Held: Saturday 23rd May 2012
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"Thank you so much for such a great event. Also a big thank you to the lady who gave me her socks at the water station at mile 7!!! I was developing a blister and it definitely would have ruined my race if we hadn't come up with this solution - it worked a treat! hope all crossed the line safely"...Anne
"Dear Mary, sincere thanks for a fantastic marathon experience. Each year, it just gets better. you have been so helpful, as were the stewarts, the MC in the tight shorts, and all the lovely people our group met along the way. The weather was an added bonus this year, please organise the same for next year, when the young man who i thought might not manage the mini marathon, is insisting he wants to try for the half marathon next time. Well done to you and all the team. We'll see you again next year for more" ...from Mary and all from Apple Tree Centre, Brothers of Charity Services, Gort.
"Hi Mary, A stunning day.i don't normally bother giving feedback but I have to say I thought this event was one of the best I've been in... It's a really challenging marathon..(I made it in 18th)I fell around mile 21 ..was fine pride more than blood the issue !!...on that though..when I crossed line one of your stewards was quick eneogh to notice and insist I got it looked at..All the aid stations were well stocked and fruit etc was plentiful! If I had one suggestion I'd get your starter to pull runners right up front and walkers a bit back...it'd be easy enough to trip a walker by clipping there heels at start... Ballyvaughan was beautiful and ill definitely be back... Whether to run or not..that's another story! An event I don't want to share with friends so I can keep it for myself!" ...Regards Aodhagan fitzsimons
"Hi Mary: Just a quick Mail. Myself and my wife Patricia (326 & 327) both completed the Half marathon on Saturday. We would both like to thank you all for the best organised walk we have been on. It was superbly managed and it was a pleasure to take part. I know I will leave somebody out but please can you pass on our thanks to everybody involved with the event and also with the people of Ballyvaughan who were very friendly and supportive and most of all there was a great element of fun to the whole event which we all badly need in these gloomy times.. All I can say is well done and we will be back" ...Kind Regards Padraic & Patricia Dolan.
"Great event and super organized, So enjoyable so well done to all, Any tips on training for mile 8?" ...David
"Can I just say thanks for a spectacular event. It was a challenging, well run, very friendly and most of all a thoroughly enjoyable event. Can’t wait for next year" ...Aidan
"Hi Mary, Did full marathon and it was fab.. We have run lots of marathons and have to say that this was very well organised.. great buzz at start.. water stops were brill lots of goodies at each of them..So Ye should be very Proud!! again well done" ...Billy & Les.
"It was brilliant, really enjoyed it - many thanks, am already recommending it to other people" ...mark
"Dear Mary, I walked the Half Marathon on Saturday and I tried to find you after it. I want to complement you and ALL your team on the fantastic organisation that was apparent on the day and that I imagine went on 'behind the scenes'. It felt that you had thought of every last detail to make us feel safe, welcome and honoured. It was, as ever, a thoroughly enjoyable atmosphere and with the sun so happily provided second-to-none in terms of beauty. We live in paradise on days like that! I assume that you will have 'debriefing' meetings and I would like you to pass on my thanks to every last farmer and person managing 'water stops' and those signing us in and clapping us on and welcoming us in Logues. To the very last person there was only a smile and a warmth. Be very proud of what you have created. I'll sign up again - as my annual Marathon Outing. Many,many thanks for ALL the hard-work,thoughtfulness and dedication - such events do not come out of thin air! I hope you will all now rest comfortably on your well earned laurels!" ...Marych O'Sullivan-Sanford
"Well, seeing as ballyv only 15 min spin from my home said better do race completed the half - very very tough and heat didn't help.thank God met 2 lovely women from limerick who were at my pace and full ofchat and craic.bombed it back to ballyv on the road for last 3 miles.Super organised race and very friendly people about.thanks a million to the stewards who were out on the route - great locally supported race"
"Had a ball out there yesterday, completed the full, fair play to all the marshalls and mountain rescue crews, all so helpful, friendly and happy, twas like being abroad in the glorious sunshine and the locals couldnt have been more friendly, anyone i spoke to thanked me for coming to there area, amazing, really looking forward to doing it again the scenery alone will bring me back"
"Great race, worth entrance alone for the scenery. Man it was tough in places and the heat made it tougher. Race i would do again, plenty of water stops and well marshalled."
Report by Charlie (Christopher) Walsh from the Irish 100 marathon club.
This was my first Clare Burren mountain marathon and to be honest I was a little apprehensive the morning of the race. Other 100 marathon club members had repeated many times throughout the year the wet conditions they had experienced at last year’s event. One club member who shall remain nameless, stated at the end of the race last year that he was so wet and mucky he stripped off all his running gear, got into his car naked reversed over his discarded running gear and drove off. It was only when he was a number of miles down the road and the car heater had got the blood going in his veins again did he stop the car and put some clothes on.
However when I woke up on Saturday morning and the sun was already warm at 06.30am I knew that rain wasn’t going to be the problem. As I drove through the Burren landscape towards Ballyvaughan the sun reflecting off the rocks gave the impression that this landscape was from a foreign planet. It is like the place where all the rocks in Ireland go to die.
Being able to pick up your race number the morning of the race I find is always a great plus and the friendly volunteers handing out the race numbers ensured that this was done quickly and efficiently. The start line had a great atmosphere both with the fine weather and the enthusiastic DJ getting the crowd going. One change I would recommend at the start line would be that the runners are sent to the front and the walker’s further back, especially as some of the walkers were walking four abreast. Also some runners came close to knocking over some of the kids who were doing the mini-marathon. So by asking the walkers to move further back would hopefully avoid this problem.
The course route itself is truly one of the most unique I have ever ran. The 16th Century Newtown castle which we passed on the first few miles of the race really set the scene for the remainder of the race. Although to call this marathon a race from this point on was no longer true. As I got further into the run I found my mind wandering. The sun, the views and the sense of history all made the miles pass far too quickly. I found myself stopping every now and then just to take in the vista.
The first big climb at around mile 11 was tough but amazing. The stone built walls that were either side of the track were perfectly straight right the way across the mountain. To think of the people who built them really was hard to comprehend. A people that were perhaps half starved carrying out this physical back breaking work made the small bit of tiredness we were experiencing fade into insignificance. These walls that marked the route along the mountain were almost like the crowds of spectators who line the routes of big city marathons. But these spectators watched in stony silence. Perhaps with the thoughts of these past generations the climb was made easier or maybe in was that the wind was at our back, who knows.
As we came over the mountain to see the Aran Islands in the distance out in the Atlantic was similar to views on the Greek Islands. As we came down into Fanore beach I was brought back to the present seeing ‘normal’ people out swimming and sunbathing. Not running over mountains on their weekends.
The second climb up from Fanore seemed to catch a number of runners who were not expecting it to be quite so steep. But the breeze coming in from the sea cooled the temperatures slightly. A number of runners said that they would have liked an energy drink around here at one of the water stations.
The last few miles back to the finish line along the road was made all the easier by the ‘well done’ been shouted to us from the half marathon walkers we passed.
The Clare – Burren mountain marathon for me personally is the best organized and friendliest mountain marathon I have completed in Ireland. The presence of the mountain rescue team on the mountain tops was great to see and gave an added sense of security if anything was to go awry.
The vast array of food at each of the water stops was also a huge boost. I certainly will be back to participate in this marathon again.