Monday 25 May 2015


#92 Newry City Marathon


This was my first time doing this race and I found it to be a very nice experience from start to finish. There had been some horror stories of a boring course on a dual carriage way and issues with logistics from the previous year. But there was also talk of them reverting to the old course by the canal which seemed to placate everyone.

Contemplative at the start
 In fact they not only had reverted to the canal but added a hilly section that meant it wasn't just a straight out and back and as it turned out was a really interesting course. Because of the nature of the course there was however very limited crowds supporting.

Also included in the day was a very well attended half marathon and 10K that went off after the marathon. 163 took part in the marathon and we didn't really see the other races as they started after and finished well before our race.

45 minutes took us up the road and I managed to get one of the last parking spots at the leisure centre. Number pick-up was possible on the morning which is always welcomed and  T-Shirt and goodie bag were also acquired with no hassle. There were quite a few who had done the Clare-Burren challenge the day before and most had got out on the course early.

On the tow path
A short walk brought us to the start and with out too much ceremony we were off. I started off steady enough around 8 minute miles as we wound our way out of the city onto the tow path by the canal. It was a very flat start. I had studied the elevation chart and knew the first 7 miles were relatively flat. After 1.5 miles we were directed onto one of the main roads going north. It was still flat with a stiffish wind in the face. I kept the same pace and came through 5K in 24:30 minutes. Soon enough we were back on the tow path still heading north into the wind but it was a nice tarmac surface and a fast start to the race. Through 10K in just under 50 minutes had me well positioned for the hills I knew were coming up.

There were aid stations every 3 miles that were well stocked and there were lots of PSNI around stopping cars. Everything ran smoothly. After 7 miles we came off the tow path and hit the rural roads that were quite undulating. There was around 400ft of climb in the next 10K which was pretty much all the elevation of the race which overall made it a fairly flat race. The hills were quite steep and it slowed me a little but I was still doing OK. At 10 miles I noticed Kristy right behind me. I think I scared her in that I mentioned we were ahead of schedule a bit and should come through half way in 1:50. She dropped back a little. We passed Brenda, Collette and Seamus fresh off the Clare Burren
challenge and looking at 3 events next weekend. They looked tired. The hills were not as bad as I was expecting and very runnable. Then they were over and we were back on the tow path. I came through half way in 1:48 a little ahead of plan A. Kristy was just behind me, well ahead of her plan.

Celebrating with PB Queen Kristy
The tow path was pancake flat with the wind now gently from behind. You wont get an easier second half to a race anywhere. At 15 miles Kristy pulled along side me looking very strong and she slowly pulled away. I could still see her at 20 miles a couple of minutes ahead. She would go on to smash her PB by 10 minutes and come in 5th female at 3:37:30. What a run!

The rest of the race was very pleasant and uneventful. I came though 20 miles in 2:46 and kept it going. I was passed by a few (Enda Dunne) and passed a few on the run in and had a very strong last mile to record a 3:45:00 time which was very satisfactory.

A very small medal and some things awaited us at the end and there was a short walk back to leisure center
Small but cute medal
where there was hot showers awaiting. Everyone seemed very happy with their times today with everyone well up on normal runs.

Photos from various face book posts (sorry if I have stolen them without credit).

I definitely will come back for this one.

Click here for Polar RC3 stats for the day

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