When I applied for a spot in Bauers Megabackyard Funrun (BMF) back in September, a friend of mine asked me why on earth you’d do that to yourself. I said something like ‘what could possibly go wrong’, half hoping race director Simon wouldn’t accept my application. Soon after that I received my official apologies email, meaning I got offered a place in the event.
2 am, middle of the woods, somewhere in Wicklow. A man has just passed me, shining around with his headtorch and asking me if I’m looking for something. I probably should have just told him that it’s my sanity that I’m looking for. Who signs up for a night race after dropping out of two races due to… not being able to run in the dark?
I enjoyed my training through a pretty bleak winter in Kerry, just delighted with the fact that I could go out and do all these things. I knew that there was one big race on the horizon, though: the Beara Way Ultra. In a way I was lucky, because I knew what I was signing up for. I had done the Beara Way before, so I should (emphasis on should) know the route and be familiar with the terrain.
I felt very lucky to be on the start line of the Ecotrail Wicklow 80 km race on September 24th, only a few days after travelling back to Ireland. From looking at the maps and talking to some people who had done the race in previous years, I knew the trails should be very good and that it could be a fast course.
May 2022 saw the second edition of the Waterville Trailrunning Festival (WTF), an event that a lot of people had been looking forward to for a couple of years. The longest continuous event of the festival, the 130km race, consists of three loops of 43km. What happened over the course of that day and the subsequent night?