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Dublin City Marathon 2008 Race Report by Mark Breen

I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself last Monday at the Dublin City Marathon. Meeting the other Athenry AC crew outside Tesco's at 8.00am and then "the rest of the West" throughout the Day. Craughwell, GCH, Tuam, Loughrea and from Mayo AC it felt like we were all on the same team today. If they could have hooked us up to the grid there'd be no need for windmills. It was great the be surrounded by so many friendly faces. Mary Beatty was a late withdrawal. Just back from running the Chicago Marathon she wisely decided against it - others too had to pull out during the year. Grainne, Niall and Aileen we were still thinking about you.....next year!

This was my first Marathon and I was really looking forward to it. It was a bit of a leap into the unknown and I did wonder what demons awaited me after twenty miles and how I would react. I felt great - even the early start 9.00am didn't bother me - had the dinner at half past four! The training went well and I had been determined to give myself every chance, and had given up all sugar and coffee for two weeks. I drank loads of green barley (urg) and eaten lots of Pineapple. I gave the carb loading a miss and just ate loads of fruit and vegetables.

It's All Smiles At The Expo

It's All Smiles At The Expo

I lined up on the 'grid' beside Mayo's Tom Hunt who had only decided late on to compete after struggling all year with injury. He ran a terrific race. I was frozen even though I was wearing a hat and gloves and then runners started to throw away extra jumpers as the countdown continued and as luck would have it a lovely brown fleece landed on my head and I gladly put it on. Happy days!

Bang - we were off! Well the people up ahead are. It takes a bit to get across the start and another bit to find a side street for a quick pit stop but then I was off. The first few miles seemed to fly by. The crowd really gave us a charge as we all headed off to do battle with ourselves. Start to meet familiar faces, Micky, Frank, Valerie, Conor - all running well and looked really comfortable. Up O' Connell Street, the North Circular Road and into Phoenix Park all the time trying to get into seven minute mile pace which was proving to be a bit tricky: especially as I kept missing the mile markers. Then I found the 10k mark at 44 minutes. My brain was confused and a bit overwhelmed by the maths. Kilometres to miles, minutes to seconds, what was my split time? I've no idea but who cares the saw doctors were blasting out "To Win Just Once". What a charge!

Meeting at Tescos

Meeting at Tescos

Met Owen Curran and Jane-Ann and both were running strongly and the Mayo AC women were flying it too. All along the crowds were on corners cheering enthusiastically and the adrenaline was coursing through me. Had arranged to meet Grainne, Hazel (7) and Danny (4) around half-way and was delighted to turn the corner around fourteen and see them. They had chocolate and Coke (yes Coke!) for me, but Danny had been "minding"" the Coke for me and temptation had gotten the better of him. And so, with big smiles, half a bottle of coke and "Go Athenry!" ringing in my ears, I headed off again trying not to choke on the chocolate - which I didn't really feel like eating, but knew I'd thank myself later for.

Still felt great through 15,16 and 17. Took on gels and water and some other yellow stuff that tasted like piss. Was then finally, warm enough to take off my cap which I remember thanking as I threw it away. Ran into Ann Carter's sister Dettie who was making her Athenry AC debut. She looked really strong and ran a terrific race to finish second Athenry Woman. At 19 met Larry Kelly who was just back from running Chicago. That's some going. Peter Delmer was giving great support out on the course. Pete you're a life saver. The Jelly Babies and support you gave on your bike was much appreciated. Went through 20 miles and felt confident about last 6.2 miles (10k). Perhaps too confident. I flew uphill near Roebuck Road like it wasn't there. Felt fantastic. A little out of breath now - turn onto Stillorgan Road where I come across Peter helping Ann Carter: her race was run. She had struggled with injury coming up to the Marathon so it had always been touch and go. Still - she was full of praise for medical staff afterwards who were really good to her. Thanks again lads.

The Action Gets Underway

The Action Gets Underway

Mile 21- met Maeve. Get a great cheer, more water and jelly babies. Getting a bit tired now. Have I've started to count down the miles? Not a good sign. Try unsuccessfully on a number of occasions to subtract 22 from 26.2 but can't do it. Then I try to subtract 23 but still nothing. Give up trying. Hit 23 miles and glance at watch (2:34) just 5 k left and if I can hold it together and do inside 26 minutes will break 3 hours. No sooner had the headline "3 hours" crossed my mind than things started to change dramatically. In the space of 200 metres my legs turned to jelly. I went from doing about seven minute miles to doing 10 minute plus miles. I still felt pretty good, but my legs were toast. A few three letter abbreviations were entering into the equation: D.N.F - D.O.A. - R.I.P - C.I.E! (OK maybe the last one was a bit dramatic). Runners breezed past. It felt surreal. Here I was in my milk float and either side of me Ferraris flew past. I tried banging on my thighs on the off chance they might be just asleep, but nothing. Started to laugh. Ah well, at least I wasn't leaning against a tree being violently sick like the poor guy at 24. I thanked my legs and carried on and by now the crowds were much bigger as we approached Trinity.It really was an electric atmosphere as I high-fived my way across the finish line. There already was Elaine Walsh who led home the women's team in under 3 hours - probably the performance of the day - and Craughwell's Tony Nevin who hit 3 hours too. Brian Bruton and Brian O'Connor led home the men's team and were well 'home and hosed' before we got there. Mick Rice had breezed in in 3 hours in preparation for his ultramarathon in Rome next week - best of luck Mick. Maria broke 4 hours on her first attempt. Fair play to her. Paul Kilkelly and Owen Curran flew passed at 24 miles and finished strongly.

And now for the hard part - to find my way back to the hotel. It was only a mile but it took nearly an hour. All along knowing smiles were exchanged with other fellow sufferers as we lobbled (half a hobble, half a limp) home. Oh happy days!

The Athenry AC Team

The Athenry AC Team

It's Friday - four days after the Dublin Marathon and I've just managed to go for a 30 minute hobble. I no longer have the sensation of having 2 spikes going through my knees. I no longer feel intimidated by the stairs and Hazel (7) and Danny (4) no longer burst out laughing when I try to walk. Yes, I feel like I am on the road to recovery and now even have one eye on the big one - "The Hollymount International" next week. To defend our sixth position(out of 8 teams, mind) and to win another pair of socks.

Ah yes, memories!

Séamus Coyne (GCH)

15 years 7 months ago

Really interesting account of your day and run Mark - particularly for marathon novices like myself. Gets the adrenalin and motivation flowing for next year already. Maith thú!

Maire Treasa Beatty

15 years 7 months ago

Hi Mark
Congratulations on a fantastic run. I did not know it was your first marathon well done. Really enjoyed your report. See you at track tomorrrow them legs have had a week off now so you should be ready to go again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

aileen mc namara

15 years 7 months ago

Well done on your marathon performance Mark! Half page photo shoot in the Connacht Tribune as well, not bad for a first timer!!!

Peter Delmer

15 years 7 months ago

The man that always has a smile! Well done Mark on a great achievement. If I'd known it was your first I'd have taken it easier on you at mile 19 ... not!!!

markdav

15 years 7 months ago

Excellent achievement and report Mark - you didn't seem to be struggling in the tribune! See you in hollymount this weekend hopefully!