Achill Island Half Marathon
July 5, 2014
Temp: high 50s and sunny, with occasional random sprinkles
What I wore: hat, short sleeve shirt, Skirt Sports Happy Girl skirt,
PROCompression socks, and my trusty Altra Intuitions
This race did not start until 10:30am, so I slept until about 8 and then had breakfast at the B&B we were staying in. The morning before I had a huge Irish breakfast, but I knew my stomach would not like to run on that. Instead, I had a few pieces of bread with jelly. I had been panicking about the weather for days as it had been cold and there had been more than a few torrential downpours. Shockingly, it was sunny with a light breeze at the start, so I left my jacket and arm sleeves with Beer Geek. I did not regret that choice.
We all gathered at the start line in Keel, Ireland. With both a half marathon and a 10k, there were quite a few people hanging out, but the start went smoothly and I quickly settled into an easy pace. The course was one big loop that would take us around a mountain, past a beach, and back around the other side of the mountain. The first four miles were nice, easy rolling hills which is my favorite type of course. (Although the elevation map indicates it was all uphill, hmm…) Around mile 6, I tried to take a picture as I could see for miles and there was a line of runners as far as I could see. Unfortunately, I totally failed. Just as I hit a huge hill at mile 8, my Garmin died. I have no idea what its issue was, but I was running by feel for the rest of the race. I survived the hill at mile 8 and was getting back in the running groove, when I hit mile 9. I’m pretty sure that about 3/4s of that mile was uphill. (Guess that’s what happens when you run around a mountain!) I walked for nearly a mile and then was able to run until another huge hill at mile 12. The rest of the race was pretty easy and I had enough gas left in the tank to race it home.
- This was the prettiest course I’ve ever run! The Irish countryside is beautiful, as were the beach views.
- The support was awesome. Even though we were running out in the middle of nowhere, there were plenty of water stops as well as roving bikers with supplies. Near mile 11, there was a van with loud music and people handing out Haribo gummies. I also grabbed an orange slice a little further down the road.
- The after party had great food. I got a sandwich, yogurt, cereal bar, water, and a Red Bull energy drink.
- The location. I love love love Achill Island and the Bervie where we stayed was lovely.
- The hills. This was definitely one of the harder courses I’ve ever run. I’ve been embracing hills lately and I still could not run them.
- The wind. I seriously thought I was going to be blown off the island a few times. In fact, at one point I was running DOWNHILL and felt like I was running backwards!
- The shirt. OMG, the color is blinding. (It did add to the view as we ran though!)
The medal says basically “I came I saw I conquered” in Gaelic.
Would I run it again?
I wish. I know I likely won’t get the chance again, but I highly recommend it. It’s a small town race with great organization and a lovely course. Definitely a race to consider if you are looking to race in Ireland!
21 thoughts on “Half Marathon #14 for 2014: Achill Island, Ireland”
awesome! that sounds so pretty — i can imagine it even w/out the picture 🙂
Hey! thanks for writing such lovely things about our race. We’re very proud of the community spirit that exists in Achill for the weekend of the event, and we’re glad it shows! You’re welcome back anytime to run 🙂
Well done on completing Ireland’s Most Scenic Half Marathon (some say toughest…we say most challenging…)
It was beautiful and challenging. I’m so glad that I found out about it and chose it as my Ireland race. I’d love to come back, but it will likely be many years before we get back to Ireland. Thanks for such a wonderful, well-managed race!
Woo hoo! Does it get any better than 14 in 14 with #14 being in Ireland? Awesome.
It was amazing. Loved it! Looking forward to seeing you soon in Wisconsin.
Wow! A pretty course with hills = calorie torcher! Hills are a killer but a nice scenery helps.
That’s so amazing! I love that you commented on the shirt color – I’m getting really into bright colors, and orange, lately!
I agree totally with you on the wind going downhill ! I said the same thing when I finished.
The hill were madness. They beat me a few times which was disappointing but I will conquer them next year!
Are you kidding me? That shirt is the most.awesome.shirt.ever! EVER!
That sounds like so much fun! Congrats on #14! I want to run RNR Dublin, but reading about this small town event makes me reconsider.
Ireland is just so pretty. (Not that I know from personal experience) But a hilly half marathon – ughh! All races should be flat.
what a gorgeous race! and you’re right… an ugly shirt! haha. congrats!
I like the later race start time and your trusty skirt sports skirt must bring you luck. Hills are always hard in a race. I love doing races on vacation-it’s such a great way to see the town. Congrats on another race!
That sounds like a great race. Quite jealous.
Awesome! So jealous and so bummed I’m not going to be able to run the Dublin half 🙁 Glad you had a great time!
I ran last summer in Ireland, and it was very hilly. I did find a race – a 4-miler — that was very flat and it was a PR at the time. It was lovely running there and I wish I could’ve done the half marathon you did. But I agree that shirt is ugly!
But orange is the new black …. Sounds like an amazing experience. Love the image of the roving bikes with supplies!
What a beautiful spot for a race! I gotta say I like that bright orange, but I’ve been trying to embrace the brights lately. 14th half this year? Totally bada$$!
I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland! Pretty sure I’d hate running there, though, since I’m not big on hills. What an awesome experience, though! =)
Congrats on the run ~ it does look beautiful! I have run the Dublin 1/2 RnR the past 2 years and I am looking for something different. (I’m fortunate to be able to go over often!) The hills on last years course were tough but for me it is about crossing the finish line rather than winning ~ although getting a PR is a close 2nd! Any idea if the hills are comparable? I’ve run the Annapolis 10miler which has pretty killer hills as well ~ and survived!
Any input would be great ~ thanks!
There was a wicked hill at mile 8 and mile 9 was pretty much all uphill. I’m not sure I ran at all during that mile. I haven’t run the Annapolis 10 miler, but I did run Zooma Annapolis last year and Achill was harder. It was an awesome place to go though – I think I was the only American running.