What was I thinking when I set out my plan of marathons at the

start of the year? Five in 7 weeks has been on my diary since

January and that diary has been staring at me from my desk since,

every day, every hour, reminding me of the task ahead. How could

I even imagine that I'd be able to carry this one off? That

scary thought, with the reality that I had only run 16 times

since the first week in February (including [four/five?????]

marathons), was enough to make any man question his sanity.

Anyhow onto Cork. The weather was absolutely fantastic on race

morning and sun block was the order of the day. I now love

running in the heat, which is handy considering the small task of

completing the Marathon Des Sables in 2009 in 40+ degree

temperatures. Heat is definitely something to get used to for

that one.

There was a really positive vibe at the start area where I

gathered with a couple of club mates to discuss goals and

aspirations. I predicted a 3:56:26 finish, but assured those

interested enough that while I was sure of the hour, and

confident of the accuracy of the minute, the second estimate was

the one that could catch me out.

Off we went at 9am and I quickly tried to assess my early pace

with one of my mates, Tim McSweeney. About 400 yards into the

run I told him he was running too fast and tried to hold back the

pace. I wanted to keep it to 8:30s and hopefully carry off

another sub-4 but Tim was itching to get ahead and when I stopped

for my first salt tablet at mile 4 he went ahead, never to be

seen again until the finish.

The course was really nice, in and around suburbs, city, along

the Lee and even into the Lee tunnel, which was interesting. I

had settled into a very even 8:40 pace and kept knocking off the

miles but it wasn't easy. I felt tired throughout the entire

race, which was unusual, and worried me as the temperature was

rising and the sub-9 minute miles seemed harder than in previous

races. But I did stick to the task and it wasn't until the 18th

mile that I clocked my first 9-something mile.

I had started to slow but all the time was enjoying the run, the

craic, the support, the weather. I was thinking that this might,

just might, be one of my better marathons. I knew by mile 22

that, while I was slowing to 9:30's I would run this one to the

finish. Just like the previous week in Edinburgh, I managed to

get to the finish line without stopping. In fact I managed to

pick up the pace for a "strong" finish.

I met Tim again at the finish line but could hardly even stop to

talk as all I had on my mind was a pint of coke, so I legged it

to the hotel and guzzled a pint and a half.

Finish time of 3:56:31 was a massive 5 seconds slower than my

predicted time. I'll have to tighten up on that one!

Cork is so easy to get to, and out of, that I was home before 6pm

and in the local before 6.30pm to enjoy a well earned pint... Of

Heineken this time.


33 down!!!!!!

19th sub 4 in a row.