Bogusboy reports from the Dublin Marathon on a wet and windy Bank Holiday Monday in October
The intensive training had drawn to a close and the week of tapering was over. Carb depletion was but a painful memory – the Molotov cocktail of salmon, chicken breast, mixed nuts and mackerel were no longer on breakfast menu – and extensive carb loading had taken place. Pizza, Pasta and pretzels had been the weekend staple foods as 11 Newcastle AC athletes were prepared for the 26.2 challenge that lay ahead. Inspired by the heroics of Lynch, Bailey and the XC team over the weekend, all were in fine spirits as the start approached. Supporters were plentiful, with Mari’s parents, Erik and Gerd making the long trip from Sweden to be part of the occasion – the Swedish House Mafia were very much in town. Their sojourn to our shores almost ended in disaster as Mari very nearly didn’t make it past the 10 metre mark. How did this happen? – Jack’s size 10.5s decided to move faster than his body and before she knew it, Newcastle AC’s answer to ABBA was on the ground howling in pain with her shoulder out of its socket – had she met her Waterloo? Running repairs (a hopeless pun!) were carried out by Patrick Higgins and within seconds – 75 to be precise according to Patrick’s Garmin (more on that later) – both were on their way like Super Troupers!
Taking a negative split to the next level!
Patrick, in spite of the initial setback got into his running very quickly and set about moving through the field. Nonetheless, he demonstrated great running wisdom in the first half of the race and crossed the 13.1 halfway point in a conservative 1:27:24. However, motivated by the news that Mari was in one piece with all limbs where they were designed to be and moving well, he pushed on tremendously in the second half to run a considerable negative split – for those uninitiated to marathon running the idea is to run the second half as close to the time for the first half as possible, ideally a little quicker. Patrick ran the second 13.1 in 1:22, gaining 190 places in the process and finally putting to bed the ghost of the Laganside 10k, a race where he was put to the sword by lesser men! His point that he lost time repairing Mari’s injuries fell on deaf ears as he was somewhat impolitely told to save the story for someone who actually cares – one member actually gave him a pound to call someone who might be interested! The saga had a happy ending as he was awarded the now traditional ‘Man of the Match Award’ by his peers after a stunning performance. Patrick is planning his next marathon already, promising that it will not be one with O’Hare in it – O’Hare was unavailable for comment.
It’s all about the pace, about the pace!
The NAC machine had been a well-oiled and well-drilled regiment throughout the training regimen and on the long runs in particular. Everyone was well aware of the need not to go too hard to early. In one of his lesser obfuscations, The Prophet caustically ruminated, ‘sure there are two halves to the marathon; the first 20 miles and the last 6!’ Never a truer word was spoken and many of the NAC posse finished very strongly, scything through the field with great aplomb. O’Hare in knocking 25 minutes of his PB achieved the elusive negative split and passed 176 athletes in the second half. O’Hare was well under the magical 3 hour barrier in 2:58:45. McCann and The Prophet, with eyes firmly fixed on London were using the event as an early training run and turned in very steady, even paced performances, passing 264 and 215 other runners respectively in the second half. Both were strong over the last 12k and will be confident of crossing the line in the spring well within the 3 hour mark, especially if the weather is conducive to bone warming. Troeng recovered amazingly from her initial and unforeseen troubles and showed unbelievable resilience and determination in overtaking 221 runners in the second half and finishing 24th lady overall – a remarkable achievement given that her entire marathon was in jeopardy due to O’Hare’s oversized Asics! Erik, himself a 2:52 marathoner, and Gerd were proud parents at the end and the tale grew taller in the telling. Wonderwall won the club prize for passing most in the second half as he stormed to a 3:09 finish, some improvement on his 3:45 in Belfast 4 months ago – then again the photos show that he is a different animal now. He went past 328 other competitors in recording fairly even splits and is already fired up for the next marathon. He was in cryptic mood after the event and told the story of a visit to Ardglass where a small seaman in a marine vessel informed him that his training had gone well and that he would perform on the day – others are planning a similar visit to see if they can find this elusive sailor! He was found wandering the streets of Dublin asking random punters the same question’ ‘what time could I have ran if I had ran faster throughout the race!’ – We will never know!
They’ll be back!
Aidan Brown and Brendan Donnelly were next home in 3:11. Both had been well on target to break the three hour mark, crossing the halfway point in 1:27. Regrettably it was not to be their day and both slowed in the latter stages. Despite the tremendous support of their club mates and those from other clubs – more on that later – neither could maintain their early pace and fell short of their desired time. However, Brown has been there before and last time that happened he bounced back with a stunning sub 3 run. No doubt this will be his aim for London and few would bet against this happening. For Donnelly this is a second disappointment. However, he showed some great character in the closing miles, and by refusing to give up took 20 minutes of his time in London in April. With the right conditions and better pacing, he too will dip under the thus far elusive 3 hour barrier on the next outing. He has been called to a summit meeting at Base (see what I did there!) with the ‘Marathon Men’ over the Christmas holidays where no doubt all the woes will be put to rest and he will emerge like a phoenix from the ashes and storm to a much improved PB in 2016. With words of wisdom proffered by the coaching staff, Donnelly will invariably get it right and erase once and for all the painful memories of previous encounters where he has started too fast and finished too slow!
DJ Normski and Phil are inseparable.
Smyth and Murdock joined forces in the later stages and helped each other home. Smyth had been plagued with illness in the weeks leading up to the event and Murdock was venturing into the unknown, having never completed a road marathon before. They would become magnificent allies and brought each other home in a highly respectable 3:15. Not far behind, King broke 3:20 for the first time (3:18) and celebrated in the style of Prince (yet another pun!), like it was 1984. With such a penchant for symmetry and numbers he stayed out until 3:20am.
NAC Times and Positions in Dublin 2015
|Name||Category||Overall Position||Gender Position||Category Position||Halfway
|Finish Time||Chip Time|
Support is everything
Running a marathon is a difficult challenge at the best of times, but is made all the easier by the support and encouragement of well-wishers along the way. On this occasion the 11 NAC hopefuls were greatly appreciative of the frequent shouts given by their many well-wishers. Rodgers, Carson, McAlinden and Butcher had left Newcastle at an ungodly hour and were present at vital moments to offer kind words of wisdom to help the athletes on their way. Similarly the MAC posse of Gerard and Jane Rowe, Carol McMenamin and Michelle McCann were always on hand to shout words of support. Not to be outdone, Joe Quinn had a megaphone which he and Hammy used to great effect throughout the day. All of the shouting and roaring was much appreciated by everyone in red and yellow.
News from the Big Apple
As one marathon door closed, another opened for the final member of NAC marathon crew. Sinead Murtagh travelled across the pond to take part in the 45th New York City Marathon. Sinead reported that the event was an unbelievable experience and was delighted with her time of 3:21:59 in the world’s biggest marathon. Although this was outside the time she was capable of, she was full of praise for the event and described in ‘the race of a lifetime’. Murtagh will also take to the streets of London in April and all are confident of a time more reflective of her ability, training and effort.