We hear from member Bruce Lovell representing VRUK in Northern Ireland:
‘I finally got myself back racing yesterday in the beautiful Roe Valley Country park where I try to walk with Charlie (my four legged friend) whenever possible.
I have not ran much at all since moving to Northern Ireland but over the last few weeks had ventured out for a few steady runs inspired by my membership renewal, this time 1st claim for VRUK. After seeing a race advertised when walking with Charlie I couldn’t resist entering as its in a beautiful location where I always feel happy among the woods and rocks by the river (what a hippy)
My last race was in August last year at the Moulton 10k and so I wasn’t expecting much as regards to time or placement and was just looking to enjoy running in this wonderful spot. The races were held in category’s to stop bottle necking and injury I suspect due to the tight twisting and turning course which weaves you through trees and sees you leaping over huge boulders and up steep muddy ravines around O’Cahans Rock for three laps.
Before the race and to my dread, when I took my coat off to expose my Vegan runners vest the director with microphone in hand was on me making light hearted comments about a vegan runner and shoving a microphone at me to pose the question we are all tired of “so where do you get your protein from without meat” all be it in a fun and friendly manner I was like a rabbit in the headlights but managed a good enough response with the usual answers and went on to mention various athletes such as Scott Jurek, and although not vegan I admit, Mo Farah getting his protein from non meat sources and not doing so badly.
The male open was a small field and I set off middle pack and settled in waiting to see how bad the hilly parts were and how my legs responded with no serious training in them. After the first lap I felt strong and started to pick off runners who started to feel the burn of steep and tiring terrain. To my surprise I felt good and kept running steady and hard always picking people off at the hilly parts and before the last lap I was closing in on 3rd place. I picked him off and upped my efforts to get a good gap so he didn’t get any ideas of coming back at me. I had a sneaky look on a bend and could see id put some ground between us. My legs were starting to feel tired but the buzz of racing and in a medal position after so long, along with the wonderment of running amongst the woods in such a majestic place, and fired by a vegans will after the earlier exchange I was determined to hold on to a medal position and pushed on to the finish well and just behind the 2nd place man. The Winner could have been having a shower by this point alas.
It was great to be racing again and as a first claim Vegan runner this year too! Afterwards I had some good chats with people interested in my diet and how I felt it benefited my health. The director didn’t make fun when I received my 3rd place cash price and simply shook my hand and congratulated my strong running. Vegan runners have made their mark in Northern Ireland!
Not a quick time but with that course and in my condition it was never going to be. A lucky 3rd spot that on another day could have easily have been out of the top ten!’
THE ROE VALLEY COUNTRY PARK TRAIL RACE (8K) – SATURDAY 9TH MARCH
NAME: BRUCE LOVELL
CLUB: VEGAN RUNNERS UK
CATEGORY: MALE OPEN