The Sportsworld annual Dublin Marathon race report by our finishers!

Stick on the kettle and enjoy the read!

Entry opens today for those inspired to run on Oct 27th 2019!


Gareth Murran

If you don’t wear your singlet you write the race report, them the rules. Unless its the marathon race report that is!
The 2018 DCM (Dublin City Marathon) was my 3rd go over the distance.

Number 1 was 10 years ago in 2008. On a bit of a whim I decided to spend 10 weeks training for the Dublin marathon. I didn’t know anything about running so I went online and downloaded a training plan. At the time as I wasn’t running more than 4 miles, 2-3 times a week and would normally stop after a couple of miles to catch my breath. The idea of a long run was completely alien at the time.

The plan peaked at 70 miles with my longest run getting up to 17 miles around the Phoenix Park. I managed to avoid major injury and on race day I went out too fast but managed to come home in 2.53.  Sub 3 was the goal, box ticked. The following Spring I went down to Bushy Park on a Tuesday night and did a Hills and Sprints session. Emily as always was very encouraging and that was the start of my running adventures. I honestly don’t know where the last 10 years have gone but many of the best bits involved Sportsworld Running Club.

Marathon number 2 was last years debacle which is best struck from long term memory. The marathon can chew you up and spit you out. I ran on a spare number last year just to get some appreciation of the distance. It was painful, I hadn’t done the training and ended up starting in wave 3, dodging runners and walking for long stretches of the last 5 miles.

Before they put me out to pasture I wanted to give the distance another go. What better race than the DCM 2018 for my 3rd Marathon attempt. I decided back in Spring to sign up as I was travelling allot for work and finding it hard to get my key sessions in. Never wanting to give anything up I still wanted to get a good outdoor track season in, and do the masters track chairmanships in late August. I started to build up the long runs from July 2nd with a Strava post entitled “October grind starts here” and did 12 weeks of Marathon specific training for August, September and October.  I managed to get 10 30K runs in during the training cycle and ran just over 2000K. At first the long runs were slow but by mid September I was hitting a good sub 4 minute kilometres. You have to train fast to race fast. The body has a nice way of adjusting to the training stress you put on it. Patience really is a virtue. and your persistence pays off bit by bit.

On race morning I woke at 6AM and went for a jog, no more than a mile, just to get moving and check everything feels good. Its something I always do when racing in the mornings. Breakfast was just a cliff bar and some electrolytes.  Like everyone else who was running DCM 2018 I was glued to the weather forecast in the days leading up to the race. Conditions were meant to be perfect, and the weather gods delivered. It was a bit cold on the start line and got a few degrees warmer as the race went on. There was very little wind out on the course.

This year I managed to get an elite number thanks to an anonymous Irish dancing friend. It was a great to be able to walk straight down the canal and onto the start line, avoiding the masses. I felt out of place with all these top class runners. After some easy jogging and sitting around nervously at 8.40 the call went for tracksuit off and we were lead out to the start line. Due to the DCM hosting the European Police Marathon there was a good few extra men and women taking part from all over Europe. This made the start a bit crowded. The gun went bang on nine o’clock and we were on our way.

I broke the race into 4 section in my head.  The first 5 miles, then picking it up for 8 miles, The flying high 13-20 mile effort and the last 10K dash for home.

The first 5 miles should be very easy. The advice from every experienced marathon runners I spoke was to keep this easy. My target pace was 3.40 kilometres. After a bit of traffic dodging at the start I slotted nicely into a group with lead Irish lady Lizzie Lee. As we got to the Phoenix park the 3 lead women were just ahead.  The pacer had been instructed to bring them through 20 miles at 2.28 pace  but they weren’t having any of it.  Due to the lack of wind going up Chesterfield Avenue was a doddle. Just after the 5 mile marker I decided a quick trip to the portaloo was needed. Setting  a new record of 16 seconds for number 1, I was back on the course in no time. It took me a couple miles to work back to the group I’d been running with, but by the time we got out of the park I was passing the back markers. One of kilometres was a bit fast at 3.32 but nothing too excessive, the heart rate was still in check.

The section of the course from 5 miles to the half way point was fantastic. At 8 miles we caught up with the lead women on the downhill section leading back into the park. Its nice to see yourself on YouTube after the race. You really have to hold back here as its early days and feels effortless.  The first test they say comes at Knockmaroon Hill. Once you slow the pace down and are still at a comfortable pace the hill doesn’t pose much of a threat. When you get to the top its a slight net downhill up to the half way. In between 10 and 11 miles my right calf started to get a it tight. I thought it would work itself out over the next few miles but got gradually worse. As you cross the cancel the noise of the crowds was defining. Running with the lead Irish lady is a great experience. The amount of support from everyone for the Irish runners is something else. We reached have way in 77 minutes. It was slightly ahead of target time with kilometres average 3.38

Next we were climbing up towards the Walkinstown roundabout. This can be tough going on a windy day but not this year. Without much of a conscious effort myself and a few of the lads in the group started to pull away. By the time we hit 17 miles the TV cameras were gone and the  should for Lizzie no longer crying out. I still felt really good at this point but the calf was starting to throb. Some cold water at the aid stations did the job to cool me down a bit.

The next part of the course was the highlight of the whole day. The support from club members and friends was such a rush. It made the running seem effortless and pain go away, if only for a few minutes. As we turned onto Templeogue Road the shouts for Sportsworld rang out on both sides of the road. At Terenure cross roads it seemed as though the whole of the club had come out to watch. The closest I’ll get to cycling up the hills in the Tour De France. Getting onto Orwell road was a bit of an anti climax. You still have 7 miles to go and the effort is starting to feel more real after the highs of Terenure. I may have got a bit carried away going past Bushy as the two guys I was running with dropped me a mile down the road at the 19 mile marker. I wasn’t slowing too much but their 5 second per kilometre pace injection made a big difference. I was still feeling good  and thought I could get home in 2.34.

