Report By Stephen Willoughby
Slightly different race report than normal for Clontarf Half Marathon which took place 04th July as I was on official pacing duty for the 2 Hour Group. Was my 4th half pacing which started with Rock & Roll Half last year as originally a one off and Connemarra, Wexford and now Clontarf still going. .
Although advertised as flattest half marathon course around it sure was the windiest and add in the humidity as well as approx. 5k on the beach pacing was going to be difficult.
I obviously looked like a highly trained athlete as I was asked before race was I pacing the 5 mile 2 hour group !!.
Start had to be changed from previous years on Clontarf road which meant as out and back course turnaround point was further up the promenade towards Sutton.
Myself and my fellow pacer initially had plan to run even pace which would be slightly under 5.40 a k but that went out the window due to wind changing direction completely so we agreed to try and make up time once wind behind us.
Always try and calm nerves at start by joking with those around which included Bernie White, former club member who was trying a half for first time and wanted to break 2 hours so now pressure on us then.
First couple of k were difficult as very narrow footpaths so we spread out to try and keep as large a group as we could together and stop people being hit on the head with our balloons for as long as possible as we knew beach part would spread out group.
Nice part of out and back course is you can encourage your fellow Sportsworld runners on way back so was good to see Karl Chatterton in top 10, Sadanard Magee, Jonathan Walker, Noel Tobin, Ronan Murray, Jim Manning and Ed Collins running so well.
Amazing how when you running with wind behind you never notice it as was a shock to turn around and wind hit us. From a pacing point of view we had built up a couple of minutes which we knew we would need for beach phase and wind into us so our motivational skills were needed a bit earlier than normal to try and get groups to form and work harder than normal with still 4 miles to go.
Once we reached wooden bridge we only had two miles to go so instruction was given for anybody that felt strong to push on but even if they couldn’t group knew that if they stayed ahead of us they were under 2 hours which gave them a lift.
Unfortunately finish not easiest to see as a lot of turns as you don’t see finish until you about 50 metres away so I had to deal with some coarse language when I was trying to explain finish just around corner and nobody could see it .
We had the nice luxury of having built up about a minute and a half with 400 metres to go so could encourage as many as possible with knowledge that they were all under 2 hours including Bernie White who looked really strong finishing.
Aim is to finish about 30 seconds under your time but we had brought in as many as we could so we finished in 1.59.44.
Is always lovely to see reaction from other runners, some in tears, having helped them achieve something that they have never achieved before and we as runners take for granted.
Stephan encouraging runners to finish sub 2 hours (clock time is gun time not chip!)
Thanks also to Joe Haugh for support from the sidelines as we were finishing.
There was also a 5 mile option on the day which included a large phase on the beach so well done to Conor Kenny, Emma Barry, Anna Carrigan and Audrai O’Driscoll on their good runs in very difficult conditions.
Apologies for any members I have left out , following are results :-
Karl Chatterton 1.26.25
Sadanard Magee 1.27.54
Noel Tobin 1.32.28
Jonathan Walker 1.38.21
Ronan Murray 1.45.25
Stephen Willoughby 1.59.44
Jim Manning 2.01.30
Ed Collins 2.11.01
Conor Kenny 39.47
Emma Barry 41.17
Anna Carrigan 41.19
Audrai O’Driscoll 41.44.