Report from Liam Dunne:
I went across the pond at the weekend to take part in the Causeway Coast Half Marathon. The half marathon was just one of four events that was taking place as there was also a 10k, marathon and ultra marathon (39 miles) all organised by the event managment company 26extreme.
Alll events followed the picturesque Antrim coastal route which passed several well known tourist spots such as the Giants Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge. I was staying at the Armstrong holiday let in the town of Bushmills (Famous for it’s Bushmills distillery) which was approximately one mile from the race HQ in Portballintrae. My host for the weekend was OAC’s second claim member Ross Armstrong and he did a fine job by keeping me well fed and watered over the few days.
Over a few pints many months ago the initial plan was for both of us to run the ultra, but due to a real lack of long miles I decided to opt for the half marathon whilst Ross dropped down to the more courageous marathon distance. Apart from the one mile run across the beach the course was very undulating and mainly made up of cliff edge track with lots of steps, stiles, large slippy rocks and many other runners to negotiate around.
Ross’s plan was to get near his time last year which was sub 4 hours for the tough course whislt I just went out to get a hard race in and hope for a decent time.With all events starting at different times I had a three hour wait after the marathon start before the half marathon runners chased them down.
Soon after the start, I was in a small group and a couple of miles in I was out on my own. I would of preferred if I had someone with me to push me on but instead I had to try and keep working on my own. I managed to keep the lead and finished 1st in a time of 1.30.26 (On my watch) with and official time of 1.31.20
Ross ended up with lots of cramp during the race and was well down on last year’s time but he managed to battle on to finish 63rd in 4.46.30 (and then stayed out drinking late that night!) In all it was a very friendly and well supported event in a very nice setting and I had a good weekend meeting and talking to others who also love to run.
For my efforts I got a framed photo of the coast and a free entry into next year’s event so it looks like I’ll be back next year……anyone like to join me?
All results can be found on http://www.championchipireland.com/results/