It has to be one of the coolest places in the world to run and next Saturday I’m going to get to see quite a lot of it – up close and personal. The Connemara 100 has been a big element of my running life since it started a couple of years ago and it’s slowly growing in stature towards being one of the best ultras around. It’s a real stiff challenge. Sure, it doesn’t have that clinical, technical simplicity of a 24 hour event or a 100km road race on flat tarmac loops, but it has so much more. I really enjoy the way that ordinary runners have chosen to challenge themselves against the might of the mountains and the fearsome distance involved. It’s this human dimension that makes the race special – the mutual respect and feeling of all being in it together. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, not ordinary people pretending to be extraordinary people.
It’s this very lack of pretentiousness that attracts me. Nobody has a title or a mandate, they’re just there to run and to see what happens. For myself, I have no ambitions to run a great time this year. I’m going to jog away from Clifden and just see what happens. I might make it home in worse shape than other years and I might not make it home at all. In the end, it doesn’t matter. It’s the process that’s important to me this year. As I’ve said before I haven’t got a lot of training done, but I’m not totally under-prepared either. I’ll just have to take it as it come, trying to stay in the moment as much as possible. I know I’ll meet some good people and hope to make some new friends over the weekend.
I cound’t bring myself to link to a Britney Spears video, just because I’d borrowed a song title for this post and so I’ll leave you with something a little easier on the ear.
Spot all the baldy men in the audience – it must be a gender/age thing.