By The Top Chef
In late September Newcastle and District AC athlete Charlie McAlinden participated in the first Wicklow Eco Ultra Marathon and managed to take a Vet-65 category win. This is a multi-terrain event which starts and finishes on Bray Seafront involved steep climbs over Bray Head and the Little and Great Sugar Loaf peaks. In total the event involved a total ascent of 1660m which is approximately double the height of Slieve Donard mountain. Wicklow is the 10th destination worldwide to host this prestigious international event.
At several different points throughout the course competitors had to run across open farmland and enjoy the experience of being chased by local livestock (well they were trespassing on their patch). Charlie was untroubled by matters such as these as he regularly chased by local farmers bulls along the local laneways of east down when he is out walking the dogs.
In Powerscourt Demense the event passed close to the foot of Powerscourt Waterfall. Some less competitive participants stopped to admire and even take photographs of this magnificent natural feature. Others developed tunnel vision and hurried past pretending not to notice. Guess which category Charlie fell into?
Finally after 46.4kms Bray Promenade was reached by Charlie. Exhausted and fatigued by this stage Charlie was so disorientated that he thought he was running up past the spike on Newcastle promenade to finish off with a lap of the Slieve Donald Hotel, Resort and Spa.
This is Charlie’s one and only ultra marathon so he can now strike it of his bucket list. However after discussions with his new French and Spanish friends he is considering similar events on the continent in 2020. So you never know watch this space!!! To prevent and environmental impact the journey will have to be made by cycling, running or walking. Life throws up so many challenges.
As always Newcastle AC athletes would be unable to complete such achievements without the help of expert coaches Joe McCann and the legendary Prophet who instil in their prodigies the qualities of running ‘discipline, determination and perseverance’. This proves that as the old saying goes “you can teach an old dog new tricks.”