The Waterford Viking Marathon takes place annually in the Crystal County. The route is known to be a challenging course with a couple of climbs but is always really well supported by the running community and charities within the county with upwards of 3,000 entered this year. The options on the day are a ¼ Marathon, ½ Marathon or a Full Marathon. I opted for the ¼ Marathon for my own entry having had a subpar run of training in the run up to the event for various reasons.
The route begins with a loop around the city – starting at Waterford Crystal and heading around the city-centre before landing on the quay. A good stride down the quay for about a kilometre then happens before a turn across the river by Plunkett Station. The route veers up towards the ringroad and motorway. Still with the full and half runners, you then run down the Cork road, across the toll-bridge, and quickly take to the Greenway where the full and half runners go out for an out and back for their course. However, at this point the quarter runners turn back for the city; downhill on the Greenway and past WIT before a nice finish up the quay where there was fantastic support from WLR Radio and the local community.
My own run began by meeting my pal Mark a few miles outside the city for our warm up. Mark was running the half-marathon. We spent 15 minutes making our excuses to each other during our warm up before landing on the line for the start where there was a great atmosphere. There was a bloke dressed as a Viking with a drum doing the Viking call to war (Think Iceland football team at the Euros and World Cup over the last few years but with people in Carbon plated shoes and colourful singlets instead). It was a hot and muggy day with a thunderstorm just passed about half an hour before we took off.
I was conscious that the first 7km of the race would be run alongside the full and halfers so I didn’t really want to go out too conservatively as I had no idea who was doing what discipline. Thankfully, this isn’t any different to my usual race tactics as I tend to blow bubbles after 2 miles in most races. Once I began to leave the city however, I managed to control my breathing and pace and was running fairly comfortably which I was happy with – I was tailing the lead group of 4 or 5 runners by about 45 seconds or so. We turned then onto the tollbridge where I made some hilarious jokes that only I laughed at to the lads around me about how we would pay our way through the toll. Thankfully this was a running event and not a comedy competition so we then turned left back down the Waterford Greenway after the tollbridge where the leaders for the full and half turned off down the Greenway and I quickly realised I was running in 2nd place with about 3.5k left to go in my own event. However I was being chased down by the third man so I stuck the foot down about a mile from home and managed to get myself over the line for a podium place and delighted with my morning out!
The race is a brilliant event and the sense of community and support from the people was the best part of the day. The attention to detail from an organizational perspective on the day was clearly evident. Well done to all the organisers, runners, charities, walkers and Kimberley Kennedy for making me write this race report