#250 - #259 - Sixmilebrige 10 Marathons in 10 Days Report

Marathon #259 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Ten done! Another stonking hot day done but the miles went easy today as it was the last one and also had the company of some lovely mad girls who decided last night that they were going to run the marathon with me. 4 girls and their entire lifetime marathon count was 4! So many, many thanks to Kate, Sandra, Bernie and Catronia for keeping me company today (an d for all your help over the previous 10 days) and especially Bernie who dragged me over the line whilst completing her very first marathon! Great event, great craic, was just nice to do this sort of thing in a low key, no fuss fashion with a fantastic bunch of people, no fuss, no tears, no drama, no physio, no ice baths, no worries. Handshake at the finish and a well done. Wish I had been able to stay around for longer to cheer everyone else home. Special thanks to all the BMOH guys and girls who helped out in what I heard now was the hottest week in Ireland for 30 years!

Marathon #258 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Nine done! Marginally cooler today which was nice (so only about 27C!) , and all in all a very nice day out chatting to lots of folk, couple of ice creams, nice cold diet coke, few snacks, am managing ever more creative ways to actually avoid any running mind you which I did occasionally partake in from time to time. As the locals would say, great craic though... I think most looking forward to finishing tomorrow as most every one getting a bit creaky now but won't quite be the same not running around Sixmilebridge every afternoon! Even the dogs have given up chasing or barking , and didn't see a single cat today. There was a new dead sparrow though sadly...

Marathon #257 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Eight done! Hot, humid, cats, ice creams etc etc, you'll know the drill by now! Favourite conversation of the day. "Why are you always smiling, its supposed to be hard work you know." "It's just perspective really, everyone else is running a marathon every day, this is my training for hard." "Feck...."

Marathon #256 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Seven done! Officially now the hottest day, 31.5C and an awful lot of melted road! In fact in a couple of places there were little puddles of tar... having said that was only a three ice cream, one frosty diet coke day, so may be beginning to get used to the stupidly hot weather! Average July temperature for around here? 17C! Really had to dig deep today, with all the hot weather, if you didn't you couldn't reach the real frozen ice creams deep down in the freezers! lol Folk getting a bit creaky now and I'm finding ever more inventive ways of wasting time, had three sit downs today chatting to folk and generally doing anything to avoid any actual running! The cat at mile 4 was sleeping, but by mile 17 he was back to standing sentinel... even too hot for the dogs today, a couple of the usual barkers just lay there, looking a bit hot! Its all good fun though, cider at the finish is the best bit of the day!

Marathon #255 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Six done! Some debate over if today was hotter than yesterday, 31C was the general consensus, I felt less tar melted on the road and only four ice creams and a frosty diet coke. But still stupidly hot! Irish guys continue to go above and beyond to make sure we're all looked after and a couple of houses on the route have little aid stations too now so that's all much appreciated. Oh and the odd bit of running thrown in from time to time, down hill, and in the shade, when I didn't have an ice cream in my hand! The old legs a bit creaky now, but no big deal. Oh and the cat was back at mile 4/17...

Marathon #254 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Five done! Even hotter! According to people's cars was up to 33-36C today, and no breeze at all to speak of and my ice cream count was up to five! Roads beginning to melt a fair bit in places, wondered what was slowing me up, am getting stuck to the road at times! Well, that's my excuse anyway! Irish guys did a great job driving around with cold water and treats (again!) and all in all a fun day despite a few creaks that are starting to be felt!

Marathon #253 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Four done! Roasting hot day today but the Irish guys did a great job driving around the course with ice, cold drinks and ice pops! Was a four ice cream marathon, which is a PB! One frosty coke and lots of banter and messing around... oh and the odd bit of running now and again. Bit quicker than yesterday but that was only to get to the ice cream shops quicker I think! lol

Marathon #252 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Three done! Hotter, slower and a three ice cream day marathon... and two frosty diet cokes! In fact my #100 road marathon... otherwise, er, bimbled around very slowly, chatting to anyone around, sweated a lot, thank you to Rachel for keeping me company!

Marathon #251 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day Two done! Rather hotter, slower and sweatier than yesterday, but straightforward enough bimbling around trying to spot the most furry cow, the wooliest sheep or the loudest barking dog! I was on my own for a long time today you might be able to tell! lol

Marathon #250 SixMileBridge 10x10 Day One done! Quite possibly my best ever marathon run despite it only being my third quickest at 4:06, just trotted around how my legs felt and that was the result, so pleased with that for a "landmark" marathon, not that "50s" count as much as the "100s"! Great to catch up with some familiarfaces from the Irish marathon scene again around a very pleasant undulating course around the countryside on a very nice evening!


I'd thought for a long time about if to do this event (or rather series of events) ever since I heard confirmation that it was going ahead. On the one hand it would be a good event to do to support the BMOH guys who had done such a splendid job at their 5x5 event in 2011 on the other I'm just veering away from multi-marathoning at the moment in favour of quicker times and the longer ultras. There is also the fact that the Brathay - Windemere 10x10 is very hyped in the marathon world (I think over hyped personally) so it would be nice to just pop over to Ireland, knock out the marathons, have a bit of a catch up with the Irish lads and lasses without any of the trauma or fuss of the Brathay event. I think ultimately it came down to wanting to support the Irish runners, I've always been very touched by how welcoming they've been to me and its very true about Irish hospitality, so that was that. I don't think it ever actually occurred to me that I couldn't do it, or to do any training for it or anything as daft as that! I'd done 10 in 10 before at the end of 2011 on very tired legs so would if nothing else be interesting to see how they coped being slightly fresher.


Now I could bore everyone rigid with a day by day account of it all, but I'll spare anyone reading this that!

