Barry & Johns Back Yard Ultra race report

640 360 Patrick McCrann

Athlete Name: Dwane Brennan

Race Name: Barry & Johns Back Yard Ultra race report
Year: 2024

I had no goals going into this last Saturday except to enjoy the day and learn from the experience.

I decided to go ahead with this 3 weeks after Connemara as I was feeling ok, had seen the physio and the deferral deadline had passed.

Race start was @12:00 so the morning was just like a normal training/race morning. Up @07:30 had breakfast – overnight oats & banana followed by coffee.

Woke up my support crew(daughter) then checked and loaded gear and nutrition into the car. It was a 45min drive to the race so left @09:00. Arrived, parked up and waited for the transfer to the start line.

By 10:30 everything was laid out and went through plans with Jess for each lap. I felt good, nervous and excited as this was my first time doing one of these.

Just my luck, it was a scorcher again – 22C.

Bell went of @12 and away we went. Jogged for the first 2-300m and then everyone seemed to be walking/power hiking??? I wasn’t expecting this so soon. This continued on all the inclines, which was most of the first half of the loop.

With the heat and elevation, the first half of the loop was energy-sapping. By the time I reached the highest point and began the downhill at 4.5k, I was thinking the time would be close. I didn’t focus/ check the pace for the remainder of the lap and finished the 1st lap in 00:50 – very surprised at this as I had hiked more than normal and felt it would be slower than this.

Jess had my nutrition, towel, fluids and new sweatband as my current one was soaked. I sat and ate a little before the next loop.

Loop 2 began exactly the same, plenty of hiking, chatting with other entrants and taking in the amazing scenery. At times during this lap, I felt I could easily go for a few more loops.

I finished this loop in 00:53 and it definitely felt a bit harder and getting hotter also. The same process as before food, dry off and restock for the next lap.

Lap 3 same start as the previous 2, but within 500m I could feel the fatigue setting in. Everything felt harder – it was like someone just ramped up the inclines🤣. I continued as best I could and knew this loop would be tight. When I reached the downhill section, it was tough to get going at my previous pace. The closer I got the the end of the loop the harder it got. Everything ached. I finished this one in 00:58 and knew I was done. I knew I would have to hike most of if not all of the next loop and definitely wouldn’t make the cut-off.

I’m glad I did it and learnt a few things from it – like Patrick McCrann previously said, ultras are power hiking – I need to train more on this element.

I like this format and will probably enter again next year😉.