ASICS FUJILITE 4 – time to hit the trails

FUJILITE 2 were my introduction to trail runners and they got a lot of mileage in over multiple terrains that including hiking, trail running and mountain running. Now its time to take the jump to the 4th edition.

First impressions

Right out of the box my eyes lit up. The striking colour of the bright orange and neon lime had me wanting to go straight for a run. Unfortunately I had to wait a couple of days but when I did they felt great on my feet. You can definitely feel the FF blast foam as you set off on your run. In one of my first runs the ground was hard, even with all the rain recently the ground didn’t seem to hold much water so the cushioning really saved the soles of my feet as I pounded the ground which had plenty of stone as well. The grip going up and downhill felt solid and I didn’t lose traction taking sharp turns at speed. The ASICSGrip outsole rubber grip looks to provide high grip and should help with durability.

I definitely can see these being used as a fast lighter shoe for the mountains and trails without compromising comfort. Next stop will be the mountains. These are a big jump from the 2nd edition to the 4th and I am confident they will do the job.

They were easy to put on and take off and the laces felt secure with the newly developed lace loop. .

What changes can you expect

If you were a fan of the FUJILITE 3 and thinking of upgrading to 4 then this is what you need to know

  • The 4 come in slightly heavier at M <270g / M <232g compared to M 257g / W <225g for version 3
  • The midsole height is now greater on the 4 M 24-19mm / W23-18mm this changed from M 18-24m / W 16-12m on the 3
  • The midsole material is now FF Blast rather than FF Nano
  • Increased sustainability, new lace holder, tongue wing and the modified outsole design for better traction are other areas where vast improvement has been made.


  • They were comfortable out of the box and was easily to get a run in without any discomfort.
  • Good grip as I took corners and went down and uphill on the trails
  • The recycled jacquard mesh provides excellent comfort and durability
  • Then felt light even though the weight went up
  • Cushioning really helped with any impact
  • Have to say I love the colour.


  • The grip could come in to question over very muddy terrain
  • Over longer distance a shoe with more cushioning maybe needed

Final thoughts

These will definitely be my go to trail shoe for the level of running I do. After such a good experience with the 2nd version over mountains in a 20 mile race as well as similar distance hikes I cannot wait to bring the 4th edition for longer runs and hikes. The cushioning will allow for comfortable day even when out there for long distance but also when you want to go fast.

3 things you need to know about the GEL-KAYANO 30 shoes

I love this time of year when a new ASICS GEL-KAYANO comes out. I have been wearing them since version 18 and now we hit number 30. There are some big changes but the shoe is better than ever. Here I go through 3 things you need to know about the GEL-KAYANO 30
  1. How does the GEL-KAYANO 30 differ to GEL-KAYANO 29
    So you loved your GEL-KAYANO 29 but its time to upgrade, so what are the changes. Well there are some big changes this time around.
    Weight wise the 30 is slightly heavier but it doesn’t feel that way when running with them, for me they feel lighter. There is an increased stack now going from 25-15mm for men to 30-22mm and for women it was 24-14mm now it is 29-21mm.
    The midsole material is now made up of FF Blast + ECO. Don’t be worried if you think there is no GEL in there anymore, the GEL is now PUREGEL but is hidden from view, previously you could always see the GEL so its still there and better than ever. One of the biggest enhancements is the 4D Guidance System which you can read about next.
  2. 4D Guidance System
    The new 4D guidance system guides the foot through every step and adapts as your running form changes over distance. This new innovative take on stabilizing the foot is based on biomechanical research. It focuses on adaptive, on-demand stability. The medial foam unit helps return the arch to the ideal position for the next foot strike. I have done a number of longer runs with these over the last couple of weeks and they definitely offer the support I need so there is no compromise from previous versions.
  3. A lighter footprint for a brighter tomorrow
    The new GEL-KAYANO 30 shoe’s carbon footprint is 14% lower than the industry average. ASICS measure the carbon emissions at each stage of a product life cycle. This includes the materials used, how they are manufactured and how they are transported. This is great to see a company put time and research into reducing the carbon footprint of their shoes. You will see the label inside the shoe.
    You can find out more details here

