I headed down to registration which was only about a minute down the road from where we were staying. I picked up my number and being a point-to-point race we were bussed to the start at Louisburgh. The weather wasn't looking good, lots of rain and a bit of a wind to deal with.
I did a couple of kms warm-up and lined up at the start. We could drop bags at the start line which were then transported back to the finish. I was trying to think of other point-to-point races I had done and the only one I could think of was the Bay to Bay in Gosford. I don't have fond memories of that race as I got stung by a bee as I crossed the finish line and then managed to injure my Achilles in the warm-down but I digress...
The race started and I went straight to the front. The race was basically along the coastal road and the road wasn't closed which made for a few interesting moments as we were running on the left hand side of the road (dodging large puddles) with cars overtaking from behind. I was fortunate as I had the lead vehicle to follow but with very little traffic it was safe enough. The first mile had a lot of downhill and with the plan being to start slow and build the pace - I had started way too quickly. It seemed like what breeze there was was coming straight at you and with persistent rain, heavy in places, it wasn't that pleasant.
The scenery was pretty spectacular. Croagh Patrick on your right and the coast on your left. The race plan had gone out of the window and I decided to try and maintain around 5:40 per mile pace, and lift in a few spots on the run for home. The miles kept clicking by and I was overtaking walkers who had started 45 minutes before the main race. I had opened up a large gap and was feeling fine. After 11 miles it was time to take a turn off the main road to follow a smaller coastal road into Westport. Still very wet but I was still feeling strong and I really tried to push the last couple of miles. There were a few ups and downs but in general this was a fairly flat course. Soon I was running down the finishing straight crossing the line in 1st place in 1:13:30.
A good hit-out and although I wanted to run the last 5 miles hard, this was never going to happen running into the rain and wind. I felt comfortable all the way and the groin behaved so all in all a good day. I got back to the apartment to the news that Mo had won the 5,000m. The icing on the cake.
All up 23.1km today and 84.5km for the week. The race today left me thinking about the marathon and whether I could maintain that pace. Umm, when's Dublin?
Here are the splits: