[Editor’s Note: PRC staff member Dylan Dougherty won a trip to Ireland from Saucony to run in the coast-to-coast Race to Kinvara relay. This is his second dispatch from his trip.]
Race to Kinvara: Day 2 (Race Day!)
We were up at out the door of our hotel by 8 a.m. after a nice breakfast. We bussed to Stage One with our teams and were presented with an awesome starting line on the edge of a lake. We took a lot of team photos, and I ran a couple warmup laps with my teammate who was doing Leg One. I was Leg Two, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to loosen up a little.
The runners went off, and right from the start you could tell all the first runners were pretty quick. We were originally told it wouldn’t be too competitive, but the top five teams are actually all within 5 minutes of each other going into the second day of racing.
Anyways, we got to the first transition (in our very comfortable Mercedes travel bus), and we waited for about 5 minutes as teams came by before it was my turn. I volunteered to only run one leg for the day so everyone could get what they wanted. Hence I took one of the hardest ones. It was 5.4 miles with 125 meters (just over 400 feet) in rolling hill elevation gain , but considering I run Forest Park and Terwilliger Boulevard in Portland all the time, I assumed I’d be stronger here than most. The run was along a large lake and I enjoyed almost every beautiful second of it (the last few steps of the last hill maybe not so much.) I passed two teams on the run, but I was passed in the last 100 meters to total one place gain for our team.
We continued on through the countryside stopping at good places for pictures and cheering on our teammates. I got out and ran part of another leg with our team captain because I wanted to get a few extra miles in. Just over halfway in the rain came pouring out of the clouds and never let up. It wasn’t a large problem but definitely made everything a tad tougher. At the end of the run, our team, Team USAred, finished in first place by about 3 minutes, although a couple other teams did get lost at one point.
At the finish, we went into a Kilkenny pub for drinks and a massage(!) as we waited for all teams to come through. We headed to Kilkenny Castle for a brief tour and then to our hotel for a dinner and team meeting to plan our legs for the second day. It is kind of hard to get everyone the legs they want, because there isn’t an even number and the distances range from 3 miles to nearly 9. I think that is meant to help out teams who have some people who don’t run too much, but for whatever reason our team is full of fast and then faster people!
Tomorrow we will wake at 6:30 for a trip to the Cliffs of Moher and then to start off running. We will finish at Kinvara and then go into Galway Bay. Here’s hoping we can keep the lead!