporting life.I have been selected to represent Ireland for the second time this year but more notably it sees me make my debut at World Championship level.To get the opportunity to compete against the best in the world wearing the green singlet will be both a challenge and an amazing experience which I am truly looking forward to.

Ireland have entered a strong men's team for the IAU Trail World Championships in Connemara.
The team is captained by John Byrne, who was first Irish finisher at the Anglo Celtic Plate 100km when finishing third in 7:09:33.

Thomas Maguire, the Irish 100km (7:05:06) and 24 Hour (248.392km) record holder is additionally on the six-person team.

UK-based duo Daniel Doherty, who has a PB of 7:19:29 for 100km, and Barry Murray, who has posted very strong peformances in UK trail races, are also in the squad.

Keith Whyte, another sub-7:30 hrs 100km runner and who recently won the Kildare Marathon, runs in his first world championships.

Paul Tierney, winner of the Wicklow Way Ultra and the new record holder for the Wicklow Way, makes his debut for Ireland.

In addition to the team, trail running legend Eoin Keith will represent Ireland as an individual. Keith is making a comeback after injury and finished 11th in the 2009 Trail World Championships.

John O'Regan, a 24-Hour international athlete, is also entered as an individual.
The squad, which has a representative from all four Irish provinces, will be managed by Tony Brennan and John Collins.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

IAU Trail World Championships Website

Check out the all new website for the upcoming IAU TWC.
Keep up to date with all the news stories regarding the World Trails.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dan Doherty takes Bronze in Brecon Beacons 40

My Ireland team mate Dan Doherty ran a cracking race in the gruelling Brecon Beacons 40 miler to finish 3rd.The race was packed full of Britains elite ultra athletes.Dan held off some top class opposition to claim the bronze medal position and a performance like this is a massive boost to the Irish Team's chances of success in the upcoming Trail World Championships in July.
You can check out the full race report on Dan's blog

Monday, 16 May 2011

Kildare Marathon

After work on saturday it was home to pack the bags and hit for kildare for sunday mornings marathon.The race was an 8am start so I was tucked up in bed by 10pm.The hotel kindly obliged by having an early breakfast for me before I headed to the Curragh for the race.I arrived at the Curragh by 7.30am giving me enough time for my warm up and a quick chat with my Irish team mate John O Regan who was pacing for the 3.15 hour marathoners.Race start was fast approaching and the atmosphere was building.
Me with the winner of the ladies marathon

The whole purpose of this race was to use it as a faster paced training run and to practice taking on fluids at the water stations.As we lined up at the start there was a few of the 'usual suspects' that I recognised from various other races.As soon as the gun went I found myself out in front on my own.This is a pretty rare position to find yourself in a marathon.........well for me anyway!!After about 4 miles I was joined by Peter Mooney.We ran shoulder to shoulder for the next 16 miles having a bit of a natter along the way to pass the time.Approaching the 20 mile mark we appeared to have a 10 minute lead over the third placed guy.My plan of using this as a training run went out the window!I was now in a position to win a marathon!.They say a marathon is a '20 mile warm up for a 10k race',so once we hit mile 20 I decided to make my move.I opened up a gap of about a minute or so and thankfully held on to take 1st place in 2.40:39 with Peter Mooney a brilliant 2nd only 30 seconds behind.

So my first marathon win in the bag.What an amazing feeling!My focus will remain on the world championships,but I would like to run another marathon or two in between.This might be my first and maybe my last marathon win but now that I have won one I know what that feels like.........and I'm hungry for more!

And they're off!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ennis Track take County Titles

Sunday last was the Clare AAI 4 mile road championships held in doonbeg and hosted by my former club St.Johns.The course was flat and fast but with a very strong breeze to make things a little challenging.Personally I wasnt expecting great things as I had ran 45 miles in the 2 days previous,so it was a case of do as best I can to help the team.As it turned out we secured both senior and novice team titles in the mens race and our ladies took the team title over 2 miles.
Liam Markham used the race as a tempo run and won the mens race in an impressive 19:49!

For me the days training was only beginning as I was off home for a 22 mile run in ballygrifey woods......No rest for the wicked!!

