He has already run and won two marathons this month. His second of those was last Saturday, when Enda developed a sore gluteus muscle in his cloak that has barely allowed him to run for the past week. But don’t worry about creaking limbs and nagging suspicions. He is back on the line in Bray this morning and at EcoTrail Wicklow he is on a 46-kilometer undulating course.
Climb from Bray Head over Sugarloaf Mountain, past Powerscourt Waterfall and along the Wicklow Way for a total of 1,675m. The literal pain in his butt that he’s been dealing with for the past two weeks is recognized but ultimately ignored. increase.
“There’s something about the mental resilience of knowing I’m hurt, but I’m going to do it anyway,” he says. And it wouldn’t feel unfamiliar to push through with a lot of pain. .
Croke has been one of the standout figures on Ireland’s trail and mountain running circuits this year, winning 10 of the 15 Irish Mountain Running Association (IMRA) races he has competed in. Today’s event brings together many of Ireland’s best players, along with many overseas competitors competing in four races (19k, 30k, 46k and 80k). His course record for the 46k event is 4:03:39, which Cloake said was “definitely going to beat it.”
At least, if he doesn’t break first.
“My legs might get a little tired, but I’ll try. The French have the record now, and it’s good that the Irish have it. ‘If Toda can do it, so can I.’ ’ may be an opportunity for someone to think.”
Cloake is 25 years old and hails from Castlebridge, Wexford. Running wasn’t his thing for most of his life. It was a martial art, and from the age of 5 until he was 17, he was a cloak who was into taekwondo. An avid hurler and footballer, his start as a runner, as is often the case, began with his desire to miss school. He still remembers the date (30 November 2014) when he lined up for Wexford Schools his cross his country.
After school he joined the Navy and was stationed at Curraghcamp for 18 months before relocating to Bardonnell, west of Dublin, where he now serves in the Air Corps. His employer has long supported his running exploits. One of his colleagues unwittingly helped him on this path. In 2018, Cloake attended his Clonakilty Marathon with his colleagues and said the three-hour break was “impossible.” “So I said, ‘Damn, I’m going to take a three-hour break!'”
Cloake finished fourth in 2:54:11 and was runner-up at the Wexford Marathon the following year in 2:45:00. In 2021, when lockdown is lifted, he’s one of the first to start trail racing. This means it’s generally easier to start than a major road race, from the volunteer side. sponser.
He competed in his first trail race last June. This is a new world that opens up beyond the tracks and roads he has worked on for so long. “I loved it. It was like nothing I had ever seen before,” he says. “Everyone was so nice and I made a lot of friends. Friends for life.”
Crooke has grown accustomed to spending time in the wild since his time in the Armed Forces, and Crooke recalls doing a 14-hour overnight hike in 2020.
“I thought, ‘If I can do this, I can do anything. ”
Like most runners who seek something tougher than a marathon, he has a wealth of skill in the art of suffering.
“I’m a little ignorant to put up with hardships,” he says. “It’s not that I grew up in a very demanding environment, but I’ve always exposed myself and stepped out of my comfort zone. Sometimes you have to shut up and get through.”
Cloake’s runs about 120k and climbs about 2,000m each week. Having made it big on the relatively small ponds of Irish mountain running, he entered the European Off-Road Championships in Spain in July and finished 29th.
“Sometimes[in Ireland]you don’t push 100% because you know you can win before you start, but when you go abroad and you’re really behind, sometimes you have to go all out to not win. be the last.”
Earlier this month he returned to the road marathon, winning the Dingle in 2:35:20 and battling injury to win last weekend’s Medieval Marathon in Kilkenny in 2:38:15. I won. He has many more outings planned in the coming weeks, including a vertical kilometer his race in Italy on October 8 and a trail race the next day. The afflictions he has haven’t gone away, but working through the pain is teaching him something about the sport and, indeed, about himself.
“You can usually handle more than you think you can,” he says. “Sometimes things fall apart, but you have to absorb it and carry on.”