As a fairly new runner in 2005 I was in seventh heaven just to be running in the Connemara Half Marathon. The occasion, the scenery etc just took my breath away and it is one of my greatest memories. I wasn’t interested in my time but 2:00.09 was a little annoying, especially as I lost a minute or so getting across the start line.

I was entered to run the following year but never made the starting post. One young lad did, only to lose his life right at the top of the Hell of the West. Whilst I was as upset as anyone else for his friends and family I hope they took comfort in the fact that he died doing what he loved in one of the most beautiful spots on Earth.

I ran again in 2007. This time I got irritated by the big numbers allowed to enter the Half. It seemed to be an elbow-to-elbow affair for far too long, the marathoners and ultra-marathoners got fed up fighting their way through us and I lost any sense of magic. And although gunning for sub-two I never really got on terms and clocked 2:03 and bits.

On Sunday I have a three-point plan. (1) I have planned out my mile splits to take account of the slow start and the three miles of uphills, to bring me in under two hours (2) I am not going to get grumpy about the crowds or if I fail to get my target (3) To enjoy the trip, the rugby internationals tomorrow (Sat), the race atmosphere and the beer and Indian meal in Galway on Sunday night!

Race report early next week.