Back to Basics

As an athlete I am always in search of ways to increase my athletic performance,so when I spoke with my Physio Leon down in Physiozone,he kindly donated a pair of Vibram Fivefinger KSO's to try out in training.Over the past week or so I have introduced a little barefoot running to my training.Having read up on the whole barefoot thing all the arguements for made alot of sense!However as I found out the hard way barefoot running can also be quite painfull when running on the road!Thats where the Vibrams come in......They offer protection to the feet while getting as close to barefoot running as possible.So one of my first runs in my new vibrams was the ClareAAI 4 mile Road Championships on sunday,in which I was within 10 seconds of my pb,and that is without having done any speedwork for well over six months.So from a performance point of view they get a big thumbs up!!

As with trying out anything new it takes alot of practice and time and Leon has advised me to gradually introduce the use of vibrams into my training.So its one week down and its all good apart from a little calf soreness which I'm sure I can live with!

Elsewhere whilst I am continuing with my preparations for the Trail World Championships in july I will also be running the Kildare Marathon this sunday.After a few weeks of high mileage training it will be interesting to see how the legs react,especially the calves!!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Connemara Race Report

It has only been 2 weeks since the 100km Anglo Celtic Plate in Perth.I had planned on taking 10 days of complete rest to recover.But having received an invitation to run the connemarathon I decided to run it rather than race it and treat it as a training run.I had a very bad experience here last year and I was also hoping to banish those demons whilst "training"!I started out very easy knowing from experience what lay ahead in the second half of the race,going through half way in just under 1.25.The much hillier second half felt very comfortable because of the conservative start and I found myself passing struggling runners over the final 10k.I didn't have any expectations from this race only to better my performance of last years event(i had to walk last 10 miles last year!).Crossed the finish line in 2.51:16 in 3rd place.

Next up will be the IAU Trail World Championships in july(if selected),with maybe one or two shorter tune up races in between.So from now on the majority of my training volume will be done on forest trail.....the hillier the better!!

IAU Trail World Championships

The IAU Trail World Championships will take place in Connemara, Ireland on 9th July 2011.
Connemara is a spectacularly beautiful area in County Galway on the west coast of Ireland. The event will be operated in the area of Connemara National Park and its surrounding environs. See for information about the park.
Starting in the village of Letterfrack, the course will first traverse Diamond Hill, which consists of two circular loop trails conjoined in the middle in a figure eight fashion. There are switchbacks in the steeper sections of the hill and a large section of boardwalks along the lowlands for a cumulative distance of 7km. Diamond Hill reaches a height of 442 metres and rewards athletes with expansive panoramic views of all of the Connemara area, including the Twelve Ben Mountains, Kylemore Abbey and Kylemore Lough, which the runners will encounter later in the course.
Following their return from the Diamond Hill summit, athletes will run a loop of approximately 30km twice and encounter asphalt road, bog, conventional trail paths, streams, forest and mountains for a true trail run in nature. They will have to negotiate Benbaun Mountain twice, which has a summit height of 729 metres. It's undoubtedly a tough course that could well suit 100km runners, long distance mountain runners and 24 hour runners alike.

Diamond Hill, Connemara

Kylemore Abbey, Connemara

Kylemore Lough, Connemara

Cottage in Connemara

Top of Mountain in Connemara

Record Run at Anglo Celtic Plate

Ireland's Keith Whyte, John Byrne, John O'Regan, Thomas Maguire and Daniel Doherty
John Byrne led home a record breaking run by the Irish men's 100km team at the Anglo Celtic Plate (Home Nations) in Perth, Scotland on 27 March 2011.
A relative newcomer to ultrarunning, Byrne ran an incredible time of 7:09:33 to finish third in the individual competition behind Craig Stewart of Scotland (7:01:36) and Alan Smalls of England (7:04:54). It was the second fastest time in history by an Irishman.
Ireland's Daniel Doherty (7:19:29) and Keith Whyte (7:28:59) finished 6th and 7th, respectively, also posting qualifying times for the World 100km Championships in September. The trio ensured a new Irish 100km team record time of 21:58:01, eclipsing the record set by the Irish team that finished 5th at the European 100km Championships in 2007.
Team captain and Irish record holder Thomas Maguire was fourth Irish finisher on this occasion and fifth finisher John O'Regan set a PB over the 100km distance.
The performance also ensured second place behind Scotland (21:43:36) in a highly competiive team competition which saw Commonwealth Champions England finish 3rd.

John Byrne crosses finish line in 7:09:33

Daniel Doherty in action at Anglo Celtic Plate

Keith Whyte qualifying for World 100km