Race Report by Claire Newman
Dublin Marathon Weekend – Pt 1
We landed in Dublin late Friday afternoon and got a bus to the apartment we had rented for the weekend. The owner asked if we were there for the marathon and when we said we were he asked if we were planning to walk or cycle it. I obviously haven’t perfected the runner ‘look’ yet 🙄
We wandered into town and had an amazing Italian meal and then wobbled our way home and both had a terrible night’s sleep. Probably due to the rich food and cheese board. Definitely not because of the prosecco, white wine, and port.
Saturday morning we walked up to Fairview parkrun and met some of the Massey crew there. The team at Fairview were amazingly welcoming and run a tight ship…although they did let Helen tailwalk …… 😉. It’s a lovely 3 lap course around the park over varied terrain. They were all decked out and dressed up for Halloween so it was lots of fun. As we were protecting our legs we all walked it and then did a Massey conga line through the finish funnel.
After a discussion about needing jumpers to dump at the start line we all headed off to the local charity shops where we bought them all out of Christmas jumpers. After a quick change we decided to save our legs and get the bus to the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon Expo. This ended up being a bit of a ‘mare as we had the most gumpy, rude, and unhelpful bus driver ever. However, a lovely man rescued us and paid for our fare, random acts of kindness rock!
The organisation at the Expo was great, getting registered and picking up the number and goody bag was really straight forward and all the staff were really enthusiastic. The goody bag was awesome and included a rather snazzy bobble hat which made spotting other marathoners over the weekend really easy.
We did the expo thing and bought hoodies and visited the ‘carb bar’ and then got the bus back to our area of town and we ended up with the same grumpy bus driver! We headed home via multiple shops in the search for crumpets . My new business plan is to be Ireland’s premier crumpet importer. There are no crumpets in Dublin! Back at the apartment, we did the flat-runner photos, fannyed about with our kits lots, and watched rubbish in TV.
Dinner was masses of pasta accompanied by a restrained amount of red wine and we were tucked up in bed by 8.30 (party on).
Dublin Marathon Weekend Pt 2
I woke up at 4.15am, after having seen every hour during the night. After several adrenaline poo’s we inhaled porridge, toast, tea and kitted up and walked the 30 mins to the start. Bag drop was smooth and we headed in our Christmas jumpers to the purple wave start desperately clutching our bananas.
Wave one set off at 9am and all the waves moved forwards until at 9.45 it was our turn. We chucked our jumpers to the side, set up our Garmin’s, and we were off. I was running a marathon!
I felt a bit giddy at the start, it was hard to believe the day was finally here after the months of planning and worry. My original goal when I entered was to run sub 6 hours. Over the summer I realised that sub 5.30 would be a better goal. My time in the Draycote 20 miler made me wonder if close to 5 hours might be possible and I had picked up a 5 hr pacing band at the expo the day before. However, I really didn’t want to set myself an unobtainable goal as I didn’t want to feel any disappointment with my time at the end. Just finishing would be amazing! I kept telling myself the goal was 5.30…..but a little voice was pushing for closer to 5.10.
As is the norm my first few miles were too fast, which I realised when the herd accompanying the 4.30 pacers engulfed me around mile 4. I tried to slow it down a bit and became obsessed with checking my watch as was paranoid I’d hit a wall if I kept going too fast. I was having some kit issues. My running tights were being pulled down by my Buddy Pouch full of gels and wine gums so I had to keep yanking them up. Am pretty sure the runners behind me were subjected to regular views of my Runderwear clad arse.
Phoenix Park was a welcome change from the city streets and it was especially nice to bump into Kelli and Maggie who had sneaked into the blue wave. Soon I could spot the Massey flag being waved enthusiastically by Sally and Hayley and I paused for a quick hug before setting off again. There was a ridiculously long straight in the park, it was flat but exhausting as it was just so long and you felt it would never end. Along this stretch another runner came and told me he worked for the charity I was running for and thanked me for raising money which was lovely.
The support along the route was amazing, it wasn’t as continuous and overwhelming as at GNR, but it was way more supported than Liverpool. So many people offering sweets, fruit, and drinks. So many hilarious signs and offers of high fives and hugs. I decided to walk a short steep hill at one point and a supporter sent her little girl to hold my hand and run me up to the top.
Around mile 11/12 Sally and Hayley popped up again, I hadn’t expected to see them so that was brilliant. It is amazing the boost some personalised support can do, am sure the Massey flag has some sort of magical powers as I had loads more energy after seeing it!
I felt really good at half marathon mark. I was hanging out just behind the 4.50 pacer gang and didn’t feel I was struggling or pushing too much. I was going faster than I had planned, but figured I could safely slow down as I had time in the bank.
However, around mile 18 I started feeling a bit nauseous. Not enough to be sick, but I did need to stop a couple times to let a wave of nausea pass. I lost sight of the 4:50 pacers and settled into a slower pace. Mentally the 14-20 stretch is tough. You done a half, but you are still nowhere near finishing. Jane was waiting at the mile 20 marker and it was a huge surprise to see her and it really helped energise me to get going again.
I had ended up having no gels at all after mile 15, as I would have vommed them up, I really felt the lack of fuel for the last 6 miles. The nausea and the tiredness got the better of me and I broke up the running with some periods of short fast walks, no more than 30 secs at a time. I desperately wanted to run the whole thing but was started to worry I’d actually spew. I was struggling from mile 23 with just keeping water down.
But I was so close! At this point I knew I could do it, I would finish a marathon, and I would definitely be sub 5.30. Me, the not sporty sister, the person at school no-one wanted on their team in PE, the sports dodger. Mile 24/25 i felt a bit better and I tried to push on a bit more and as I approached the last stretch I saw Sally, Hayley, and Andrew and I was so excited I ran up to them and screamed in their faces “I’ve run a fucking marathon” and then ran off towards the blue finish funnel slightly hysterical.
At this point I had no idea what time I was on for. I had my Garmin set to autopause and had paused a few times along route so had no idea what my chip time would be. Plus I had stopped looking as I knew I had slowed down and I didn’t want start feeling shitty about my pace.
I crossed line, got the medal, got the finisher top, and then immediately burst into tears and I couldn’t even begin to tell you why.
I was a marathoner.
Final time 4:59:47