Report and photos by Ronan Murray


This time last year myself , Shay Brady and Stephen Willoughby travelled up north the take on the Tollymore Trails in the Mourne Mountains . It was one of those races that although really tough was one I vowed to come back to . So on Saturday myself and Stephen headed back for round two. I was in the Marathon and Stephen took on the Half.

Its amazing how the memory can deceive you. I remember some lovely rolling hills but yet here I was , three miles in , walking up a mountain side , barely able to keep forward momentum. Once my body got over the altitude shock I settled in for a tough afternoon.

There are two major climbs on each lap and I had two laps to do. Each of the big climbs was like running ( and walking) up the hellfire mountain and down the other side and there were smaller climbs thrown in also. You need to remove time from your mind , ignore the watch and run as you feel. Which for a lot of it was like my lungs were going to explode.

Eventually I could hear the announcer congratulating finishers and I knew I was almost home. I popped out of the forest and had just to run the 1 mile driveway into the finishing straight and then finally I was done. I could sit on a wall and eat the hot dog that they give you as you cross the finish line. Stephen was already home and was looking like he hadn’t even run.

Last year I ran it in 4.34 and this time I got home in 4.16, Stephen also took 4 mins off last years’ time , so we both agreed that it was a good days work. For me it was my 11th Marathon in 11 Months which made it all the more satisfying. Until next year Tollymore!