Female Competitors 2017

2017 will be the first year we have more than 10 female competitors taking on The Race. We caught up with two competitors Sharon Black and Rachel Nolan to get their thoughts ahead of the event.

 

Sharon Black

Sharon-Black-with-Family-on-muckish

1.You first heard about The Race in 2014 and thought it sounded mental and questioned how people could complete it. 3 years down the line and you're a competitor. What do you think is the biggest reason for your mindset change ?

Yes that's exactly correct! I remember thinking it was a huge ask of your body to complete this race distance in 24 hours. However,  having spoken to a few of the competitors after the first year I started to believe that anything is possible when you break it all down and remain headstrong. I have wanted to do it since but other things just got in the way so when the second round for 2017 opened in early April 2016 I bit the bullet and applied. I like a good challenge and this event certainly ticks all the boxes...

2. What has your training been like for this years event ? Mixing family and work commitments with long training hours must have been a struggle ?

We have been so lucky with the weather in run up to the event this year. It has definitely made the training a lot easier as we have not had to deal with the elements much. Everyone is just hoping we won't pay for it on March 11th! Having said all that there's no doubt that the training for an event of this magnitude is certainly not easy when it has to be juggled with work and family life. I'm very fortunate to be self employed which has afforded me the opportunity to be flexible and do some of my training during work hours when the kids were at school also. My aim was to train as much as I needed to without it affecting home-life too much. I'm also

I started to believe that anything is possible when you break it all down and remain headstrong.

lucky that my children and husband are very sporty so most of my weekday training is done when they are doing their after school sports/ training. One of the best things about the training has been the diversity....up to now running was really my thing. This event has forced me to get out on the bike and train for a lot longer than I ever would have imagined I could. It was my weakest discipline as not one I was particularly familiar with. Now it's probably the part I would prefer to train most. My longest days training session has been about 7 hours in total as I am a firm believer that less is more and I would rather leave something in the tank for the day itself!!

 

3. What's your goal for race day? Do you have a time in mind you would like to break ?

My first aim for Race day has always been to get to the start line injury free. Fingers crossed I'm feeling very good and nothing major niggle-wise. Next goal is to complete the course under the allocated 24 hours (23.59.59 will be perfect). The best thing about doing an event for the first time is there's no time for me to break. Finishing will be a pb for me. If I'm feeling good on the day and think I can manage to push on towards the end I will.....

 

Rachel Nolan

rachel-nolan Starting-Wild-Atlantic-Way-CycleYou have a lot of endurance experience having competing in endurance events like Marathon des Sables, ITERA and cycling the Wild Atlantic Way. What have you learnt through rachel-nolan Starting-Wild-Atlantic-Way-Cycletaking on these events that you will bring to The Race?

Well I suppose the most important things I've learned from taking on endurance events are: 1) You are never prepared for everything so don't expect to be. The very nature of long distance events forces you at a certain point to disconnect the body from the mind and just do it! 2) Take it easy and enjoy the ride- I would rather take an extra 10 minutes at each section and arrive at the finish line with enough energy for the party. 3) Remember why you entered into the event; take time to enjoy the beautiful landscape and meet new like-minded people.

Mixing training with running your own business, Rachel’s Irish Adventures and working for the Connacht Whiskey Company must be a real balancing act. What has your training been like for this year’s event?

It’s been a very busy winter for me with work and as I’m a bit of an extreme character, finding the balance and time to dedicate to training has been a challenge. I’ve done a few weekend loaded sessions to test gear and practice transitions. I

You are never prepared for everything so don't expect to be.

also took a trip up to Donegal to check out the course. They could do with getting Coilte up there to plant a few trees”,). Next week I’m off to the Canaries and I’ve entered into a trail marathon to warm up the legs.

What's your goal for race day? Do you have a time in mind you would like to break?

I don’t really see the RACE as being a race. My goal is to get around it in less than 24 hours, enjoy the atmosphere and scenery and get away for the weekend. With such unpredictable weather and the challenges of the course, it would be unrealistic to set an exact finish time. The goal is to get back to Gartan before 5am for the early breakfast!