The October bank holiday weekend is a date saved by a lot of runners who finish off their year with the 26.2 mile tour of Dublin city. The event is in it’s 36th year and was sell out for the first time in its history; this may have been helped by the move from the traditional bank holiday Monday to the Sunday for this years race.
This is a favorite race of my own, possibly due to the fact it was my first marathon, finishing in a time of 4:36 back in 2005. Since then I have crossed the finish line in Dublin seven times with some very good days and some not so good. The weather is generally always good for the event and this year was no exception with perfect running conditions this year.
Focus on Fitness had five taking part in the race; Anthony Hughes, Anthony Kirwan, Ann Marie O’Keefe, Ciara Mc Sweeney and I. It was the first time for the two Anthonys and Ann Marie to take part in a marathon.
The wave start used in Dublin helps to free up congestion in the early stages of the race, the route then took us through the city centre, the Phoenix Park and out through the Castleknock gate. The atmosphere was brilliant, the route lined with supporters. The first half of the race is I would say the tougher section, requiring caution with pace as it can take its toll later on. The second half I find a bit easier and once over Heartbreak Hill and the U.C.D fly over it’s a fast finish back into the city. The last km was just incredible, the crowd and atmosphere was as good as I have ever seen at a race.
I was delighted with my race, finishing in a time of 2:48, taking 2 min off my previous best time in Paris. They say only 3% of people run negative splits in marathon running, myself and Anthony Hughes achieved that on the day. Pacing is something I really believe in and it is key to a good race over any distance. This is something I try to instill in all the athletes I coach and it takes a lot of discipline on race day. I ran the first half in 1:24.20 and the 2nd half in 1:24:05.
Anthony Kirwan was next in 3:30, this was his first marathon as well and a change from his normal role in hurling. This was another great first time and I think it won’t be his last time on the start line.
Ann Marie had a little misfortune the Thurs before the race and had a fall while out on the last training run. She had physio on Saturday, went to the start line and hoped for the best, she crossed the line in 5:15 delighted with the result and the celebrating afterwards.
Ciara Mc Sweeney picked up an injury in the last 2 weeks leading into the race. Her training was going very well and she was in line for a very good race until this happened. It was a brave move to go to the start line and see how far she could get. The injury came at her very early into the race but she decided to continue and walk the 26.2 miles. This is a big decision to take on such a long event, especially when you were hoping to run a good time. I don’t think there are too many who would continue and walk the course regardless to cross that finish line. Martin Flynn the gentleman man that he is walked it with Ciara. I have no doubt she will have unfinished business and will be back again.
Big well done to everyone who took part from WAC, Ferrybank, Saturday Road Runners and Waterford Tri Club and a special mention to all the supporters lining the route who made it a fantastic day.