After entering the Wexford Half Marathon way back in a pre-Covid world, I was surprised to find out last September that I still had an entry. Having been postponed several times from its initial April 2020 date, the event finally went ahead on April 24th, 2022. If I was surprised to find out that I still had an entry, it was nothing compared to the shock Eoin O’Brien had when he found out on the Tuesday before the race that he was on the participant list. Never did a lack of training put Eoin off and he gamely rocked up to the start line ready to tackle the windy Wexford course.
Myself and my long-suffering supporter/bag carrier, Gabriel, hit the road before 8am, arriving in Wexford with plenty of time to find parking and get to the registration area for bib collection. There was a good buzz around the place as the crowds started to arrive.
The event itself was comprised of a half marathon and 10km race, with the half marathon kicking off first at 10:30am and the 10km race starting 10 minutes later. There was a small turnout from Sportsworld with all of us choosing the longer distance. The race started on the Quays in front of the Talbot Hotel, taking in a bit of the town before heading out onto the country roads.
I had initially targeted a sub 1:45 time, hoping to beat my 1:44:47 showing from Bohermeen a few weeks ago but not feeling confident of beating my 1:43:33 PB. I was going to run with the 1:45 pacer but I got off ahead of them and with too many people around to comfortably hold back, I decided to push on and run the race on my own. I felt great through the first 12km and my time was looking strong with me on track for 1:42:30 – well inside my PB! At this stage though I could feel my pace dropping. The next three kilometres turned out to be the slowest of the race for me, averaging over 5mins for each kilometre. At 13.5km I took on a gel and took two bottles of water at the aid station – one to drink there and then and one to carry with me. Despite the cool breeze, when the sun was shining on you it felt very warm. This gave me a little burst of energy and I still felt confident I could go sub 1:43. Eventually, we started to leave the country roads behind us and were making our way along the main road back into Wexford. The wind was suddenly against us but with the uphill sections more or less behind us, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Finally, we passed the 20km mark and a quick check of the watch suggested I was still on track but only marginally so. We made the last turn onto The Faythe, and it was a straight run to the finish line. Despite being able to hear the finish line announcements I couldn’t yet see it. Another quick check of the watch showed 1:41:04 and I realised I was going to have to sprint if I was to finish under 1:43. Finding a burst of energy I didn’t know I still had in me, I took off and pushed myself towards the finish area, falling over the line with a new PB of 1:42:54.
Like the start line, there was a great buzz at the finish area. Overall, the race was quite enjoyable. The marketing before the event suggested it was a PB course which had me convinced that it must be flat. It was anything but! There are a lot of hills – both up and down, but they are quite manageable with only one steep descent. There are stretches of road where you have to run on the path and there was one section where the cars felt too close to the runners.
After the race, myself, Gabriel & Eoin headed for a post-race debrief over brunch before hitting the road back to Dublin. General consensus was that it was a good race. Not easy, not too difficult. I would definitely consider running it again another time. Full list of Sportsworld results below – well done all!
Mark WILSON 01:31:58
Deirdre MCGING 01:42:54
Anthony FITZPATRICK 01:53:45
Eoin O’BRIEN 02:01:31
Claire HARRINGTON 02:34:46