This past Wednesday evening, 18th of July, 1500 runners turned out to take part in the 10th-anniversary Liberties Fun Run in aid of St James’s Hospital. This unique 4-mile timed road race took participants through the heart of old Dublin. The race started and finished in the beautiful grounds of the Irish Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The route took in some of the most famous sites throughout the Liberties including St James’s Gate, Francis Street, The Coombe , and Fatima.

As a location to start a race on a summer evening, the 17th Century Irish Royal Hospital Kilmainham stands alone. There is no running venue in Dublin, or Ireland, like it. An event, concert, and museum it invariably impreses everyone that passes through its gates. This race is on many peoples favorites list, with Gavin Finlay being a former winner in the early years.

At 1 PM yesterday I was a little torn, should I do the graded or should I do the liberties? When I saw that Karol and Gavin were both running I decided it was worth doing the Liberties. After running a 10 miler and 5K race on Saturday, followed by 28K run in the Waterworks on Sunday morning, my legs were a little tired.

A good long warm-up was needed an hour before the race. I ran into a few familiar faces but my usual pre-race ritual is to stick the headphones in and get moving. When doing you’re warm-up your always on the lookout for some faces. You get to know the guys that are going to beat you and the ones that you can run with. It was great to have 4 Sportsworld vests up there yesterday with myself, Karol, Martin, and Gavin, on the start line. Sportsworld runners were out in force on a fine summers evening.


Freddy who runs with Raheny was the clear winner before the race started, despite jokingly telling me that he was bitten by a dog whilst doing his cool down the night before. The race went off on time. The starts have lots of twists and turn so it tends to be quite slow. There was a group of 15-20 runners for the first kilometer as the pace was slow, around 3.45 pace. As we came out the gates of the Hospital it was clear that Freddy was looking for an easy run with a slow pace. I would have been frustrated to finish in a slow time and not give it a go. I decided that rather than run behind Freddy I would keep pushing forward to move the pace on. As the pace got faster the number in the group dwindled. By the time we got out onto Thomas Street, there was only Gavin, Karol, Freddy and Myself.

The race almost came to a stop at the Robert Emmet Memorial with a line of cars blocking the road, luckily the police cleared them just in time.As we ran past Vicar street we swung a sharp right and entered a downhill section. I was still feeling good and happy with the pace. A quick look at the watch and I was running 3.05. It was time to back off a bit as there was still 3.4K to go. It was from there that Freddy started to stretch away. Karol was still just behind so I kept my focus on the man in front and tried to maintain 3.10 pace. The support on sections of the course was fantastic with kids running alongside and people shouting from the sidewalk.

We turned the corner up by the Guinness Storehouse and a quick glance behind showed I had about a 25 meter lead on Karol in 3rd. For me, the toughest part of the course was up along Fatima. Your battling the fact that you have 2K to go, the guy in front is quite far ahead and hoping you don’t hear the breathing or cheers for the guy behind. When I got to the top of the road there is a small uphill section followed by a downhill. I saw Brenda and Anna supporting. As I went past they weren’t calling out for Karol yet so I just wanted to focus on maintaining or closing, the gap on Freddy.

There were a few confusing parts of the course round South Circular road. It was a very long straight. After another 800m we turned a sharp right and headed back for the gates off the Hospital. One more uphill to get through before you get the first glimpse of the tree-lined finish straight. When I got sight of the finish line there was 300M to go and the clock was ticking toward 20.15. On very tired legs it took an almighty effort to cross the line in 20.57. I hadn’t had the chance to catch a breath but turnaround to see Karol finish in 3rd, followed by Gavin in 4th, who seemed very upset that there was no prize for 4th.  Eoin disguised as Martin got a PB in 7th. He’s flying with all the training.

There were great runs from the girls also with Mary Finn coming 1st and Maura 2nd. Maura described it as her crowning moment in athletics.  Just behind in 4th was Andrea who claims she would have run faster if she’d known Maura was just ahead. A bit of rivalry there I think! Well done to the ladies.

I’m sure there were some more PB’s good runs that I didn’t hear about as I had to go back to work whilst others were going for a cold beer. All of the proceeds from the 2018 Liberties Fun Run go to the Gynae Cancer Care Appeal to fund an Ambulatory Care Unit at St James’s Hospital. Pints of Arthur’s new alcohol-free beverages were on hand for the thirsty runners.

A great race and highly recommended for 2019.

Thanks to Olive and Deirdre for making up the results they couldn’t find.

Athlete Place Finish Chiptime
Gareth Murran 2nd 0:20:57 0:20:57
Karol Cronin 3rd 0:21:13 0:21:13
Gavin Finlay 4th 0:21:38 0:21:38
Martin Doyle (Channelling Eoin O’Brien through his bib number) 7th 0:22:37 0:22:36
Mary Finn 1st 0:25:28 0:25:25
Maura Ginty 2nd 0:26:22 0:26:16
Andrea McNamara 4th 0:26:31 0:26:27
Liam Lenehan 0:27:03 0:26:56
Ruth Kelly 0:26:56 Est
Stephanie Bergin 0:27:27 0:27:20
Naoise Waldron 0:28:18 0:27:57
Deirdre  O’Connell 0:28:15 0:28:06
Audrai O’Driscoll 0:33:09 0:32:56
Sandra Gowran 0:33:56 0:33:38