The Gauntlet: 13.1 in County Kerry

This weekend I ran the Gauntlet, the pilgrimmage/race/torture device of a half marathon. A winding road led up into the white mist of a sunny morning. I passed 5 deep blue lakes, the winding River Loe connecting them, and went over the Wishing Bridge which I forgot to wish on. I slipped between 2 of the tallest mountains in the country, 1 Gap of Dunloe, and descended and ascended the 8 miles of the Black Valley.

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“My heart is quite calm now. I will go back.” ― James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
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Heading Into the Black Valley. “When I’m running I don’t have to talk to anybody and don’t have to listen to anybody. This is a part of my day I can’t do without.” ― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
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The 150 people crazy enough to run the Gauntlet standing at the starting line. I had no idea what I was in for!

 

When I stood at the top of the Gap of Dunloe, I wanted to yell out to my sister or my mountain-loving friends and family about the clarity of a blue sky and green valley after emerging from the depths of the Black Valley. But my only option for conveying my thrill of the moment was the hot water stop guy. So I threw my runner’s high with him in a stream of consciousness, ecstatic exclamation while gulping down warm water from a plastic cup.

photo courtesy of The Gauntlet
The site of the water stop encounter at the top of the Gap. Photo courtesy of The Gauntlet

 

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“Don´t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. Just get out and do it. You will be very, very glad that you did.” ― Christopher McCandless
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