Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Favourite 5k

When it comes to 5k’s while I might be just an incy wincy bit biased, the Trim 5k is probably the best one in the country and certainly my favourite.

To give it, its proper title it is the Braveheart 5k Trail Run. It’s a trail run as strictly speaking it is not on a road but in two fields at the centre of Trim. As for the reason it is called the Braveheart 5k is because it follows in the footsteps of that great Scottish hero William Wallace, or at least when William Wallace was being acted out by ex-Australian heart-throb and slightly mouthy Mel Gibson.

The reason it is my favourite is because not only is it my home-town run and where I set my 5k personal best (PB) it is also ridiculously beautiful.

The race takes place in one of the few wise decisions of Celtic Tiger development Ireland when those in charge of Trim and Meath chose not to sell these prime pieces of land located in the heart of Trim and instead open them up the public.

The start opens up in the centre of the Porchfields as you begin uphill towards the Yellow Steeple. It is called the Yellow Steeple because in the right light at the right time it appears yellow. I have never seen it in the right light or at the right time. However, it is beautiful and helps create a dramatic start doubly so when off to the left across the river lies the stunning St. John’s Castle, which is waiting to cheer you home later.

After a hundred or so metres up you turn to the right you and hug the perimeter of the field clockwise all the way around to the river. At this stage you run briefly in the footsteps of Queen Isabella who in her wonderful wagon with Bob Geldof’s wife awaited William Wallace to try and seek peace.

Quickly passing this you hit the river where you turn left, in under the bridge on the walk way that occasionally floods during serious floods and out into the Sheepfields and into your second kilometre. The start of this k is a sharp incline up and left along the trees that run beside the ring-road.

The race continues along the tree line until it comes across what is known as the “Ferry K”, a kilometre lap that regularly form parts of training, which is either named after a famous liberator, Olympic runner or sound local runner. We only run three-quarters of this as the race passes it second kilometre. Breaking into the third kilometre the race continues clock-wise until reaches the boundaries of the oldest Catholic graveyards in Trim and the remains of Newtown Abbey, which at one point was the largest abbey of its kind in Ireland.

Unfortunately you can’t hang around as you spring down past this to the Boyne and hang right running upstream into the 4th k. At this point if you are finding the pace fast but not causing you too much duress you should start to push on. If you are in duress, good luck because the last k doesn’t forgive easy.

Meandering the tarmac path with the only challenge being early summer midges you pass cork tops with lines of poetry on them and one of the original gates into the town before returning in under the bridge one final time as the hills I like to refer to the Three Sisters call you.

The first sisters ‘greets’ you immediately and is a sharp ascent left and away from the river that swings you around back towards the ring-road again. Then after another few hundred metres you pass the final kilometre mark and quickly turn left for the second sister, a long drag up the hill heading back towards the Yellow Steeple. However just as you get within shadow distance of the Steeple you hair-pin back down away, before a final turn brings you back up. The final run is the most beautiful (except for the fact that you are or should be in the red as you push home that final few hundred).

To your left the hedgerow gives way and the full view of the fabulous St. John’s Castle across the Boyne cheers you on and through the Old Sheep Gate that ushered you into the old town of Trim. With the possible exception of Hot n’Tender takeaway on Emmet St. the castle is a real show-piece and a must-see not just in Trim but in Meath and Ireland. However you must leave it for later and instead use every last sinew you have left to push on up the tight tarmac climb up to the finish that is at the very foot of the Yellow Steeple.

Tough run, beautiful scenery. 5k PB – 17.48 (Braveheart 2015)

Yesterday’s training
About 9 k with a 20 minute half marathon pace insert.

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