I really wanted to do the Dublin marathon. Seeing as it is the home city and I remember being brought in as a child to watch my Dad and uncle run it, I thought if I only do one more marathon, that’s the one it’ll be. So I signed up. With only three months to go. Not ideal preparation time. But I had an ok base and looking at the calendar, I could just about fit in the long runs and a few build up races. But then life got in the way and as it happened, by the time it came to taper I had only done 16 miles as my longest run. Eek! So I was a bit anxious heading into it not properly trained.
Lining up at the start, I was helped keep calm by a man’s voice over the tannoy. I don’t know who he was but I was enthralled by his ramblings over motivation, pride, inspiration, personal bests, descriptions of the crowd, such as people wearing “high-falutin lycra suits”, musings over what brought people here, in all shapes and sizes, the great and the good, the veterans and the first-time, on and on like a priest saying mass. Such a lovely experience and in stark contrast to the usual high energy pop that’s belted out at race starts. He called it “an emotional experience in a material world”. We got an indian blessing of “Namaste” then a garda sang the national anthem. It was all very surreal and I loved it.
Off we went through the streets of Dublin and it was wonderful to see city landmarks and old haunts from this perspective. The route starts on south side of city centre, heads past Christchurch cathedral and onto the quays of the River Liffey. Crossing over to the north side and into the Phoenix Park. A great expanse of autumnal views across Europes largest city park. All along was great support and crowd energy. There are some gradual hills but nothing severe. The route exits and enters the park again, down into the liffey valley and back across south side. It crosses the canal and loops through residential areas, taking you back to the city centre finish.
It was a very well organised race with plenty of water stops (flip top bottles) and Lucozade and energy gels at the latter stops. Easy bag drop and start area, but not so easy to find travel information on the website.
The crowds were really amazing. I have never experienced anything like it. Very funny shouts and signs. Lots of “Fair play to ye” and “yizzer great” and my favourite “Yer not really bollixed, ye only think ye are!”
I optimistically thought I might get 3:45 if I kept it under 8 and a half minute miles, which I did easily for the first half, then I slowed down after that and struggled to get back up to pace. I was scoffing the energy gels too which I don’t normally depend on so much, and very aware of just holding off a cramp in my leg. I finished in 3h 51m, happy to complete in one piece and be able to tick that one off. An emotional experience in a material world.