Having decided I needed a new challenge this year, I signed up to give 4 marathons in 4 days ago back in January, before all the extremes of weather we have endured, first the beast from the east then the long hot summer, as great as the summer was it caused me lots of problems with my training, well basically I didn't train because it was too hot!
So the week before the event I decided to do the sensible thing (I know this is surprising to most of you) and switch events to do 4 Half Marathons in 4 days, still a tough challenge just not as tough as I had originally planned.
We headed to Ireland on the Tuesday before the event via the Ferry after having a lovely drive through Snowdonia on the journey there, very nice part of the world I hear Nick. I've never been to Ireland before so I was looking forward to a bit of sight seeing and having a few nice days of running, we spent the day before the event started driving around to check our timings for getting to the start line each day, luckily our B&B was pretty central so it wasn't too much of a journey but we were in the very Northern tip of Southern Ireland and some parts are rather remote.
After a lovely full Irish breakfast we headed off on Day 1 to the start line where Dave made friends with the chap manning the feed station for the full mararthon runners. It was a lovely sunny day and we had a nice down hill start which sadly quickly turned into a steep hill climb, we set off just after 10.30am and within the first mile the heavens opened and it started to rain, thankfully nothing to much but my coat was on and off rather a lot that first day as we had lots of showers but it was a nice temperature and a lovely scenic route. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging on the way.
Day 1 passed with no major dramas and I felt ok by the end I kept up a steady pace of run walking and kept myself fulled by Jim Beech's lovely homemade flapjack. Thanks Jim. After crossing the finish line and picking up my first medal I decided to take advantage of the sport massage's that were on offer to aid my recovery ready for Day 2.
Day 2 we headed to a different start and again Dave's new friend Paul was there with the feed station, I stayed in the car for as long as possible because it was absolutely pouring down with rain as it did for almost all of the run, it was very windy and cold at some points, it was tough going fighting against the wind so I walked to save energy and ran when I could. It eventually stopped raining with about 2 miles to go and we finished at the same place as we had on Day 1 but this time rather wetter than before. Whilst waiting for massage number 2 I got chatting to some of my fellow runners and met another runner from Somerset, she is a member of Minehead although was running in her Serpentine club colours being that she's a member of them as well.
Day 3 and again it was raining, to be honest it wasn't fun getting wet day after day and it didn't help my poor feet by the end of day 3 I had a rather large blister on the bottom of my foot which was rather painful. Day 3 also involved climbing a mountain! It was wet and misty as we climbed thankfully Dave had parked at the top and walked half way back down to encourage me on my way, once I'd reached the top I thought great I'll have a nice downhill to pick up the pace, nope it was so steep and slippery I was just as slow going down the other side but the rest of the route was pretty flat so I did manage to pick up the pace and scrape in under the 4 hour cut off with 10 minutes to spare.
Day 4 and we'd be advised this was the flattest of all the days, which it was but that also made it the most boring, we ran along the coast on a pretty busy road so you had to stay awake, luckily most of the drivers were very supportive waving and encouraging us along the way but it would have been nice to have a bit more variety, I finally reached the end on the sea front to a crowd of fellow runners and supporters cheering everyone across the line and collected my fourth medal. A very enjoyable well organised event, it was really helpful having Dave there with the car to drive along and stop at various points to keep me motivated all my fellow runners were really friendly and great support. I'd recommend it if you fancy a challenge and I'm even considering going back next year!
Day 1 3 hours 11 minutes 24 seconds
Day 2 3 hours 38 minutes 35 seconds
Day 3 3 hours 50 minutes 17 seconds
Day 4 3 hours 36 minutes 34 seconds
And I wasn't last!!