Do you know where the hottest place in Ireland was yesterday? I was told it was Athlone with a sweltering 30 degrees.
Guess where we were running yesterday?
That’s right, Athlone!
Yet another difficult day. We made a good start, straight to our start point, grabbed the photo and off we went. Again the food plan was going well and we started confidently. But even by 7am we could tell it was going to be a scorcher and the heat was hitting Jo hard. At one point (while being filmed by yet another TV cameraman!) the tarmac under her had actually melted and was sticking to her feet! We ploughed on mixing walks with runs and just making sure that we were getting as much fluid and food into her as was humanly possible.
We made it as far as Ballymahon by 11:30 and the heat was steadily building. The pace was dropping steadily so we made the call to get her in out of the sun. We were probably stopped for around 90 mins during which Niall sorted out her feet and Jo rested. The support crew was amazing – first thing we had Sinead and Sarah who drove out to bike with us, great dedication considering the time they had to get up at! They handed over to John (who drove up from Dublin) and Siobhan / Simon (a husband and wife team who sacrificed a day on the beach with there kids to come with us!)
After the break Jo set off strong and in great spirits – we are obviously running behind our original target but that was a very aggressive one anyway so I think the entire camp are comfortable with where we are. Given the conditions and the terrain I don’t think anyone could have got here faster and Jo is in great spirits.
Our frustration at this stage centres on her feet – her legs (and everything else) are fine but her feet are in ribbons and require care more or less every hour. We are wrapping them in the Physicool bandages, which are doing a great job of cooling them down but blister management is now a major issue.
Again though the support from all around was gob smacking – Nialls’s father Jimmy and Jill his partner, another Jimmy who I think just turned up at the side of the road to run with us, Tom and Pat who drove from the depths of County Clare and did nothing but abuse me all afternoon (Tom is the evil individual who lent us the bike and he just sniggered about my sore backside having watched me wobble around on his bike on the news). We also had Don, Lisa and clan (including doggie Sam!)
At this stage it was early evening and we were on the far side of Athlone but the sun was still direct and strong so Jimmy Crowley had the bright idea of using a golf umbrella as a parasol. So we had the insane looking procession of Jo walking along the road under an umbrella being held for her by one of the lads followed in procession by all the kids and the dog!
At this point as well Steff proved what a bright spark she is by introducing some livewire conversation while on the phone… She was waffling away happily on the phone when she reached out to rest her hand on the fence she was standing beside. Which – naturally – was an electric fence! She just got a bit of a sting on her finger but being mean it gave us all a laugh!
Shortly after that at a place called Doon Cross we called it a day and headed into Nenagh to bed down for the night but before we did we showed our faces (briefly) at a fundraiser. Niall has a personal post I’ll put up here after this one that covers it but it was great to see familiar faces (Bridget, Ray) and for Jo to meet some of the carers that will benefit from her efforts. Anna, thank you for organising, it was great.
And that’s about it! “Only” 70kms done but 290ish in total. I’m writing this at 8:41 am and she’s already covered nearly 20kms and the cooler weather has made such a difference she’s just churning out 9 min / kms like she’s out for a gentle recovery run – you wouldn’t know to look at her how hard this has been.
Thanks again for the messages of support and please I’ll stress again if you want to come out and watch get in touch either with us or the Carers Association and they’ll give you a heads up on where to come to. And please remember this is all for a good cause, if you can’t make it to cheer us on in person a contribution to The Carers Association would be greatly appreciated.