Sunday 10 May 2015


#90  Greenisland (Belfast)  3:44:23

I was delighted with this time as it continues my improvement and you have to go back 59 marathons before I had a better time on a much easier course in Sept 2013 in Athlone.

Today's event was organised by EAMS to help a fellow's runners family who's son tragically became very ill in recent times and needed urgent expensive assistance. With this in mind it was designated a charity event and fancy dress was encouraged.  There was to be a 10K, a half marathon and a marathon on the Station Rd marathon course in Greenisland in Belfast. This was the first time I ran this particular course.

Signing in
The usual quality of organisation was at hand with plenty of marshals, helpers, medical help and the PSNI to help us across some busy junctions during the first couple of laps.

The Globe Trotters
We registered at the Greenisland Prespreterian church and there was a great buzz around with many turning up in fancy dress. I thought about reprising my white rabbit but in the end went for my new virtual running club top from Globetrotters. Leslie the only other southern based Globetrotter was also there and it was a great photo opportunity.

At 10am we had a quick race briefing and we walked the .22 down the road to get to the start. The course was simple, the .22 and then 4 laps of 10.5K. At the start line I had a quick chat to Barry Casserly who was also doing his 90th marathon today. At 10am we were off and Barry sprinted into the distance. He would go on to win today in a 3:07 which was a great time on a warm day on a hilly course.

I passed a few of the super heros at the start and settled into a
Tom with Anthony in close proximity
Stretching in out
group that included Leslie, Super Mario, Anthony Sheridan and returning from the highland fling and MDS Tom Reynolds. I had a good chat to Tom during the first couple of miles as we wound our way along the top road before turning left for a nice mile of downhill before entering a lovely park (still mostly downhill). He has still big plans for more great events coming up. We were averaging about 8:20 minute miles through the park before exiting on the Shore Rd. The PSNI safely got us across the road and we headed North on a flat section opposite the Lough Shore Caravan park before starting a steady climb. We crossed another couple of busy intersections (The fist 2 laps aided by the police) before passing a lovely aid stop. There were lots of roadworks and plenty of trip hazards with half finished pavements and loose gravel and cars pretty close to you. Still climbing we turned left on Station Rd and started a steady climb up towards Greenisland train station. Taking the tunnel under the train station we hit a short very steep exit before climbing 800m back to the start of the lap and another fully stocked aid station. There was much encouragement at this point.
Lower Aid station

The group of Leslie, Super Mario, Anthony were still within 50m of each other at this stage with
Tom having gone into the distance. Anthony over took me and I trailed the group for a time dropping back maybe 100m. We passed the finish for the first time at 56 minutes and were running steady.

The group stayed like this through lap 2 all running within ourselves. We came through the half marathon in 1:49 . I was very happy with this as it was 2 minutes up on the Belfast marathon 5 days previously but still one minute down on Brighton. But I was running well.
Coming through the park at 23 miles

 On the third lap there was more status quo until we got to the turn onto the Shore Rd when Super Mario seemed to slow and Leslie, Anthony and I (now only 25m apart) slipped passed. For the next mile we got closer and closer and when we got to the aid station I took the opportunity and managed to take both Leslie and Anthony in a 10m stretch. I really pushed from here up hill through Station Rd to the finish line for the third time. This was just around 20 miles which I passed in 2:48. I was now 2 minutes ahead on Brighton and 3 minutes ahead of Belfast and still felt strong.

At 3 hrs exactly I felt Anthony on my shoulder and he pushed passed. We were well over 21 miles and I knew we were both on for a great time. He was just too strong for me today. Leslie however had dropped back. Today was his 95th marathon and he had just completed a multi year best of 3:31 on Monday so it was no surprise. I pushed on with sub 3:50 in mind. By the time I hit the Shore Rd this had changed to a 3:45. I passed Pol, Collette, Emear, Seamus,Amy and Philip who all gave great encouragement and I really pushed for home. I could still see Anthony ahead of me but he had a good minute on me on Station Rd so I knew I couldn't catch him.

All done
Coming through the tunnel for the last time there were kids out asking for autographs. I obliged and immediately headed for home. I came in 3:44:23 for 8th position and delighted with a sub 3:45 finish on a course that showed close to 1200ft of climb. This is hillier than Connermarathon but just slightly short of Howth. It was a great test and the weather had been warm. I was very happy.

I stayed around for for a while to see others finish and encourage those in fancy dress who were struggling in the heat. I hope the charity got what they wanted and it was a great success of a day.

Photo's courtesy of Trevor Denton and Elma McEvoy.

Full results Click here

Click here for Polar RC3 stats for the day

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