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Dublin Marathon – 31st October 2011

Photo from http://thescore.thejournal.ie

Well done to Joy Furlong, Peter Coulahan and PJ Dunne who all ran last Monday’s Dublin City Marathon. Here are their stories…


Well it was with great plans and great optimism that PJ and I left Bunclody on the morning of Oct 31st, positive chat and energy abundant in the car. We had a game plan and were definitely going to get each other round. Our plan was to go out with 3.45 pacers , PJ’s role was to get me up the hills and I would get him home. But, like all great plans…..

We arrived in plenty of time to get organised, or so I thought. Got gear sorted etc, then mistake No 1. I joined the masses of people in the q for the loo and PJ went to drop our bags and that’s were it started to go wrong, I didn’t see PJ again. Once out of the loo it was a scramble to the start line and the crowds were massive, corraled into a lane way I thought nothing for it only to ever so nicely push through these people, PJ had to be found … Out of the lane into more masses, spotted the purple 3.45 balloons up ahead and tried to make my way to them , jumped barriers, waded through people, climbed up on barriers, (for a higher view as I’m quite short) ignored workmate, all in vain PJ was not to be found. Settled myself some way behind the 3.45 pacers but at least I could see them.

And so we were off, it was very congested at the start and really right the the way through the park before it spread out a bit. The atmosphere was electric and the crowds cheering were fantastic from start to finish. Every inch of the road was lined with people fair play to them. I was seriously impressed. Working off my garmin for pace I ran comfortably and on target for the first half, a couple of testing parts i.e. avoiding the scrums at the waterstations, dodging bottles from people like myself with bad aim, one or two hills and the long drag up to the half way mark. All the while expecting PJ to saddle up beside me! Went through the half on time but the negative thoughts started to creep in. Doubting Thomas. Way too early for this and found myself digging deep to remove these thoughts. Soon enough I could see the purple balloons moving further away, at about mile 15 I decided that 3.45 was not going to be for me. The reality was very disappointing, so now it was plan B, get home and any improvement on time a bonus. I ticked off each mile, literally taking it mile for mile, found it to be a long lonely road even with the crowds. The only familiar face was David before I took on Roebuck hill , he definitely gave me a lift as the garmin showed a good pace, lots of walkers and me running past the lot of them. A different story on Foster’s Ave, could feel my left calf tightening and was sure it would cramp. Ever so slowly I shuffled up that hill, thinking to myself do not walk like so many around me but just before the crest I gave in and walked ( my mantra to PJ going up in the car was no stopping to walk, however slow keep moving) literally for the count of 20 steps and then into the rythmn of running again. I was not to be defeated. That was one of my slowest miles but the power of positive thinking is amazing, the pace was picked up and I clocked two good miles after this. The last couple of miles I found hard, although passing lots of people there was also lots passing me. Here I saw people hurting really bad, I was baffled at how you could let your body go so bad. Seriously, don’t ever under estimate the marathon, because on the day it takes all sorts of prisoners. My last two miles were by far the slowest and to be honest I was concentrating so hard at just getting over that line I really didn’t get to enjoy those last few special moments.

Relief was immediate on crossing the line, a very tough day at the office. Why it did nt go according to plan is the burning question. All the hard work did not pay off as well as I had hoped but it was a PB nonetheless, 3.52.41, a six min improvement so going in the right direction. Got in just before that torrential rain came, but due to slow shuffle to find my gear bag I was soon soaked. No rest for the wicked as my marathon continued, it was to the car at snails pace, huge effort to bend myself into a sitting position and the road home for trick-or-treat time for the kids.

I still haven’t seen PJ!


4.24! As slow as my last IM marathon. I  started off behind the 3.45 pacers and within 2 miles knew I was going to have problems. Slowed down and hit the halfway mark in 1.55hrs but was really struggling. Got slower and slower and when the 4hr pacers passed me I just gave in. I walked most of between miles 17 and 25. Got overtaken by fat aul ones and people in fancy dress. To cap it all off,  it was peeing down for the last 3 miles. Overall a horrible day out.

After swearing off ever doing any long distance stuff again on Monday evening here I am on Wednesday about to register for the Hardman IM again, I just cant resist the cheap entry fee.


As Joy said the journey up to Dublin was all positive and full of planning.

The plan was simple and maybe that’s why it didn’t work!

Out with the 3:45 pacers Joy , Peter , James(a friend from work) and myself.

Great plan for me anyway I thought, as all the above have marathons under their belts already.

Yvonne dropped us at the Mespil Hotel and a quick walk down to baggage drop area.

As Joy said we then lubed up and generally readied ourselves for battle.

Plan disaster 1

I dropped our bags to the allotted area and Joy went to the ladies!

We never saw each other again (still haven’t!)

After a quick look for Joy and also trying to locate my friend James with no luck I headed off to the green zone.

I got as far as the alley way and had to wait there for the starters gun.

Plan disaster 2

I couldn’t even see the start line let alone the 3:45 pacer balloon.

While waiting in the alley I spotted Gary from the Ray D’Arcy show. The guy who lost the 12st and who was planning on walking the race. Respect by the way.

How far back was I ??

The gun went and out we came of the alley……. I was about 40 mts behind the 4:00 pacer.

I decided to try and catch up to Joy etc

Passed the 4:00 pacers in the first mile and was slowly gaining on the others.

The closest I got was 50mts from them but I felt I was going to hard so pulled back the pace.

Saw some supports in Chapelizod and that gave me a boost.

Was still on target at 13 miles but the next 7 miles were painful my right calf felt like it was going to cramp at any minute and my right knee was really sore.

David F gave me a boost at 18.5 miles.

Somewhere just after heartbreak hill I saw Eamon Tilley who ran across the road to give me 3 triangles of toblerone (God bless that man)

It must of worked because I did the last 6.2 miles in 49:30!( according to tds timing)

I must admit I walked twice up two short steep bridges.

The last 385m of the marathon was not the joyful experience I was hoping for but more about getting to the line.

As sore as I was feeling running, the 10 mins of pain after the finish will take a few weeks to forget.

Race plus 10 mins = never again

Race plus 24hrs = when’s the next one!

Finish time 3:54:23

Well done to Joy and Peter.

In my ignorance I had being asking experienced marathoners silly questions like “if I’m feeling good with 10km to go do I push on” How I can laugh now

 Dublin Marathon Results

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