ASICS FrontRunner: Running = Team Sport

When someone says team sport you think football, basketball or rugby, you would not think of running as a team sport. Its about going out on your own, running miles and chasing PBs by yourself. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many reasons why running is most definitely a team sport

  • Just because its an individual sport doesn’t mean its all on your own. Clubs are a great place to meet people, learn from others and help to make a trip to a race much more entertaining. I have had great support from the clubs I have been a member and on race day they help get the best out of you

Group Training

  • I do a lot of training on my own but having club training sessions, long runs with others and even recovery runs with friends helps pass away the miles

Race day

  • Many times I have set a goal for a race and a team mate has helped me reach that goal. Working as a team on the day will keep you focused and when things get hard there will be someone there to push you.

Team events

  • When it comes to local, regional and national championships there is always club prizes as well as individual. This means if you know you are not going to be in the running for individual medals there is always the team goal of medals.

Relay Events

  • A good was to turn an individual sport into a team sport is taking part in a relay. As a club St Catherines have performed extremely well in Cork City Marathon as a relay team. We all were working towards the same goal and didn’t want to leave anyone down

Supporting on race day

  • What better feeling than running through crowds getting cheered on to the finish line. Club support on race days drives you to the finish line


  • I am lucky to be part of many clubs and I have made great friends with similar interests. Its doesn’t have to be all about running but running has brought us together.

The ASICS FrontRunner team bring a diverse team together. It has helped me meet so many people I’d have never had a chance to meet. So next time you think running is an individual sport remember there are so many ways where teamwork in running is extremely important

2022 Year in Review

I look back at 2022 with both delight and disappointment. I’m strictly talking from a sports view, I have an extremly supportive family around me and 2022 would have been a lot rougher without them by my side.

I can split the year into four segments

  • January to May – The improvements
  • June to November – The injury
  • Late Nov / Early Dec – The return
  • December – The new injury

I will split this into those segments but also overall review of goals, mileage and what 2023 might bring.

January to May

I set myself a few running goals for this year as well as some tri related goals.

  • PBs at 5 km, 4 mile, 5 mile, 10 km, 10 mile, Half Marathon, Full Marathon
  • PB over Lost Sheep course and Sub 20 min 5km run in sprint tri.

Training started well in January and early target was Dungarvan 10 mile in Feb. On the day I wasn’t feeling it and almost decided not to do the race but Martha kicked me out the door. The goal was a PB and that was acheievd. It was a tough day out with the wind and found myself caught in a tough section on my own but struggled through when a group helped pull me along to finish in a time of 65:35. It was a huge improvement on my previous PB so delighted with that.

I found myself taking on more trail running and I feel this had helped my progress. I decided at start or March to take on the Knockmealdowns course of 24km/1100m elevation. It was an eye opener but great experience.

Next race was the Cork Road Championships over 4 mile. Race is usually hosted close to home which is good as its usually held around St Patricks Day so I don’t have to travel far. A time of 24:22 meant a 25 second PB.

Only a few weeks later it was Brighton 10km with the ASICS team and again goal was sub 39 mins. And a consistent run cheered on by the team meant it was a successful run and managed 38:29. The weekend with the team was time well spent and missed those oppurtunities with not being able to travel for 2 years.

2 weeks later it was on to the 5 mile East Cork Road Championships. A course that you definitely wouldn’t be looking for a PB on but I did do my fastest time on the course as our team secured bronze.

May came and another PB this time over 5km and I finally broke 18 mins. After orginally setting my PB at 18:20 I found it hard to break even 19 for some time but things clicked on the day and an offical time of 17:56 meant training was going well.

Just a few days later I took on my hardest challenge to date, The Galtee Challenge race — 32km with 1500m elevation. Now this was an experience like no other and with the help of Blackwater team mate Adrian I got it finished and was definitely proud to tick that off the list. But that is where things came to a halt. A fall during that race which only flared up about a week later after my body loosened out meant it was a rough few months to follow.

June to November

I’m not going to go into every part of this injury but after I thought this could be a minor issue I was still doing a small bit but the discomfort became too much. My shoulder was in bits. It was months of rest, scans, and exercise. I still haven’t found a root cause for it and it still at me now but I can run a lot more comfortably. 

