Saturday 22 February 2014


Marathon #43   Clontarf-Howth back-2-back day one

4:11:36             37th out of 77

I am very lucky in my job in that I get to travel a lot. This past week and next week are no exception when I have been and will be in Barcelona at the Mobile World Congress and meetings around it.  The plan was simple, I would stay over in Spain for the weekend and drop down to Seville and run the marathon there on the Sunday. I had already consulted with his holiness Brian Ankers on his experience there and it sounded like a perfect plan. Flights were cheap and direct and the hotels were cheap and comfortable and the weather forecast was great. The only fly in the ointment was when I went to book the race, entries had just closed. I was gutted. I looked around the rest of Europe but there was nothing convenient or affordable.

Fortunately the EOI guys had just opened the February race so I decided to come back to Dublin and run that. Then the world went mad and they added a second race on the Sunday in conjunction with the Fitness expo in the RDS with all profits going to Temple St (including a half marathon). And even further they added an aggregate event over both days. It was history being made in Dublin and I wanted to be a part of it.

Sangre Familia Barcelona
I carb loaded on Estrella and Tapas all week and distinctly remember being in the "Michael Collins" pub at the Gaudi Sangre Famillia Cathedral being abused on facebook by most of Ireland's A-Listed race directors just because I was trying woo some American visitors to a competitive race in Achill (Tut Tut lads...). It was an odd week.

The flight out of Barcelona was at 10pm on Friday night and was delayed. Even gaining the hour I didn't touchdown till midnight in Dublin and didn't get back to my hotel home till nearer 12:30. There was no-one up. I wasn't in the leaba till nearer one.

Then out the blue I was awoken with the most tremendous toothache around 3am. It was the worst that I can remember in years and I was bouncing around the house swallowing Sopadene till it eventually subsided around 5am. Then I was wide awake again at 6am as I couldn't remember if I had set my alarm or not. That was it, I was up. For once I wasn't hungry and couldn't face my normal bagels and porridge. I would live to regret that.

This probably wasn't the best preparation for my first back-2-back marathon challenge.

I took the attitude that this was a two day event and my performance on day one would have direct consequence on day 2. So I was going to take it easy and then slow down. I had in mind an average of 4hrs 30 minutes per day as a reasonable target.

There was a big crowd turned up at the start, most there for the 2 day event and many from either the back-2-back event in Clonakilty the previous weekend or the Donadea 50K national championships also the previous weekend. There was even one who did the 50K drove to Clonakilty and did the second day of that event (you know who you are KC). That is truly mad. It was freezing and dry but very very very windy.

Today's run was a hybrid course starting at Clontarf and running north through Dollymount strand and onto Sutton. Then 2 laps of Howth Island before coming straight back to Clontarf. This involved 2 significant climbs and there was a very significant wind from the south in the back at the start but in the face for the last 8 miles. Both the hills and the wind were a killer.

Leaving Clontarf
I decided to start of nice and handy and ended up sharing a few miles with Marie Chapman and Maura Dineen (I think), who seemed to be out for a Sunday stroll and ended up coming 2nd and 3rd. Thanks girls and well done.

There was a rolling aid station strategy that worked really well. But I was starving around half way and just couldn't fill the gap.

I was through the first half in 1:58 which included a long wind in the back section and one circuit of Howth. I was a little ahead of where I wanted to be. The second Howth lap was hard but things got really tough when we hit Sutton going south and was right into the teeth of the gale. It was sapping.

I just kept plodding along and finished in 4:11:36 and hopefully I have left something in the tank for tomorrow. I have just had a cold bath and will go on the foam roller for 30 minutes and then have a stress free afternoon (NOT!) watching Ireland try and get the Triple Crown against England.

I am 19 minutes ahead of my planned aggregate time and I just hope it is enough and I can recover quickly for tomorrow.

I'll post more photos and over all results when they are ready.


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