As I approached the 20 mile maker another group of 3 guys came up on my shoulder. The game plan was to get to 20 miles at a steady pace and then put the hammer down. Unfortunately my calf was now really starting to feel quite heavy and sore, particularly on the downhills. I wasn’t tempted to stop and stretch as that never ends well.  I held with the lads until 22 miles but then at Clonskeagh and near Roebuck things started to unravel quite quickly. I took a drink and slowed and then hit 3 kilometres in a row where the pace was close to 4.00. You cant loose a a minute like that and hit your goal finish time.

There are a few hills in that section but I was struggling to keep good form.  As I was getting to the hill at Roebuck the lead ladies car was coming up behind. I steadied the ship and said that I would hang on the back of them.  First the two Ethiopian ladies and then Lizzie went past. The race was truly on.  I hung on for about 30 seconds but nearing the Stillorgan road it just wasn’t happening. The legs felt ok but I wasn’t moving well. I managed to hold it together reasonably down Nutley lane and on to Merriod Road. I got passed by one familiar face in a Crusaders top at RTE.  By the time I saw a few Sportsworld heads on Merrion road the gloves were off and it felt like a slow march to the finish. After I realised that my focus went rather than the legs. There was no physical reason I couldnt get back to 3.45 pace but my brain was saying stop. Trying to keep my mind occupied I counted to 10 repeatedly for the last few kilometres. When you cross the canal at Ballsbridge there is actually allot more left than you would expect.  That last mile hurts no matter how well prepared you are. The old saying that you have to want it as much as you want to breath, comes to mind. It’s a lonely road for a tired runner, you can see it in the faces.

I caught a glimpse of the clock tick past 2.36 on to 2.37. I came across the line in 2:37:14. On reflections in July goal was 2.38 that shifted to 2.35 and in the past few weeks to 2.33/34 so although a bit disappointed it was a 16 minute PB. All my time was lost in the last 6K. The lead lady put 4 minutes into 3 in 3.5 miles. I limped off the course to get some physio, being careful to look out for any RTE cameras that may catch a glimpse of me. I didn’t want to do a Will Greensmyth on it.

There are some things I’d change next year such as longer mid week runs, more focus on core work, get leaner, toughen up mentally and do more Marathon pace efforts. In hindsight I ran better on the day of the time trial than on race day, albeit on an easier lap. I need to be comfortable running 3.25 pace for the half. Running 72 minutes needs to be the norm, not the exception over the half. On the course I should have taken some electrolytes earlier in the race.

There was lots of friendly faces out supporting. Its amazing how many people know your name at the DCM. Now with a bit of experience under my belt I’ll set my sights on taking more minutes off that time over the next year or two. I may need to give up some of those track sessions and races to get there. Once you have done some decent training then the Marathon pace is easy. Its the last 4-5 miles where you need to be mentally bulletproof.

Participants in this year’s Dublin Marathon will take home a fantastic medal with an image of Countess Markievicz. The medal will commemorate 100 years of women in Irish parliamentary politics. A great keepsake.

A final word of thanks to Emily, Myles and Michael O’Grady for getting me to the start line in one piece. Also thanks to all the stewards and club mates out on the course, particularly Michael Cunningham who does trojan work. Also thanks to Phil for pacing some of the key runs, Paul for some advice, Maria for introducing me to “Moose on the loose”, which kept me sane on taper week and Martin for keeping me hungry to stay on top of that Strava leader board. All the congratulations make you appreciate the effort you’ve put into the training. My favourite being “I thought you were a 2.40 guy”. Now that I get me life back for a few weeks I’m not sure what to do with myself. I might just put the feet up and sign up for Berlin 2019.
Well done everyone who ran.

Sean Donegan

Just a small report from me, I want to thank everyone from the club for the support in raising funds for my charity cause. This was an extra special marathon for that very reason, which propelled me to record a 2 minute PB, with just under €4k raised which will help provide support to families suffering from the loss of a loved one by suicide.

Big thanks also to Myles and Emily for the final shout of encouragement on Mount Street when I thought my legs were about to give way from under me!

Grainne Lynch

When I signed up for my first marathon a few months ago I completely underestimated the training I would need to do and how much it would consume me and take over my life. I underestimated the hunger and fatigue. But I also underestimated how much I would enjoy the journey. The camaraderie, the support, the chats and laughs during the training runs  coffees and lunches. Whatsapp almost blew up. It was beeping constantly.

To say I was anxious and nervous on the run up to the day is an understatement. Self- doubt started to creep in. I panicked at every niggle and every time I sneezed. I was dreaming about the marathon. I had one dream where I turned up in my spikes and couldn’t run. This is where the club was so fantastic. There was never a shortage of people to lend words of encouragement and advice.

My nerves turned to excitement when I met up with Martina, Anne, Siobhan, Padraic and Lucy at 8.15 on the day. Lucy hadn’t even managed to get dressed and was sporting a pair of PJ bottoms ????. Queuing up for the loo with Martina, Anne and Siobhan we almost missed the start of our wave. We ended up sprinting the start with 0 minutes to spare stripping our outer layers as we ran. As soon as we got there the wave started so we just kept running!

Myself and Martina took off together. We started and finished our marathon journey together. We both got a bit emotional as we ran up Cuffe Street. We couldn’t believe we were actually running a marathon, so far beyond what either of us ever thought we were capable of. The marathon itself was a fantastic experience. I went through every range of emotion from elation to desperation! The support from the crowed was unreal! I will never forget the lift I got running through Dolphins Barn. The Sportsworld support was another highlight. Hearing my name every few minutes from the KCR to Rathgar. I never knew where Emily and Myles were going to pop up but I managed to hear them each time.


What I failed to prepare for was how I was going to feel crossing the finish line. I had visions of myself jumping for joy in ecstasy. In reality I stumbled across ,not able to walk in a straight line, not able to think or speak and feeling nauseous. Luckily, all it took was  G&T and a packet of crisps in the McGrattans to make me feel somewhat normal again. By the time I left I was on a high. The annual club night out was great craic and the adrenaline kept me going till 4AM! Will I do another marathon? Ask me next week!!

