I think it was May 2020 Emmet Wardell posted on the club IMRA Whats App group about an amazing trail run in September and convinced loads of people to sign up. Covid was at its height and a race some time in the future seemed a good idea. Fast forward to September 2021 and Emmet Wardell decides not to do the EcoTrail race along with nearly everyone else but out of boredom or stubbornness I wasn’t going to waste my 30km entry.
Tim Murphy was doing the 18km race option that day too and again I cursed Emmet for not suggesting the 18km route. Helen Dixon who is used to doing the mountain running was also doing the 30km along with Neil Purdy while Eoin Keith decided on the extreme 80km race.
Myself and Neil arrived on Bray promenade for the start and it was gorgeous. Sunny, music was playing, there was a relaxed atmosphere about the race it was like Covid never happened. Mentally and physically I was not prepared for the 30km and kept telling myself it was just an easy pace long run. If you stand on the promenade and look up to the top of Bray head where the cross is that is the 2km mark. So when you climb up the rocky, slippy climb to the cross, carrying your water and jacket and food and out of breath you reach the cross you only have another 28km to go!!!
On the positive side the course was really well marked and at no point did you think you would get lost or take a wrong turn. There were loads of new trails I didn’t know existed with some great scenery. There was a sense of achievement making it back in one piece and covering the 30km, but it was hard work and I learnt a few lessons on what to carry with me next time and what not to. The total climb for the race was higher than Carrauntouhil.
There are a number of EcoTrail races around Europe and the idea seems to be to have races which are as much on trails as possible. Each race is marked on a percentage of how much is actually on trail and surrounded by nature. So if you want to do a scenic trail race in another country checking out the EcoTrail races might be a good idea.