I hadn't planned well for Dublin, due to a number of reasons, to

the extent that it was 7pm on Sunday evening before I was finally

able to make the decision to travel. The usual build-up to a

marathon would be to fret for several weeks over major issues

like hydration, nutrition and carb loading, tapering, gear prep,

registration and number pick-up, travel arrangements, pace

planning, injury comparison (usually with others but sometimes

alone), course map inspection, race provisions, energy drink/gel

strategy. It was 9pm before I overcame my first problem - I

found a pair of matching socks. The other problems would have to

look after themselves at that stage.

The plan was to drive from Galway, leaving at 4am, and meet-up

with a few of the lads at 7.30. Carb loading consisted of

munching through a double pack of fig rolls during the journey,

hydration was a bottle of lucozade sport in the car, and gel

strategy was the hope that I still had a can of high5 gel powder

in the boot that I could mix when I got to Dublin... I had.

The weather was great. It seemed calm enough, nice clear sky,

typical autumn morning with a tiny bit of winter thrown in, but I

was really feeling the cold. I think I was tired after the 3am

start as I shivered my way to the start area and settled in to

make plans. (Scary) Mick advised me to run as a tourist and

enjoy this one, so I took that advice. That was my pace planning

sorted out then. This was coming together nicely.

The flag was waved a little after 9am (they lost the gun

apparently) and we were off. There are huge advantages in

starting at the front, which I won't go into here, but the

disadvantage as I have said before is the de-motivation of being

passed by 5,000 runners in the first five miles. It takes a

while to settle down and when it does a calmness sets in. I

didn't bother looking at my watch at all and easily passed half

way in 1.50 in a nice steady pace. My plan was to keep it easy

until 20M and then increase the effort just to maintain the pace.

The spectating crowds were bigger this year. The whole PR

machine behind the DCM really got their act together and everyone

in the country seemed to be aware that the marathon was on. It

was really nice to see _Chariots of Fire_ on TV over the weekend

- someone was thinking. About time our national marathon got the

recognition it deserves.

I passed James Lundon at mile 20. I never know what to do when I

pass someone I know in around the wall. Do I run alongside and

convince him he's running well? Do I run alongside and say

nothing but just be there? Do I say nothing? Do I cross the

other side of the road and hope he doesn't see me? Do I try to

lift his mood with some banter? Do I ask how he is (silly

question)? The reason I don't know it that it has happened me so

many times, and all I want the passer to do is pass, say nothing,

and pass quietly. I drifted over to him and just quietly said

'Don't slow James.' I have no idea what that was supposed to do

for him but right or wrong I left him.

Having passed the 20M mark (10K to go) in 2:48, I tried my best

to keep everything going but it wasn't long before I started to

slow at mile 23, slower at 24 and kept that pace to the finish

and ducked under the line in 3:45.

Was I happy? Not really. For some reason I didn't enjoy this

one and I think I'm done for the year. Ten marathons in 9 months

has obviously taken its toll, or rather the lack of training

between might have more to do with it. I also think that Berlin

and Amsterdam took more out of me than I gave credit for. I'll

get my act together next year and knock out something


Speaking of extraordinary, Mick had a PB of 2:46, Alan Burke

broke 3 hours with plenty of loose change in his pocket and

Galway's Michael O'Connor, who stood right beside me on the

starting line and shook hands just before the flag, headed off to

become the National Marathon Champion with a nice 2:25. Great


I was back in Galway by 5.30.


Number 37... (That's the first time I had to check!)


Marathons for 2007 to date:

Connemara Trial Run February – 3:49

London April – 3:59

Vienna April – 3:47

Belfast May – 3:48

Edinburgh May – 3:56

Cork June – 3:56

Longford August – 3:37 PB

Berlin September – 3:26:57 PB

Amsterdam October – 3:34

Dublin October – 3:45