Castlefreke is exactly why all State lands must be immediately be removed from the hands of logging company Coillte

Let’s get straight to the point. Coillte is a logging company with a commercial mandate. Having it in charge of 440,000 hectares of state lands is so idiotically Irish, you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. All state lands should be transferred to a hugely expanded and reformulated National Parks and Wildlife Service immediately. The NPWS can then licence Coillte to plant and harvest trees in a strictly controlled fashion on a limited subset of those lands. »

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From Liverpool to Manchester - Conor does his 50 (miles) before 50 (years)

Last March I decided I wanted to run a 50 mile race before I hit the big five oh in May of this year. On Monday, in spite of freezing rain, hail, sleet and snow, I somehow managed it and I can’t stop randomly grinning. As always, have no fear, this won’t be a mile-by-mile race report. I’d fall asleep writing it :-) Speaking of which, one of my ultra-running top tips is “Don’t listen to the audiobook of ‘Why We Sleep’ on miles 30-40 of a 50 miler if you want to avoid getting verrrrry verrrry sleepy. »

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I'm more excited about Eoin Keith doing the Barkley Marathons than I am about my first 50 miler

Like many people I’ve been enthralled by Eoin Keith’s Ultra running exploits since I first discovered this crazy sport. Whether it’s his Spine Race wins in crazy weather or his FKT from Mizen to Malin, he makes you want to push yourself and try things. My wife and I are doing the Liverpool to Manchester 50 Mile Ultra very soon (oh god it really is very very soon) and we flip-flop between terror and huge excitement over the adventure. »

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The fatally flawed Salomon Sense Pro Max

I read some reviews of the Sense Pro Max last year and they looked like a good pair of mixed surface running shoes. However they came with the usual Salomon price tag and I didn’t have a specific need for them. Fast-forward to January this year and I started getting worried about the footwear I was going to use in my first 50 Miler, the Liverpool to Manchester Ultra. Then I spotted that the Salomons were half price on Wiggle. »

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2017 - The year of running 1000 miles

2017 was probably the year I stopped feeling odd when calling myself a runner. I achieved a bunch of new things in running, including my first 50k, and managed to do just over 1000 miles for the year. Start running now If you are thinking of taking up running in the new year, go for it. No excuses. Forget about “I’ll wait until I’ve lost some weight” or “when the weather improves” or “my knee is a bit twingey”. »

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A round-up of Conor's recent races. Lots to recommend!

I’ve been having fun mixing up the length and style of the races we’ve run this Summer and Autumn. Whilst my speed remains atrocious, I find that my recovery time is getting shorter and shorter, which must be a sign of something. So here goes, June to September: Cork City Marathon What can I say? It broke me again. I started so well - faster than last year and feeling strong. »

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Dear headphone manufacturers - Big opportunity to own the marathon market

I really wonder about headphone manufacturers and their testing. I own everything from no-name €10 Chinese wired earbuds to €100+ Jaybird X3s and every single one of them is problematic for running. In the US alone, over 550,000 people ran a marathon in 2016. Scale that globally (with a 13% growth rate) and that’s a substantial, defined, receptive, target market. My goto pair for the past 2 years are SMS In-Ear Wired Sport earbuds. »

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Review of The Trail Runner's Companion by Sarah Lavender Smith

I wrote about my first 50k a few weeks back. I still smile every time I think about it. I’m already signed up for a 40 miler in the Glen of Aherlow in September (3 loops, so I have a get-out-of-jail) and I’m trying to decide what my first 50 miler will be. Suffice to say, I’m really getting into this whole trail running thing. And one of the main reasons for that is the brilliant work done by YouTubers, Instagrammers and Podcasters in this area. »

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The Chiltern Challenge 50k - Conor's First Ultra Marathon

I made this comment on Twitter last week: Any chance we can narrow "inspirational" to mean "inspired me to action" instead of "isn't that a nice story"? — Conor O'Neill (@conoro) July 19, 2017 It was partially driven by the silly overuse of “inspirational” but also by the fact that I was inspired to run 50km last weekend by all of the amazing Ultrarunners in the US and Europe and the stories they tell via YouTube, Vimeo, Blogs, Twitter, Instagram, magazines and books. »

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Quick reviews of Inov-8 X-CLAW 275 trail runners and Leki Voyager poles

One thing I’ve learned as I’ve dipped my toe into off-road running in Ireland is that we don’t really do trails. Apart from forest paths, the bulk of what I’ve found is wet muddy bog. This causes me two problems - it’s difficult to run in it and American-style trail runners are useless in this environment. My poor Altra Lone Peak 3.0 may as well be slick tyres coming down from Mullaghmesha Mountain. »

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