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.