Portumna Forest Marathon
Portumna is a small town in the heart of rural Galway on the West Coast of Ireland. The name Portumna comes from the Irish word Port Omna, meaning the landing place of the oak tree. So not surprisingly, perched on the edge of the quaint little town is a magnificent 450 hectacres of coniferous woodland of Scots Pine and Norway spruce. Portumna Forest Park is also home to a whole host of animals including Fallow deer and the red Squirrel. Every June, the agility of the wild animals in their natural habitat is mimicked by the ‘best of the best’ of distance runners from all over Ireland. In recent years participants have come from all over the world in their quest to find the ultimate Ultra marathon.
Taking part in the Portumna Forest Marathon is a spiritual experience – while it tests the body physically it soothes the mind in equal proportions. The runners, crew and marshalls blend in with the environment and although there is plenty of clapping and encouragement for the runners there is a serenity about the place that bows down to the beauty of the natural environment. Everyone talks a little softer and smiles a little wider. When those inevitable Irish rain showers put in their short but frequent appearances, everyone looks up at the rain drops through the leaves and marvels at the reflections of the rainbows in the puddles – appreciating the fact that the rain had a vital role to play in providing such a lusious backdrop for the run.
There is of course a more practical reason that this Marathon remains one of the most popular ultra events in the country – Portumna, whilst rural, is also very accessible from all four corners of the country.
By the time nightfall descends on a summer Saturday night, over 1,000 competitors would have completed one of the four races on offer -100km, 50km, Full Marathon and Half Marathon. The fact that runners of all ability and speed are running together turns the event into a motivational haven where training tips and running experiences are shared enroute and everyone leaves determined to move up to the next distance before returning next year.
For more infomation on the event click HERE