Monday, November 7, 2011

Valentia Half Marathon

My chronology is gone to pot. How could I have forgotten about the Valentia half marathon. I headed down on Friday 30th of August in order to make a weekend of it. I camped at the lovely Mannix Point campsite in Caherciveen and enjoyed a stunning sunset. The weather forecast for the following day looked good and I settled down for a good nights sleep. A nice leisurely start on Saturday morn was in order and I made my way around to Valentia Island in good time for the midday start. I registered and collected my T-shirt and ambled around for a while and soaked up the athmosphere. The start was in Knightstown on the eastern tip of the island and the route circled the island with an out and back section to the abandoned slate quarries. I was a bit apprehensive as this was my first real road half marathon but still fairly confident that I could finish it.

Soon enough the start time arrived and we were off. It was lovely to run through the village to the strains of a pipe band. The Valentia Triathlon Club pulled out all the stops to make an occassion of it. The first couple of miles up to the quarry was up hill so I was careful not to go off too fast. After rounding the mark in the quarry we turned downhill and as I was feeling good I upped the pace considerably. Thereafter the course was more level and I was able to maintain a good pace. It is a beautiful circuit and the views were a constant distraction to the efforts of the run. Gradually the miles passed and I became confident that I could not only finish but maintain a good pace. The last couple of miles was along the seashore and I admit I found them quite tough. I was very gald when the line came in sight and far from a sprint finish it gave me all I could do to keep up the pace. I finished in just over 96 minutes and finished in 32nd overall, I was delighted. There was a fine selection of sandwiches and really good coffee on offer at the nearby hotel and this finished off the afternoon nicely.

As the day was still young I headed to the far end of island and enjoyed a short walk out to Bray Head. This proved to be a really enjoyable excursion and was the perfect warmdown. The views in all directions were spectacular and the cliffs steep and dramatic. The weather however was showing signs of deteriorating and the first drops of rain arrived as I got back to the car. I had taken my bike with me with the intention of having a good coastal cycle on Sunday morning but unfortunately there was a dense fog about as well as rain so I returned home instead. Still I was really happy with the whole experience and I hope to return to the area soon.
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