The Dublin Marathon in the words of some our Sportsworld finishers!
Full club results listed below. Thanks to all our stewards and supporters on the day!
Now get a cup of tea and get reading!
A marathon is not an individual sport. Any marathon needs a training plan (thanks Myles and Emily), training partners who want to start Sunday runs at 8am (!!!!), marathon planners / patient listeners who don’t mind endless talk of marathon prep and worries and who drink coffee and eat scones (you will remain nameless), helpers on the course (they all feature below), probably a physio, and a great crowd on the course (thanks all who were there).
So with all the whinging, training runs and taper behind us, and what at the time seems like life critical decisions made…..such as what socks to wear, how many gels to use…..the morning had arrived and finally this marathon was going to be run. I was very nervous, not sure why because I was realistic about my ambitions based on recent 10 mile and half times. Now realise the nerves were probably coming from my sub conscious which remembered how much a marathon hurts (the conscious me had forgotten…..I hadn’t run one for a few years)!!
Off we went at 9am. I slotted in ahead of the 3.10 pacers and decided I would try keep ahead of them. First few miles are always hard….but I was meeting Anna and Steph (first helpers) at mile 5 in the park so focused on that. Decided to run by feel….feel meaning a bit of work.. Support was great the whole way. Got to Chesterfield and despite the huge crowds, spotted Anna and Steph waving frantically so I’d see them. Drinks supplied I was happy to have first 5 under the belt.
I’m not familiar with the course once we go out Castleknock gate until we get back to the park. But I have to say the support in Blanch at Myos corner was absolutely phenomenal…. the crowd were unbelievably loud and encouraging. Had to have a little chat to myself to soak it up but not get carried away, a lot of work ahead. Mile 9.5 was the next mental target where I was meeting Anna with more supplies……she was exactly where she said she would be, again making herself seen amongst a big crowd. More drinks a gel and a little encouraging word and off I went out of the park and closed that chapter of the race.
Next thought turned to 12.5 miles when Ken was next helper with supplies. Somewhere on the road Ken appeared beside me running, an encouraging word, said he’d see me later. Then we arrived at Rialto….just before halfway. There was a great crowd there but MG outshone them all, Mauras voice carried over everybody else’s “Come on Ruthie this is your day I can feel it” she absolutely roared with the passion and excitement we only ever see in our Maura….I though jeepers Maura you have such faith, giddamnit maybe it is….I’ll keep trying and see what happens.
At half way I said I’d have a look at my watch for the first time… thought I was probably a bit ahead of my loose target of 1.32 / 1.33…..watch said 1.29.14….thought oh no (well I actually thought oh s*** this isn’t good, have overdone it I’m going to really pay for that)!! But can’t do anything about it now so decided to tell myself I can run the second half 6 / 7 mins slower than first and still hit target. All will be OK.
A few mins later I heard this random voice from the crowd “C’mon young Kelly’. It was hilarious…..anybody from the country will know this is somebody who knows my family but not my name…. so I’m ‘young Kelly’ despite being in the …..ehem….F40 category….. I’m sure one of these days in the local super value my mam will be asked was that her ‘young one’ running the marathon.
First real struggle happened before mile 15, but Ken miraculously appeared again, told me to stay focused, I did and the bad patch passed. Next stop Eileen on fortfield road and more supplies. Exactly on q she ran over to me with the bottle and the on to home territory. 2 miles of encouragement, brilliant, carried all the way to Rathgar, hitting mile 19 and then next target Anne and Noreen in Milltown. Calves began to cramp a bit on the downhills now so had to be careful but there was Anne and Noreen on plan at the top of the Milltown hill with more supplies. Hadn’t seen Noreen since she had Jack, thought OMG she is looking fab did she really have a baby…… .said I’d tell her later rather than stop for a chat. Had this damn hill at Clonskeagh to tackle. Oh and I robbed Anne’s sunglasses at this point as well, Anna phoned ahead to prise them anyway from her. Thanks Anne, hope you didn’t get a headache from the sun later?
In was dreading the hill all day so in a way was happy it was finally here, but it actually wasn’t that bad, passed a few fellas on it…..there was commentary of course…..I just kept thinking it’s not as bad as heartbreak hill. Was focused on getting to the top rather than mile markers but then there was the 22 mile marker just before the top of the hill. Thought wow only 4 to go, then thought OMG 4 more miles still!!! It gets so tough now!! Body is aching and still you have to keep pushing.
Anna was next focus she was at the bottom of fosters avenue with more supplies. Calves really tightened coming off the hill, had to stop momentarily thought calf was gone but gave it a second and it settled so off again in search of 23 mile marker. It came quick enough and this was the only other time I looked at my watch. It said 2.38.something…..the 3 hour balloon was long gone so I couldn’t believe I had 21 mins still left to make 3 hours. Knew sub 3 wasn’t possible because that 0.2 really matters but thought a pb was definitely on. Powered up the hill at the UCD flyover but got in trouble again with calves on the downhill. Had let it settle again, couldn’t pull a muscle this close to a pb!!!
Down Nutley Crona was out and Ken appeared again, asked if I was OK, said I looked good (I thought that’s contrary to how I feel…..very contrary!) then 24 mile marker appeared a little sooner than expected. 2 to go……or rather 2.2. It gets Really Hard now, powered on, felt I had a good pace but lots of warnings from calves so had to stop a few times to let it pass….hadn’t been searching for mile markers all day…..but I was now…..where the hell was the 25 marker! As if it mattered because I knew the road and how far I had to go but still there was comfort in seeing it.
Last mile, so tough, could eventually see the finish line, it was a long way off, wide pretty empty road, I had no idea how much time I had lost in the last few miles just thought power home, this is hopefully a pb and probably won’t happen again so make every second count. Got over the line, couldn’t believe the time, delighted but god was I sore! Never again!! Well we’ll see.
