Race Reporter: Cróna Clohisey

As I lined up for my second marathon in Limerick on Sunday, I kept telling myself with more training this time around, I’d definitely feel better than I did in Dublin last October.  I was wrong(ish). After the first mile, the familiar feeling of I’m going to be sick plagued me, continuing right up until about halfway.

I met my husband Mick at mile 3 on his bike, and he told me he had forgotten the salt tablets and extra gels and had to head back to the hotel. The panic on his face! “No need” I said, thinking I’m not going to finish.

But the old nagging feeling of all the hard work to get to the start line, and not least leaving my two kiddies back in the wonderful care of their grandparents, who had sacrificed their whole weekend to enable me to be here (and probably hadn’t had a wink of sleep!).

So on I plodded seeing Mick again at 10 miles (after said return to the hotel!) on the banks of the river Shannon having emerged from a tour of the UL campus and over the noisiest foot bridge known to man. To his absolute disbelief, I stopped again to assess the situation – I had dropped down slightly from my target pace to stop the retching and he urged me to keep going and to try to relax. By now the 3hr 15 pacers were gone out of sight ahead of me so when I reached halfway in 1:36:58 – I was rejuvenated.

Seeing my friends and running buddies Aileen and Lisa at 13 and 14.5 miles gave me such a lift and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed every step of the second half. Back in through the city centre, merging with the half marathoners gave the race an unbelievable atmosphere. The crowds of runners and spectators were infectious. Mick seemed to be everywhere on the bike- at times I wondered how he was weaving through the crowds as runners were meeting other runners coming the other way.

Out across the River Shannon again, past the Gaelic Grounds and I knew ‘the hill’ at 24 miles was coming. It didn’t disappoint but knowing the end was near, I just tried to use the inevitable downhill to get going again. At this stage the sun had been beating down on us for a good 3 hours and it was getting hot! Such a change from the wind and rain in training. The recovered salt tablets came in very handy in the end!

The run into the finish on O’Connell St was amazing. I enjoyed every second, crossing the line in a new PB of 3.13.09, slower than I had hoped but much faster than I expected earlier on in the day. I got a good few shouts of encouragement “Go Sportsworld” but given the part of the country we were in and the similar red and white, was confused for Galway City Harriers on more than one occasion!

Well done to all the Sportsworlders who ran.