Race report by Trevor Lloyd

Race photography by Judith Lloyd

The day dawned bright and clear, unlike the previous two when it had rained. It was the 3rd Sunday in September and the running of the 34th Ronde Ceretaine – a 20km race in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
The start area in the grounds of the local rugby club was its usual buzz – the local ‘umpha’ band, clubs getting group photos and girls doing strange disco like moves that I have seen Catherine Muleady and Val doing on the track in Tallaght. There was also a disquiting number of runners with water haversacks.
The 1st 2km is through the village and then you head for the hills. Following the personal coaching of Eoin and Eileen who had persuaded me that doing IMRA trail runs was fun, I was hoping to do better than last year. Also I didn’t have to contend with the pressure of trying to keep up with herself!!
Trevor prepping at the IMRA trail races
The route consists of two loops divided into 3 -4.5km uphill, 2.5km downhill and 3km flat. I am not a downhill runner and it is most frustrating to be passed by those who you have struggled to pass on the uphill. I did pause at some of the water stations where in typical french fashion you are offered cold meats,aperatives, cake, dried fruit as well as water; I used to be perplexed by a large sign at the top of the hill which said ‘ouf’. A sign for an egg?
I now know its the french for ‘whew’ which is what I uttered on finishing. Your training worked Eoin – 7 mins faster than last year but still 3 mins slower than my 2013 time.