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Kilbroney Orange CourseToday I finally realised that I have a ‘proper’ injury and one that simply won’t go away with a couple of days rest. Two Wednesdays ago during the O training organized by QUB, I must have pull my calf muscle on the initial 9km run. I only felt it at the end of the evening and I guessed (like most people) a couple days off running would be the standard cure. That Sunday I went out for a trail run around Belvoir Forest (I had no pain in my calf at this point), but after 16 minutes I felt my calf tighten again. I stopped and walked back to the car wondering what I had done to myself. At this point I realised I must have torn the muscle slightly. I give it a full weeks rest from running and by Friday the calf muscle felt fine and pain free. Today I had the chance to go down to the orienteering at Rostrevor, because the kids football had been called off due the recent heavy rain. The Green was the hardest course on offer so I thought it would be a good test for the calf. However, after 5 minutes into my warm up I felt my calf tighten again….oh dear!! It was not painful, but you knew it was there. I decided to drop down to the Orange course, so I was not tempted to compete with the usual guys on the Green. I was able to walk ok and jogging on the flat was fine as well.

Micro Nav Course BI got around the Orange course ok and because I was forced to go at a slower pace it gave me a chance to concentrate more on the map and matching it with the terrain around me. Once finished the Orange course there was a chance to practice some micro navigation around the park. LVO had set up about 25 controls dotted around the various trees in the open park. There was then 4 courses to try and even though I only try one course it was very good fun and a great orienteering exercise.

At the end my calf did not get any worst, but it means I still need to get it sorted properly, which also means running is out of the window for a few weeks. Next week is the NIO Champs at Meelmore….I would be surprise if my calf was anywhere close to 100%, so it looks like I will be forced to give it a miss. Luckily the Dromare Trailquest Series starts next Sunday, so hopefully I will make that instead. … tomorrow it’s back out on the bike.

Winter09TrailQuest2009bIts back…..

Dromara Cycling Club are expanding the fantastic sucess of the 2008 winter league. In 2009 we shall be holding 6 events on the following dates. There will be a 3.5 hour and a 2 hour event on each date. There will be prizes for each and the best team with youth members. The entry price, teams of up to 4, pre-entry etc will all be the same and a trail quest page will be available shortly.

The dates are.
Sunday 8th November at Dromara football Club
Sunday 15th November at Daft Eddie’s Killinchy
Sunday 6th December at Dolly, Brae Inn Ballyward Castlewellan
Sunday 27th December at Brennan’s Garage Seaforde.
Sunday 10th January at Paddy’s Barn Saul, Downpatrick, [TBC]
Sunday 17th January at Shimna Valley Newcastle.

There has been a great deal of interest in the trail quests over the last few moths, so lets hope for dry weather and plenty taking part. Proceeds to Northern Ireland Children’s Cancer Charity at Shimna Valley Newcastle.

For more information please email Trevor

Rowan and co have been busy again…..

A new ‘winter’ trail racing series starts this week. Organised by 26Extreme, the guys behind the Mourne Way and Causeway Coast Marathons, the series should provide a suitable extension to the summer ‘Hill and Dale’ series run by NIMRA.

26 Extreme invites you to banish your winter blues and take part in the 2009 / 2010 Winter Race Series. This is a series of ten trail races in Rostrevor, Castlewellan and Tollymore Forests ranging in length from 6.5km to almost 13km. The exciting thing about these races is that four of them will be staged in the hours of darkness. On these race nights competitors will don their head torches and with their fellow runners will light up the trails through the forests as they take part in these unique events. All competitors in these events will be have chipped race times as we will be using the Champion Chip Timing System.

 This is straight for the recent Open Adventure Newsletter and is great news for the UK/Ireland adventure racing scene.

‘Rumours are rife so we will put this to bed.. Yep we will be running an expedition event in 2010 sponsored by Adidas. It will be around 3-4 days in length, non stop for mixed teams of 4, location – Cumbria. A new website will be put together for this event which will be online in November (keep an eye on SleepMonsters) entries opening on the 1st December.

We are rapidly pulling this event together with experienced international racer and 2nd place C2C solo competitor Bruce Duncan – he has some crazy ideas which along with ours will make this a very memorable experience.

registration / prologue | 26th August
event | 27 – 30th August

Our aim is to make this event achievable to a wide range of competitors, not just the very best in the world. More to follow..’

Once I learn how to embed the script into WordPress, it should look pretty good.

Last weekend saw the conclusion of the Tri Nations Challenge as the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest 10k came to Edinburgh. Having previously visited Cardiff and Nottingham this is a 10k race with a difference. It is essentially a 10k urban assault course with competitors tackling an obstacle every kilometre or so. The event is also sponsored by For Goodness Shakes! who enter a race team of their own. I applied to join the team this year and was lucky enough to be selected.

