Another longish drive to Ballina (1hr 30) picking up Colm en route. We arrvied in Ballina about 40 minutes before the race start of 3pm which allowed plenty of time to get ready. I ran a couple of kms warm-up and then lined up at the start.
There was a very poor turn-out. Quite disappointing as this was a Mayo league race and I estimated around 50 runners at the start. It turns out there were only 48 finishers...a real shame as this race also doubled up as a fund raiser for the Cancer Council.
I hit the front with a younger runner staying with me. The first mile had us initially climbing, then descending, before things flattened out a little. We ran through town and I was paranoid I was going to take a wrong turn. Thankfully that didn't transpire. By the time we had reached the 1st mile I had opened up a lead. I just had to remain focussed and the race was there for the taking.
The second mile was tough - it seemed to be all slightly uphill running into a stiff breeze along the main road. After a right-hand turn things became a lot easier running down a small country road which I was familiar with as it was also used for the Ballina 10km course. Through 3 miles and it was a case of relaxing and enjoying the run in to the finish.
I tried to push the last mile a bit. That felt like hard work but I'd still say it was my quickest mile. The splits don't suggest this and I'd be fairly confident in saying that the mile markers were not accurate. Someone had mentioned at the start that the actual course was 4.1 miles. I'm not sure if that was true or not but I guess it's best to keep the course the same as what they have been using for the previous 20 years.
I crossed the line in first place in 21:52. The second and third place runners were in the low 23 minutes so I won comfortably enough. My time was disappointing but I didn't have anyone to race, plus I still wasn't feeling particularly great. Can't think why...
I finished up by running the course again as a warm-down (just over 28 minutes this time). All up 14.8kms for the day. Handy points in the bag for the Mayo league which means I now have a very good chance of retaining my title from last year.
That's 70.3kms for the week. I hope to improve on that for the next few weeks.
Here are the splits:
As you can see they are up and down like a fiddlers elbow....