Race Report by Bronwyn Murphy-White
Race photos by Keith Mulvey from the race Facebook page.
Arriving in Brockagh Resources Centre, the starting and finishing point for many trail runs in Laragh, registration was swift and easy. Toilet queues were short as they’ve added extra toilets. Every runner’s dream, many toilets.
Realising it’s nearly 9:50am, I headed straight out to the bus to sit and daydream whether I should really have signed up for the 10km rather than the half as my training over the last year has been sporadic due to injury, wedding, holidays and other various excuses…. That opportunity came briefly when a race organiser came onto the bus looking for a person who wanted to switch to the 10km – I missed my chance.
Race reporter Bronwyn discovering its not a road race
It seemed others had the same thought; there was a slight air of nervous tension amongst the runners, perhaps due to the miserable rain and the ever decreasing temperature on the bus thermostat as it crept up the mountain road. It’s best not to pay attention to how far the bus is driving you away from the centre, a half marathon is long!!
The safety briefing at the start line was thankfully short as we were freezing and eager to get going. They mentioned that the route was being diverted from the ‘swamp’, though as I waded through several swamps along the way I wondered had I mis-heard.
At least 7 Sportsworld members representing the club were present, with our Sportsworld singlets (ahem) buried beneath the 3 layers we had been advised to wear as it was to be very cold. The steep 1 mile hill immediately after the start line put the cold out of our minds and our muscles. I had my jacket, neck warmer and ear warmer all off me within 30 seconds!
The uphill was swiftly followed by a very much appreciated 1 mile downhill and then the fun began at mile 3. We were advised by the stewards to avoid the stepping stones and just run through the rivers and knee deep puddles. One woman was overheard proclaiming her surprise that ‘both her feet were wet’, both my entire legs were wet so I think she got off lightly.
There was good camaraderie all along the way, this is something I really like about trail runs. People were really enjoying themselves.
The terrain was slippy and rocky and down-hilly and up-hilly. There were sections where you had to walk, for safety or because there was only single file space. These were good moments to catch your breath. As it had been raining it was quite treacherous in places and on the downhill you could find your speed pick up quite suddenly. I decided to play it safe and take it easy, I had a bad fall the last time I did this run and didn’t fancy another cut knee and a few weeks off running.
I found that the miles just melted away as the course was really interesting, the scenery is beautiful but you really have to keep your eye on the ground a good bit. I enjoyed the surroundings on the sections of road and flat trail. Spoiler alert: there’s a horrible, horrible hill about 2 miles from the end. A never ending snaking incline, just around the time that your muscles are beginning to seize up and your runners feel like they’ve finally turned into cement from all the wet and muck. When you finally get to the top, you’re not really sure if you are or if there’s another nasty surprise waiting around the corner.
Luckily the last mile is downhill and as you descend into the back part of the Brockagh Centre grounds you can hear the fantastic sound of the cheering crowd from around the last corner. The ‘Thank You’ posters placed just before the finish line were very touching and you are reminded why so many people gathered to run and raise money for such a worthy cause. I would highly recommend the Debra Ireland Wicklow Trail Half Marathon, I’m glad I didn’t hop off the bus to do the 10km.
19th Michael Cunningham Male 1:48:48
Lucia Prihodova Female 2:24:07
Denise Kilkenny Female 2:24:32
Ronan Murray Male 2:24:33
Eileen Rowland Female 2:27:55
Bronwyn Murphy White Female 2:42:15