I love it when a plan comes together
The first step on the road to a run around Ireland is to work out a route worth writing about
As summer fades and the nights draw in I’m reminded, again, just how quickly time moves. Before we know it, it will be Christmas, and a new year with new plans, new hopes. And I’ll get a jolt when I suddenly realise I have to run 1,000 miles (at least!) around Ireland and I haven’t sorted anything out yet.
Well, hopefully that won’t be the case, but I know my own track record. Planning and organising has never been my strong point, which is part of the reason, I think, I often struggle in ultra marathons. Such long races require attention to detail, meticulous preparation, careful planning. For a 10K, or even a half marathon, you can just turn up with a pair of running shoes and a number and rely on your fitness and training. Go, run, keep running, finish.
Ultra marathons have so many more elements - the food, the head torch (with enough spare batteries!), the route planning, the gear, the sleep plan, yada yada. An epic, self-organised run like my pilgrimage through Ireland (my next book project, in case you missed it) is going to really test my powers.
So I thought maybe a little check in, right here and now, might be helpful. If I write it down, perhaps I’ll feel better about my plans, or perhaps I’ll realise how much I still haven’t done. And for you, well, you get to see this project in action - or inaction, as the case may be.
I started by plotting a rough route. My mother was born in a house in Dublin, on the east coast of Ireland, while my father was born in a house in Galway, on the west coast. My first thought was to run from one to the other, but I quickly realised that to run right across the middle of Ireland would be to miss out on most of the country’s natural beauty in favour of largely unspectacular farmland.
I found a series of trails connected to each other that would take me from Dublin to Kerry in the far south west of the country. From there I could follow the Wild Atlantic Way all the way up to Galway. Now that sounded more like it.