Only one word can adequately describe the Great Limerick Run of 2018. Hot. Maybe two words… very hot! Temperatures hit 20 degrees on the streets of Limerick on Sunday 6th May 2018. Granted not quite Marathon des Sables…but it felt pretty close! ‘Strategy’ quickly evaporated in the heat… we would be happy to finish in a reasonable time.

The Great Limerick Run happens on the Sunday of the May bank holiday, and is part of Riverfest. So I was sold a promise of “a bit of a run, and then food, drink, fun and fireworks”.

The Great Limerick Run has a full and half marathon, a relay marathon (which nobody told me about when we were signing up) and a 10k. Staggered starts made for an almost seamless start. I say seamless because when meeting friends in Pery Square don’t tell them “I’m beside the church”… there’s a church at both ends of the square!

Nevertheless we set off together on the half-marathon, bemoaning the lack of training, lack of clouds and lack of sunscreen…

The first few miles took us south/southwest-ish through the suburbs, into open country, past the Old Crescent RFC, back into more suburbia, and then back in the same road towards the city.

The halfway point was back by the city centre, and cheering crowds for whom there was an obligatory spurt for about 50 metres to make me look like a proper athlete (followed by the shuffle as I passed out of sight!)

We then crossed over the Shannon and into the leafy (and deceptively uphill) suburbs of the North Circular Road.  Somewhere around mile 10-11 a spectator had turned their garden hose outwards onto the road.

I have never appreciated somebody turning their garden hose on me so much in my entire life! It felt like a little bit of heaven.

Then it was onwards (and upwards) towards the Ennis Road, from which it seemed I was running towards the roof of Thomond Park!

By now it was clear that heat had gotten to some runners, and their race was unfortunately over for the day. Thanking my lucky stars, the extra water stations and slow pace I progressed, finally reaching the summit of Thomond Park!

And then the relief of moving downhill towards Sarsfield’s Bridge, with the inflatable arches in the near distance, neither of which turned out to be the finish line! Too late, I’d already put on a finishing flourish for my adoring public and had to sustain it for another  50 metres up the street, around the corner onto O’Connell Street and about another 50 metres to cross under the actual finishing arch completely banjaxed!

I have to say I’d underestimated what Limerick city has on offer – it lived up to its promise of running, good food and drink, fun and fireworks.

It’s a nice route for a slightly cooler day (or fitter version of me)!

Half Marathon                   Pos            Time

Kieran Foley                     207         01:38:14

AnnMarie Scanlon             186         01:57:23

Ann Belton                       246         02:02:23

Grainne Wall                     317         02:08:00

Marathon                   Pos            Time

Shona Keane               1         03:00:29

Ed McEntee                 78       03:12:39