So that’s it…..the team effort required for what is perceived to be one persons marathon. Thanks to everybody for all the help and support, you’re brilliant, take a bow!
This was my 7th Dublin marathon so up as usual, at 6.30am and taxi for 7.30am….which.. never arrived! Disaster already and thats before the race! Queue “Panic on the streets of Dublin… ” Luckily, there was plenty of Taxi action in the estate,a neighbour was headed to town , and I got a lift to Harolds Cross . First messup avoided.
On the walk in, met a bloke from Norwich , running for a cancer charity. His Doctor mate had got him into marathons in his 50s and now he was..an addict. On the starting line, I got talking to this cool Spanish lady and this was her 18th marathon. She had raced all of the big 6, and recommended Valenica & Seville Marathons for the would be tourist Marathoner. After the race I met a Romanian that had travelled from Bucharest with his Brother to do Dublin.As a race, its certainly becoming more international.
Marathon start seemed a bit busier than usual with heels being clipped more than once but it settled down nicely by the park.Running through the park was glorious on such a beautiful autumn morning. Then theres the middle bit which i never really remember..I just want to cross the halfway with the 3.10 pacers and start thinking closeout.Next up Terenure and Sportsworld home territory with the awesomest support.This is the bit where, being a Sportsworlder, you have to smile for at least 5KM solid ‘cos the support is so good! 30KM is where my mind starts to debate with itself whether I should be doing shorter races and maybe I just dont have the ‘marathon’ gene. So I found myself dropping back to 3.20 pace. I was running on the edge of calf cramp for the remaining 12Km but as soon as you get over Roebuck hill , you know that you are going to get there. Last mile and the support is off the scales, Im in lockdown pace at this stage and am not going to get in with 3.20 pacers. Then Sportsworlds John Flaherty literally sprints past me and I see him disappear into the finish horizon!! Good job!
Dublin marathon; I cant say Ive ever actually enjoyed the second half of it , but being on the same buzz as 20000 other folks with all their individual stories, makes it worth it. Sportsworld support. You are the best!!
Training to that point had been non-existent with the exception of the odd run here and there. Having previously bluffed my way through one marathon I decided that if I was going to give this a good shot then I should probably join a running club. We had just bought a house in Rathfarnham so one Thursday in mid-August I showed up at Sportsworld. I got speaking to Myles that night and from the very beginning he was so encouraging that I knew I had made the right decision in joining Sportsworld. I spent the next few weeks trying to build up some base mileage before I had the nerve to join in the Sunday long run with the other marathoners.
The next few weeks were great and I felt myself getting stronger and stronger to the point that I was really looking forward to the race, even if a bout of shin splints hampered the last couple of weeks. Sure I was supposed to be tapering anyway so I didn’t feel too guilty when missing the odd run!
The day itself was a fantastic experience. I spotted a few Sportsworld singlets amongst the crowd so I forced my way over to them. We agreed to start off together but in the confusion at the top of Fitzwilliam place we all got separated so that went out the window. I spotted Paul ahead and caught up with him and we ran the first 10km together, slightly slower than I had hoped as the first couple of miles were slow due to the sheer volume of people.
When we went through 10km I decided to make a move and try benefit from the downhill section that we were approaching. Castleknock was a wall of noise and it definitely spurred me on a bit. So far so good. My pace had picked up and I was feeling strong.
The next really memorable bit was Dolphins Barn. Again the noise here was deafening, and it was great to see Myles there having already seen him in the Phoenix Park. He was doing his own version of the marathon that day it seemed!
Unfortunately after the high of Dolphins Barn came the low of the Crumlin Road. Definitely the least enjoyable part of the course. A long drag uphill and straight into the wind. It was the only time that I even thought about the shin splints. I knew though that once this stretch was over we would be approaching Terenure where all the Sportsworld stewards were, and also loads of friends and family were going to be out cheering too.
Sure enough from the KCR right through to Orwell Park, and the 30km split, was really enjoyable. Every few meters there were “come on Sportsworld” chants which was great. Some randomer said to me that it must be such a boost getting that type of support, and it really was. 30km now done and pace still good with legs feeling fine.
Milltown was great too. You get such a lift there and I barely noticed the hill. Then mentally you start preparing yourself for Clonskeagh & Roebuck Rd. Thankfully this passed without incident and I found myself running down Fosters Avenue feeling good. As I crossed the UCD flyover I spotted a Sportsworld singlet ahead. I made a move to catch up with it and it turned out to be Damien. A quick word with him and then down the other side of the flyover towards Nutley Lane and mile 24.
I started to question myself coming up to mile 25. The legs were starting to tire at this stage and for the first time all day I was beginning to have doubts. Thankfully I realised that there was just over a mile to go and there was no way I was going to give up so close to the end. Once you get to Northumberland Rd, and then Mount St, the crowds really pick up again and help push you home. I spotted a few more friendly faces cheering me on which was great, and then all of sudden there’s a sign saying 400 metres to go. I tried to pick it up again for a “sprint” finish. I heard someone screaming my name and it was my wife Michelle (credit for the photo) who had just made it there having already been in Rathgar! I cross the finish line with a time of 3.12.33, a PB by 24 minutes.
I can safely say I would not have gotten anywhere near that time if I hadn’t joined Sportsworld. Initially I had hoped to go sub 3.30 but the encouragement that I received from Myles & Emily, and the other marathoners, gave me the belief that I could do better than that. I’m looking forward to trying some shorter distances now and setting some more PB’s!
Most importantly I raised over €2000 for Epilepsy Ireland and the total amount raised over the past 6 months is now €27000!
