Whose Bright Idea Was This??? Padraic Burke’s Connemara Ultra Report

Whose bright idea was this???

Oh yeah, mine.

So where to begin? I like to run. In doing so I like to do things that I will remember when I’m old and greyer. This year, I’m in my 39th year so what better way to mark it than a 39(.3) race, the Connemara Ultra.

KISS- Keep it Simple Stupid

My basic plan was (a) to get to the start line and (b) get to the finish line. In distance running, part (a) is often the hardest to achieve with the chance of illness, injury or simply not getting the time to complete the training load. For me, a chest infection with a week to go made me more than a little nervous. But, felt good by Friday and the race wasn’t until Sunday.

39 miles to run, nowhere to hide

We set off from near Peacocks of Maam Cross at 9am without fuss and I settled in to a nice steady rhythm. I ran by effort rather than pace as the Ultra is anything but flat and an even pace but would be difficult to achieve. For me, a Heart Rate (HR) of 165-170 was about right.

A game of 3 halves

You could say the Ultra is a race of 3 halves with the first half marathon section reasonable, followed by two progressively harder half marathons to follow. I felt comfortable until about mile 15 when a strong-ish wind and rolling roads made me work harder than I had wanted. My HR shot up to 180’s and slowing down didn’t have any effect. I knew I would pay the price later in the race. The left turn for Leenane brought a welcome relief from the wind. What followed was a good stretch of downhill running. The only problem was the downhills were just as hard if not harder on the legs than the uphills.

I got to the 26 mile mark at Leenane at 3 hrs 44 mins with the hardest section of the course left. Heading out of Leenane the legs started to get their own back on me and started to send shock waves of cramp. I wasn’t alone though as many of those around me suffered the same fate.

Onwards and Upwards. Literally.

I’d like to say that I negotiated the course from Leenane to Keane’s Pub in Maam comfortably but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. It hurt like hell. Each uphill brought a dart of pain from the calf muscles and each downhill hurt everywhere else. Energy was running low but I couldn’t face eating. A bottle of flat coke at mile 29 managed to save the day though.

If you are going through hell, just keep going.

I struggled on to Keane’s and made the final turn of the day, onto the ‘Hell of the West’. I had decided long before the start that this race, for me, was all about the last 5 miles. A 34 mile warm up and a right good dig up and over the infamous hill.

Brendan Monaghan who had tirelessly kept me hydrated and motivated throughout the race as he cycled up and down the course was joined by Stephen Brady and John Joe Higgins. I think we were the only people who laughed our way up the climb. My wife Mary, sister Marian, and mother Sheila had stationed themselves at mile 38 and they provided all the encouragement I needed to slog it out to the finish. The clock read 5 hours 59 mins as I crossed the line.

Just need to find a 40 mile race for next year :)


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Tuam AC Notes – 12/04/15

Tuam AC Members running on Sunday were as follows:

Connemara Ultra Marathon – Padraic Burke (see his report above).

Hell and Back Tuam 5k – Joanna Kieley, Andrea Ridge, Tommy Varden, Justin Lane, Maura Meeneghan (1st female),Timothy Geraghty, Ronan McGrath, Teresa Burke, Dolores Higgins, Helen Gilmartin.

Ballinderry 5k – Ger Hartnett (3rd overall and 1st in his category), Sean Burke (3rd in category), Mark Rabbitte (1st in category), Annmaire Miskell (2nd in category), Maura Meeneghan (2nd 5k of the day), Justin Lane (2nd 5k of the day), Olivia Fitzpatrick, Timothy Geraghty, Roger Rushe (1st in Category), Audrey Greaney, Julie Murphy, Assumpta Meeneghan.

Please remember to send your race results/reports to Sean our Club PRO.

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Tuam AC Notes 6 April 2015

It was a weekend of celebrations for Tuam AC as three of our members received very well deserved awards at the 2014 Galway County Athletics Awards which took place on Saturday evening at the Ard Ri Hotel. Roger Rushe and Mickey Kelly were the joint winners of the Hall of Fame award and David Evans won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Athletics. Everybody in Tuam AC and indeed everybody in the Tuam area is delighted that Roger, Mickey and David have received recognition for there fantastic support and participation in athletics for so many years and we wish them continued success.

Roger celebrated by doing what he does best as he traveled to Loughrea on Monday and ran the 5k race in 25.07 and he was joined by his daughter Audrey Greaney who also had a superb run and they are both really looking forward to the 5k series which begins on Tuesday 28th April in Athenry and promises to be the biggest series to date with almost 1000 entries.

