Race Report: Tim Murphy
Date: Wednesday 16 June 2021
Distance: 8.62k Climb: 360m Terrain: Field, Fire Road, Technical Rock, Cycle Trail.
Participants: Deirdre McGing (1:11:31); Eileen Rowland (1:11:56); Eoin O’Brien (1:13:50) – Photographer; John Fitzgerald (1:19:29); Liam Lenehan (0:51:56); Tim Murphy (1:01:54) .

The drive into Belmont Demesne and its setting are beautiful. The sun was out, but luckily, not too hot. The view of the Little Sugar Loaf ahead of us was somewhat daunting. Finding Belmont proved a challenge for most, and even stressful for some… no time for a change into trail shoes. But spirits were high and 5 Sportsworld warriors had made it to the first of the post lockdown IMRA races. Registration was the smoothest that I’ve witnessed. The compulsory kit was a face covering (for pre and post-race and first 200m of race) and a jacket.

The race went off in two waves – 19:00 (Deirdre, Eoin, Tim), and 19:30 (Eileen and Liam).
The first k was reasonably flat, through a windy forest trail – a climb beginning in the second k. Deirdre leading the Sportsworld 19:00 crew strongly. Through a long-grassed field and next 1.5k was a climb from hell, apart from the fabulous views that could be seen as you paused to grasp at some oxygen, or in the case of Eoin, take a great photo. The latter part of the climb was coated with the somewhat lumpy rocks of ‘sugar’, that was not so sweet. Tim, not being great with heights just kept his head down, eyes on the feet ahead of him. There was no running this bit (except for Liam maybe… who flew around the course!)

The first bit of descent was not much relief to many, with loose rock to contend with, but Tim threw caution to the wind and started making up some places. Many people – including Deirdre and Eileen came off the mountain descent, saw clear downhill ahead, and lashed down only to hear “Wrong the way” being shouted at them – “You need to turn right and start re-ascending”. How do you come back from that? Mental resilience at its best. The now undulating technical terrain gave way to much more runnable terrain. It was great to get the shout-out from Eileen (Wave 2) as I was heading down. Eileen was looking strong and going well. I didn’t have the heart to tell her, what lay ahead. My near 11-minute 4th kilometer had turned into a near 4-minute 7th kilometer.

The final 1.6k was very tough in parts. I was in a 5-person race – falling to last on the uphills, and moving to first on the downhills. This maze was easy to get lost in – Liam would have been even quicker had he decided not to detour – Eileen too. The cycle/toboggan final 600m was a real boneshaker for weary legs. I finished at 156% of the winner’s time (Ruari Long, UCD AC won by nearly 3 minutes from Rory Burke, Duhac, and Warren Swords, Crusaders). Ahead of my 160% target.

Eileen ‘the Flyer’ (on her ‘Birthday Run’) and Liam both topped their Age Categories! Liam was a very creditable 23rd overall. Deirdre gained great ground over the last few k and was happy with her new backpack. John Fitzgerald was 3rd M65 home. Eoin took photos. We all celebrated Eileen’s birthday. Anthony was missed.

All in all, a great race. Tough-ish for those new to trail racing. Wonderful views. Registration was ultra-smooth. Ideally would have had a couple of extra stewards on the course. But a great-value volunteer-run race. Check out the packed upcoming calendar on Imra. ie. Already a number of SportsWorlders have expressed an interest in the Sunday 27 June Sorrell Hill 9.45k race. Shout out to any of us if you want to be added to the SportsWorld IMRA WhatsApp group. Happy Running…