During this time I did a bit of hiking with family to keep active. 

Late Nov / Early Dec

With so many races I decided I’d take on the short Cloyne 4km race to ease my way back in late November. My plan was to run consistently which I managed to do, I felt great after and delighted to be out running a race again. I was getting the miles in and also putting a lot of work into our club hosting the National Novice Cross Country. The week before while we were all setting up the course I ran it to get a video and after doing this I got the mad idea to want to run it the following week. So I signed up and away we go. So my next race was a National XC, I’d never get a chance to really do one so I had to it when its so close to home. On our feet all day and with our race being the last it did mean we were on tired legs but damn I loved that race. It was a challenge, as tough of XC course that you are going to get but that is what is to love about it.

And mid December 

The simple things seem to cause the most pain. Getting out of the car and my back felt a twinge. Didn’t think too much of it until I went in shopping and within 10 mins I could barely walk. Was almost crawling back to the car. I went home and lay down and next thing I know its end of December and I’m still only a fraction better. Doing my best to try keep positivie but the truth be told its been a bad year for injuries. 6 months wiped out as I was starting to make real progress. As I start a new road to recovery the only goal I have for 2023 is to get through it in one piece.

So with no triathlons this year my PBs acheived were

  • 5 km, 4 mile, 10 km, 10 mile

Longer hikes and trail/mountain running were new things that were tried.

Below you can see how my stats looked for the year and the big drop off from May. It is really disappointing to see but hopefully with hard work things will go better in 2023. Happy New Year all. 

ASICS GEL-KAYANO 29 are finally here here

Its one of my favourite times of the year, the day a new version of GEL-KAYANO get released. It is now on to version 29 and I have been wearing them since 18. So how does these ones compare.
With injury impacting my running I haven’t been able to do as much as I have wanted to recently but I have managed to get some miles into these GEL-KAYANO 29 to see how they feel

First Impressions

As always I look forward to seeing what the colourway is and I definitely wasn’t disappointed

Next I took them for a ride to see how they compared to previous versions and even though there have been some changes (find out more below) it hasn’t affected the support and infact feels better. It actually felt like there was more of a bounce with them. It definitely made my run easier and smoother which is what you want in a new show. Losing the few grams of weight is noticable but having moved to light shoes (Metaspeed) for racing the wieght is noticable at first but soon once you are into your run you forget about that and the support and comfort make for a great run. I have done all my marathons in Kayanos and they offered the support I needed and I’d have no problem with doing a marthong in these.

Specifications (Male shoe)

  • Weight – 299grms
  • Midsole heigh – 25-15MM
  • Drop – 10mm
  • Midesole Material – FF Blast Plus / Flytefoam
  • GEL – Rearfoot Visible
  • Ground Contact – Full Ground Contact
  • Upper – Engineered Knit


The 29 are lighter and have new Litetruss construction which helps deliver a smooth, stable ride. There is new FF BLAST PLUS foam with adds positive energy with every step. There is new soft, recycled, engineered stretch-knit upper which provides breathability and comfort. It is also great to see 75% of the shoe’s main upper material is made with recycled content and more than 50% of all polyester materials are recycled.


  • The use of recycled material
  • The stability
  • Comfortable ride especially on long runs
  • Lighter than previous versions
  • Long lasting


  • They are premium shoe so are at high end price wise
  • Even with reduced weight they are still heavier than other options


Final Thoughts

When needing support there always feels like there is that compromise where there is going to be that extra weight. ASICS are reducing the weight in the 29s compared to other versions so the compromise doesn’t seem as much now. I’m really happy with how the 29s have so far felt and they will be the shoe of choice for my long runs and slow shorter training runs going forward. I just can’t wait to get back to full training to bring them further. If you are looking for a shoe with top class support and comfort then there is no better shoe (in my opinion) out there.