With over 1500 people taking part starts are staggered in waves of 15 minutes with approximately 250 athletes in each wave, I was in the second wave. The race started on the Royal Mile and we were soon confronted by our first obstacle, several hay bail walls. I leapt over the bails and ran the first part of the race hard as I knew there was a small alleyway coming up and didn’t want to be held up by a potential bottle neck. I was in second place as we passed Waverly Station and made our way to Calton Hill. We were promised a race with plenty of climb and our legs were soon tested on the second obstacle, Jacobs Ladder Climb. A series of steep steps took us up to Regent Road; I eased off slightly up the steps knowing there was plenty more to come later in the course. As we ran to the top of Calton Hill I was passed by a few racers and probably slipped down into 8th or 9th place. The third obstacle was on the top of Calton Hill, an army assault course. A series of cargo nets, rope swings and monkey bars to name a few stood between me and the descent of Calton Hill. I was fast over the obstacles (slightly disappointed when I reached the end!) and left Calton Hill back up in second place. The early leader of my wave had faded badly at the steps and the guy now leading was Matt Sutherland a fellow FGS Team member.

The course then took us to Holyrood Park but not before we had another obstacle to tackle en route. The Urban Jungle comprised of some large tyres a couple of cars and skip we had to clamber through and over before passing through a housing estate into the park. I was feeling good at this stage of the race and looking forward to getting of the roads onto some parkland. It was here we began to catch the trailing members of the first wave up, over taking some was tricky on the narrow woodland paths. The course was mainly uphill along this stretch and my legs started to feel it as I had a tussle for the wave 2 second spot. We were soon at our 5th obstacle and nearing the half way point of the course. I hit the waterslide at the wrong time and had a slight wait as some wave 1 stragglers slid very slowly down the slide. I was in third place now by some distance with fourth not far behind. I good dive off the top of the slide meant I was down in milliseconds and soon running back towards the city centre. As we passed through a large tunnel another FGS team member caught me and we ran together before he gradually pulled away from me. Slipping to fourth I was determined not to lose any more places! We faced a small ‘stocking filler’ obstacle of spider’s web ropes and a drenching from the Fire and Rescue Service before descending into Cowgate. The course was well marked and as I saw left arrow I turned left, straight into a dead end! Quickly turning and taking the next left I lost little time but it all adds up and I now had the 5th place wave 2 run alongside me. It was a welcome relief to get to the next obstacle as I felt I was far quicker over the obstacles than most but slightly slower covering the ground between them. We were faced with a construction site type obstacle course with plenty of scaffolding to clamber on. It was becoming hard to pass the hoards of wave 1 members that engulfed the obstacles but with a bit of friendly pushing and shoving I got through…it is a race after all!!

We were then straight onto the next obstacle as we entered a building and ran round a maze of corridors and stair wells, I was now back into 3rd place and feeling a real buzz. We faced another incline as we ran back onto the Royal Mile to face the Under Armour Royal Mile challenge. Rat Race flash backs passed through my mind here as we clambered over bouncy castles and up margarine covered slopes! There was a queue at one of these which, although it was frustrating, did allow me to catch my breath. I knew we were homeward bound now and so pushed on through the Grassmarket thinking there were two obstacles to go and about 1.5 k of flat road…I was wrong! After flowing through the parkour zone with ease, the race entered the West end of West Princes Street Gardens we ran towards the finish but suddenly faced a nasty sting in the tail of a series of zig zagged paths uphill towards the Castle Esplanade! These really hurt the legs and I could feel the burn in my calves. I could also see the second wave 2 runner ahead and really wanted to catch him, however was passed on the uphill by another wave 2 runner and now found myself in fourth place. I’ve always been stronger a descents and really let rip when it came throwing myself off the top. I hurtled towards the bottom not entirely in control but caught 3rd place at the bottom and we ran neck and neck around the Amphitheatre. We had one final obstacle to face, the Men’s Health Wall of Fame, and 8ft wall. I threw my self at the wall ignoring the ropes that were there to aid/hinder climbing attempts. I made it straight up and over and crossed the line, exhausted. As I caught my breath I turned to see two guys from wave two crossing the line who were in 2nd and 3rd place before the wall…I had just managed to nab second place which brought a large grin to my face!

The race was the most intense I’ve done for some time, it was over a shorter distance than what I’m used to and really felt like a sprint from start to finish. I didn’t have the speed between the obstacles I would have liked, but having never run a ‘10k’ was pleased how I managed to pace my race. The obstacles were extremely enjoyable and I think really played to my advantage. The overall winner was Matt Sutherland, the wave 2 winner, in a highly impressive time of 44.23. I was pleased to finish in 7th place overall with a time of 47.19. Incidentally this time was quicker than both the winning times in Nottingham and Cardiff, which is a surprise as they were relatively flat courses. Another interesting fact is that out of the top ten finishers 6 were from wave 1 and 4 from wave 2, I think this shows the queue build up throughout the day and definitely felt for those running in wave 6! Overall I was highly impressed with the event but have come to expect no less from Detail Events. Huge thanks also go to For Goodness Shakes! for the race entry, it was a privilege to race on behalf of such a worthwhile sports nutritional product. Next up, the Open 5 Series gets under way on the first Sunday of November; a great race series to entertain adventure athletes over the winter months.