Sub 3 - A Dream Come True

Published in Reports on 26th April 2015


I have been trying since DCM 2008 to break 3 hours, some said “she would never do it” and sometimes I began to think the same….so what happened?

I ignored them and believed in myself.


I have struggled for years with stomach issues since getting Cryptosporidium in 2007, at the time it was a great pre-wedding diet but if only I knew the consequences!

In December 2014 I switched to a strict dairy free, gluten free and one coffee a day diet. The latter being the hardest. I found Agave 9 gels which are vegan sports gels (Amphibian King West) and I did a sub maximal V02 test with Matt Bidwell (fitness analytics).

I sent Gearoid and Chris a little email suggesting Manchester and providing them with my 16 week plan of action. I awaited abusive replies but they never came and we all signed up.

Jan-Apr: I like a plan and will stick to it 100%

Using my new HR zones running became a labour of love. No more easy runs, no more letting myself off the hook- your heart rate doesn’t lie. Every Sunday morning at 7.30 we met for a long slog, hail, rain, sleet, driving winds, yak trax tested us all the way. It is at this point I should apologise to Orla and Mary for 16 weeks of early Sunday mornings and I am sure tame Saturday evenings.

Roseanne, Mary and Esther were always there too but Chris, Gearoid and the Clarinbridge FB training group became my main partners in crime. I’ve spent 16 weeks training hard with these guys and experiencing a new level of pain but also a string of PBs and great friendships.

Personal Bests:

I have had them in every distance since January with my right hand man beside me all the way- Thank you Gearoid. It is easy to switch off in a race if you know you are winning the female side of things but he kept me honest and my watch became and still is my biggest competitor.


My sister Laura came with me as David said he would stay with the girls and track from home. We arrived in Manchester, sussed out the suitable gluten free places and once again I planned my weekend. I won’t bore you with the weekend details but just to say if you are in Manchester you have to check out Tea42 in the city centre, it is a little pink and girlie but the men in our group fitted right in.

Race Day:

I slept like a baby and met Gearoid at 5.30am for porridge and a coffee and then back to relax for a few hours. Race start came quickly and as we all said our goodbyes there was a sense of calm that comes with preparation. We had the work done, lady luck was all we needed and she shone bright.

Race Plan; 22mile training run and then a 4mile race

Gearoid and I had done two 22 mile runs at 2.56 pace so the above was the plan. We had said get to half way 1.27.5X and then to 22miles and go from there. To be honest the first 21 miles were very comfortable that’s when the second half of the race really started.

I remember saying to G “we have it even if we slow to 7.30’s”, we were running at 6.30’s then so confidence was high. The support was great and as I was sixth woman it is easy to spot a female amongst the men. The cheers really were fabulous.

4miles left:

I said to myself “ok Janey this is Abbeyknockmoy 4 mile race- EASY”….Oh how you try to fool yourself!

Mile 23:

“Ok just over 5km left….EASY”

Mile 24:

People were starting to cramp and pull up, this is very hard to watch, you understand exactly what they have gone through to get here and now their race is over…

Again talking to myself “blinkers on, it’s you and the clock”

Mile 25:

Gearoid is step by step beside me and I know it is in the bag, 600m to go and my quads are really hurting but if I have to crawl I had 7minutes to do it!

Finish Line:

I grabbed Gearoid’s hand and strode across that line as proud as I have ever been of myself and my partner in crime. Words cannot explain what it meant to break 3 hours but to see 2.54 on the clock was simply unbelievable.


With our glad rags on we met up for the post race food and cocktails. This is where my story ends as my photos will share the rest.

Lessons learnt

-None of this would be possible without David. He is the best husband and friend and I am one very lucky lady.

-Positive people and great friends are the key to success, so surround yourself with them.

- If you have a dream, go for it.

- All of this is for personal achievement, it doesn’t matter what time you do in a race once you do yourself proud.

-Your children don’t care and are oblivious to what you have done and they will give you the best cuddles regardless.

-Friend are there for you through thick and thin.

-Sisters are the best.

I hope if you have read this to the end that you will put on your runners and go out for a run.

People think I bounce out the door every day running, I wish to clarify that I too have lazy days where I just want to stay inside and have a coffee but my rule is: “Go out and do 15minutes and if you really can’t motivate yourself to keep going then turn back”.

Women get caught up on body image and my final message is, I am not the typical ‘hungry looking marathon runner’ but I have strong legs and so I have learnt to use what I have, forget the weighing scales, focus on health and lifestyle and most of all enjoy it. I do!

“To try is to risk failure, not to try is to guarantee it”

See you on the road soon.