Andrew Brett

This year I made the decision quite early that I was going to enter the Dublin City Marathon. I think it was maybe March or April when I officially signed up but realistically it was more like January when I knew I was going to enter, and subconsciously it was probably last October when I first started thinking about it. As seems to be the case every year, a load of friends got engaged over Christmas so once I knew all the wedding dates, and knew that there was none on the October Bank Holiday weekend, I bit the bullet and registered.

Having joined Sportsworld in August 2017 this has been without doubt my best year of running. Just having structured training sessions, and understanding the difference between Fartlet & Tempo, has made a huge difference. When you realise that you are making progress it inspires you to run more and to race more. This results in you becoming more ambitious and as I noticed my race times tumble I decided that I was going to target the marathon and train to dip under the 3 hour mark. From having conversations with the likes of Diarmuid, Martin & Justin (who have all excelled over the distance) I began to believe that it was a realistic goal.

Training started properly in late July but by that stage I had built up enough fitness to be able to jump right into the training programme. Initially I had great intentions of keeping up the Tuesday & Thursday club sessions, but as the Wednesday medium long run increased to 15 miles it became evident that something was going to have to give so I revised the plan. The idea now went as follows: Monday = rest, Tuesday = club session, Wednesday = medium long run home from work, Thursday = recovery run into work, Friday = attempt the Thursday club session on my own on way home from work, Saturday = jog to work to collect my bike, & Sunday = long run. Obviously life gets in the way, and regularly days were switched around, but that was the general idea. Also I threw some races in there aswell.

Come marathon day I knew that my training had gone well. Thankfully no injuries arose and I arrived on the start line theoretically in good shape. I had set myself a fairly ambitious training target which involved many benchmarks including increasing the mileage, and also trying to pb at all shorter distances. Weirdly I didn’t struggle with the training but I really struggled with the taper. Every little thing became overanalysed, I was convinced that I was getting sick, and I started questioning everything. But as they say, “the night is always darkest the hour before dawn” and race day finally arrived with my hypochondriac concerns being ill founded.

The morning of the race I was a bag of nerves and I definitely worked myself into a bit of a frenzy resulting in me having quite an upset tummy. I made sure I got to the bag drop area, then the corral, nice and early in case I needed any emergency stops. At the start line I met Martin which helped pass the time until the gun went off, and then that was it. We were off and running. Having lost Martin at the first corner I quickly bumped into Stephen and we ended up running the first 10km together. Between fighting off stomach cramps, and constantly checking the garmin to make sure the pace wasn’t too quick, the first part of the run is a bit of a blur. Then after we left the Phoenix Park Stephen upped the effort levels and I saw him catch up with Martin. I felt it was too early to push on so I let them go as I stuck to my own plan, albeit with the added stress of the sickly stomach.

The race continued back through the park, into Chapelizod, up the hill into Kilmainham, and towards Dolphins Barn. Great support here as always and even over the roars of the crowd you could hear the Sportsworld faithful with Myles bellowing loudest of all. He shouted at me that Martin was only just ahead and to push on. As the route continued up the Crumlin Road I saw a child holding the best sign of the day “Pick a nice arse and follow it”. Deciding to take the advice I look up hoping for a nice distraction only to be greeted with the hairy derrière of Martin. Typical. I was pretty much looking at it for the next 8 miles!

As we passed through Terenure the support here was fantastic. Martin played to the crowd in the village and got everyone cheering. Almost to the point that nobody noticed me following behind him! Thankfully my wife Michelle was stationed outside Aldi with some much needed electrolytes. Then it was on through Rathgar, Milltown & Clonskeagh. On heartbreak hill I passed Martin and a quick chat with him confirmed that we were both starting to cramp. My calfs were in bits at this stage. The only positive being that I wasn’t really thinking about my stomach anymore.

By now it was a case of just going for it and seeing it through to the finish. For anyone who hasn’t ran the DCM before it’s hard to explain just how brilliant the last couple of miles are. When you turn the corner onto Merrion Road, right through to Merrion Square, the atmosphere is just fantastic. It was great seeing the lads at the RDS too. Sometimes that little word of encouragement is all you need. Then passing by Rolys some randomer shouted at me to push on and that I was right behind my teammate. That’s such a great thing about being a member of a running club. People you don’t know are cheering you on because they recognise the singlet, which is why it’s so important for us all to wear the club colours when representing Sportsworld. Looking up I could see the back of Kevin about 100m ahead of me. As the watch beeped on 41km I noticed that my pace had picked up again so I just went for it. Four minutes later and it would be all over. A quick word with Kevin on the home stretch, a high 5 off a friend who was out watching, and a roar from Michelle who had made it in from Terenure, and then it was a case of soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the finish. I crossed the line in a time of 2.49.48 absolutely broken but equally delighted!

Will I come back again next year? Far too soon to be making any rash decisions. When I do decide to run another marathon I definitely won’t put as much pressure on myself as I did this year. Whilst the feeling of satisfaction at the end is worth it I have to admit that I didn’t really enjoy the race itself, and I can only put that down to self inflicted stress and worries. Every marathon is a learning curve. It’s a beast of an event with so many elements that you can’t control. Best off not worrying about the things that you can control!

Big thanks to our coaches Emily & Myles, and congratulations to all the Sportsworld 2018 marathoners. There were some exceptional times this year which was wonderful to see. It was an absolute pleasure training with you all.

Lisa Madden

Everyone told me training for the marathon was the hardest part and so I prepared myself for a gruelling few months. It wasn’t actually half as bad as I expected though! The comradeship and enjoyment that comes with running with other people can’t be underestimated and it definitely made the marathon journey a whole lot easier.

Before I knew it, marathon day was creeping up and tapering time had begun. I found this the hardest; the tapering tantrums were in full swing and I was a nervous wreck! My legs felt heavy and tired, I was filled with worries about everything and anything and I felt panicky every time I thought about actually running the marathon. Unfortunately for poor Padraig, he was my sounding board for lots of these woes and fair play to him, he did a great job at pretending I wasn’t driving him mad!

