Running race (Mourne Skyline) 5:48:49  36.5 km (9:33 / km) +2811m 6:54 / km
shoes: Inov-8 X-Talon 212 (2016)
Survived injury-free - mission accomplished. After my surprise success in Kerry I was wondering how I would fare in this race, but I soon realised that would be like comparing apples and oranges. The Mournes are steep and slippery! Very difficult to make progress on the uphills, and the downhills were treacherous. Mudclaws may have been a better choice but I don't own a pair anymore.
It's 16km from Newcastle to the food stop, and it was tough but not too tough up to that point. The route goes from the promenade up through Donard forest, then follows the path next to the Glen river and climbs steadily to the col between Donard and Commedagh. Then comes the nice running on the Brandy Pad over to Hare's Gap. Then the slipperiness started with climbs up and down Slieve Bearnagh and Slieve Meelmore. By coincidence I was with ConorM for a good deal of this which made it easier as we had trained so much together over the summer. Slippy coming off Meelmore but then became more runnable on a flattish path over to the food stop at Fofanny dam.
Spent about 3 minutes at the food stop before convincing Conor to get a move on and eat on the move. Followed the tarmac road for a bit and then turned off and along the side of Ott mountain to join the Mourne Wall. Then it was a case of "just" following the wall as far as the summit of Donard. Legs extremely tired climbing up and over Loughshannagh, Meelbeg, Meelmore (easier from this direction), Bearnagh (again, munched lunch on the way up) and the long slog up to Commedagh. After that it was actually relatively quick to get up and down Donard and oh so nice to get back on the rocky path again to drop down to Donard forest and the finish.
Delighted that I came back and completed this race this year, after wussing out of it last year. Not 100% happy with my performance as I feel that I probably peaked in September (much like last year) and lacked energy in the legs on the day. Also disappointed with my poor technique particularly on the downhills. Think I came 71st out of about 185 finishers. Best of our group was MarcoP in 30th place, MarkH in 50th place, ConorM in 69th and RachelN in 70th (only about 10 seconds between us in the end).
Interestingly I clocked 1.5km more distance than advertised, and far less than the advertised climb (3500m). While everyone in our group had variation in the distance travelled and metres climbed, nobody's climb was near 3000m, not to mind 3500m! I must take out my Mournes map at some point this week and count the contours.
EDIT: 2532m climb by counting the contours. No idea where the organisers came up with the extra 1000m! Not that I'm really complaining about the race being easier than advertised!