We’ve all done races that have moved us…..normally to profanity….. but not every race can say that it moved someone to compose poetry! Here’s the race report to end all race reports, Sarah Boland’s experience in Gaelforce West this year. Sit back and enjoy!


SARAH BOLAND – A poet and we didn’t even know it!

We all have our demons and mine was a race

Gaelforce it’s called and Westport its base

I tried it before, I didn’t succeed

The pain and exhaustion, a torturous deed

I went for the training, advice and support

The nerves they just grew, I longed to abort

Now those that do know me, know I like to run

The roads my companion, but the muck is no fun

The hills they just scare me, the rocks are my foe

I could break a nail, or worse, break a toe!

But pre race day came and I headed up west

The traffic put my clutch through an arduous test

We parked up our bikes, signed on, grabbed some food

The tiredness and nerves played a part in the mood

Back to the house where we tried to get sleep

I shared with a dog, cat, Dean, Becky and Peeps.

Our slumber was short, on account of the start

We ate up some food and for the bus made a dart

I dibbed in as told, took my place at the line

Told myself to enjoy it, t’would all work out fine

Started the run, the road it did suit

Turned up the fjord, not my favourite route

Slipped on the rocks a kilometer in

Unable to keep the expletives in

Helped up by two guys, asking if I was ok

“Yes thanks, Im sure there’ll be more falls today”

Contined along running cautiously slow

In my head were Pauls words ‘dont have the head facing low’

Arrived at the Kayaks, where I bumped into Dean

We paired up and made a formidable team

Ploughed through the bog, mucky and wet

Feeling quite thirsty and a way to go yet

Ran to transition, picked up my bike

Along with a hundred or so midget bites

Stopped for a drink and to take on a bar

I knew that I hadn’t the pep to go far

Started the spin with intentions to gain

As I knew up ahead the road was a pain

The climb wasn’t easy, I stood up for the most

The descent not much better, nerves of steel I can’t boast

I stayed on the bike til I hit the big Croagh

Whoever threw this in was having a joke!

I started the climb, met at once by Steve G

“Sweet Jesus he’s finished and here look at me”

“Just jump it” he shouted as I paused at the dip

“My legs are too short I know that I’ll trip”

He laughed and continued, while I made my way

Meeting good company to help I must say

I looked out for team mates, but ye all were too fast

Except for poor Carey high fiving as he passed

I met Joe at the top’ fairly vexed with his race

Two punctures had put paid to an impressive pace

“Keep going” he said, “you’re up near the top”

“Do you mean it or just saying it so I will not stop”

10 mins later, I arrived at the top

Now the descent, just a jump, skip and hop 🙁

Slowly I picked my way through the stones

Fearful of breaking any more bones

Finally landed on heather and moss

Sped up the legs to decrease the time loss

Back on the bike for the part I feared most

At this point I just wanted some boiled eggs and toast 🙂

Cycled with care, taking time off the bike

To walk it where needed, felt more like a hike

At last a main road where the legs could push hard

Some sign of town life and the finishing yard

Dropped down the bike made a start for the run

More muck to contend with, oh how much fun!

Finally out from the trees I could hear

The sound of the clapping and audience cheer

Ran round the corner, confusion set in

Where is the finish, I’m late for the win

Directed by team mates the route became clear

Gaelforce completed for another year.

Well dones exchanged, debriefings began

Becky with hoodies, our number one fan

Later the drinks flowed along with the laughs

While everyone ached from their tightening calves

The singing was woeful, the dancing not great

Except Becky who’s twerking you just couldn’t ‘bate

My final word on Gaelforce fifteen

“its way more rewarding to race as part of a team”

Sarah Boland

An Ode to Gaelforce West 2015 – By Sarah Boland

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