Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Races of the year

2007 proved to be a good year for me and races. I did more than any year to date and as always some went well, some went... uhm... not so well and others went better than planned. Then there were the races that I actually enjoyed for more than just my performance, but the atmosphere of the crowds, location, the course itself and conditions.

In all I competed in 13 races in four different countries. The majority took place in France, with one in the Netherlands, then a few in Ireland before the marathon and finally my last race of 2007 which took place in England. Picking out the favourites is going to be difficult as obviously I'm inclined to go for the ones I performed better in even if there was no atmosphere at all to the race. There should be more races taking place in 2008 than 2007 so this list could be a bit more difficult next year.

Anyway here goes, in no particular order, other than by date...

1. Half Marathon -Les Pyramides - La Grande Motte (France)
Pluses:
a) The course is extremely flat
b) The route goes along the beach on its way out
c) Then runs along a river on the way back
d) I got my half marathon PB and finally realised that I could sustain a decent pace in a race
Minuses:
a) Along the river bed was gravel so it slowed you down a bit and also felt really weird when you came back onto the road

2. 15miles Mendes/ Marvejols (France)
This race I went to just to take part rather than to race and I had great fun doing it. Its a point to point race between the towns of Marvejols and Mendes in the Lozere. The elevation is a big f**k off climb up a mountain, than back down it, before heading up again and coming down into Mendes. Great fun altogether! At the bottom of the first climb some kind soul had painted "Bienvenue á l'enfer" (Welcome to hell) on the road!

The crowds for this race were out in force and were absolutely brilliant. At the top of hills were bands playing all sorts of weird traditional French music and both sides of the road were filled with people for the final mile into Mendes.

3. 6.6k - La ronde nuit - La Grande Motte (France)
Positives:
- Evening race at the end of the summer so the weather was absolutely ideal for racing
- First race I took place in in the dark
- Totally flat, great road, really fast.
- I finished one second behind a lad who beat me in the same distance by over 2 minutes in the first race of the year.
- Oh, and it was free... nice...
Negatives:
- None really

4. 10miles Rathcoole (Dublin, Ireland)
Not the greatest race in the world but I managed to run really well considering that a bouncer gave me a dead leg the week before. I've done this race a few times, its a tough enough course but one that you feel great after completing. It's a shame as the race isn't going to take place in 2008. Hopefully it'll be back again soon.

5. Dublin Marathon (Ireland)
Uhm... I took 19 minutes off my 2006 effort... enough said!
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