It's unusual I'd sign up for a race so far in advance but I'd signed up for the 2015 Athlone Flatline back in March as I knew this was one race I wanted to take part of. It's a popular, flat half marathon starting (and finishing) just on the outskirts of Athlone town. Myself, Cathal, Yvonne, Gordon, Michelle and Aisling all headed to Athlone early Saturday morning. Two of us were doing the Half (Gordon and myself), two were doing the 10K (Aisling and Yvonne) and the remaining two were heading off into town shopping :)
Yvonne, Aisling, Myself & Gordon before the Race
I was aiming to hit 1:45 as this is my last race before the Berlin Marathon next weekend. This was my last push before taper really kicks in. I ran this back in 2013 and it was my first Sub 1:45 (finished 1:44:56) so I was really hoping for a repeat performance but I knew staying under 5:00/km for the full 21 would be tough - with that in mind, I still lined up in front of the 1:45 pacer and hoped to just stay ahead of them for the race.
The run started bang on 11am and headed out the vey rural Clonown Rd (for 9K) before turning right (for the next 4K) before rejoining the main road for a couple of kilometers before turning right for the last 3 miles. The course was quiet and flat with not much to keep your mind busy. The last few km had a load of lovely handmade signs (I suspect from a local school) filled with super quotes likes 'Run like a Tiger is chasing you'.
I felt good (although tired close to the end) as I repeatedly clocked up sub 5:00 kilometers on the way around the course. The last 2K felt tough as my legs were starting to get heavy. I kept my head down and ploughed on, crossing the finish line just after 1:43. My official chip time was 1:42:51 knocking over 3 minutes off my Craughwell time two weeks ago!
The course route and the medal (are the same!)
This was my second time running the Flatline and its super to see a great race remain great. For the €25 entry you can't fault the swag. I've a new black and yellow t-shirt, a lovely medal and the post race refreshments looked great. (I say looked as I had a banana instead of one of the delicious looking chocolate muffins). So that was it - Half Marathon #13 in the legs, Marathon #5 just around the corner! Eeeek... :)
Myself and Gordon after the race