Report by Mark Herffernan

Friday the 13th can be ominous to some but to the three Musketeers, Jose, Marc and Jean it was they hoped the start of an adventure culminating in the Bere Island Midsummer 10k!

Following a leisurely journey down with the ubiquitous stop for coffee and cake, they arrived in Glengarriff situated at the top of the beautiful Beara peninsula. Following check in at the wonderful Eccles Hotel they went for the first of three swims! Jean and Marc showed Jose that the only way to swim in the Atlantic is to count to three, dive in and then swear!! Glengarriff was relatively quiet on Friday evening, presumably everyone was getting an early night for the big run the next day!

Saturday dawned and was a little overcast or so they thought until they returned that evening and realised they were all sunburnt! After a good healthy breakfast the Musketeers headed down the peninsula towards Castletownbere to catch the ferry to Bere Island, stopping to pick up some bananas en route! There was a healthy turnout of runners waiting to catch the ferry and while most were content to leave the car behind, the three Musketeers decided to bring their car across which required a tricky reversing manoeuvre onto the ferry to be one of three cars allowed on. Once on the ferry they realised that they were going to be part of something special as everyone was chatting and in great spirits! This was slightly dampened following the ferry’s first attempt to make land as low tide meant she had to go to another slipway where we managed to hang on until all cars and passengers were off safely.

Registration completed , Jose, Jean and Marc stopped to take in the amazing views from the island. Bere Island has a population of about 200 and there were plenty of volunteers out helping on the day. There was a 5k race which went off first and then they lined up for the start of the 10k to start ten minutes after the 5k. Having received their instructions from the race director they were off!!

The race consisted of 2 5k loops of one end of the island. The first 2.5k was pretty hilly and didn’t allow for much time to take in the amazing coves and views on the way. The second 2.5k started a little more downhill. However just when they thought they were safe there was another little sneaky hill. Luckily this was followed by a lovely downhill section into the village of Rerrin where there was great support to cheer them on to the 2nd 5k loop and all those lovely hills again.

Jose ran a blinder of a race to come in fifth overall in a great time of 43:13 followed by Marc and Jean in ninth and tenth in times of 44:13 and 44:20. Three top ten finishes!! After catching their breath all three retired to the local GAA clubhouse where there was a great spread of sandwiches and cake!! This was followed by races for kids from ages 6-13 in different groups. The craic was so good, the three musketeers didn’t want to leave! They all commented that the race was very well organized with lots of water stations along the way and the directions were crystal clear.

Following a very quick spin around the island it was time unfortunately for the ferry back to the mainland. There was a real carnival atmosphere on the ferry!! Following disembarkation there was just enough time for a swim right at the end of the peninsula and then home for a hot shower and great slap up feast in the hotel washed down with some well earned pints!

Although Sunday morning was rainy, Jose, Marc and Jean managed to get another perfect swim in before reluctantly saying goodbye to this wonderful part of Ireland!!

The general consensus on the drive back was that it had been one of the most enjoyable races they had ever done! The views, sea and all the amazing people they met along the way ensured a truly special and memorable weekend! It is already in the diary for next year!!