The 2017 Dublin marathon was my first one & the lead up to it was…well, slightly atypical. After encouragement from fellow club members (you know who you are), I completed the registration form back in April and in a short sequence acquired sprained ankle, patellar tendinitis and a broken toe, which meant that my training properly started in August. Until then my training weekly consisted of hours of walking, cycling and three sessions of strength training (I kept this up all the way upto the race). I was rather doubtful whether or not I could catch up with the training mileage / be fit enough to even consider starting and too intimidated to go back to club for a reality check.
I followed a training plan that was based on three runs a week, finding that my confidence increased with growing distance. Another hugely helpful part of the training were regular check-ins & with other club members preparing for the race – it appears that whatever your aims for the race are (e.g. cross the line still enjoying running & without an injury (me); a PB (others)), the anxieties are all the same.
On the day, I arrived way too early to the start area, but seeing the place fill up with equally nervous runners and the accompanying camaraderie settled my nerves. The race itself was all you would expect – emotional, hard & fun. It really shows off some of the nicest parts of Dublin, including all of the amazing supporters – grannies singing on the street, families pulling out stereos into their front yard, kiddies offering you sweets/ oranges/ apples/ water (mental note – bring your own painkillers).
Knowing that there would be friends along the way was a huge boost, and crossing Terenure and all the shoutouts from club members filled me with choking tears of appreciation and a new found energy that carried me all the way up the dreaded UCD hill (which turned out to be much easier than I expected). I only wished someone warned me that the last two miles are the longest two miles. Ever. Overall, incredible experience. And yes, I am already eyeing up another one.
The great Emil Zatopek famously said If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon. I thought about running Dublin Marathon at the end of the summer to push beyond my comfort zone on the track. Despite having a good track season, I’m now realizing that running fast is harder when your a Master so a marathon seemed like a good challenge. I was eventually talked out of doing the marathon this year and had planned to take part in 2018 which marks the 10 year anniversary of my one and only previous attempt. I’ll be running next year! there is some unfinished business left on the course.
To get me ready for next year and reduce the love handles for Lanzers I set a goal of upping my weekly 70-80K to 100k a week in August. this continued well in September and October. In August I ran 25K at 4.30 minutes pace with Diarmuid and Michael and it felt like a long way but it felt good. Later in the training cycle, I ran 20 Miles with Derek and Karol in 2 hours and 6 minutes in the Phoenix Park. After that, I toyed with the idea of actually running on October 29th in Dublin. It was not until I finished the Rock and Roll Denver half marathon in a disappointing 80 minutes that I started to take running in Dublin seriously. An email to our chief editor and social media guru Eoin resulted in contact with Gerard Neenan. Gerard, unfortunately, got injured in August so his number was up for grabs.
I started yesterdays race in wave 2 which meant being 10 minutes behind the main start. From the start, it felt like a time trial. I spent 10K of the race dodging people and jumping onto curbs. Plan A was ambitious 2.45, Plan B was my race day 2.48. At 30k the fatigue from all the ducking and diving and lackluster race preparation caught up with me. Between 30K and 40K I stopped to walk 5 or 6 times and was going to just bag it and go home but happy now that I got going again each time. There were some kind people on the course offering drinks and encouragement that helped massively.
Coming into town I had exactly 10 minutes to go to get under the 3-hour mark. I summoned all the energy I had but nothing was working. In the final stretch, the crowds were deafening and I was within distance to switch to a sprint stride and get the last 400M in using different muscles. To my delight, it worked and I slipped under the gantry in 2.59.56. I soon heard that we had some fantastic runs, in particular, Martin and Ruth owned it.
In 2008 at the age of 27, I ran Dublin in 2 hours 53 minutes. I did not think I would run a slower Marathon again for some time but the distance can be cruel and it won’t always go your way. The organization has come on leaps and bounds in Dublin since 2008. The crowds and support from the club were amazing. Dublin now can hold its own with the marathon majors in that respect.
A few lessons learned for next year;
– Don’t wear new socks on the day of the race. My feet were hurting by 10 miles.
– The extra training and effort required to run a marathon at 27 and running a marathon at 36 are massive.
– If you get sick in the weeks leading up to the race you probably need to go with plan B from the start.
– Don’t go on holiday 3 weeks before race day and eat everything in site.
– Don’t race a half marathon 2 weeks before race day.
– Miracles don’t happen on race day. Even if you put in the miles the training needs to be marathon specific. a few 20 milers are not enough.
A superb night was had in Ranelagh and beyond, from what I remember. Thanks to the organizers. These nights are great to meet and chat with some new people in the club The head was sorer than the body this morning! The marathon is a public test of private will, when the months of solitary training, early mornings, lost weekends, rain and pain mature into triumph or surrender. The race involves long stretches of hard work punctuated by brief moments in which you are given the opportunity to perform at your best. The encouragement from race day crowds helps you raise your game. Particularly on Bushy Park road. Running friends lining both sides of the road came to cheer, stomp, flap their signs and push us on, making for an experience no participant will forget.
So Sunday was the start of my 5th marathon and by far my most prepared for. Mainly thanks to the plan Emily and Myles had put together and the shame of not making the weekly Strava leader board i was putting in a lot of time on the feet!
Sunday morning i was unbelievably calm, even as we sat in a line of traffic on the canal the Wife was waiting for me to go all Michael Douglas in Falling Down.. No need to worry got parked up, walked to the start line and straight into the wave about 10 before the start. Met up with John there and chatted out the last few mins before the start.
9am and we were away, but not for long as the first corner nearly brought me to a stop again as the wave all tried to hold the racing line. It took the remainder of the first KM for a bit of space to open up and to try settle in!
The first few KMs breezed past and before many thoughts had passed through the head we were entering the park with Myles and Sean Duffy giving us encouragement from the sides. The park section out to castle knock and back in was enjoyable enough with some good support along the way from family and club members.
The kms were adding up but with Crumlin road up next i was braced for a knock back. There was no need as the crowds at Dolphins Barn were amazing and pushed us all along up to the half way point. I was still on time for the 3.30 here and was feeling good.