Standing at the marathon start line on Sunday morning was surreal. The nerves melted away and the exhilarating atmosphere generated by the crowds of fellow runners was infectious. I‘m happy to say I actually listened to all of those people who warned me not to start too fast and I resisted the urge to bound on ahead! I ran the first half comfortably with a friend I had trained with, tucked in just behind the 3.30 pacers. We chatted along the way and took it all in; the amazing posters, the remarkable spectators lining the route and the high fives from all the wonderfully enthusiastic kids.

When I got to the half way mark, I felt good so I pushed on ahead. At this point, the sun was shining and masses of animated supporters continued to shout encouragingly. I was on a high and I remember thinking to myself ‘so this is what everyone was talking about!’ The support and cheers of encouragement from the all of the Sportsworld crew was amazing and I loved seeing so many people I knew. A huge thank you to each & every one of you!

With hopes of a sub 3.30 marathon, after that I didn’t have any specific time in mind so I didn’t feel under any huge pressure to perform and I think this made the whole run all the more enjoyable. At mile 23, my legs started to feel it but I knew the end was in sight and the excitement of finishing overrode any tiredness I felt. As I approached the last mile, I was filled with overwhelming emotion and couldn’t believe I had actually done it!

I signed up to the Dublin marathon with one main goal in mind; I wanted to run it in memory of my dad and to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society. I hoped to run it in a reasonable time and enjoy the experience as my first marathon. Mission most definitely accomplished; the whole experience was incredible. The buzz around the course was electric and comradeship was at an all-time high as a sea of incredible supporters lined the whole route cheering us on and encouraging us the whole way. I have honestly never experienced anything like it and I’ll never forget the elation I felt crossing the finish line.

Neil Purdy

Standing in Birchalls last year after the 2017 Marathon i declared in front of a number of people “not doing it next year”.

So i signed up to the 2018 edition around May knowing we would be expecting a baby 6 weeks before the marathon but i was confident i could train around this.. cant believe noone warned me otherwise!!!

Night before the marathon I managed to get in a solid sleep but i dont think it made up for the weeks of missing hours and missing miles.

I made my way into town on the bike wishing i had worn more layers. Due to start in Wave 1 I dropped the bag in last minute and made my way to the start just before the gun.

Plan was just take it easy for the first mile or two then see how i feel and hopefully ease into a pace i could hold for the distance and enjoy.

First few miles were cold but ticked by quick enough up to the Park.
Crowds were great and Emily and Myles and a few others were shouting out encouragement in the park.

I wasn’t watching the watch that much but had a quick look in castleknock and realised i was tipping on a bit quick, but its hard not to with the great support there.

Up to the halfway point was fairly uneventful. Saw a few more faces and said hi. Was feeling grand and not thinking of the Crumlin road ahead. Next great part was from KCR through to terenure village where all the club volunteers were. Its always great hearing the shouts from the club members here and really makes the section so easy and fly by. Bonus this year having my Wife and daughter just before Terenure village to say hi.

Arriving at the 20m banner my legs started giving out to me for not doing enough long runs. They got heavy and i was slowing down to a jog until i got to the UCD flyover where the left leg in protest decided to fully cramp. I had to stop and stretch and a friendly spectator gave me a hand stretching and got me moving again. From here it was just 2 miles so happy enough to jog it in the rest of the way.
Approached the blue mat and across the line in 3.46.21. No PB but still happy to get around in one piece!
Thanks to everyone who gave shoutouts and encouragement around the course. Ill pay it back next year when im NOT doing the Marathon!!

Bronwyn Murphy-White

Seems like we have been training for this marathon for years. As we got warning back in May that it would be sold out within 2 weeks, which it did, many of us who were on the fence had to jump off and enter a lot quicker than we had anticipated and training began in about June this year.


Lots of hot, humid summer training sessions and many Whatsapp group messages of support and friendship later; the beautiful crisp autumn day yeilded perfect running conditions.

Maria, myself and Val all travelled in together in Maria’s car and after a couple of toilet stops, bag drops and good luck hugs we made our way to the start line in our bin bags and throwaway clothes with a few minutes to spare. Maria and I decided we would stay together as long as we could and aimed to finish with the 4:10 pacers.

After a couple of minutes Ronan found us and the three of us stuck together for nearly the whole marathon. It made such a difference running with pals, we chatted which passed the time and enjoyed the cheering together and checked in on each other along the way. We paced ourselves pretty well. Using the downhills as recovery and not to make up time, was a golden nugget of advice from Ronan, a seasoned marathoner and long distance runner. His support and advice throughout got me through some tough sections. But overall I found the course and the run mostly fine, or as fine as it could be considering what it was. People afterwards told me I looked ‘comfortable’ as I ran by them, which I found hilarious as there is nothing comfortable about running a marathon. I had a few ibuprofens in my belt to take to ward off pain in my hips and plantar and I didn’t suffer too much as a result. That plus a dip in the sea on Monday afternoon.

I stopped at every single water station, Lucozade station and took about 6 gels and Lucozade sweets along the way, which I honestly think did the world of good. As a person who never eats breakfast before running in the morning, I took the general consensus advice of ‘don’t change anything’ and ran on an empty stomach, taking my first gel at mile 3 so as not to hit an early slump. It worked out fine, I ran a steady pace, consistent with my abilities and felt fine throughout and afterwards. So the man on the stage at the expo ordering us all to have porridge at 6:30am can stick that up his jumper!

The crowds along the way astonished me, the wonderful support of people for their fellow human, cheering strangers and offering support and food and drinks and encouragement and hi fives, it’s hard to describe how it feels to be on the receiving end of something like that. We had to pull ourselves back to avoid burning out as there was a noticeable increase in pace in response to the crowds.

High points were Castleknock, Chapelizod, Kilmainham, Rialto and from the Walkinstown roundabout and all through Terenure was unreal. There were so many people shouting cheers for Sportsworld and calling my name, I got a taste of what it would have been like if my musical career had have worked out, I felt like a celebrity. Sportsworld crew were out in force, some stewarding, some not and some even making it to multiple locations! Everyone must have had very sore throats and hands from all the cheering and clapping, a big thank you to all! My husband was at the Terenure crossroads with a banana, a gel and a kiss for me and my mam was halfway up heartbreak hill, holding a big sign, which really helped give me a boost, just in time to get papped by Conor with his camera.

