A week ago on Saturday the 15th April, I finally did the Waterford Greenway out to Dungarvan and all the way back to Waterford. Of course, I wasn't just me doing this on my own, there was, of course, a group of us that did the run.
It was an early start so I headed down to Waterford City and picked up Paul Croke and JP Tierney and we headed to the quays, just before we did this we dropped a few supplies with JP's wife Nicola who would be our crew for the day.
At the quays, we met up with John Boyle & Stephen Brennan. Myself, JP, John, Stephen & Paul would be the core group that would run the entire greenway out and back but we had others that either met up near the start or at the half way point and they'd run between 20-30miles each.
Overall it was going to be a productive training run for everyone!
|The Starting Line, Courtesy of JP
So a quick picture of the group before we got moving and we were off, we started a pretty relaxed pace of 9:40-10:20min/miles.
However in hindsight, this was actually too fast and we'd have been better off actually slowing it down further as it would have meant we'd have kept a more consistent speed overall....but more on that later.
Before we knew it we were at the WIT Campus in Carrigmore beside the greenway and we met up with David Sheridan, he had planned on doing a 24hr event on Saturday only to find it was canceled a few weeks back so he opted for this training run anyway.
Throughout the run, we all chatted with each other and before we knew it we had 2hrs done and we were near the quarry a few miles out from Kilmacthomas. At this point Stephen decided he had enough miles done for the day so he headed back to Waterford, he'd still finish the day with around 26miles done by the time he got back to the quays.
By the time we reached Kilmacthomas David had been having issues with an injury so he decided to head back to Waterford, although we lost David we picked up another runner Paul Brunnock.
Paul had actually run out from Dungarvan to meet us and was now planning on running back to Dungarvan with us, this would mean he'd finish the day with around 30miles done, not bad considering he had taken part in a 4mile race the night before in Co Waterford.
We refueled and topped up our water and we were off again as we approached the Kilmacthomas viaduct we got a lovely view of the Comeragh mountains and the day had brightened up.
|Approaching Kilmacthomas, Courtesy of JP
From Kilmacthomas onwards we finally started to meet people and it got increasingly busy as we approached the Ballyvoile tunnel, for those that don't know what the Ballyvoile tunnel is. It's a 400metre long brick-lined tunnel that was previously part of the rail line. The approach to the tunnel is what I like to refer to as "Jurassic Park like".
|Entering the tunnel, Courtesy of JP
|Leaving the tunnel, Courtesy of JP
Considering we're not even into the summer I was surprised by how busy this section of the greenway was, it should be interesting to see just how busy the greenway is in the summer and how the numbers hold up as the years go by.
|Clonea Strand, Courtesy of JP
Finally, we reached Dungarvan for the turnaround point. The marker of the greenway start/finish in Dungarvan is a giant modern art sculpture of two fish so we rounded that and we started our return. But before we left Dungarvan we met up with JP's wife Nicola for some food and drink which I think at this stage we were very grateful for.
After the refuel, we left Dungarvan and Paul Brunnock also left the group as he headed home. The rest of us crossed the causeway out of Dungarvan and started the 2-3mile slight climb up towards the Ballyvoile tunnel and not for the first time we also started walking on and off.
As we approached Kilmacthomas we met up with Nicola again and for a quick refuel and we also picked up another runner Anthony O'Neil, Anthony had decided to run with us the remaining 22-25miles back to Waterford as a training run. We were delighted to have him, the more the merrier.
|Fuel stop before Kilmacthomas, Courtesy of JP
We headed off once again and our plan was to continue to Kilmeaden where we'd meet Nicola again for the last crew stop.
I will say that at this stage especially in the last 2miles coming up to Kilmeaden I was certainly starting to feel it, I also got my first blister of the day but like always I ran through it to where it stopped hurting me anymore.
Finally, we reached Kilmeaden and we had around 4-5miles to go to the finish. As we sat down a cyclist pulled up and sat down at one of the tables next to us and asked how long we were out for? We mentioned since 7 and he had to stop for a second and as "7 am??", we explained we'd been out since 7 am and were just coming back from Dungarvan after running to Dungarvan. He seemed very surprised at the whole idea of this.
|Me at around the 55mile mark
We then headed off for the home straight and again it was very much run/walk from here until the finish, I was happy when we reached Bilberry which is the actual the official start of the Greenway in Waterford City but I was happier still to see the Clock Tower on the Waterford Quays which had been the start of the day's training run (also my car was parked near it!).
Overall it was an enjoyable day out and it was fantastic to have a group training run like this as it made the time fly as we chatted to each other, this was especially good as we had spent the bones of 13hours running and when you're on your own and you're tired this amount of hours can start to feel awful long!
Now, who's for doing the Waterford Greenway Ultra 50km & 100km as a race event!? :)
For anyone interested you can find the Garmin log of the training run here.