Font Romeu 2017

10 Things I Think About Font Romeu (and Carraig na bhFear 5k)

1. Altitude

I think converting every house in the country into an altitude house would solve the obesity epidemic. You can eat relentless amounts of pain au raisins and almond croissants with no ill effects when living at altitude. Two dinners? No problem, in fact it would be dangerous not to. I'm sure a doughnut tax in Ireland could help fund such a project. If you want to eat more just turn up the altitude in your house. We'd have way more athletes to watch in the world championships too. It can't fail.

2. Breakfast

I think I'll miss breakfast in Font Romeu the most. I went to Cafe Le Joffre every morning for two coffees and two pain au raisins. On the last day I was a little late and thought all the pain au raisins would be gone. Thankfully my new friend Chloe had kept the last two pain au raisins especially for me. France is great.

3. Injuries

I think getting through 10 days in Font Romeu with only one horrendously sprained ankle is miraculous. I have the agility of a dyspraxic polar bear which means that running on rocky trails is risking career ending injury and or death at every step. I thought my uselessness was down to my massive clown feet but Donal Coffey has the same feet and he glides down the trails effortlessly.

4. Track

I think the track in Font Romeu shows that you don't need perfect facilities for world class athletes. The track is pretty battered. It has ruts, dips and dives even in lane 1 but no one seems to mind. You're supposed to pay €3 to use the track but you can slip in through a hole in the fence at the back for free. There's a great atmosphere about the place with elite athletes everywhere. You're very unlikely to need to shout "track" at some headphone wearing fool walking in lane one, everyone just moves out into lane 2 and 3 when they're done. It works.

5. Dropkirk Murphy's

I didn't think that Shipping Up To Boston would be the soundtrack to a session at Font Romeu but Andrew Butchart seems to be a big fan. It's great to have music at the track. Perhaps we should install speakers at the Mardyke. It makes sessions way easier but does tend to make you go a bit mad on the first rep.

6. Dreams vs Reality

I think Team G.B are still talking about my first track session at Font Romeu. I got a bit carried away on my first 400m rep and ran 71. It's hard not to when all the Team G.B coaches are standing around watching you. I'm sure they were impressed by my novel 8x400m session where each 400m rep got one second slower with each rep. At least no one shouted "track" at me.

7. Maps

I don't think there was a run where we didn't spend 10 minutes looking at a map deciding which trail to run. There's a fantastic network of trails. My favourite is number 30, 8 miles of single track, forest road and a little bit of tarmac. Where else could you run a 10,9,8,7 and 6 minute mile in the same run for the same effort. It's great. The possibilities are endless.

8. Chamber of Commerce

I think the new bar on the main street is way better than the Irish bar. It's just a timber shed with a permanently drunk stereotypical French bar man making up the prices. There are different prices for the locals and the tourists. The pints are very strong. All the locals go there. It's great but it doesn't open if it's cold. The Irish bar is terrible.

9. Photos

I think I'm going to have to stop asking Team G.B athletes for photos, it's a bit childish. I think they like it though, they all seemed delighted, I suppose I'd love it too if random people knew my name and asked for a photo with me.

10. Mission Impossible

I always thought John Meade was amazing. Now he has proved it.

5.10pm flight to Cork.

6.20pm land in Cork,

6.30pm ring the brother,

6.50pm the brother arrives and chooses/is forced to accept mission.

7.00pm magic gear change

7.20pm arrive in Carrignavar.

7.25pm register.

7.30pm start race.

7.46pm win 5k.

Altitude works.