The next section form the KCR to Rathgar had to be my favorite due to the support from the club members stewarding and spectating. So many shouts of encouragement really helped. After this it seemed so close to the finish, 6 easy miles sure that is just a quick Ballyboden lap isn’t it!!
Well not as quick as hoped! Clonskeagh gave me a good kicking and i was slowing down as i reached Roebuck road. The downhill section of fosters Av gave me a little bit of recovery but the turn onto the N11 was when the 3.30 pacers caught me. All wasn’t lost yet and i just had to motor on and keep them somewhat in sight.
The last 3 miles felt like 30 miles, pace had dropped but i wasn’t stopping. Big shouts from the lads at the RDS had me pushing on again just to claw back a few seconds and the last 800m was amazing with the crowd roaring anyone and everyone to to the finish.
Blue mats in sight and line crossed, watch stopped 3.33.35. JOB DONE!
Very happy with the day and took 17 minutes off my Previous Marathon in May so no complaints. Met up with some other club members in the baggage area and talk of never again dominated but by the time the first pint had been sunk in McGrattans the spring marathon was already been talked up!!!
DCM 2017 was my 6th marathon and hopefully not my last. Its been 4 years since my last confession, I mean marathon, and even though I have been really good I felt like putting myself through another one. Doing a marathon is how I got into running and there is something enjoyable about doing the training no matter what people you work with or ‘Non Runners’ think.
It’s also a good chance to get to know the people you run with in the club better and to explore Dublin and see things from a different point of view. There are loads of people in the club who have yet to do a marathon and it is daunting and not pain free but it’s a unique experience and something you’ll always remember. Just a word of caution though think carefully about joining Strava (facebook for runners) and certain running WhatsApp groups.
As for the marathon I was lucky enough to get an unearned elite number and was able to skip a lot of the hassle of 20,000 runners at the start line, queues and the smell of deep heat. I have done around 30 hours volunteering for the DCM over the years so my conscience is clear. The weather that morning was perfect and it was great running through the city center on the roads with so many people out supporting the marathon. The last time I did the marathon Dolphins barn was relatively quiet but this time it was like being at a concert and being the main act and it really did feel there was someone from Sportsworld every mile.
I was happy enough how the marathon was going and felt I made clear conscious decisions to control my pace and to stay relaxed but around mile 20 it just felt like I was in a different race and even though I had practiced the Milltown, Clonseagh, Roebuck roads around 20 times it felt like I was on another very cruel planet and the rest of the marathon was not pretty after that. Taking the positives out of it I still got a PB and under 3 hours and I actually want to do another marathon so it can’t of been that bad and life would be boring if everything was easy.
The marathon is one of those life affirming events that becomes a milestone in a person’s life, a line in the sand where they pin point a personal achievement on a voyage of self discovery. This year I discovered I’ll never be a race pacer with my bladder. Three toilet breaks in the first 11 miles of this year’s Dublin marathon put an end to any ambitions of winning the race.
Training for this year started well, I managed to keep up with Lucy D’Arcy for a couple of Long runs. When I started with Sportsworld in the mid to late 2000’s, I once managed to keep up with her for a single warm up lap in Bushy Park then sat out the session exhausted. She chatted away, my legs where spinning like the Road Runner. So back to the future, keeping up with Lucy I knew things were going well and an all elusive PB could be on the cards.
My calf, the leg not pet, had other ideas and knotted up in early September. A couple of trips to Michael O’Grady sorted me out. God bless his little fingers. But I’d missed about 4 weeks training and all my planned warm up races. I did however have a great weekend in Chicago in early October not having to worry about finding a 20 mile route in Americas murder capital.
While in Chicago I came to terms with not doing the marathon. The window had passed, life moves on, I had a few beers, I was sharing a Chicago style deep pan pizza and I was wearing elasty pants. C’est la Vie.
But we are all runners. And runners don’t think logically. Working late on a Friday evening two weeks before the marathon I decided to give it one last lash. I turned off the computer, got a pair of runners out of the car and ran 20 miles that evening. I was so stiff after the a short drive home that night I came close to sleeping in the car. But the calf was fine, the pet not leg, and so the marathon was back on.
On race morning it was a great bumping in to Aoife O’Leary who always in flying form (both running and as in having the craic) entering the starting pen. I let her push on up to the front. Like all good runners, I approached the start line looking at life through the lens of my PB’s. Which I ran 8 years ago. In a different body. So after a month out with no form, I decided to play it safe and aim for the 3.30 pacing balloons. There I bumped into Patricia and Naoise, much to Naoise’s surprise apparently as she asked what was I doing there. But the time flew by waiting for the starting gun as I explained myself.
Bang goes the gun and I figured I stick with the 3.30 pacing balloons as long as I can and see if they drag me along. After a mile I decide to let those 3.30 pacing balloons run their own race.
At mile 4 the Phoenix Park arrives, a familiar space we all know intimately from our long runs. But familiarity breeds complacency, and taking my first gel I somehow momentarily squeezed before it reached my lips and squirted half the contents across my face as I approached the official photographers and crowds on Chesterfield Avenue.
Exiting the park, Castleknock Village is a new edition in recent years to the race and the locals have embraced it with huge crowds thronging the route as I ran through with my sticky head.
Big thanks for all the shouts! The support from the club all around the course was immense, too many people to mention. Reaching Fortfield Road was the welcome sight of Audrai and Eileen, the first Sportsworld stewards I saw as I ran the gauntlet all the way along Sportsworld boulevard. I probably speak for all Sportsworld runners by saying that the sight and support of our stewards for this 2 mile stretch is a massive boost. I probably don’t speak for all Sportsworld runners by saying I felt like the Queen waving at my adoring subjects along that two mile stretch too.