Time to test out Gel-Kayano 28

I have been wearing Gel-Kayano for 10 versions now. They have been my go to shoe since I started running and after I got my 1st pair of Gel-Kayano 18 I’m always looking forward to see what the next version will be like.
First impression
With this being my go to shoe for stability I couldn’t wait to try these out. The day they arrived I went for an extra run just to check them out. It was only a short run to begin with but I felt comfortable in them from the start. There was a nice bounce to them when I set off and as always I felt the support under my feet from the go. With the Gel-Kayano being such a high quality shoe you know you are always going to get a good ride. The small changes (talked about below) make the ride even more comfortable without sacrificing the quality. I will be doing plenty of long runs in these in the coming months.

Gel-Kayano 26, 27 & 28

Weight – 310gr
Midsole Height – 23-13MM
Drop – 10MM
Midsole Material – FF Blast top / FF bottom
Support – Trusstic / Dynamic Duomax
Surface – Road
Pronation Type – Overpronator

Gel-Kayano 28 vs Gel-Kayano 27
The 28 has a new external heel cradle that reduces stiffness and heel irritation while mainting its full adpative stability. There is now full contact outsole with Dynamic Duomax for a more seamless and stable transition. The midsole material is now Flytefoam Blast changing from the Flytefoam Propel. The Flytefoam Blast is springy and lightweight cushioning material that generates a soft landin thats followed by a energetic rebound. in the 28s the Trusstic is covered and perfectly blends in with the Dynamic Duomax. The Plus 3 midsole design is specifically integrated into the women’s model, which features 3mm of additional height in the heel to improve support.

Sole of 27 and 28 shows the difference in design


  • You can get into a brand new pair and they always feel the same
  • New tech makes them even more comfortable to run in
  • Supportive on long runs
  • Pefect for people who over pronate
  • Long lasting (In my experience)


  • I will put cost here but you do get what you pay for. They are a high end shoe but for people who may not want to spend this then you can always look at the GT-2000
  • Heavy for speed sessions / fast runs

Final Thoughts

If you need a shoe that offers support then this is the shoe for you. When you are getting out for those long runs and you want that reassurance that you have a shoe that is going to last the distance then again this is a shoe for you. These will be used for my training runs as I build back up my distance. I will use different shoes depending on the session as these can be a bit heavy if you are doing a speed session. But I won’t be turning my back on them and Gel-Kayano continues to be my shoe of choice

Going from team sport to individual sports

For me and many kids growing up we found ourselves involved in team sports. From as soon as I could I was playing Gaelic Football and hurling with my local club and my love affair with sport started.
During my younger days I did a bit of running in the Cork City Sports for my school, even did a bit of swimming representing my school in galas but that was only a distraction from what I really wanted to do and that was play team sports.

Over the next 25 years all I knew was team sport. I was part of some hugely successful teams winning many championships, cups and leagues. I had the privilege of captaining teams during that time as well as coaching teams along the way. But one evening in June 2011 things changed. As I went up to catch a ball I got a push on the back which had me off balance, I went crashing onto the floor and that is when my shoulder popped out. Recovery was slow and I needed a way to try keep fit so I bought a bike and my mindset changed. I now found myself heading out on cycles and in a moment of madness my brother in law Robert convinced me to sign up for an adventure race in Killarney in October. Because of that I had to take up running , averaging about 20km a month from September to December.

Suddenly I found myself not just using these as recovery activities but doing it for the enjoyment. My brother Damian and I then signed up for a 10 mile road race and from there both of us were hooked. After I did my 1st triathlon in July 2013 where I did that in the morning and played a football game that night I knew something would have to give. And it was then I decided to walk away from a sport that consumed my life for so many years to a sport I was still learning. I did return twice more to help out teams but they were brief appearances. I was now out of team sports and on the road to individual sports. I have learned a lot in the last few years and here are some things I found

Individual sport doesn’t always mean you are on your own

  • Clubs
    • Just because its an individual sport doesn’t mean its all on your own. Clubs are a great place to meet people, learn from others and help to make a trip to a race much more entertaining. I have had great support from the clubs I have been a member and on race day they help get the best out of you
  • Training
    • I do a lot of training on my own but having club training sessions, long runs with others and even recovery runs with friends helps pass away the miles
  • Relay
    • A good was to turn an individual sport into a team sport is taking part in a relay. As a club St Catherines have performed extremely well in Cork City Marathon as a relay team. We all were working towards the same goal and didn’t want to leave anyone down
  • Team events
    • Cross country events, and club championship races mean you are running for yourself and your team to get as many points as possible
  • Pacing
    • On race day someone may have a goal in mind and sometimes its easier to work with someone for that goal. I have been paced and paced people to PBs. It is a great feeling
  • Race day support
    • What better feeling than running through crowds getting cheered on to the finish line
Clubmate helping me to a PB