I checked my watch at the UCD flyover, did some terrible maths and thought I might actually crack the 4 hour mark, so I decided to go for it. I was feeling good and thought even if I don’t get in under 4, I was just dying to get to the finish line at that stage. I left it a little late to make a proper stab at sub 4 but never dreamt I could do a marathon in 4:02 so I am absolutely delighted with that. I met Lucy at the corner of Merrion Square and we got our bags and headed towards McGrattans where a few people had arranged to meet afterwards for some refreshments.

It was a great experience, I actually loved all the training, the camaraderie and absolutely loved the day and like I said the last time, never again! But who knows.

Cormac Garvey

My 8th Dublin marathon that almost didnt happen save for some brilliant deep tissue work by therapist extraordinaire Ciaran Fitzpatrick.
Started training June in earnest, but damaged knee in the gym mid summer, then back,then hamstring and wasnt running again till mid august.What a debacle , and all runners have been there.
Had to abandon (my 2nd) long run  with calf restriction at 18Km,  2 weeks before race day . A new sedentary job and a c*ck (as Jeremy Clarkson would say)  commute put paid to any decent mid week runs, and just to make sure, they sent me to  Philadelphia 2 weeks before the race!. Jesus wept!  Game over. Or was it. As I stared out over Philly , standing  on  top of the Arts centre Rocky steps , I realised all these distractions just made we more determined to run the marathon and confound the ‘invisible hand’ of fate.. They say that deep tissue therapy originated in ancient Greece & Rome for gladiators. Im no gladiator, but I do know  I can outrun any dude in a metal dress, and its money extremely well spent!. Managed to pull through a 31Km session on the weekend before the marathon with the compression socks holding my botched leg together, so figured I’d at least be good to finish it.
Race day turned out to be perfect weather conditions – as long as you had hats & gloves.Just getting to the start line in a fit state to run the thing this year was a win and completing it sub 4 would be a bonus! Bumped into Paul Hamilton at the start line with the 3:20 pacers, and he was the only Sportsworlder I met all race! . I stuck with 3:20 till half way then dialled it back a bit knowing I didnt have the range.Brilliant Sportsworld support all the way from North Circular, then KCR and of course all of Terenure & Rathgar.
A couple of sneaky gel/drink walks up Roebuck heartbreak hill and was good again till Montrose. Final sneaky walk then kept her lit till the magnanimous finish line. What a crowd and what a buzz. Dublin marathon is special. Some kid had a ‘tap to power up’sign which i promptly punched McGregor style , and found myself back up at full speed again, looking for the TKO  3:31 finish.It can be such a challenge to fit in the marathon training. But when you finally cross that line, its like your own personal Rocky moment. ‘Finally Im in control of something again!’ For a few days at least..and then you sign up for the next one.. you know.. to keep focused and stuff! (..cue the music..)

Valerie Power

It was a beautiful sunny Monday Morning and I received a short text from Bronwyn regarding a great idea to register for the Dublin City marathon .

I jump into everything without thinking so off I went and registered straightaway for 90 euro because those numbers were going like Micheal Cunningham’s cakes at the cake!!

I thought to myself well Oct is miles away and I have loads of time so it’s going to be handy getting all those long runs done .

Time went by so fast and before I knew it my training wasn’t going in the right direction.  I managed to reach the 15 miles and got my Mother to light candles in mass on Sunday for the remaining 11.2 missing miles…

Morning of the Marathon arrived so fast and I felt so excited not because it was finally here but in a few hours my life would be normal again.

Maria kindly drove myself and Bronwyn into Town and there was nervous laughter and then silence for the journey and all I could hear was Emily’s voice telling me.. it’s not too late to give that number away…

We got there and put our beautiful bin liners on and  vaseline and more vaseline and shared 2 nurofen tablets and applied some make up just in case paps were out.

My plan was to go with the 4.20 pacers but when after a long queue for the toilets my pacers had gone and all I could see in the distance was a balloon so I decided to go with the 4.30 gang.

The support was great especially when I reached Anne Sweeney in Walkinstown and then Carmel Dolan and her little girl Lucy were there at the KCR calling my name.

Sandra Armstrong was at mile 14 giving out Voltarol which was greatly appreciated…

I got down to mile 20 and there I saw a familiar face Conor Kenny who gave me lots of kind words and even jogged with me with his camera in hand .He told me I looked great but I think his lens was dirty!!

After 20 miles my legs were literally hanging off and no amount of cola bottles or jelly babies were going to help me now and my Mother obviously forgot to lit those candles..

I picked myself up and stretched my calves then in the distance I saw Lauren and Troy so I put on my best stride and waved with a big smile and nearly fell over Jim the race director…job done.

I was so happy with my 4th Marathon Medal and cool tee shirt and so delighted it was all over.

I got home and ordered my Dominos meal deal for 1 and ran a Epsom salts bubble bath….life was good again!!

Sunday night was great lots of laughs and wine and more wine then myself and Anne decided it would be rude to go straight home so off we went dancing with the gang and the rest is history.

Overall the Marathon journey was a great experience and it makes me so happy to be part of an amazing club making lifetime memories to cherish forever!!

Special thanks to Emily ,Myles and Lucy for all their support!

Would I do another one definitely NOT!!


Paul Hamilton

Dublin Marathon 2017 was my first marathon and I loved the experience and the challenge so much that Dublin 2018 was my fourth in a year. (I won’t be doing that again!). After being slightly disappointed with my time in both Paris and Berlin due to both being completed in over 25 degrees Celsius heat, I was determined to achieve my target in Dublin. I anxiously checked the weather for a week before and when the day arrived the conditions couldn’t have been more ideal.

