Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sixmilebridge 10in10 Marathon #10

Everyone had been looking forward to today for two main reasons. One, this was the final day, and then the daily torture would finally be over. Two, it was supposed to be much cooler and we could stop running through the furnace. Reason one was a given, reason two turned out to be yet another of nature's cruel jokes, we awoke to the same cloudless sky and oppressive heat as any other day and there was no respite to had had after all. Ah well. We sure had gotten used to it by now.

After yesterday's horror show I was definitely worried about today. There was never any chance of me pulling out, not after coming so far, but I reckoned I was in for several hours of absolute torture and I was not looking forward to it.

However, as soon as I set off I felt pretty good and I managed a rather respectable pace (at least when taking the previous 9 marathons into account). To be honest, the fact that I had taken painkillers before the start may well have had a major influence in this. Kids, don't try this at home. That's exactly how you do yourself some real damage, but I had reached the point of desperation and I knew I was going to run through anything today, so I might as well take the edge of the pain. I've had painkillers in my bag at the B&B all week but never brought them out with me so that I would not be tempted to take them unnecessarily, but today I caved in.

Anyway I was starting out at 8:15-8:20 pace, faster than most days this week, and even though I expected to falter at some stage I reckoned the more miles I would get in while feeling good the fewer miles I would have to shuffle through in torture. Some runners had taken the early 11 o'clock start option and I gradually met most of them on the course, some very close to finishing, the lucky bastards, and everyone's spirits were sky high.

The first loop passed reasonably quickly and I was back in Sixmilebridge in no time. The finishing arch was already up and standing, but I ran around it, not wanting to go through the finish without having actually finished. I was well aware that I was now starting the glory loop, the one that's there to be enjoyed, and every single thing I passed I would not have to pass again. As the miles ticked off I said good bye to rubbish corner and Nama hill, good riddance to railway bridge number 1 and number 2, never see you again blind corner, so long green house, and so on. This passed the time and the miles flew by, even as the legs grew more and more weary.

I also managed to say good bye to some of the locals who had shown an amazing level of support, some of them going as far as setting up their own aid stations and re-stocking them every day, as well as cheering us on without fail.

With the final miles approaching I managed to pick up the pace again as I could smell the finish, not so much of today's run but the entire 10in10 experience. I knew I would do a decent time, certainly faster than the last couple of days, and I got a bit emotional running down the hill to the finish, remembering my step dad who had died 3 months ago and lifting my fingers and eyes to heaven to greet him. Crossing that line was an unbelievable feeling, no other marathon or ultra has ever come anywhere close to it.

I'm pretty sure the clock at the finish said 3:43 as I went through though my Garmin said 3:42, but it does not matter a dot and I will take whatever time will appear in the official results. I came second overall, over 2 hours behind Rik in first and over 2 hours ahead of Stu in third, so it wasn't exactly a close contest either way. But this was never about times and places. The thing I will remember most is the camaraderie between all the runners, the ones who finished as well as the ones who regretfully had to pull out, I know we all routed for each other and we all gave each other as much support as was possible.

There were plenty of hugs at the end, for all the runners and the organisers and crew and friends and family and I somehow managed not to burst into tears, but I had to leave early as I got a lift home to Kerry from fellow 10in10 conqueror Jim; we were both a bit reluctant to leave but the Real World was calling. I also missed my own family and could not wait to see them again.

It was a fantastic event. I don't know if there are any plans for a repeat (Tom and Richie might be a bit reluctant, they both worked incredibly hard and must be at least as exhausted as the 10in10 finishers, and that's not to take anything away from all the other volunteers), and even if there is I would have to think very hard if I want to put myself through all that again, but you never know.

Here's to the 23 and the 18. We'll always have Sixmilebridge.

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more
Obviously in good spirits


Proud to be finished an proud to have run it for such a great cause. Never mind the tan lines.

A lot of bling

The back of the finisher's shirt

13 Jul
Sixmilebridge 10in10 Marathon #10
   3:42:25 (?), no idea about placing, second place overall

15 comments:

  1. Congratulations Thomas! Fantastic achievement!

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  2. Great effort Thomas. Well done. Didn't doubt that you would finish.

    I've been looking forward to today for one main reason: No longer need to read marathon daily marathon reports ;-)

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  3. Thomas well done and thanks for the memories over the last 10 days.

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  4. Absolutely magnificant Thomas. Many congratulations. Hope the recovery goes well. Now put your feet up.

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  5. Amazing achievement for you and the entire group who took part. Massive well done :)

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  6. Absolutely amazing Thomas, congradulations!

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  7. I expect a recovery run report tomorrow. Super effort Thomas to you and the whole group.

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  8. Nice job Thomas!! That is not for everyone!! You are special and great buddy!

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  9. Well done, what an amazing achievement!

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  10. Magnifique as they say over here Thomas, my outstanding thought is admiration though, great great effort and you should be very proud, rest well mon ami.

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  11. Fantastic achievement says it all.

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  12. Well done and fair play to you .. quick question whats the damage report ? considering the weather , did you suffer from blisters? chaffing?, the calfs didnt seem to cramp unlike other times, and you hardly took gels all week, how did you find refueling? one last question 10in10 in hot weather . did you loose any weight ? well done again thomas.

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  13. Well done Thomas, a great achievement!

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