I went back to Fanore with the irrepressible Kevin to run the Fanore Half Marathon once again. It gives me the opportunity to camp in the Burren and experience one of the most beautiful places in Ireland. Frank was off on his travels so he wasn't able to make the trip this year and Kevin whose wife is heavily pregnant with their second child was able to manage only the one nights camping so this year there would be no rock climbing involved. Still it is special to drive down the hill and round the bend in the road and all of a sudden you are by the sea shore and the most wonderful wild-camp spot I know hereabouts. We drove in and soon busied ourselves setting up camp. It is such a luxury to have the car nearby and we soon had our tents up and the barbecue was afire and we were sipping a beer. Life is good. After a tasty and very welcome dinner we strolled about and enjoyed our surroundings and chatted and relaxed. Darkness is coming earlier these days and we retired to bed fairly early to try and get a good nights sleep and rest before tomorrows run.
Wash and spin...never dry
The stiff breeze of the previous evening had died down but the weather was a little more overcast and there was a promise of rain in the air. By the time we had had breakfast and had packed up our tents there was a rain-front approaching across the ocean. We headed up into Fanore with nearly two hours to spare but we went to look at the beach and explore the sand-dunes and just relaxed. We eventually returned and registered for the run and waited about. It was a bit disappointing to see that the numbers this year were down on last year and there wasn't really much of an atmosphere about. Still I was looking forward to it and soon enough we were off. Kevin (now that he had been released from the shackles of running with me) was soon into his stride and was off in the distance in front with the leaders. I was feeling good and was able to keep a good pace and was keeping to the seven minute mile mark for the first few miles. The ground then becomes more difficult and eventually there is a stiff climb onto the "green road" which leads delightfully around to the church from where another uphill road run leads to the toughest section where another off-road section climbs 600 ft. Now unfortunately the heavens had opened and where in other years the views were glorious all was now a leaden grey. I was still enjoying myself though and while understandably tired, once I was on the top of the hill I still had enough in the legs to run well all the way to the finish. I finished in sixth in 1 hour 46 mins which was a minute faster than last year so I was well happy. Kevin had finished in fourth in 1 hour 37 minutes and was also pleased with his day. We enjoyed the soup and sandwiches and after a lovely treat in the nearby Cafe we set off on the return home. Another short but great little adventure.