Friday 18 September 2009

The race around Ireland

This week I've been watching a race online. Or more accurately I've been following the progress of a race by keeping an eye on the updated leader board. It reminds me of some soccer mad flat mates I had once who would spend Saturday afternoon watching the football on Ceefax because we couldn't afford Sky.

The race I've been following is the incredible Ultra-marathon Race Around Ireland. It's basically a 1350 mile time trial around the island. One race, one stage, Navan to Navan, as fast as they can. Sleep is optional! 12 individuals and 11 teams started on Tuesday in Navan. According to the leader board two individuals have dropped out so far (it's Friday night now). All the teams are still on the road.

The individual leader at the last time check was Italian Fabio Biasiolo, who passed Kinsale, having covered the 999.1 miles to Kinsale in 71hrs 44mins. However, according to the website, he's retired from the race in the last half hour "due to illness and physical considerations".

That means Irelands Joe Barr is now leading on the road. He passed Kinsale in 73hrs 16mins
(average speed 13.64ml/hr). Joe is trying to raise funds for a Northern Ireland childrens cancer charity so it'd be great if he could make it around.

I'm awestruck by the strange mix of madness and heroism involved in a race like this. It's so crazy it's admirable! I mean one of the rules states that solo riders must stay on their bikes for at least 22 hours a day.

I'm hoping to get to Wicklow tomorrow to see some of the riders pass through. If I catch any of them I'll try to get some pics to post up here.

See for the race website and to donate to Joe Barrs charity appeal.

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