DIARY: Wicklow Way Leg 7

Nice run yesterday despite intermittent showers and heavy legs from the draining Saturday session. The last ten days seemed to catch up with me a bit as I gladly collapsed into a deep snooze once Sunday’s work was done.

It had been a busy day, not just for me, as I arrived in Tinahely to see a huge digger smashed through the facade of the Bank of Ireland branch there. “I wouldn’t like to be the pharmacist next to it,” my running partner for the day, Richie Healy, reflected, as GardaĆ­ and curious onlookers swarmed the scene of another ATM-raid bringing back memories to the car driven through the Roundwood Centra a number of years back. Wicklow is still, it seems, a place for audacious bandits.

We couldn’t linger on the scene, instead dropping Richie’s truck at the finish of the Wicklow Way Relay Leg 7 before the yon old Avensis took us to the start at Ironbridge.

In 2010, I had a hiatus from the Wicklow Way Relay as most of our Crusaders were engaged with preparations for the European Trial so naturally I was curious to see if there were any small amendments to the route like in 2009 when Coillte had radically changed the underfoot of the first descent on leg 7. What would it be? New gates, new erosion, or new dogs to dodge?

Tired legs heaved me over the initial 4 kilometre climb as Richie was mercifully happy to take it easy today, and I found to my interest that the following descent had reverted to it’s 2008 state – grassy and simple.

For the rest of the run we chatted away merrily despite a creeping tiredness up the last long climb: “She’s a bugger, you’ll have your work cut out” Richie remarked somewhat surprised, this having been his first close look at Leg 7. Yes, despite long road sections and a not to aggressive profile, there’s enough pain here to go around if you go look for it.

The final tarmac climb just never get’s pleasurable, even in training, but visualising the finish and reminiscing on the struggle to the finish in 2008 and 2009 made it worthwhile. All in all, nothing really has changed for leg 7 and it remains very firm in my memory. Now for more recces…

Comments

paul said…
hi rene, you might let me know if you spot any badly signposted turns on any of the route after halfway so il be prepared come saturday week for my WW attempt.That is if you are running any of it in the meantime. I know the first half inside out but as i get tired during the second half i dont want to be adding any unnecessary mileage
Thanks
Paul
Renny said…
Hi Paul,

Leg 7 is not the best sign-posted but I am not a great judge of it since I have run it several times and have started doing it by memory.

The major junctions are marked but there are definitely spots where you could go wrong where there is no signs to clearly guide you, especially descending towards Tinahely. Rule of thumb here is to go through all the gates! Have you run it before?

Second rule of thumb I always use is to never look back as anything you see over your shoulder is meant for people coming from the other direction.

When is your attempt on? Do you have pacers?
paul said…
I havent run anything after the halfway mark. So this is where my concern will be. I was assuming the wicklow way is a popular enough walkers route that it would be well signed. My attempt is next saturday the 14th of May and i am setting off from Marlay at 4am so I hope to be at the halfway mark by 11 to be on pace with the current record. Jeff Fitzsimons and Robbie Williams are supporting me in the car and may alternate for one or 2 stints of running during the day but ideally i would love someone pacing late on when its possible i might miss a turn. and it would be great if this person knew the route. 1 0r 2 people have said they might be out along the way but that remains to be seen. Im aware the Circuit of Avonbeg is on the same day so that wont help matters but this was the ideal date for me due to other race and work commitments. You are more than welcome to join in for a stint if you are around the area.
Thanks for your reply
Renny said…
I was all set to offer you my services on Leg 7, but unfortunately I am in Spain for a wedding next weekend.

With Jeff and co. supporting you will hopefully be well looked after. Leg 7 has a good few markers and you should be largely alright, but there are a few long stretches without signs, primarily:

- The first four kilometres from Ironbridge is a climb through a forest. You shouldn't have any problems, but once you hit the road after the descent and turn left, there's several kilometres without any signposting whatsoever (but you keep straight until you see a sign pointing down right).

- The second tricky spot is after you have crossed the shoulder of the grassy hill late in the leg. All that remains is a 3km descent into Tinahely. As the trail get's very rocky and you run under thick tree cover, watch out after the first stile as the forest opens up. It's tempting here to keep running downhill, but you need to open the gate on your right. There'll be several more gates after this.

Those are probably the two trickiest spots. Best of luck and pity I can't make it!
paul said…
That is a pity but no problem thanks for the heads up. From looking at the map I think I can make out the points you mean so I'll be extra vigilant. Shur hopefully I'll bump in to you over in Coniston on the 29th of July or beforehand at Carrauntoohill all going well.
Enjoy Spain