Report by Trevor Loyd
Photos from the Wings for Life Facebook Page: Click Here
‘Are you doing The Hellfire on Saturday?’
No. We’re doing the Wings for Life World run’ on Sunday.
Oh, How long is the run?
‘Well, it’s a different distance for everyone.’
Eh? How so?
Well everyone starts at the same time. Then ½ hour after the start a ‘catcher’ car starts and travels along the course at a pre-determined rate. When the ‘catcher’ car reaches you it records your time and distance and your race is over.
Right. Why do they call it a ‘World’ run?
Because the same race in the identical format is held at the exact same time in 33 countries worldwide with over 133,000 runners taking part. Not only can you become a national champion but also a world champion!!
Judith and Trevor Lloyd, clearly taken after the race
The Irish race started in Scotsman’s Bay in Dun Laoghaire at mid-day and the approx 2000 participants headed out towards Sandycove, Dalkey, Killiney, Shankill, Bray, Greystones and for the elite runners on towards Brittas. While the first part of the course was extremely scenic (Bullock and Dalkey harbours) it was one of the hilliest courses I have ever run. The Hellfire or back of the waterworks have nothing on it.
By the time we reached The Vico Rd under the blazing mid day sun the legs were beginning to go. On to Shankill and Shangannagh cemetery. (Perhaps I could just go in there and die!). At last Bray came in sight and another hill! Past Katie Taylor’s gym and onto the front. As it was the hottest day of the year so far the crowds were out. Kids and grannies all eating ice-cream cones but none of them too interested in the poor souls struggling to run in the heat.
At this stage I was totally knackered. I nearly didn’t get over the speed bump in the road! Ah a Dart station! Back to Dun Laoghaire? A couple of weeks in France is definitely not the best training. At the end of the sea front the course swung right and what appeared? Another 1 mile long Hellfire type hill up to the Greystones road! At this stage some participants were beginning to walk. Then a cry went up. ‘It’s the catcher car’. We all put on a burst to get another few yards. Alas it was only one of the official race cars. Slow down and on past the 15km mark. Will the car never come? Eventually it did and my race was over – thankfully! It was another 2 Km before the car caught my beloved who not only came first in her category nationally but first in her category worldwide. Younger woman and all that!
This is a race with a difference and on a very difficult course but all in a good cause. €6.6 million was raised worldwide towards spinal injury research. Just out of interest the winning Irish man ran approx 73 km before the car caught him. (The majority of the Irish elites ran about 40Km). For those of you who are tempted next year’s race is on May 7th 2017!
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