Alan Burke's Dublin Marathon 2005 Report

Published in Reports on 2nd November 2005

It was raining. Heavily. It was cold and the wind was blowing.

Marathon day had arrived. I had the training done, logged the miles, bought the runners, wore a revealing running singlet. I was ready.

Its 8 am on a Bank holiday Monday morning and I'm standing outside Tescos on Baggot street questioning my sanity. This wasn't, despite Peter Delmer's protestations, 'ideal marathon weather'.

Now, I had done some training runs in abject conditions, weather you wouldn't put a dog out in, most notably in Connemara, always thinking, 'marathon day could be like this. you may as well be ready just in case'.

I really didn't think it would come to this. According to the marathon website. Dublin gets 30 cm of rainfall per year: we got a good percentage that morning.

I followed Mick Rice and Peter to the start, [Philip was holding out for better weather] and true to their word, they had me up at the front [where we belonged!]. It only took 17 secs from starting Gun going off to me crossing the starting line.

And I was off. I was determined not to rush the first mile. Its all adrenalin and its easy to go much quicker than planned. The shock of people taking a piss after only 500 metres wore off and I passed the mile 1 marker in 8 mins, as planned. Now if I could repeat that 25[.2] times more, I'd be grand.

But I was soaked to the skin and cold. I ran through a few puddles to add insult to injury. All I could think that I had 25 miles to run with soaking shoes. Not the ideal start.
But I kept on moving on. I picked up the pace a little, unconsciously. I must have been trying to keep warm [but I was on the Northside, not a place to amble through] and by the time we hit mile 5 in the park, I was a minute up on pace. This wasn't the end of the world. I was running well within myself.
Paul Kilkelly passed me at 10km, looking strong, and he pushed on mercilessly. A guy from Donegal heard me chatting to Paul abut Pace etc and indicated he was heading for the same planned pace, 3:30. So we ran together for the next 10 miles or so.
There were a few shouts of 'Go on Athenry!' along the way, but I didn't recognise the supporters [I was running fast , you see!].

I slowly ate into the extra minute I had picked up earlier on and hit half way dead on 1:44, dead on pace. To be honest miles 10 to 19 weren't much fun. It was still raining on and off. Just as I dried off, the rain would pour down again.

But things picked up again around mile 19. I had started overtaking people who had misjudged pace badly, and I was running well. I knew when we hit the dual carraigeway, it was the home stretch, about 6 miles to go. I met Andrew Talbot at UCD, who took a photo and offered encouragement.

Adrian and Cora were out to shout me on at around mile 22, and It was good to see familar saces at this point. I started feeling the pinch around mile 23. Were it any other run, I would have tried to push on and up the pace to the finish. But I had 22 miles in my legs, which were still cold and beginnning to cramp, and still 3 miles to go. My main aim was to finish in one piece without stopping, so I decided to just plough on at the same pace I had slightly slowed to. Depite this, I was passing loads of people and this cheered me up no end!

At mile 25 you get a glipme of the finish line, but it cruelly disappears from view pretty quickly. Vinny and Declan roared me on with a half mile to go and got a splash of the last of my water bottle for their trouble. John Cuniffe was as surprised as I was when I saw him.
For the first time I was enjoying the crowd and picked it up a little for the run up Merrion square and over the finish line in 3:33:17. Finisher!
A lot of hard work had paid off. Slightly outisde target, but I feel I can blame that on the conditions for the first 20 miles. I met Mick and Peter again. They both came in around the 3 hr mark and were in good form.
I spent a half hour waiting for a massage, my gear was soaked though and I had to walk to Smithfield. But I was still smiling.
I might well do this again.

PS Thanks to all who gave me advice, help, support, abuse from the sidelines and questioned my mental stability. It was all needed.
PPS When I got back home, there was a text on my phone from Derek offering me a raincoat. Message sent at 9:25, no doubt while pissing himself laughing. I'm planning a suitable revenge.


Excellent report Alan. You're hooked now like the rest of us. You'll be running Ultra's within the year.


I knew you were well trained for that first marathon, and your report confirms it. even though you slowed up at the end you were passing loads and that's a sign of all the hard work you put into this.

The next 99 will be much easier for you

Was the weather really that bad, Alan?!! Mind you, as you say, I stood in doorways for about 20 mins before the race, which is why it took me about 8 mins to reach the starting line after the gun. Congratulations, goal achieved.