Other members in action over the weekend included Sean Burke, Mark Rabbitte and Sean O’Morain who all ran the Colemanstown 10k.

Ger Hartnett and Aidan Doyle both had flyers in the Kilmovee 10k and the Tuesday evening speedwork sessions are definitely paying off if these results are anything to go by.

Finally we would all like to wish Padraic Burke well in the Connemara Ultra Marathon on Sunday. He has completed his training schedule and is in superb condition and raring to go on Sunday, he is a great inspiration to everybody in the club and we wish him well.

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TuamAC Notes 08/03/2015

The wet and windy conditions of the weekend didn’t deter Tuam AC athletes from running throughout the province. In fact it turned out to be a very busy weekend for Tuam AC.

Conal Burke, Sean Burke, Jennifer Carney, Ann Cosgrove, Aidan Doyle, Richard Geraghty, Joanna Kiely, Mark Rabbitte and Yvonne Wilson all ran in the Kinvara Rock & Road 10k and Half Marathon.

Margaret McDonagh, Jarlath Monaghan and Derek Naughton ran the Carnacon 8k in Co. Mayo. Margaret will have to increase her trophy case size as she once again brought home silverware finishing 3rd. She extends her lead in the series and is on course to win it outright.

Tuam AC’s first speedwork session was held Tuesday 3rd March coached by one of Galway’s top athletes, Matt Bidwell. Ger Hartnett, who is the speedwork session coordinator, was very happy to report that it was a great success with 25 people participating. This session is suitable for runners of all abilities and is ideal for improving speed and endurance for the summer racing season ahead. Tuam ACs speedwork session continues every Tuesday night at 6:30pm in St Jarlaths. It costs €2 per person per session and you must be a member of Tuam AC in order to participate.

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Tuam AC Notes 01/03/2015

Aoibhean Phelan was the sole representative of Tuam AC at the Connacht Juvenile Indoor Championships in Athlone on Saturday and she put in a superb performance in the 60m sprint finishing in 10 secs and the 600m where she finished in 2 mins. She also competed in the Shot Putt and she had great support from her Mum and Dad, brother and sisters and everybody in Tuam AC is very proud of her representing the club.

Also on Saturday morning Padraic Burke ran a full 26.2 mile marathon around the walks of St Jarlath’s in just over three and a half hours and he wasn’t even out of breath when he finished. It was an amazing solo effort completing 72 laps of the tarmac path around the pitches and he was joined by some other members of the club for part of the run but it really was a great effort. It was all part of his training for the Connemara Ultra Marathon which is an eye watering 39.3 mile race that takes place in six weeks time. To prove how dedicated he is he was spotted out again in the snow on Sunday morning.

Congratulations and well done to Margaret McDonagh and Jarlath Monaghan who ran the Clonbur 10k on Sunday. Margaret finished 3rd and Jarlath 2nd in their respective categories. Margaret moves to overall 1st position for the series in her category while Jarath remains in 2nd place for his category. Their next race in the series is a 8k and is on next Saturday in Carnacon, Co. Mayo.

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Tuam AC Notes 16/02/14

Juvenile training continues Sunday morning and every Sunday morning at 11:30am in St. Jarlath’s. Please contact Brendan Monaghan for further details.

Sunday 22nd Feb. sees the 7th year of the Kilconieron Charity 5 mile Run & Walk. Each year all proceeds from the event are donated to charity. This year’s nominated charity is Athenry Cancer Care.

Members running last weekend were Michael McLoughlin in the Gort 8k, Caroline Ronan, Fiona Lardner and Michael Lardner in the Westport AC Point to Point 5k.

Tuam AC is delighted to announce that it has managed to secure the coaching services of Matt Bidwell. Matt is one of Galway’s top athletes and 2nd place finisher at this year’s Tuam AC 8k road race. He will be coaching a Tuam AC weekly speed work session commencing in March. This speed work session is suitable for runners of all abilities and will increase speed and endurance. The first block of training coached by Matt will run on Tuesday evenings up until the start of the 5k series in May. The speed work session will then recommence in June. You must be a member of Tuam AC in order to participate and it will cost €2 per person per session.

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Tuam AC Notes 9/2/2015

The GloHealth Master, Intermediate and Juvenile B Cross Country Championships took place in the Palace Grounds, Tuam last Sunday, 8th of February. Almost 1,000 athletes were treated to a real cross country test over the rolling hills of the Palace Grounds.

