Back home in Ireland for 2013

2012 was quite a year. A little over 12 months ago, I was living and working in Cambodia. I visited Burma for a week in February, getting to run around the famous Bagan Temples and the capital Yangoon’s streets. In early March I was off to Thailand to compete in the River Kwai Adventure Race. A bit of trail running in Hong Kong in late March prepared me to run Spain’s Camino de Santiago in April and into May. In June I was in Africa, doing dusty early morning runs in Tanzania before work. And by July, I was back in Cambodia, packing up my belongings for wherever my next adventures would take me.

Quick break in my jog between Burma's temples of Bagan.
Quick break in my jog between Burma’s temples of Bagan.

By July, I was also tired of travelling. So I was glad to head back to Ireland, where I was born, for a hint of normality. And though my travels were less, I still managed to fit in Ireland’s longest and toughest adventure race, the 36 hour Beast of Ballyhoura at the start of August.

Being home in Ireland meant I could also take some time out to see family and friends. I also took in a few mountains dotted around the country, summits I hadn’t seen before like Mount Brandon on the Dingle Peninsula and routes like the one around Wicklow’s Glacial Lakes.

Our Beast of Ballyhoura team - Me, Peter Crommie, Paul Mahon and Adrian Hennessy - out on the hills. Photo courtesy of Valerie O'Sullivan.
Our Beast of Ballyhoura team – Me, Peter Crommie, Paul Mahon and Adrian Hennessy – out on the hills. Photo courtesy of Valerie O’Sullivan.

By October, I needed a game plan. I still wasn’t too sure where I should live and work. What I knew however was that I needed the normality of a developed country after 3 years of living in Asia. So with that remit in mind, I visited the United States to see if it was a place I could maybe live. After a few weeks, I realised that Ireland was really home and where I needed to be.

Having to be careful running around Utah's Dead Horse Point State Park marked trail.
Having to be careful running around Utah’s Dead Horse Point State Park marked trail.

So I arrived back in Ireland in November and have set up my base there. And I’ve been living in County Donegal ever since, apart from a 3 week stint in Ethiopia for a spot of work just before Christmas.

And overall, it’s good to be home. I love being back with the Irish, for their humour and pace of life. It’s been nice being home for Christmas, decorating the tree, roasting the turkey, and sitting in front of the fire. It’s nice to be able to go for a run without worrying about sunburn or heat-stroke. It’s nice to find running and bike riding routes that wind their way through quiet rural Ireland without the risk of being run over or starred at out of stunned locals.

The rocky rutted trail up Ireland's Slievenamon. Photo courtesy of Gerry Brady.
The rocky rutted trail up Ireland’s Slievenamon. Photo courtesy of Gerry Brady.

However, with less than 3 months here, I’ve already got itchy feet. Winters are cold and dark here in Ireland, and Asia has made me soft. But I know that it’s for the best for me to stay put in 2013. A break is as good as a rest. It’s a chance to stop and evaluate where I want to be and what I want to do. And it’s nice to be able to do that in Ireland with familiar places and faces around. So after the excitement of 2012, 2013 will be relatively quiet with just a few runs here and a few trips there. But though I may be quiet, remember that I’ll be plotting more adventures for 2014.

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