I had spent the night before making sure everything was in order so there would be no panic in the morning. After having breakfast and double checking everything I timed a bus to get into town. I was waiting at the bus stop with the sign saying the bus would arrive in 4 minutes when I suddenly realized that I had forgotten my gels. Panic. I ran home and probably covered my fastest split of the day to get the gels and make it back for the bus. I just about managed and set about bringing my heart rate back down again.

After dropping my bag off and warming up I settled around the 3.20 pacers and waited for the gun. My plan was to stick with the pacers for the first half and see how I felt after that. However on the first downhill before the Quays I left the pacers and luckily never saw them again. I felt great for the first 30k and kept Padraig Looby in my sights. I tried not to check the watch too much and ran by feel rather than pace and this seemed to work.

I reached 32km in under 2h 30 and told myself “its on like Donkey Kong” and really dug in to make sure that I didn’t let my time slip away in the last 10k.

I crossed the line in 3.18.13 and was absolutely ecstatic, as I had achieved my target of a BQ.

Once again the crowds and support didn’t disappoint with the highlight of running through Terenure and Rathgar being cheered on by all the Sportsworlders. I’ll be running London next year but it has a lot to live up to with my experience in Dublin this year.

Sibeal Waldron

DCM 2018 was my 5th marathon and I signed up early in 2018 hoping that having a focus would get me back to some consistent training and fitness. After the months of training the day finally came and conditions were near perfect. I found myself very nervous in the week leading up to it and was very happy to get to the start line.

The route was slightly different to the last time I did DCM (2012) and I think it was a definite improvement. The crowds in Castleknock were amazing. I felt like a rockstar running through. That was followed by the peace of the Phoenix Park and more great crowds through Chapelizod and Inchicore.
All was going well for me until about 16/17 miles when the niggle I had in my hamstring started to act up. The crowds and familiar faces in Terenure got me to 18 miles but then it started to fall apart. I had to stop and stretch and walk a bit from then until the end. I got some paracetamol at about mile 20 and managed to run a couple more miles. The crowds on the home stretch then carried me home.
I was disappointed with the run after all the hard training (no pb for me this year). That final 8 miles was a hard slog but I was delighted to finish. After a few days to think about it I am overall happy with my 2018 marathon experience. I’m fitter than I’ve been in a long time and I’ve made some new friends in the club. I joined the club in 2007 to train for my first marathon but since the arrival of baby no 2  my training has been hit and miss….he is now 5 and no longer a baby so now I have no more excuses….now to choose my next race to keep myself on track!

Stephen O’Donnell

It was on an early morning car ride down to Gowran, chatting about the beginnings of my travel companion’s marathon schedule that I got the itching to go and do it myself, with Emily’s permission of course. That set-in motion the less than ideal marathon training schedule that got me to the start line on Monday morning for my second marathon to date.

Standing on the start line at 8:30 on an October morning in a singlet and shorts is not exactly the warmest way to spend your hard-earned back holiday weekend, but what good story ever came from staying in bed.

It was only after about 200m into the race that I got my first sighting of another member of the Sportsworld crew, in Andrew Brett. I quickly made my way up beside him and we set on our way together, Andrew keeping me honest in the early stages of the race, not letting me get carried away.

After about 5 miles we pulled up alongside marathon man, Martin Doyle who became my second and final pacer of the day. Having the two lads beside me almost made the first 13 miles feel like a club run on a Sunday, the miles just flew in!

Once We reached the half way point with me feeling so strong it decided this was as good a time as any to start picking up the pace, so I set off on my own. From this point to about mile 21 my mile times dropped considerably, and I quickly moved my way up through the field. Going through Terenure during this time was probably my favourite moment of any race or sporting event I’ve participated in in my life. The sheer amount of support from club members, so many I missed half of them as I went by, just picks you up and lifts you along, it was amazing any really showcases what a wonderful club Sportsworld is.

Having set out with the sole goal of breaking the 3 hour mark, I pretty much knew I had the job done by the point the fun part of the race began after the 21 mile mark so the rest just became at matter of getting to the finish line, which was easier said than done, certainly my last mile was shaky, to say the least. But with a finishing time of 2:46.52 I couldn’t have asked for more.

I couldn’t finish off without thanking both Emily and Myles, without which I don’t think any of us running in Sportsworld colours would have achieved what they did. The amount of work the two of them put in from standing in the cold for hours during the time trial to being in countless positions around the course on race day, their immense contribution certainly shouldn’t not go unappreciated.

So all in all a job well done and that can be me done with marathons for the foreseeable.


Padraig Looby

28 October 2018 felt like a day that might never come.   Having run Dublin some years before, I knew what was in store.  The target this time: 3hr 16min or 4min 40 seconds per km.  The hope this time: that I don’t get riddled with cramp in the closing stages and lose a bucket of time.

Finally the day came.   A good nights sleep was aided by an extra hour in bed as winter time officially began.  And boy did it really begin, with a cold frosty morning and dry, calm, sunny conditions.  Perfect running conditions but there’s the weather excuse out the window I thought as I sat through a 6.15am breakfast.
9am came around fast in the end and I set off in wave 1 as planned.  I ran my own race choosing not to use pacers or run with anybody.  Just me and my Garmin.  The first few km were slightly worrying as I didn’t feel great but I soon settled.  In my head I had split the race into four rough 10km sections.  I kept my pacing consistent throughout – took my waters and my gels onboard and kept the wagons rolling.   Special thanks to Ronan Masterson and Maria Jones who were on gel handover duty out on the course.  Maria didn’t sleep for a week in case we missed each other!  But I got my gel and that’s the most important thing.
The support from Sportsworld out on the course was absolutely brilliant.  It sounds like a cliche, but it really is a huge lift when you see those familiar faces.  And not just in Terenure either as there was plenty of support in other locations.  All much appreciated, that is what makes a club a club.
Happily the cramp of previous years stayed away for the most part and I was able to get home in a time of 3.14.59 which is my best.  Until next year……

Emer Casey

I wasn’t back in Sportsworld long when I decided I needed to aim for something to get me going again.  I hadn’t done the Dublin Marathon since 2011 and I had wanted to do it since, but something always seemed to get in the way …. wedding, one baby, two babies etc.  So re-joining Sportsworld after the second baby, I was enthusiastic (maybe a little too enthusiastic) to get my running career going again.  One day in May I was convinced to sign up for the marathon by two girls I knew who made it sound so appealing, and then I convinced my husband to do it too (a bit cruel I know) .I told him it would be great … like 2011 when we ran it last together and trained all that summer for it. All very romantic before we had kids etc. Fast forward to 2018… not romantic!! One in from a 20 mile run, one out for a 20 mile run …poor kids …all they had for the month of September was two exhausted grumpy people panned out on the couch!