What I enjoy most about individual sports

  • Freedom & flexibility
    • With family and work I always can’t commit to a certain time. I can move my schedule when needed to work around my life. Team sports meant you had to make the training when it was set
  • Personal goals
    • Your goals are your own goals and not affected by how other perform
  • Off days
    • If you have an off day its only yourself that you need to worry about, an off day in team sports means you could leave your team down
  • Trying new things
    • If you feel like doing something different on a day you can, maybe a different type of speed session, or trail instead of road.

What I miss about team sports

  • The celebrations
    • Winning a big game and celebrating with your team can’t be beat. Everyone had the same goal and when it was achieved the work made it all worthwhile
  • Teamwork
    • Working together to achieve a goal set out. Helping others in the team improve and when someone is having a bad day, doing your best to have everyone rally around to make the goal
  • Player of the match
    • Its still a team of individuals and there is always that stand out performance. Knowing you were a major part of that success is a great feeling
  • Physicality
    • This is definitely something I really miss. Trying to be 1st to the ball, a strong shoulder or a tackle to stop a certain goal, breaking through challenges all made it worth while. Some say the start of a swim in a triathlon is the closest I will get
  • Discipline
    • Making sure you are at training on time, listening to a coach or making sure you don’t get yellow card discipline is key to team sport so you don’t let down yourself or the team


I truly believe team support has helped shape the way I go about sports these days. On a summer evening when I run past a football field I wish I was out there kicking a ball again but then realise I better leave it to the younger people now and continue my running and triathlon goals

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So how has your 2020 been?

2020 was going to be a big year for me. It was finally time to take on Ironman, another World Major Marathon to tackle in Berlin and my now annual trip to Dublin for my favourite marathon. My main worry back in January was making sure I would stay fit and race ready, soon it was making sure I stayed fit and healthy.
Race Cancellations

I experienced one race cancellation before this year. It was NYC Marathon in 2012 when I was in Orlando soon to fly to NYC to take on the race. I was devasted at the time but still made most of the time there and had a great time with Martha, Oliva and Rob. But this year we have all experienced more than once. We had races that were cancelled early, such as Dublin and the likes of Ironman Cork which took a bit longer. It meant it was hard to focus on training as in the back of your head the race might go ahead but deep down you know it wasn’t. I lost count of the races I had cancelled on me and knew I had to do something for myself to keep me going.

How I kept myself motivated

Dublin marathon was also going to be a major goal for me even if I knew I’d be doing it virtually. That was October and as early as March we faced some very restrictive lockdowns, the 1st of which was you were only allowed exercise 2km from home. I surprised myself in finding roads I never ran or cycled within my 2km radius and soon my 7.5km loop became my most run loop of the year. Some things I found that helped me get through those early days were

New Hobby of Climbing Mountains
  • 3 of my neighbours and I set up a 10km Garden Challenge where it all had to be done in your own garden. We got so many others involved and even had people as far away as Australia take part
  • On what would have been the Cork marathon weekend as a club I helped set up a 26 hour 20 min of virtual relay running where the club them donated money to a local charity. I must thank fellow FrontRunner Becca as I “borrowed” her idea. I got the fun shift of 2am to 4am.
  • And the same neighbours were back again to organise Darkness into Light run/walk in our local area. That started an hour just before the sun came up. Again we had huge response to this
  • I took part in many Virtual Ironman races to keep me in good mindset which included a number of 90kms on the turbo trainer. Sometimes that wasn’t easy but I did rewatch the ASICS Frontrunner documentaries while on the turbo and they definitely motivated me
  • I set up strava segments, so even though we couldn’t run together for large parts of this year we could compete virtually for that crown
  • We did some local virtual races, again same course at times that suited you. You didn’t have someone to push you on but there was always a target time to beat
  • There were also virtual races such as the ASICS London 10km and the World Half Marathon
  • Talking to other runners was a big help, they were going through the same thing and we were able to help encourage each other
  • I even took up mountain climbing with family, 3 mountains with height of 838m, 952m and 1039m