On I continued with my sticky head and royal notions. Being from Dundrum my folks were out watching in their usual spot near Roebuck Road. It’s a nice distraction looking out for people so I looked left and right but never expected to have to look up. I still don’t know how they got up on that wall.
The grand stand finish on Mount Street is up there with any big city marathons, an experience everyone should have. The Dublin marathon is some event now, huge support from the club as always but now also raucous crowds out along the course – Castleknock, Terenure and along the 9 arches in Milltown standing out. While people say its not the easiest course in the world, it’s still no Waterworks, so I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of their first marathon.
I learnt a few other things that day too. Taking a gel every 4 miles was probably a bit much. And the breakfast one I had in the baggage area at the start probably wasn’t necessary.
To wash down the 7 gels I had 3 pints with the real Paul O’Connell and Naoise in O’Donoghues before heading home. Naoise wanted to go on a pub crawl to Birchalls in Ranalgh but I managed to talk her out of it. To loosen the legs I walked home, ordered a pizza and went to bed where I stayed till Monday. If you are looking for some insight into the life of a top level elite athlete you should look somewhere else.
Despite my best efforts it all went well. Lots of peaks and troughs during the race but no sign of wall. Thanks again to Michael O’Grady Sports Therapy for patching me up, I can’t recommend that man highly enough.
Fitness levels permitting, which I don’t seem to need, I’ll be definitely running Dublin again next year. There’s the small matter of the Rome marathon in April which I’ve already entered. Next year is the 10th Anniversary of my first ever marathon in the eternal city back in 2008 and no doubt they will be putting something on for me so it would be bad form of me not to go.
At the start of the year I had a number of running goals but all of them were in support of the main goal which was to get a PB at the Dublin Marathon. This would be my 4th marathon but my first in Ireland. My previous best was in Singapore back in 2012 with a 3.43 finish.
There was a huge number from the club running this year and this was brilliant when it came to the training sessions and especially the long runs. There was a great core group of us who were all similarly heading out on a Wednesday or Sunday for the weekly grind. Some people in particular really embraced the grind….and it had nothing to do with the Strava leader board. For those not on Strava and who have an addictive personality, then stay clear.
Throughout the year my races went really well and I was consistently taking minutes off my previous times which I definitely put down to all the Tuesday and Thursday speed sessions. They really pay off if you can get down every week. In the lead up to the marathon in particular I was really happy with the 20mile time trial in Phoenix Park when I really thought that my revised goal of a sub 3hr marathon might be possible.
But like all goals there are times when they need to be revised. This happened at about Walkinstown Roundabout (mile 15) in the marathon when my head said one thing but my legs didn’t agree with me. When I got to Rathgar I was almost ready to pack it in, but luckily Damien was on hand to grab me from the side lines and throw me back into the race, I couldn’t speak at the time….but thanks again Damien!
The last 8 miles or so were definitely a struggle especially when you see the pacers getting further and further away and your average time on your Garmin starts to remind you that it isn’t going to get any easier. I had heard all about the support that people get around the course at the Dublin Marathon and it was unbelievable! Something which I have never experienced before and actually to the point where you could barely hear the voices telling you to stop. In particular the Sportsworld team who were marshalling, my friends & family who biked around the course and also a shout out to Sean, Will and Wes, who somehow managed to appear out of nowhere every few miles- I actually think they covered more mileage than we did.
While the race didn’t exactly go to plan (I finished in 3.17) it was an amazing experience and one which I’m definitely glad I did. At the finish line I was probably more relieved than anything else but having reflected on my running from 2017 as a whole it’s been the best year yet and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Not least the 100+ Whatsapp messages I receive on a daily basis from the lads in the club (all running related of course). We’ll enjoy a few pints over the next coming weeks and start to plan the next goal for 2018.
Well what can I say about this…. let me see now!!!
On this day last year (2016) Paul and myself stood outside AIB in Rathgar watching and cheering firstly the non national elite athletes through followed closely by our very own Irish elites leading the masses, what a sight – fabulas.
Paul said ” we will just stay for an hour or so to watch the elites and our own Sportsword participants, then I’m heading away“. “Ok” said I, knowing in the back of my mind that wasn’t going to happen. Sure enough after an hour or more Paul said he was off and I just said “see ya later“:from then AIB became my “cheering zone” That day I think I ran the marathon also, just in that 1 place cheering club mate and friends along, and then I decided that in 2017 – it was going to be my turn, time to switch places 🙂
A few weeks later having coffee with my “lil bro” Ronan; I was on my phone checking if the entries had opened yet for 2017 – yes they had so I did my duty and entered DCM 2017 – Roll on said I.
Training did not start off well as work got buisier with work, I was hit and miss quite a bit for the essential club sessions and the very important long runs, still I ploughed on with a slight improvement. The weeks and months went by and before we knew it – it was September already, wow, where did that time go!!!!
Long runs were happening although not as well as I would have liked, tempo runs – well, there was only 2 speeds – slow and slower, stress and disappointment were starting to set in bigtime so I always said “the day I don’t enjoy I will hang up the runners” and I did just that and carried on with my job.
Now; anyone who knows me and what I do would say that my job should be inspiration enough to keep me going – it wasn’t though, not this time, and I almost given up mentally for good but then something happened that I can not explain.
October 11th 2017 – An Cosantoir Defence Forces 10km road race and we were timing it, race start 1:30pm, at 12pm the blocks of runners are let off every 3 mins,(not chip timed) this is where you start with 25 runners but must finish with at least 20 and you are only as fast as your slowest runners.
It was a beautiful bright,fresh sunny morning in Pheonix park (ahh – runners Heaven), we were set up and ready to rock 2 hours before the main race, so how will I pass the 2 hours away??? It just so happened I had my running kit with me so I changed and jumped in with the next Block out, these were aiming to finish in 50mins, happy days , off we went, well I can’t tell you how much fun I had with those guys, we laughed, supported, and had the banter for most of the run and finished in 49mins.