Back to the race… I hadn’t really thought much about it all week as I had been so busy with other things. Really I just wanted it over as it was just one more thing I had to do that I didn’t seem to have time for.  The thing I was most nervous about was the weather as anybody who knows me well knows I hate being cold.  We had to think about what we would wear before the race, during the race and after the race and they all required separate wardrobe changes! Fleeces and leggings were suggested on our whats app group and Val was giving Penneys great publicity as she encouraged us to invest! Anyway the general consensus was to dress warm and shed layers as we went and that is what I did. I also went undercover and snuck in from the third to the second wave , as I strategically covered my blue number every time we met an official.  Feeling like a naughty child, but very pleased with myself, we lined up to start.

I loved running through the city and we got to the Phoenix park and it was such a clear morning the park looked beautiful. I was feeling good and I was anxious to stay with the 3.50 pacers.  I found myself right with them and then I passed them and I never looked back. My tactic was to run hard as fast as I could as I knew the last few miles would be tough no matter what and that I wouldn’t be able to sustain that pace.  Everything was going well. The support was amazing the whole way. The last time I ran it in 2011, I was not a member of Sportworld but this time …….what a difference. The whole way people called out the club name and what a boost I got in the whole Terenure/Kimmage /Rathgar area!/ Thanks to everybody I knew and didn’t know for all the encouragement.

The pain did come and when it came I knew all about it. My back and shoulders were killing me and my stomach.  Pastilles provided much needed distraction between gels, and soon the crowds were not working their magic any more. Around Roebuck in particular someone ran up beside me who I do know, but could not think of their name. My brain had gone to absolute mush. Three miles to go and it was as Emily had told us it would be. You have to teach your body to run through the pain.  I told myself that I if had gone through childbirth twice, I could do this. Wishing I could change places with the spectators etc.

Once I got over that feeling sorry for myself, I started to observe around me again and noted with amusement doctors and nurses cheering outside St. Vincent’s Hospital and I started to pick it up towards the end. Overall I was really happy with my time and I will truly say that I will never do it again. I enjoyed the challenge of it and had a great sense of achievement after it. I really would recommend it to anybody who is thinking of doing a marathon. It’s Wednesday today and the legs are nearly back to normal. We got an email about signing up for the 2019 Dublin marathon. I don’t think so…..!! Then RTE nabbed me about two minutes after finishing. I was sooo delirious I didn’t even know who it was until it was over and I never thought they’d show it…..Oh well…….being stopped by neighbours on country roads at home saying they saw me on da teele,  and my poor husband on the national airwaves -I said I was still waiting for him to finish….this is what marathons do to you!!

And finally big thanks to all the people running the marathon in Sportworld for their support and to Emily and Myles for their interest and preparation. Thank You!!

Emmet Wardell

Will I? Won’t I? Will I? Won’t I?

With an entry secured to the Dublin marathon, this is the question that in recent weeks had tormented me (and I am sure those poor souls who had to listen to my deliberations which even more sick of my decisiveness!).

But anyway, I did!  I did and it was great!  And how liberating running a marathon without zero expectation.

For those whom aren’t already informed, the Dublin City Marathon is a very very special event.  The atmosphere, the support and the sense of positivity has to be experienced to be believed!  As I made my way to start the line on Sunday morning I was happy to be feeling well rested and calm.  I was also loving soaking up the pre-race vibes and energy even if at one point I bumped into an old work colleague and he says to me “jeez Emmet, you are after putting on a bit of weight!”  Sound!  Can’t wait to drag me and my extra weight around 42km of the streets of Dublin now!

My jolly mood was not to be deterred however and off me and my new portly image sauntered to the start line.  Given my 7 week training schedule and lack of long runs, the plan was to shuffle around and lap up the atmosphere for the first twenty km.  If things were not going well, I knew I had a bale out option No. 1 at Dolphins barn as it was close enough to where I live.  At Milltown (30 odd km) I knew bale out option No.2 existed as I could jump on the Luas back into town.  So at 9.15am, with the bones of plan in place and leap card and Dublin bike card safely tucked away in my running belt, off I set on the adventure of my third Dublin marathon.

All said and done the day could not have gone better and thankfully my Leap and Dublin bike card were not required!!!  DCM so hard not to love you! The buzz. The banter. Everyone so friendly with a little story to tell.  My hat, the red one.  Genius for absorbing the sweat!  Really enjoyed the Sportsworld section even if Maria and Gemma were too busy chin wagging and muffin top spotting to give me a cheer.  Michael Cunningham, a more focussed steward, got a sweaty high five for his troubles. There are rumours he hasn’t washed his hands since. I’d say I looked like was the happiest eejit trotting about the place smiling and waving at anyone who caught my eye!  Started way back with the 4 hour guys. Before long past the 3.50 peeps. 20km covered – quick check of the limbs and I actually feel fine.

If I can get to 32km without much discomfort maybe I can actually do this! Soon I caught the 3.40 guys. Don’t go past these Emmet – your longest training run was only 26k and that actually really killed me! Keep her steady. Top of heart break hill. Still moving ok! Big long downhill here so let the legs open up a bit and past the 3.40 guys!

It starts to become a real possibility I will beat my Paris time from earlier in the year. My Paris time where I poured my heart and soul into the training with multiple 20 milers and 90km plus weeks.  Starting to feel the hurt now but not too bad. Only 5km to go!  Jeez the support is amazing.  Irish people are amazing!  Coming out supporting and they don’t the majority of people from Adam. Got a good cheer at UCD fly over from a friend’s wife and kids (thanks Tash, Aibhe, Darcy).