Of course all above mentions sport but it would have been impossible to do all of that without the support of Martha. Throughout this year she has always been there to support my crazy ideas and give me the time to train. With a 4 year old and full time jobs it was a juggling act but I will always be grateful for everything she does

10km Garden Challenge with George

I found a race (or 5)

When it looks like we had lost all hope of races 5 came along in quick succession. I should have been training for a marathon but a race was always going to come 1st and I sacrificed long runs for these races. One of the 1st races back was the East Cork Championship, a storm blew in the night before, I had no electricity for almost 24 hours but nothing was stopping me doing it. Next up we had a club half ironman race. It was a lonely day out there due to social distancing rules which meant we had staggered starts but it felt good to race that distance and the club put on a great event. Next I had 2 races in 2 days, a 5 mile road race in Allihies West Cork, followed the next day by cross country 4 mile. A week later I was back racing a sprint triathlon in Mallow. So it was basically a month of no marathon training but I loved every minute of racing. Almost immediately after that all races were again cancelled and it was back to virtual events

My virtual goal race and the never ending course change

Then on to the main event, my target race for the year. As mentioned above training wasn’t really going as planned but I really didn’t mind. Since it was virtual there was no pressure and the main thing was I get out there and enjoy it. I set myself a target of 3:30, it wasn’t going to be a PB but still going to be a tough ask. As a club we had planned a scenic 1 loop that would start close to home and bring up into Waterford and back again. It wasn’t long before we had to scrap that route as we were no longer able to enter another county. We were back to the drawing board. We planned several routes close to home and all within Cork, so this time we felt we had locked in the course. Oh how wrong we were. The government soon announced new restrictions a week before the race, which meant no further than 5km from home. Our course was one large loop which meant we were well outside that radius again. They also brought in more restrictions which meant groups couldn’t exercise together. This left us all wonder what each of our courses would be. I chose an out and back from my house 4 times course. Advantages of this is that I got to start at my door and have a water stop set up that I’d pass on each loop.

Finish line of Dublin Virtual

For the first time in a marathon I didn’t wear my trusty Kayano. Most of my training was done in them but now it was time to bring out the Metaracer for the big day. Mentally it was tough, trying to break down each segment but with others doing similar course we passed each other every so often and encouragement was given. The weather was perfect, with a slight headwind on the way back each time. By the 4th time the slight inclines felt like mountains and the slight headwind felt like gale force winds. My 10km splits were 49:00, 49:01, 48:59 and 50:32. The last 2.2km was 12:28 so I was slowing down but with only two 20 mile runs done during training I felt that was always going to happen. My finish time was 3:29:59, talk about cutting it close. I feel the Metracer helped me keep a better pace throughout and I will definitely be using them for longer races going forward.

I think the lack of pressure help me reach my goal but I also know what works for nutrition. I feel I got that right for the 1st time. It will be great practice for next year.

So what now

Now its all about winter training. I see a lot of indoor bike work, and dark runs and no races. With swimming pools closed I am still in open water. Before this year I was never in the water in October, now we are mid way through November and I’m still getting in. The target is to keep going in December as well. Who knows yet what next year will bring but one thing is for sure I will be looking forward to getting back to the start line of a race and having crowds cheer you on. But for now the main thing is to stay healthy and get through these tough times.

The Metaracer is a game changer

I have been waiting with excitement for these shoes since they were first announced, seeing sneak previews of them as athletes tested them made me want them even more. So at midnight on the day they were released I was online to make sure I ordered myself a pair. Delivery was fast and I planned my run around the time the delivery company were arriving.
First impression

I think its no shock that the first thing I noticed when I took them out of the box was how light they were. Weighing just 190g they are a lot lighter than my normal go to shoe the Gel-Kayano. Next was the colour, I love bright colour runners so the sunrise red is exactly what I would have asked for. They will be noticed on race day and I have no doubt people will stop to look at them. The design is extremely eye catching. When I looked at the sole I was worried that the grip could be an issue however there is no need to be. In some race shoes I have had to go up half a size but the Metaracer was perfect fit and I stuck with my UK 9.5. Even though they are so light they felt supportive and cushioned.

