By Karol Cronin
While the rest of the country was bracing itself for Storm Jorge, Dublin was treated to a cold but bright, sunny day. There were concerns that the race would be postponed (again) but common sense prevailed as the 6k race got off promptly from Ticknock Car Park with around 150 runners.
The race started up a steady stone road and levelled off passing a set of mountain bikers cheering us on. The course turned up a trail to it’s first small climb where we followed the yellow and red tape markers attached to branches that showed you which way to run. I pushed out in front early with two other runners following behind, trying politely to overtake walkers and dogs on narrow gaps through the trail.
The first technical part came early where we turned off left from the trail and climbed up a steep gap through the forest. In heavy rain this would be like a overflow for water coming down the mountain. The ground was rough and mucky with pools of water all around.
Out of the forest, the course followed the Wicklow Way for a brief spell and then took a sharp left skirting along the outside of the forest and running on a trail of shiny quartz rock and pools of water. All the time you are focused on finding best place to plant your foot on and keeping a good rhythm.
When we reached the first phone mast the course began a descent and the ground became muckier as the race went downhill through a pine forest. At this stage I had made a bit of a gap from the other runners. Leaving the forest, there was a sharp left which brought you on to some welcome flat and muddy ground. To your right there were great views of Dun Laoghaire as you skirted along the other side of the mountain.
The course then went briefly on to a paved road which I thought was going to bring us to the finish line. But we ended up back on a trail that brought us around Three Rock and the other phone masts. There were a few testing ups and downs as I could feel my legs begin to get tired trying to dig into the soft mud and avoiding more pools of water.
Finally, the trail took a final descent to the finish area where you could empty the tank as the the ground was quite hard. I finished in 24min 40sec in first place with a bit of breathing space. It is a really great course to do as it is relatively short and has a good variety of ground you run on and technical parts to test you. Plus the weather was super which makes any race better.
Well done to the organizers who made a great course and marked it out very well and to all the runners who competed. There is also such a nice atmosphere at these races Thanks to Peter Knaggs for volunteering and all his shouts of support. There was tea and sandwiches back in Taylors Three Rock for all the runners before Storm Jorge arrived to Dublin.