Same again as I got through Ballsbridge (thanks Ais, Connor, Ana, Sean). Found myself smiling away surely a sign that I am feeling ok.  One final surprise cheer from my sister (thanks Caitriona!) who had walked the whole way in from Rialto that helped me over the canal and down Mount Street. The last stretch really is incredible. A wall of noise! A feel like a celebrity. Or a proper athlete!  95% relief to cross the finish line. 5% is sad that the buzz is over!!  No longer feeling like a celebrity. And I can barely stand up so definitely not a proper athlete. But what a buzz!!! Finishing time of 3.37 – far quicker than my expectations given how undercooked I was!

To celebrate there was a delicious Bunsen and even more delicious few pints that evening with the Sportsworld massif.  You are all a great bunch!!  Bottomless brunch/de-brief with Gemma, Martin, Maria, Michael and Tom on Monday.  Mimosa, Solpadine and serious laughter – the perfect hangover cure!!  And a real bonus as great to finally get all the dirt on Michael Cunningham – quite the dark horse indeed!

Next challenge?  Who knows although I am sure I will find one!  DCM 2019? I guess nothing can be ruled out! And for those slightly tempted by the big distance – do it!  And do Dublin!  You won’t be disappointed! Over and out for now! Emmet

Ronan Murray

The road to Dublin this year for me was a bit shorter than usual. I had been working abroad in the early part of the year and my fitness had fallen substantially. Once I began to increase the mileage I was plagued with injury and then general lack of interest. So, with 6 weeks to go I made the decision to go for it. My philosophy was not to run for time but to try to run comfortably and enjoy it. In recent years I have shifted my focus a bit, I now embrace the “ finish lines not finish times “ principle.( Due to being old , fat and unfit).

This year had a special significance for me, in 2012 I ran my first Marathon in Dublin and this year was my 20th and I felt that Dublin was the fitting venue.

Although my training cycle was short, it was made good fun by good company (Without naming names and possibly forgetting somebody – you know who you are ) . We had a good group with half marathon and marathon training goals. We hit the hills (some got lost on the way back) , we hit the park ( some gave out a LOT & cried) , we hit the sea for recovery ( I gave out a LOT) – and then race day crept up on us.

On the day itself, myself, Maria & Bronwyn had decided to go with the 4hr10min pacer (9.30 pace) and see how things went. After a few miles, once we had settled in , we realised that our pacer was way behind us and that we were going better than expected. I took on the role of unofficial pacer, trying to keep the galloping ladies from going too fast too early. We ran the first 24 miles quite steady and comfortable, even getting up the hills with no drama but in the last 2 miles we split slightly due to different levels of fatigue.

In the end we all finished inside the goal and all were happy – a few beers were had – a few days well-earned recovery and now its time to plan the next one …………… Where,  when……

Mark Hollowed

The journey to the start line felt never ending being third time lucky having been injured in 2016 and 2017. I decided to give DCM another go having got the heads up only 500 places remain!
Training went well with great support from Martin Keenan and Joe Byrne who tagged in breaking the isolation of long Sunday runs. I got great confidence from the Phoenix Park time trial and was amazed by the support from Myles, Emily and the team of helpers handing out drinks and logging splits to mimic marathon day.
After what felt an eternity counting down the big morning finally dawned and what a glorious morning it was, cool and crisp blue sky with beautiful autumn sun. The start was manic with queues around loos resulting in me bundling towards the back of the first wave at 8:59.
Relieved to get going the first few miles flashed by and coming into the park I heard the first of many shouts of encouragement from Emily and Myles who appeared what felt every couple of miles. Kilmainham rolled by and I was greeted as planned by Martin who passed on drink and assured I was looking good. The support really was incredible all the way around and took off from Dolphins Barn with shouts of go on Sportsworld and go on Mark from Diarmuid, Wes and many familiar friendly faces up the Crumlin road. Next Joe and the Chlann gave me a boost before Walkinstown. Martin had another drink and a positive pep talk before the KCR and the Sportsworld support cranked up again to fever pitch all the way passed Terenure.
With such incredible support running felt effortless until after the top of heartbreak hill. I’d hoped to get some bounce from the  down hill on fosters avenue and again around St. Vincent’s hospital but my legs were dead and I really struggled to run especially down hill. Then more friendly Sportsworld faces appeared on Merrion Road with roars to keep going and Martin told me some porkys telling me I looked strong, though im eternally grateful for all his support. Finally the 26 mile marker appeared and I was overjoyed to see my wife and children roaring out shouts of delight.
Huge thanks to everyone at the club for the incredible support which really made it an unbelievable experience and especially to my wife who gave up so much to help me realise a dream.

Sportsworld Results:

Gareth Murran 02:37:14
Stephen O Donnell 02:46:52
Andrew Brett 02:49:48
Kevin Curran 02:50:17
Martin Doyle 02:51:02
Andy Gordon 2.59.47
Ed McEntee 03:05:41
Justin Mc Keever 03:08:57
Jose Chapa 03:09:17
Mark Hollowed 03:12:54
Sean Donegan 03:13:57
Padraig Looby 03:14:59
Paul Hamilton 03:18:13
Lisa Madden 03:22:17
Dermot Brosnan 03:28:05
Cormc Garvey 03:31:55
Juile Ann Dowling 03:37:01
Emmet Wardell 03:37:52
Martina Nolan-Jones  03:41:48
Padraic Moran 03:53:35
Thomas Kinsella 03:43:41
Sibéal Waldron 03:44:57
Grainne Lynch 03:45:43
Neil Purdy 03:46:21
Emer Casey: 3:46:55
Anne Belton 03:56:33
Siobhan Clarke 03:58:31
Bronwyn Murphy White 04:02:31
Ronan Murray 04:03:55
Maria Finnegan 04:05:18
Lucy D’Arcy 04:22:26
Paul Canniffe 04:19:27
William Murphy 05:09:01
Tim Murphy 04:32:52
Valerie Power 04:33:46
Peter Brennan 05:30:05