That’s it – I’m back – Forget the time, forget everything, I am going to do what I do best – ENJOY
Right, this is My Day 7:30am, dry, bright, sunny, little bit warm, very light breeze in places – perfect day and I am right in the thick of it, meeting people, having the craic and banter, people looking , wondering if I am timing the event as that’s my job, “no” I would say, “today I wear a race number instead of a stopwatch and clipboard” This made heads turn and my friends laugh – good start I thought to myself.
9am Race start, nice and civilised, no pushing and shoving, all calm, I watched everyone take off gently and I followed cheering and “high fiving” along the way. I had forgotten just how hilly this was as it had been 4 years since I ran in Dublin – I missed it.
The support along the way was amazing, there were designated “cheering zones” which extended most of the 26.2 miles, and was most welcome, Supporting is harder than running I think, as you are out standing a lot longer that the runners.
Along the way I met groups of supporters from all over the country, from Born to Run in the North to Ballintotis and Clonakilty in the South, from Sligo AC in the West to our very own Dubliners, wow, what a day, what atmospher, for anyone doing the marathon for the 1st time (our own Noel Lynam) what a buzz.
First half complete – feeling very happy and very comfortable, enjoying every step, cheering at the various club supportes and them cheering at me, cool, hit Crumlin, KCR, Fortfield road on up by Bushy (slip in for a few 1k reps- no takers on that)and into Terenure – wow, what a lift with what seemed like the whole of Sportsworld out to cheers us on – even the teeny tiny ones “Little Duffy” (Stephen) is all I could think to shout as I passed Paul and Catriona :-), Up into Rathgar along by the famous AIB, I looked and smiled as Maria McCambridge was minding it for me, just before the bend there was Paul Mitchell and Peter Naggs giving it socks, Peter was camera happy and captured a series of pics of me crossing the road to say “hi” to Paul before contiuing on up the road, where the shouts of support continued ….
Eventually we were into the last 1.2 miles (home stretch), the crowds got heavier and the decibel levels hit the roof, what a welcome home, round that last bend and there was the finishline standing bold and proud waiting to greet us under it’s arch,
That’s it, done and dusted, still in 1 piece, still standing, still smiling.
Changing my mindset for this year proved a success for me, my plan was to run the 1 st half with the head, the 2nd half on adreneline and the whole 26.6 on pure heart – I DID JUST THAT .
A massive thank you to everyone to their fantastic support and encouragement before and throughout the marathon. This 1 may be gone but will not be forgotten, well done to all xx
Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin
As we got closer to the summer it was clear the DCM would sell out. My running had been below it’s best for a long time before hand, and I was slow to want do another with bad form knowing the time and effort commitment necessary. However, a good group had all registered, and with time I was buoyed on by their infectious enthusiasm, and FOMO, enough to reluctantly put my name in the hat the day before it sold out, and with that yet another summer of pintless weekends awaited.
With the big numbers signed up so early this year Myles and Emily really bought into the marathon training and were fantastically generous with their time in preparing a training plan for the group as well as following up with everyone each week to guide and advise. Their carefully considered plan combined with their energy and enthusiasm was surely a very important factor in the success that the participants enjoyed on Sunday.
The warm humour and espirit de corps of the group made the long miles shorter. So many jokes and laughs. Plenty of nice food in the Visitor Centre. Come September, I was actually looking forward to getting up at 7am on Sundays for the ritual 20 miles in the park. The training went well, and race times had improved again. By the end I was sure that I could try for a PB in the race.
Come race day I was surprised to see how much bigger the event is now. Especially while trying to get to the baggage drop from the Baggot Street. Deep swathes of brightly clad people on a 25 minute walk through the corrals to the baggage area when you could just rock up and lock your bike at Merrion Sq. a couple of years ago. The conditions were as good as they come. A little warm and sunny, but nothing major.
I met Martin at the start line. He informed me the 3 hour pacers would be running 1:29 for the first half and aiming to get over the line for a 2:59:30. We decided to follow them for the first half until Walkinstown where most of the hard climbing is done, and then push on from there if we felt good. We followed this to the letter with both of us keeping the other in tow.
I was blown away by the support on the day. Right from the get go. Deafening noise greeted us at countless points on the course which really broke up the grind a lot. The handmade placards, children offering jellies, and some sportsworlders who made it to an improbable number of spots to shout us on.
The scale of the marathon means it’s just too long for nothing to go wrong. My problem this year came at Dolphins Barn, my tummy was getting a bit iffy from the water and the gels I was taking. I decided to not take anything on till I felt a bit better. After getting to Bushy, I was feeling a bit comfortable again but when I tried taking on water I found myself wretching. I didn’t have to stop, but I decided to go without until the finish knowing that the inevitable dehydration and low glycogen could catch up with me but that it would be the lesser of two evils. This being a risk I decided to stick with the pacer and not to push on. Martin and I parted at this point as he comfortable pushed ahead. Luckily this paid off and when I got to the last two miles I was able to push on away from the pacer and get a PB of 2:58, which I delighted with.
Michael, Martin, and I found each other in the finishing chute, and Michael promptly marched us toward McGratten’s pub nearby to share our stories. More piled in shortly after, and it was great to hear of the successful runs everyone had. Some people made massive improvements, and it was great to see them get rewarded after watching them putting in the hard yards all summer. This was definitely my most enjoyable marathon training cycle due to the great company I had the pleasure of sharing the experience with.
I missed last year’s race, so this was my first time doing Dublin on the Sunday and it was brilliant! I thought the crowds were good 2 years ago, but now the support is really fantastic. Thank you to all the marshalls who gave up so much of their day so we could run and well done to the organisers on such a professionally run race.
