I'm ambivalent to this marathon. Its very very busy (too busy for me) but is on one of my favourite training routes. I have done it a few times before and even own a 3:42 time, but I am nowhere near that at the moment.
I picked up my number around 8pm on Friday but they already had run out of T-Shirts in my size
(despite me putting the size on the registration). I hate that. One very helpful person at registration told me to email the organisers and they would send me one. On Sat morning they had run out of all male T-Shirts and they were told the same. I have emailed so will wait and see.
This is a big event with >4000 expected across all events. Around 400 were expected in the marathon though there were only 309 finishers.
Sat morning was a lovely morning and the rain overnight had blown through. Wind was calm which is always the killer on this course. I decided to walk the 1 mile to the start but Humphrey and Theresa came past and gave me a lift. We were there very early and there was a nice buzz around.
For the fist time ever I have seen there were cross country skiers who went off 15 mins before the marathon start. They were fast and in well before everyone else. I believe they were the Irish team that are trying for the winter olympics.
|Paula and John on short lap|
There were numerous races that started at various times and the course always felt very full. Unlike the past I had a clear run not getting caught up in any of the other races and I had a great time chatting and walking and running.
I started off OK and for the first half kept it under 10 minute miles. I felt comfortable but pushing a little. 10K was under an hour and half marathon was 2:07. This was as good as I have been recently. Then a rookie mistake killed me. I decided to run in Asics instead of my normal Hokas. Just after 13 miles my heel started hurting as if it was PF. By the time I finished the loop I was in agony and was struggling to walk. Lap 3 was very very painful and I was seriously considering DNFing (I really wasn't). I was maybe 20 minutes down on this loop and there was lots of walking. Time just frittered away. Things seemed to ease on the last lap and when Derek and Patrick came past me on the drag to the golf club (4K into the 4th large loop) I decided I had to push the last 6K. The pain subsided and I managed maybe 8 minutes improvement in the last 10K with a 9:30 last mile.
I came home in 4:48 for a 2:41 second half. Given I walked for at least 5 miles of it and hobbled probably the same it was OK. HOKA's from now on I think.
In the finishers tent there was some soup and a few give always. I had great memories of a great race in the past and I couldn't help think however it wasn't quite as well resourced as before and was left feeling a little disappointed (probably to do with T-shirt gate). However it still is a super event and in fairness probably the easiest conditions you could get. Cole got his 100 medal and Derek his 200 cert and I headed for home (thanks to Humphrey and Theresa again).
Photos: Athenry AC and Run Galway Bay
Stats for today.