It's hard to believe that I haven't posted anything since June 2016; to make up, I thought I'd give you a whistle-stop tour of the last 12 months.
So, despite getting injured during the 2016 Newry Marathon, I wasn't out of action for too long and was soon training for the Monaghan Phoenix Marathon. Along the way, I ran the Monaghan Town 10 miler and the Belfast City Half Marathon.
Another brilliant summer afternoon in Monaghan and whilst I didn't record a sub-75 minute time; I was still very happy to come in at 1:15:24 (Pace 7:32)
Along the way, I got to 8 miles in under an hour; which is now my benchmark for running good 10 milers and half marathons. As ever, the event was impeccably run by Monaghan Town Runners and we were rewarded with a big feed afterwards.
Belfast City HM
I was in good form as I lined for this HM in late September; having got my really long runs under my belt, I was feeling confident of at least running a sub 1:40 time. Started off further back than I had planned but didn't panic and I soon caught the 1:45 pacer and went past him. Went through 8 miles in 58 mins and then 10 miles in 73 mins - ahead of schedule. With a nice flat half mile run in to the finish, a sprint finish was on the cards and I didn't disappoint and was over the moon when I saw the clock show 1:38 as I hit the chip mat. My official time was 1:37:34 (7:24 pace). A PB by 19 secs.
With no niggles and a brilliant HM only 2 weeks before; I was looking forward to my second Monaghan Marathon (road and forest park route). I was more prepared this year and my plan was not to go off too quick and try and run each of the 5 'laps' even paced. Unlike last year, I didn't feel I faded over the second half and even had enough left in my legs to sprint to the finish. I got a course PB of 3:55:10 (8:58 pace). I'll let these pictures do the talking...
First race of 2017 and I was feeling quietely confident as I had run this the previous two years and my HM times had been getting quicker and quicker over recent races. The weather didn't disappoint with sun, wind and heavy rain and around halfway the headwind really made things difficult; but I got to mile 8 in an hour and knew the last mile was slightly downhill, so was really hopeful of a good time. I was passing more runners the closer I got to the finish and whilst I didn't get a HM PB, I did get a course PB by 2 mins - 1:39:03 (7:33 pace). Another good day at the office but not the most flattering finish photo...
This brings me to Newry Marathon 2017 and that will be a post in its own right.