First test

I couldn’t wait to get out in them and with the weather recently it meant running in tough conditions. Not hot and humid like most places, I got to endure wet and windy weather. I set off on my 5k time trial with the wind on my back feeling fast and enjoying the comfort the show offers. If you haven’t run in a shoe with similar GUIDESOLE technology yet it may take a couple of runs to get used to this feel but for me I got into my stride fairly quickly. The ground was wet but my previous worry about what looked like a lack of grip on the sole was answered straight away as there was no slipping and the wet grip rubber definitely did its job. As I turned around at 2.5km I knew there was a slight rise in the road and I was running into the wind. I felt I wasn’t going as fast as I should be and my effort level seemed to be down but then I looked at my watch and found my pace was what I had been planning. So even though conditions on the day shouldn’t have allowed it, my pace out and back were the same yet I didn’t have to work as hard.

The carbon fiber plate in the forefoot and the GUIDESOLE technology definitely helps save energy and was very noticeable throughout my run. I didn’t feel as tired once I finished and was able to get on the bike for 40km feeling that bit fresher.


Weight – 190gr
Drop – 9mm
Running style – Midfoot & Forefoot
Pronation type – Neutral

Final thoughts

When races do come back I cannot wait to give these a go and target new PBs at different distances. These are a game changer and even the small details really help with the overall experience. I will use these as my race shoe and in tempo sessions and hopefully I will be turning heads with both the look of the shoe and my results as I cross the line.

Lost Sheep Middle Distance


This was going to be my 5th Tri of the year. With 2 sprint (Schull, King of the hill) and 2 Olympic (Hell of the west, Blackwater) in the buildup I targeted these races as they were hilly races, something I needed to prepare for the Lost Sheep. It would be my 3rd middle distance race after doing Challenge Wanaka in 2015 and Challenge Galway in 2016. I could have definitely done with more swimming and cycling training but after signing up the last 3 years and eventually transferring my entry I wasn’t going to walk away this year. It was after all my ‘A’ race for the season. Sure with only 2 Cat 1 climbs and over 1000m elevation on the bike followed by 200m+ on the run to deal with, how hard could it be? It was only voted one of the toughest middle distance races by 220 Triathlon Magazine.
The week before in one of my last open water swims my wetsuit ripped beyond repair. It was off to The Edge to make an unplanned purchase. Orca Sonar is now my wetsuit of choice.

I traveled down to Kenmare with Martha and George and we stayed in a lovely Airbnb just a couple of minutes walk to the center. I gave my bike one last once over before heading to registration. And to my horror the front derailleur was no longer working. Panic set in and no hope of repairing at this late stage. Anyway off to the race briefing to build up the nerves.

Race Morning

Alarm went off at 4:30am. I had my overnight oats ready and got all my things together. I got down early to see if there was anything I could do with my bike but as I expected there wasn’t. All Blackwater members were racked together. It definitely felt like organised chaos as I tried to get everything together. As usual it was always last minute panic to make sure I had everything I needed.

Swim 43:43 (93 out of 305)

Photo taken by Martin Jancek

My target for the swim was 39 minutes. I am a confident swimmer so couldn’t wait to get started. Water actually felt warm which surprised me. Looking out at the water all looked ok but once the countdown started and we set off things changed. Within a 100 meters I felt a bit of a swell and suddenly I found myself not been able to get into a proper rhythm. I didn’t think I was getting anywhere. The buoy was never getting closer. When I did eventually get going I was so far away from the 1st buoy that I was swimming across to get back to it. The further I was out the easier the swim got. Went around the 2nd buoy and now it was time to head for home. The sun was blinding and I could only find the splashed in front of me. At this stage I knew the swim wasn’t going well. I decided not to kick on but keep some energy in reserve. I felt the swim was never going to end. Eventually I saw the arch and pushed to the line. I looked at my watch and was not happy with it. Of all disciplines I thought the swim was one area I’d make my target but it wasn’t meant to be. Bad day at the office there.

