Ed's Note: How did Lyall get Race Number 1? Looks great though!

Cork marathon – what a great race. Mile splits:










7:06 – ten mile split: 70:06. Predicted finish time was 3:03:48 at this point!




(0:46) – half: 1:32:13








7:01 – couple of cracking miles at 20 and 21.


7:03 – down to the mile 23 marker on the Carrigrohane straight.





Stopwatch 2nd half: 1:33:15 (1:02 positive split)

Stopwatch finish: 3:05:29

Gun: 3:05:40

Official chip time: 3:05:27

That was off the back of an inverse taper – no long runs since the Miami marathon (at the end of January) until two weeks ago. In the two weekends before Cork I did 22 and 23.5 mile runs around Dangan. These clearly did the job, along with some intermittent fast-if-I-feel-like-it-on-the-day tempo runs around the Galway racecourse in late April and May.

Definitely an argument for “lack of training is better than over-training”. :-)

I did feel quite rested on the day though, and was able to set off and maintain a very comfortable pace for the whole distance. In fact, a tightening left hamstring kept me in check over the last few miles. Without this I think I could have pushed on with a few sub-7:00?s in the closing stages and maybe dipped in under 3:05. Average pace was just under 7:05 per mile.

A friend of mine, Dave Cashman, caught up to me at the first relay changeover. He was running the first two stages of the relay and we ran the second leg together. (He ended up completing the full marathon in 3:39 off the back of 10 mile training!!) Also at about the five mile mark I found another runner who was spot on my pace. Dave and I hung back about 10-50 metres for all of the second relay leg. I eventually leveled with him on the marina, somewhere in the 16th mile. We then ran shoulder-to-shoulder, very steadily for the next four miles – through the cheering at the third relay changeover, up the steep slip-road to cross the south link, through the quiet southern suburbs, up past the spectator-lined Lough and down Glasheen road. He started to struggle just as we rounded the corner onto Glasheen road at the 20 mile marker, and I kicked on ahead, but warmly shook his hand at the finish line when he came in a couple of minutes after me.

At the end of Glasheen road there is a little detour through a housing estate to come up to the Wilton road – a nasty steep bit that really tests one's mettle given the distance covered. After this though there is a lovely gentle decline for a few hundred metres down to Dennehy’s cross and the 21 mile marker, and rounding the corner at the cross I was able to genuinely say to myself that I felt great. Could have been the best I’d ever felt at 21 miles into a marathon. Okay sure, there was still 5 miles to go, my left hamstring was a little tight and from the last relay changeover (approx 22 miles) to the finish I was gritting my teeth and huffing and puffing a little. But I still felt pretty mega all things considered.

I’d also like to somewhat immodestly point out that most of the runners who finished shortly before and after me had half-way splits of under 1:30, some as low as 1:27. In contrast, I had a very even split and maintained a comfortable, steady pace all the way through. I still ended with a 1 min positive split but this was always likely with a few spikey early miles that skewed my early pace a little. Looking further through the results, negative or close-to-even splits were rare in the top 100 or so. Strange, given that the conditions were perfect for a considered and well-managed race.

Just one more thing, because I know it’ll annoy James Lundon. Weekly mileage since Ballycotton:

March: 6, 24, 28 (incl. 18 miler), 13

April: 4, 0, 41, 40 (incl. Bantry half-mara)

May: 0, 3, 37 (incl. 22 miler), 46 (incl. 23.5 miler)

50k in Portumna on Saturday week, should be interesting!