Tuam AC fielded 20 athletes over all of the events of the day. The day started in the morning with the juvenile U11 age group. Tuam AC was represented by Aoibheann Phelan in the girls U11 and Ross Cosgrove, Jack Hession, Conor Munnelly and Oisin Phelan in the boys U11 race. Each of them doing very well and can be proud of their performance.

The seniors filled up the afternoon events with the highlight being Roger Rushe finishing second in the over 75 category. Tuam AC was represented by the following senior members – Ladies: Katrin Antweiler, Elaine Fleming, Audrey Greaney, Joanna Kiely, Assumpta Meenaghan, Maura Meenaghan, Ann Marie Miskell –
Men: Stephen Brady, Martin Hynes, Justin Lane, Brendan Monaghan, Roger Rushe, John Stapleton, Tommy Joe Whyte.

Thanks to the local Gardai for their presence throughout the day and to O’Toole’s Supervalu for the use of their car parks. Thanks also to The Presentation Convent who provided us with their superb facilities. Sincere thanks to all officials and stewards that officiated at the event. Special mention to Galway County Board and Athletics Ireland for all their help with the event

While all this was taking place in The Palace Grounds, Maree AC was having it’s annual 8k road race. We are delighted to report that Tuam AC Clare Rowe won the women’s race in a superb 33min. Also running for Tuam AC were Ann Cosgrove, Marina Hussey, Elaine Hynes, Julie Murphy and Yvonne Wilson.

On Saturday some Tuam AC members traveled to Ballinrobe to participate in a duathlon. Derek Naughton completed in the running sections of the team relay. First timers, Elaine Fleming, Michael Lardner, Sean O Morain and seasoned triathlete Tommy Varden completed the 3.5k run then a 18k cycle followed by another 3.5k run. Each were very happy with their times.

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Tuam AC Notes 02/02/15

The National Masters and Intermediates All Ireland Cross Country event is on in the Palace Grounds, Tuam this Sunday February 8th. This will be run along with the Juvenile Development events and it is the first National Cross Country Championship held in Galway since 1999. Tuam is expected to see well over 1000 athletes in the Palace Grounds.

Our own Tuam AC member Roger Rushe will be defending his reign as All Ireland Cross Country Champion. Roger was crowned All Ireland Cross Country Champion in Dunboyne Co. Meath last year. Timetable here –http://www.athleticsireland.ie/downloads/events-timetable/Intermediate_xc_timetable.pdf

Last Sunday saw Michael McLoughlin travel to Ennis as Tuam AC sole representative in the Run Clare 2015 5k Resolution run. The icy cold wind and hailstones did not effect his pace too badly and Michael was very happy with his time, completing it in a time of 24min.

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National Masters and Intermediates All Ireland Cross Country

The National Masters and Intermediates All Ireland Cross Country is on in the Palace Grounds, Tuam on February 8th. This will be run along with the Juvenile Development events and is the first National Cross Country Championship held in Galway since 1999. The event list below shows race distances, how many can be entered plus how many score.

Intermediate Mens 8km, 12 run 6 score
Master Men Over 35 7km, 12 run 6 score
Master Men Over 50 7km , 12 run 6score
Intermediate Womens 5km, 8 run 4 score
Master Women Over 35 4km 8 run 4 score
Master Women Over 50 4km 8 run 4 score
There will also be a Masters Men Over 65 Event which is a Club event only 4km

Intermediate athletes must be 20 years of age or over on the 31st December in the year of competition and must never have been an individual medal winner or a scoring member of the winning club or county team at National Intermediate Championships.

The Masters team event is split into Over 35’s and 50’s (But if not enough interest, then one Masters team – eg 35 and all ages upwards – could run once there were 6 on the team). Masters 65’s men race in with masters women’s race. Masters categories individual go up in 5 year tranches ie 35/40/45/50/55/60/65/70/75 etc

Club Teams can also be entered separately with 8 to run and 4 to score on all Club Teams except; Master Men O65 4,000m where 6 run & 3 score. Timetable here – http://www.athleticsireland.ie/downloads/events-timetable/Intermediate_xc_timetable.pdf

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Thank You

Tuam AC would like to pay particular thanks to John Curley and all the staff at Curleys Quality Foods for their on-going support of the Tuam AC 8k Road Race. Curleys have very generously provided fruit for the athletes for a number of years and their generous contribution has allowed us to keep our entry fee low whilst providing a quality race. Their support is very much appreciated.

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