Thursday, June 29, 2017

Waterford Viking Marathon Race Report 2017

As part of my training for Connemara 100mile in August this turned into a race with a difference and a race report with a difference as it's really less about the race and more about the journey.

Originally I had planned to take it handy doing the Tullaroan Ultra at the beginning of June and then to race the Waterford Viking Marathon at the end of June before moving onto Connemara in August.

However, things change and I was mindful that although I had ran the Waterford Greenway out and back I needed some longer runs, so instead I opted to race Tullaroan with the aim of placing in top 3 (succesfully!) and then to just run the Waterford Viking Marathon but with a difference.  That different was of course to run the 30 or so miles to the start line in Waterford City.

Passing under the M9 motorway at around 4am
So with that in mind after working all week and with only 2-3hours sleep on Friday I was up and out my front door at 2am,.  Just as I was starting my run I met my wife Grace coming back from a night out...she was (understandably) worried about me running so late at night on country roads.

As I ran through the town I only met two people, one person looking out their front door at me seemed pretty amused by the sight of a man with a headtorch wearing shorts and a backpack running through the town at 2am, I suppose who could blame them really?

So off I went into the dark of the night as I left the town, the roads for the night were not busy and for the first two hours or so other then seeing the odd bat or hearing animals in the ditches I only encountered maybe 2-3 cars and just as I crossed under the M9 motorway I encountered a truck.

After a pretty disappointing sunsise at around 5am I pushed on and after spotting yet more wildlife (a fox standing looking at me with a bird in its mouth) I finally reached Mullinavat, on the Mullinavat to Waterford stretch I did the most walking as I figured that it could do no harm, it was good training and I was actually 30min ahead of schedule for reaching Waterford as I had planned on a 6hour run and instead I arrived in around 5hours 30min mark.

At one stage I did manage to stumble on a cats eye on the road a few miles passed Mullinavat, while it didn't cause me any problems at the time it certainly did afterwards....more on that later.

At around 7.33am I finally reached Rice Bridge in Waterford City and finally I could sit down for a while and get some more sugar into me, by right I should have taken in some sort of decent solid food at this point but I didn't and this was perhaps rather foolish, but then I didn't really feel like it at the time.

After a little bit of a stretch and getting down to the finish line I got to sit down for a while and it was most welcome, as the race start started to fill up however I started to see some familar faces and it was good to chat to a few people and catch up on things and share stories and experiences.

Heading towards the toll bridge
My aim for the marathon was to stick with the 4:30 pacers, this also happened to be paced by JP and Anthony who happened to be with JP so I figured it couldn't hurt to have some company for the day, especially after spending the previous 6hours on my own.

At 9am we were off and I started my second long run of the day with 26.2miles to go. The race started at the Mall in Waterford City and it headed down the quays and over Rice bridge turning left towards the interchange which provides exits to the M9 motorway and the new bridge and bypass.

This was the first challenge of the day as the road up towards the intercharge is a long drag of at least 1mile, after that we headed down towards the bridge and ran through the toll barriers, this is likely the only time you'll get through this toll bridge without paying!

After that we crossed over a temporary footbridge and ran for the first of two times in the day on the Waterford Greenway. Up until this point I had been fine but by the time we reached Mount Congrave I was starting to flag and feel tired so on the hill leaving the Greenway I walked for the first time of the day. Once I started walking I pretty much knew my goal of a 4:30 marathon was gone but I wasn't too worried as this day was about distance and time on my feet so even if it took 5hours it wasn't a problem.

It was at this stage that it dawned on me that this new Waterford marathon route was going to be much hillier then I had expected it to be and to be fair I hadn't checked out the course elevation or route too much before hand so I guess this was to be expected.

Once I lost JP and the 4:30 pacers it was basically myself and Anthony until the finish, always good to have company for a long day like this!

The day had now warmed up a good bit and as the miles ticked on I was glad of being able to pour water over my head, it really made a big difference!  Between all the walking breaks during the marathon myself and Anthony knew this wasn't going to be a 5hour finish for the marathon and as we started to count down the final miles we knew it was going to be much closer to 5hrs 20min.

As we approached the finish we could see the clock was 5:22 and I was glad to finally cross the finish line, after 11hours and 8min of running and 56miles covered I could finally take a proper rest.

As I was crossing I was surprised to hear the announcer mention my 2am start and my run to the marathon start line which was a nice touch.

Credit: Noel Browne
So, why did I mention the stumble over the cats eye earlier in the day, well it seemed to have cause a problem with my right ankle.  While not an issue during the marathon I found after the marathon it was painful and the next day I could barely walk with the pain, its now 5 days later and its 95% back to normal now so its nothing serious thankfully.

However, other then this injury and a blister on my right foot I had no other issues so overall a good day :)

Oh, almost forgot, here's my garmin log of this entire run.


  1. great stuff Barry but yeah Grace must up to neck in worry and all , running that hour of the morning can be dodgy. great run. i really think a good run in connnemara is within you.

    1. Yeah I do completely understand her worrying about me, country roads and there's always the chance of some idiot drunk driver but I didn't take any chances and kept my wits about me.

      Before a big run I always feel I haven't done enough and despite my big runs lately I'm feeling that again this year , but I'm still hopeful for Conn