My game plan was to run the first one as fast as I could, then generally just plod around the rest, so I'd at least get one long tempo run out of it and the rest could count as "time on feet" and rack up a few marathons and enjoy the events.

The route was identical each day (there was some talk of reversing it on alternate days) and comprised of 2 x 13.1 mile loops of Sixmilebridge and the surrounding little hamlets and countryside. Part of the route was familiar to me as was part of the 6.55 mile loop from the 5x5 but much was new and indeed would come to know it intimately over the coming 10 days! Was fairly rolling shall we say, Garmin tells me it has about 800 feet of up, which sounds about right. On day one it was pretty flat, but day eight the hills were getting fairly steep!

I actually flew into Dublin on the Thursday of the event, they were all starting in the afternoon, but there was nothing that could get me into Shannon early enough so drove the 200k or so to Limerick in the morning, checking in to the hotel and then off to Sixmilebridge for the 5pm start (on subsequent days there would be two starts and I always took the early option). There was a short presentation and then we were off!

So Day One went exactly to plan, knocked out about 4:06 which was my third best ever marathon time so was pleased with that, was a mild evening and had some nice chats with runners old and new. Rachel was doing this one (one of the beauties of the Irish event was that they are true 10 separate marathons, 23 were doing all 10 days, but many others came and went doing 1, 2, 3 marathons etc).

Day Two started to get a bit warmer, but wasn't too bad (in retrospect!) did 5:16 I think it was. Which for a second day marathon for me after a quick one I was likewise quite pleased with.

From Day Three onwards the serious messing about started as the temperatures started to rise! There was a garage at mile 10 and 23, and a shop at mile 13... these became regular haunts! (On Day Ten the garage came me free ice creams!!) Either ice creams or cold diet cokes, or both!

By Day Four things were getting seriously hot! Tarmac was beginning to get rather soft and people really beginning to suffer in the heat and the Irish support guys really stepped up from here on in driving around the course with extra water, ice, Mr Frosties (ice pops), ice creams and so on which were to become a regular and most welcome feature of the whole event. Also popping up were a couple of "unofficial aid stations" Firstly Brock at mile 5/18 and then Jennifer/Megan at mile 9/21 and finally on the last couple of days ones at 7/20 and 8/21. Was really very nice indeed to get this extra on course support and the icy stuff was really most welcome!

By Day Five things were getting stupid hot, road melting and folk reporting temperatures in their cars of 33-36C... steaming! One thing I had not expected was to be so hot I must confess (I had packed a jacket, a fleece and three long sleeved shirts!) Instead I'd got a Nike hot weather shirt which had lots of little holes in it which became my standard for 5 days I think it was, maybe even six (I did wash it out each day!)

Days Six and Seven seemed to be mostly trying to avoid the tar on the roads, which in places had formed little pools, was daftly hot, well into the 30s, a tiny bit of breeze helped in places... but I needed lots of ice cream! lol

Day Eight was probably my worst day, was a bit bored with doing marathons every day in the stonking heat and was having left quad and left knee issues quite badly by now. For a few days they'd been hurting rather more than I would have liked, but tended to wear off but was quite severe at times.

Day Nine I just gave up a bit I think, stood around chatting for maybe an hour on the course with different folk! Anything to avoid any actual running, made for a slow time but a very pleasant day.

And then on to Day Ten! Us slow ones were off at 11:00 rather than the more usual 15:00 and for all week it had been forecast to be in the low 20s rather than the high 20s so some relief, that turned out to be rubbish! Was as hot as any other! Was a very special day for folk though as 18 of the original 23 were to go on and do their 10 in 10 (and mostly those who had to pull out had pre-existing issues). Was very nice for me especially though as for a number of days several of the girl helpers had been saying there were going to do a loop with me. And by "me" I just assumed that was with the early starters. But on the morning it transpired that it really was with me! So I had a lovely escort of four Irish ladies for the first lap and that just flew by as we chatted and I pointed out all the things I had been noticing all week!

The downside of my schedule was that I was flying out from Dublin that night on the last flight. So couldn't afford to mess about so much today which was such a shame, firstly as I wouldn't get to see everyone else finish or go to the evening BBQ but also meant that after the first loop I lost two of my escort who had decided on the previous evening that they weren't going to do just the one loop but do the whole marathon as they slowed a little! Whilst chatting I discovered that their entire marathon count was 4 between the lot of them, and Kate owned two of those!

Bernie owned none and her together we meandered around the second loops (or at Ritchie the RD would say each day "its a loop de loop course!") together, I'm not totally sure who helped who the most, but she certainly propelled me along a bit and perhaps at times I dragged her along a bit too! Then before we knew it, was time to finish and I had to shoot off! Job done!

A quick goodbye to whoever was around in the car and next stop Dublin.... was quite a rushed drive as there was less time than I wished there was and was further than I wished it was! Dropped the car back, flight on time... good! Got to Terminal 1, flight cancelled!! Was not a happy bunny, not least as the hotel they shipped us off to was full! So then another one... totally anti-climatic and frustrating end to the experience.Not least as I'd looked at getting a flight back the next day a couple of days earlier and was a couple of hundred euros to change!

One good thing out of the whole experience additionally was that with the afternoon starts I was deliberately missing out on a meal (I'd have a decent breakfast, but then just a snack for lunch and not much for dinner) so despite eating Ireland out of ice creams I was on purpose under eating. The end result was a few pounds lost and down to lowest weight I've been since Decemeber 2009. Oddly co-incidental with my first road marathon! So much for all this running being good for your weight! lol OK I will confess that the sole reason for the weight gain is the "over rewarding" of cakes, cheesecake, cider, pizza, burgers... et al!


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