On Saturday I ran a 10km race in Castlerock just outside Coleraine.

This was my 144th race, 24th county I’ve run in and I hit the 400 mile mark for the year. I’ve never spent as much time looking at entering a race as I have with this 10km race, which I heard about on social media and I thought it would be nice to make a weekend out of this event.

I have cycled through this area and I was interested in spending some more time on the north coast but due to work commitments this wasn’t possible.

Part of me was thinking it was a long way to go for a race. I was also slightly put off about the fact there was a trail run involved – I could just run in Ballyliffin instead. It looks nice. Ballyliffin isn’t on the list of things to do. Maybe put it on the list for next year.

Omagh Half marathon? Do I have 13.1 miles in me? There’s a race on in Ballinasloe, lot less driving involved.

Time to look at what my goal is.

9 counties left to run in. Time to get Derry ticked off the list!

If it is easy it won’t be worthwhile.

There’s a race on at Banone Beach. It’s all on the beach. There’s nothing less appealing than running on a beach. The uneven surface is bad for the knees – Mussenden Challenge 10km it is then.

blog image 3132016 resizedI had decided to bring my old runners due to there being a cross country section.

Problems with a blister during the week meant I really wasn’t sure if I would be running or not. The blister plasters I bought in the chemist were absolutely useless. I found a proper compeed plaster and it seemed to help the pain.

I grabbed some extra compeed plasters and hit the road for Bushmills. It was late enough when I got there. I had a quick walk around and was in bed early.

I was up early for breakfast and as The Giant’s Causeway was only half a mile away I decided to go and see the 8th wonder of the world. It was great to stand on this amazing rock formation. The force of the waves hitting the hexagonal rocks was spectacular.

I made the 30 minute journey across to Castlerock and collected my race number – had a quick walk around the small seaside village. There wasn’t much happening. so took a quick look at the race route to work out what distances were off road and on beach. It seemed to be about 50% of the race.

While waiting for the race briefing I got talking to another runner. His wife was local to the area and he had run part of the route. His advice was not to get too carried away when I came up from the beach as there was a sharp hill.

The race wasn’t chip timed so I decided to get as close to the start line as possible.on enough we were across the start line. The first mile was a sharp drag. There was also a good hill in mile two. I just kept saying to myself try and enjoy this race.

Pretty soon we were heading off road. The path on the descent was slippy enough so I stuck to a dryer part.

We then had a sharp climb on a trail section.

Finally I was back on the road and heading down the hill towards the beach. At first I thought the beach wasn’t that long but midway through I realised I was wrong. My way of thinking was the more time I spent running on the beach the less time I would be on the road. I made my way back up the promenade and attacked the hill and started to focus on the last mile.

A few athletes who had already finished were giving me encouragement. Telling me how far was left and telling me I was running strong. I took the last corner and did a quick lap of the pitch before crossing the line in 51:06

I was delighted with my time. Trying to maintain consistency over such a changing course isn’t easy.

Second race of the year. 2 counties, 2 Provinces. Not a bad return.

I’ve changed my plan for the coming months a tiny bit.

I will be running the half marathon in Longford on April 23rd.

There is a new running event in County Galway. Clarinbridge will be holding a marathon, half marathon and 10km on September 10th a and hopefully I will run the marathon.

I’m starting Couch to 5km training sessions next Monday 7.00 p.m. Westside Running Track and  also a free Running Workshop on Wednesday April 6th 7.00 p.m Westside Running Track
Contact me if you are interested