T1 5:28 (116 out of 305)

Coming into T1 I just couldn’t understand why my swim didn’t go well. It was a long run to my bike but I didn’t feel as bad when I got to it to see Brian Baker and Joe Scanlan getting ready and Martin Feeney not far behind. We all had the same opinion, that was a bloody tough swim. It was time to get ready for the bike now. I took my time getting ready and made sure I didn’t forget anything. Run out of transition and now on to the fun bit.

Bike 3:20:43 (211 out of 305)

Picture taken by Stephen Kelleghan

Well this was the part of the Lost Sheep that had me pulling out the last 3 years. I felt I had a bit more preparation done this year but I still didn’t know what to expect. I wish I had gone down to test the course but I knew there would be plenty of surprises to come. I’m glad I had put a cycling jersey over my trisuit because it was cold in parts. 1st nightmare came at about 28km, well it started about 10km before that with slight tweaking of my calf before I had to come to a full stop at 28km. My calf completely cramped up and I almost fell off the bike trying to get my leg out of the pedal. I spent about 4 minutes stretching before moving again. It also gave me the chance to manually put my chain on the small ring on the front cog. The views helped distract me from the pain and the climbs of Healy Pass. I have never been here but I will definitely be back to enjoy the view not on the bike. Having drummers on route was another welcome surprise and before I knew it I was up the top. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, I wouldn’t be as scared next time. Now it was time for the downhill, all I can say is I’m useless at descending and I didn’t push it going down the switchbacks. I played it safe. Next section was the slog to Glengarriff. Like it was from the start I had bike after bike passing me. When I got to Glengarriff I stopped at the waterstop to stretch my calf again and fit in a much needed pit stop. Next it was up Caha Pass. Again this was a slow grind but the views never got boring. I got up to the tunnel in one piece and I knew this time I would have fun going back down. The climb was worth it. I found the hardest part was the last 10km, not because I was getting tired but because there was no one around. But before I knew it I was back and I saw Martha and George cheering me on. My aim was 3:15 before hand but with the way it went I was happy with 3:20.

T2 5:34 (208 out of 305)

It was another long run into T2. I dropped the bike up against a van and into the portaloo. Best I went now rather than waiting until I get on the run. I continued the run to rack my bike. It was extremely tight there and it took 3 attempts to squeeze my bike in between the bikes that were already there. On went the runners and made sure I had my nutrition and off I went again.

Run 1:40:59 (151 out of 305)

Martha and George were at the start of the run before you took the right onto the main road. It really gave me a huge boost when I could hear George shouting DADDY and I got the biggest hug from him. A quick hug from Martha and started my run again. My goal for the day was 1:45 and after I went through the 1st km in 4:21 (which included about 20 seconds stopped getting my hugs :-)) I know I better settle down quickly and get my pacing right or I’d blow up by the 10th km. It was rolling hills for the 1st 10km and I was feeling good. My calf wasn’t giving me issues and there were big crowds going both ways in the out and back part of the course. This was great as it helped distract from the tiredness and plenty of motivation was passed on. The kilometers flew by and once off the out and back part it did get a bit quieter and I was running large parts on my own. I was holding back the pace because I knew there was going to be plenty of climbing between 15 and 18. A few jokes traded with other runners but we pushed up the hill knowing that it was almost done. The fast finish made the rest of it all worth while. I feel I could have went faster on the day but delighted with 1:40 and energy to spare. I crossed the line with George and Martha waiting for me. I didn’t think I would break 6 hours but the perfect run for me meant I did.

Photo taken by Martin Jancek

Overall 5:56:28 (151 out of 305)

If you told me before the race that I’d break 6 hours I’d have definitely taken it and after the way the swim and bike went I didn’t think it would be possible. But I was delighted with the way it finished. To pick up 60 positions from T2 to the end of the run showed I did finish strong. It was a great end to the season and it was definitely the hardest race I have done. Having Martha and George there made all the difference and I really think if they weren’t there I would have struggled. I would highly recommend the race to anyone who is thinking about stepping up to middle distance racing. Well done to CorkTri on a super event and well done to everyone who took part on the day especially all the other Blackwater Tri members. Now its time to focus on Dublin Marathon, what did I get myself in to 🙂