The club support in the terenure stretch from the kcr onwards gives a much needed boost! I found it a great motivation in the training having so many club members also signed up for the marathon. Throw in a few texts from Myles to check how the long runs were going and a bit of friendly mileage wars on strava to keep the pressure on. Add in the club night out and no work on the Monday and it makes a great weekend of it.
There are so many variables in marathon training and racing that you don’t always get what you want or deserve, so super congrats to the sportsworlders who got sub 3’s, hit their targets, broke their pb’s or just held on for dear life when the wheels fell off. Honourable mention to Derek who put in savage work and demolished his pb with a 2:50 in frankfurt. Well done again again everyone! Already looking forward to next year’s race!
Strava leaderboard getting us all PB’s
Another year, another marathon and pleased to say another marathon PB. I had made my decision to do the marathon pretty much straight after last years marathon. I knew if i wanted to improve on my time i would have to increase weekly mileage – i therefore decided to join Strava as i was told it was a good way to track myself against other friends/competitors and Sportsworld teammates – little did i know how serious this would get. Strava turned into the single most motivating thing i ever done, it used to be easy to get home from work and decide not to train but when u log onto strava and see many of your friends and club mates had recorded a run…it made ya get out as the guilt of falling behind on leaderboard would not be worth it. Strava also introduced me to Martin Doyle…..
Going into DCM 2017 i knew i had put in the hard work and was a lot less nervous than previous years. I had managed another full set of PB’s for the year so was quietly confident i would be able to get my target of a marathon between 3.15 – 3.20.
The day itself was as good as ever, support in Castleknock, Terenure and Milltown unbelievable. I set off wanting to run with the 3.10 pacers for as long as possible, after a slow/tricky start i managed to catch them around mile 3 and stayed with them to just after the 20 mile mark……and then the Marathon began…..i did slow up a bit but thankfully not to the same extent as previous years, i lost roughly 6 mins but still came in for a time of 3.16. A 12 minute PB from last year.
Legs and body feeling good i met up with a few of the lads (as John would call us – the Grinders) to find out we had all managed PB’s – which was incredible. A nice meal in Dillingers with the Grinders that night followed by countless drinks with the Sportsworld gang lead to a fantastic day/night.
What next – a spring Marathon, open to suggestions…….
Special mention to training partners –
Martin Doyle – King of Strava
Mark Hogan – Really doesn’t know what slow pace is
Diarmuid O Sullivan – 2 x sub 3hour marathon man
John Flaherty – Ultimate grinder
Neil Purdy – Shoe copycat
Thomas Kinsella – 2 marathons within the month, some man.
I didn’t think training for a marathon could ever be as fun but these guys made it easier and they added that extra competition required to get the PB. Thanks a mill.
Marathon day finally arrived, it was brilliant to have such a big group running it this year. With so much support from Emily and Myles this summer, everybody worked and trained really really hard for the sixteen weeks leading up to it. And it sure did show on the day with everybody getting fantastic results for all their hard effort.
The conditions on the day were really good with a slight north wind to keep us cool. The crowds spectating were huge, creating an amazing atmosphere as always.
The Sportsworld stewards and teammates did a super job giving us lots of support in terenure and spread all around the course, with lots of encouragement they helped us to keep pushing on.
The course is a tuff but enjoyable course with a mix of hills and fast flats.
All in all it was a super day and I was delighted for everybody to do so well.
My journey to the Dublin Marathon 2017 began with a conversation with Anna Delaney on the night of the 2016 marathon celebrations. Having gotten injured during the 2016 training cycle when I had been ‘running so well’, Anna was recruiting people for 2017 and she was adding me to the list! After the disappointment of not being able to run in 2016 and the months of recovery I had gone through, I had put the thoughts of entering again out of my mind until my husband Lorcan signed up for it earlier this year, and then those thoughts started to creep back in again. It was only when the entries were close to selling out that I bit the bullet and paid the entry fee.
Training was going well until the mileage increased towards the end of August and then my weaknesses started to show and I had to decide whether I was in or out. The stubborn streak in me won and I continued training as much as I could, but due to my decreased mileage for the month of September, I knew that if I reached the start line, it would be about finishing and enjoying the day rather than going for a time. To be honest the only time that mattered was whether I could break the family record set by my brother in 2014. Family pride was at stake more than anything!!
The marathon itself was just amazing. I had completed DCM once before in 2013 when I was a relatively new runner and had enjoyed the experience until the 19 mile mark when I hit the wall and could not get over it. I had told myself that no matter what happened this time, I was going to smile to the finish line, and that I did. I soaked up every bit of the atmosphere, high-fiving kids and waving to family and friends all along the way. The Terenure mile was just fantastic and I was a mix of emotional and ecstatic all at once. It really was overwhelming!
When the wheels came off at mile 21, I reminded myself that I was out to have fun. The sun got the better of me and I overheated and dehydrated and I spent the last 6 miles walk/jogging to the end, but I didn’t care. I had so much support from family, friends and club mates that it just got me through. I was chatting to people who came out to support me (still no regrets about that one Kevin!), embracing those I wasn’t expecting to see and in general loving the atmosphere, despite my legs not wanting to move any more.
The home straight was just unbelievable. The roar from the crowd got me jogging the last few hundred meters, that and the sight of Paul O’Connell up ahead trying to coax me to the finish line, whilst struggling himself. I crossed the line in 3.36.32, a PB of almost 30 minutes, but more importantly I had enjoyed the experience as much as I could. When I got my phone out of my bag I had a message from my mum Nessa to say that I had set a new family record…we’ll see how long I hold on to that for!!!
Thanks so much to all of those who supported me on the day and over the training cycle. From those who I trained with, those who offered invaluable advice and others who just listened to me talk about training over and over again!!! It has been such a great experience and I could not have gotten through it without you.
Like the people of northern Mexico, I was promised a wall but it never materialised. I didn’t end up having to pay for it either.
“Train hard, race easy” goes the cliche. For once in my life, I got to find out how true that is.
