The Big Showdown on Ballybraid
But it was to be the ultimate battle out on the hills between, yes you’ve guessed it, a “Mud, Sweat, and Tears writer” and a “Mud, Sweat and Tears reader”. I was the Writer representing The MST team that day. Little did I know that the ultimate MST Reader, Jason Kehoe from Dublin, was also at the starting line.
At the stroke of noon we bolted off, and straight away, the Reader was in the lead. With 4km of climb on forest trails I knew that, despite my proven running and writing prowess, I simply didn’t stand a chance. My only hope was to hang on in there for the first descent off Mullacor. And yes, as we slip-slid our way down the first grassy hill, I was soon on the Reader’s shoulder as we made our way over to the second summit of Derrybawn.
The undulations of Derrybawn were where He, the Reader, and I, the Writer, really faced off. Locked shoulder to shoulder, we pushed each other down the descents, crashing over rocks and wading our way out of bog holes – it was the true epitome of Mud, Sweat and Tears. But on ascents, the Reader clicked into action, selecting a higher gear as he kept his lead throughout.
Off Derrybawn, the Reader powered his way up the final ascent towards Cullentragh. By now, I, the Writer, thought my race was over. How was I going to explain to Matt, our MST leader, that I’d let the MST team down? But No. Before I knew it, the Writer had spotted a shortcut across the col and diving through some heather, I managed to overtake and reach the final forest path now 100 metres ahead of the MST Reader. Ahah!
With 2km of fire-road descent, I wrote and ran my way as fast as I could to the finish. But the Reader was too quick, and after 81 minutes of fighting, finally pipped me to the post by a mere 15 seconds.
And the moral of the story? It’s the Reader who is always the ultimate winner in Mud, Sweat, and Tears what with the wealth of stories, news, pictures, and great gear reviews. Us Writers are here merely to serve (and to occasionally battle against in the odd mountain race!).