Apologies for somehow missing this report sent in April from Conor Cromie…
Dublin2Belfast Ultra – 21st/22nd April 2017
On the 21st April I lined up with 25 other hardly souls at the somewhat leisurely hour of 11AM for The inaugural Dublin2Belfast Ultra. 107 miles of tarmac stretching from the Guinness factory at St James Gate in Dublin to the Crown Bar in Belfast.
Not my usual type of course but their was a pub and the start and finish lines and the route went through my home town of Lisburn. And well, if your only going to do one road race in your life it might as well be a quadruple marathon 🙂
The main pack bolted like we were off on a 10k run leaving myself and a half dozen others trotting along at the rear enjoying the scenery and a good chat. Think I was second last through the first checkpoint at 15 miles.
The route winds its way through the Dublin suburbs, past the airport and out onto the R132 which goes the whole way to the border at Dundalk. Not the most scenic of roads and horrendously busy. A few sections with no hard shoulder to run on were pretty exciting with all the trucks using the road to avoid the motorway tolls.
Running through Dundalk late on a Friday night provided some good entertainment, the locals all agasht that we were out running at that time of night.
Crossing the border we picked up the Newry canal path and followed the backroads through Pontzpass and onto Banbridge. Long hours of darkness, never ending rolling countryside and HGV’s screaming along the backroads normally on the wrong side of the road.
Daylight broke as I approached Banbridge with the winner already in Belfast in just under 20hrs, though I have to say that arriving several hours before the pub opened seems like bad planning to me! Now onto the A1 that runs all the way to Belfast and a road I know like the back of my hand, not sure if this was a curse or a blessing, but at least there was a hard shoulder the whole way to keep me out of the way of the traffic.
My family came out to meet me just before Hillsborough which was great after quite a few hours by myself. By this point my easy early pace was paying off nicely as I was picking off other runners every few hours. My ankle was hurting like hell though so was reduced to a death march by this point. Local knowledge was also on my side with quite a few people not taking the most efficient route through Lisburn. With only 10 miles to go my sister joined me for the march into Belfast, quite pleased that she was having to work hard to keep up!
Finally the Crown Bar came into view as we went through Shaftsbury Sq and the race was done, 27hrs 22mins and 10th place.
A well earned pint of the black stuff was had perched atop a wobbly stool in the middle of a crowded bar, immensly proud that I managed not to topple off backwards onto the floor!
…now that’s done and dusted where have the hills got to!