After an antsy, restless day of pre-race cabin fever on Saturday, it was a relief when the alarm sounded at 5.30 on race day. A quick look out the window confirmed that the forecast of a dry day was accurate. A packed Luas at 7.30 am on a bank holiday Sunday is an unusual phenomenon and it was buzzing with lots of talk about breakfast/nerves/hydration with more than a little bit of oversharing about trips to the toilet. I bumped in to my brother and his wife and a few other friends at Stephen’s Green. We exchanged hugs, wished each other luck, took a group selfie, walked a bit and then promptly got separated. Jose Chapa was the first Sportworld runner I met on the way to the start line. I think it’s fair to say we were both relaxed rather than nervous. I was feeling fresh after the taper and once the bag was dropped off I bumped in to Mark Hogan and Damien Geraghty with whom I’d shared many a long run (albeit with the two of them way off ahead).
The temperature was still quite cool a half hour or so before the start. I was briefly envious of the runners who’d brought a hat or a plastic bag or extra layer to keep warm. However, many winters of sleeveless training has helped me develop a hardy resilience in colder weather and I quickly stopped thinking about it. I did a few strides and before I knew it, I was on my own again. I made my way through the barriers and in to the masses that were congregated a few metres ahead of the 3 hour 30 minute pacers. The plan was to stay in and around these pacers for the first quarter of the race and then gradually inject a bit more pace over the remaining 30+kilometres. I didn’t want the last 10km to be a world of pain as it had tended to be in my previous 3 marathons. Imagine finishing strong, I kept thinking. How nice would that feel?
I was joined at the start by Neil Purdy who looked as relaxed as I felt. We had ground out heavy mileage in preparation for this day and weren’t about to start allowing any doubts to creep in. I can’t speak for him but I can definitely say the only time I felt genuinely nervous and worried in the weeks leading up to the race was the first few days of the taper. After training so hard, it’s only when you ease off that you really feel the bones and muscles creaking. One thing I do know from experience though is that the taper also tends to take care of these aches and pains.
I also made a conscious effort during the taper to increase my iron and protein content. I just had to concentrate on keeping control of my pace at the start. Which, with the help of Neil and not long later Paul Hamilton and Naoise Waldron, didn’t prove difficult at all. We were able to chat a bit and take in the atmosphere. I would glance at my watch and slow a bit if needed. The sun came out and I made sure to soak it all up and be ‘present’ as my favourite neuroscientist, Sam Harris, would say.
- running along North Circular Road with a dazzling dead-on view of the Pheonix Park monument up ahead in the sunshine, flanked by newly bare trees.
- the crowds in Castleknock, the noise was deafening and the displays of colour were invigorating.
- the sight of the able-bodied running with the disabled.
- the hypnotic sound of thousands of feet pounding on Chesterfield Avenue.
- all of those running for great causes.
- the gels (nah, that ones a joke).
- the Sportsworld support around the course – simply amazing folks. Can’t thank ye all enough. Special shout out to Myles, Maura, Wes, Anna and Sean Duffy for literally going the extra mile(s).
- Terenure. Can’t beat a bit of home advantage. So many familiar faces and the pleasure of knowing we’d be running down the Templeogue Road incline for once!
- breathlessly sharing race observations by the finish line with a stranger from Clare who had done almost the same time as me down to the second.
- seeing a sun-soaked Dublin from unfamiliar angles.
- feeling a bit wobbly coming up on the RDS with only a few kilometres left and hearing Will Greensmyth shout something along the lines of “you’re flying John and your hair looks immaculate as always” which made me laugh and immediately snapped me out of my only real dose of pain-induced self-doubt. Amazing what a bit of a slagging can do! It worked way better than “Keep going John” ever would.
Well the target was to beat my PB of 3 hours 28 minutes with the hope of getting in under 3 hours 25 minutes. I ended up knocking just under 8 minutes off my PB and achieving my first ever marathon negative split. Train hard but more importantly, enjoy the training. There really was a great marathon crew in the club this year and some real solidarity and camaraderie was experienced on many a grim Sunday morning. Shout out to all those who embraced the grind!
Martin Doyle 02:57:37
Diarmuid Silleabhin 02:58:56
Michael Cunningham 02:59:00
Gerard Neenan 02:59:56
Ruth Kelly 03:01:07
Edward Mc Entee 03:09:36
Jose Chapa 03:11:21
Justin Mc Keever 03:14:21
Damien Geraghty 03:16:27
Aoife O’ Leary 03:16:56
Mark Hogan 03:17:57
John Flaherty 03:20:49
Cormac Garvey 03:22:13
Alan Hynes 03:29:08
Paul Hamilton 03:30:44
Neil Purdy 03:33:35
Naoise Waldron 03:36:32
Paul O’ Connell 03:37:21
David Trimble 03:43:19
Patricia Fitzmaurice 03:44:48
Paul Canniffe 03:45:06
Karol Laffan 03:48:17
Noel Lynam 03:49:02
Lucy D’ Arcy 03:51:16
Ronan Murray 03:53:58
Eoin O’ Brien 03:56:36
Thomas Kinsella 03:57:16
Anne Belton 04:11:39
Lucia Prihodova 04:18:47
David Culhane 04:25:06
Liam O’ Brien 04:39:33
Trevor Mc Donough 04:42:02
William Murphy 05:35:05
1) Irish Runner have 900 pics HERE
2) Sportsfile have 382 photos HERE
3) Joe Murphy of Eagle AC has a gallery HERE
4) Sean Cassin has 357 photos on Flickr HERE
5) Marie Kenna has 172 photos HERE
6) Peter Mooney has almost 1300 photos HERE
7) Mark Costello has 1000+ pics HERE
8) Kevin O’Donoghue has 700+ pics HERE
9) Susan Parker Laste has 320 photos HERE
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