What a weekend! A bit of a last minute decision to do a club trip to Dublin this year, but thanks to Andrew and Sue for sorting out the flights and accommodation and to me who eventually entered the 7 MBH athlete. An early morning start on the Saturday saw our convoy of 3 cars head toward Exeter for our Flybe flights ? more inconvenient than last year as Air SW did Dublin from Newquay, but alas no more.
It was to be Clive and Karens first marathon and the rest of us were hopefully going for a PB, Mark and Andrew sub 3, Jer and myself sub 3.15 and Graham just to get around, have a good time and take a few photographs. Our trusty supporters Sue, Janet and Pam were also looking forward to the trip ? not the race but the shopping!
It?s not a cheap race to enter as the euro against the pound is poor, so at 73 euros a pop (about ?63) it?s a bit pricey! Jurys Inn, Dublin is a reasonable deal though ?43 per night per person with a great all you can eat breakfast! And it?s a nice hotel close to the start and finish areas.
Arriving at the airport we bumped into a few other Cornish athletes on the same flight, Adrian Ball and Phil Bolt, CAC about 4 from Hayle, Scott, Anthony and friends, and one STARC.
Mark, his usual jovial self, decides to joke with the check in girls when asked if he had packed his own bag etc, that he has hidden his TNT in his other bag! We all look away worried that soon he would be jumped on by security wearing marigolds and ordering him to bend over, but alas no, I don?t think they heard him correctly, otherwise I think we may have been in trouble!
Mark being Mark, starts to carbo load immediately in the airport lounge, eating what can only be described as ?weird looking shit? what worried me was when he disappeared to the gents for some considerable time, and after discussion, I was sent to see if he was OK, OH MY GOD, Mark was standing over the urinal, with what I thought, bleeding profusely into the pan! I was just about to shout for assistance when Mark stops me, and explains not to worry it?s just all the beetroot juice he has drank!! Again where do people get all these ideas?
An uneventful flight (thank god says Graham) and touchdown on the Emerald Isle, plain sailing through customs and out into the sunny skies ? a taxi ride last year cost the earth, so this year a return bus trip for 8 euros, dropped right outside our hotel, bargain!
Check in was quick and efficient, a quick bag drop off and off to the expo to register and collect your number. I was still considering running at this point, so on the look out for a new pair of trainers I spotted the new Brooks, beautiful looking shoe, don?t tell Sue but I had my credit card in hand, but they had sold out of my size!! Bummer! And they?re not available locally.
Again registration painless, the numbers have the chips ?built in? which is different, and the expo is not too large (good, cause I managed not to spend too much)
That evening we ventured ?up into town? for eats and ate out at one of the many pubs, reasonably priced except for coca cola ? 5 euros 30 for coke ?4.60, yet Guinness only ?4.20 a pint!
Early night, as this is supposedly the night to sleep. We met at 8am for a short 2 miler and a few strides, and it was now I decided to withdraw from the race, not a nice feeling, the head was saying I could, the body was screaming another story, how long is that hamstring thing going on for?
A good 5 course breakfast and it was out for a bit of a sightseeing touristy thing. Clive, Pam Andrew and Karen opting for the bus tour and Janet, Jeremy, Graham, Sue and myself for a riverboat trip on the Liffey, both excellent excursions
That night we all wanted a bit of a carbo fest and found ourselves in the same place we went last year! A little Italian joint that serves really nice food, lots of laughs, lots of race talk tactics but again an early night.
Race day, and the weather forecast of wind and rain had not yet materialised, the wind was getting a little stronger but it was overcast, not cold or overly warm, near perfect. I met our 6 runners for breakfast and watched them nervously try and get their porridge, white toast, orange juice down and then it was time to walk the 10 minutes to the start. Many thanks to all those MBHers who texted good luck messages.
I managed to sneak into the start / baggage area whilst they got changed and watched everyone getting prepared, even Clive (see Photo!) ? it was soon time to say goodbye and good luck, give my last minute advice ? just enjoy it! Don?t go off to fast! Pace yourselves, remember technique when it gets tough etc and off they all went to their designated coloured starts.
I quickly went over to O?Connell street to meet Pam, Sue and Janet who were at the 1 mile point with balloons, clackers and they?d even hijacked the guy from the Spar shop (one of the sponsors) to nick his megaphone ready for our MBHers to run past. The start this year was staggered with wheelchair off first at 9.45, elites and sub 3.30 at 9.50, sub 4.30 at 9.55 and everyone else at 10.
Having never watched a marathon before I was amazed at the size, skinniness and look of the elite athletes, they really are diddy! But the speed that they run, doesn?t look much but they are so efficient and light on their feet – Soon we spotted Mark, then Andrew, then Jer, all receiving the same MBH cheer and scream! Karen and Clive, but alas we missed Graham.
Us supporters had to find refreshment, me wanting to get some Guinness but I was outvoted by 3 women who opted for a coffee house ? boo! We walked over to the 25 mile point and on the way the heavens opened! It tipped it down! That?ll cool a few down I thought, probably welcomed.
It was not long before the leading bikes, cars, timing cars and the slight figure of Geoffrey Ndungu from Kenya who won the race in a new course record of 2.08.33 (the Kenyans actually had the first 6 finishers, that?s one hell of a team! All of them under 2.14)
As we got closer to the 2.30 / 45 finishers the appearance / style of runners changed, there were still the elite females ? very slight slim built racing machines ? but it was interesting to note that the men seemed no different from your average club runner in style, build etc ? the only exception I could note was that after 25 miles they were still able to hold technique and not ?look? ?run? tired ? the hips were still high, they were not ?dragging? their feet, something for us to perhaps cling to for inspiration?!
Adrian Ball from CAC cruised past on his way to a 2.41 finish, closely followed by Phil Bolt, who I think did about 2.50. At about 2.55 into the race Mark came into sight, he didn?t look good, he said his feet were in a mess, little did he know Andrew was only just behind ? a gap Andrew wouldn?t be able to close but he did manage to cut in down to only 40 seconds!
Jer came into sight next and he was right on the limit for a sub 3.15, he needed to find something from somewhere but looked quite fresh! Had he taken it too easy at the start?? Karen looked even fresher, and never having run more than 20 miles this was new uncharted territory, her only complaint was her legs were hurting! Yeh, yours and 14000 others! But we were at 3.21, she could break 3.30 in her very first marathon.
Scott and Anthony from Hayle didn?t have the best of days, so less said the better.
Next Clive came into view, what a run! 66 years old, his first marathon and now on his way to a good for age time, his wife Pam got a little emotional (as we all did) as he ran past ? get in there Clivey Boy! And lastly Graham, who stated he would be around 4.30 finish was well inside, we nearly missed him as he passed us at about 3.45 into the race, over half an hour before we expected him!
So how we?d do?
Mark 3.06.19 (406th overall and 45th in age group)
Karen 3.29.05 (A Good For Age London time AND 7th in age group)
Clive 3.52.31 (at the age of 66, a Good For Age London time AND 9th in age group)
That night it was a great celebration with an all you could eat Chinese and many pints of Guinness! Marks feet were shredded! He could hardly walk! Made it easier for the rest of us to get away from him tho?! (only joking)
It was great weekend away with really great people, it?s what makes MBH and running what it is! Thankyou all for such a brill, funny, enjoyable weekend!
Back home safe and sound and a little reflection. Talk is of perhaps a different marathon next year, or even a return trip back to the Challenge Malta Marathon, but with the intended Disney 2013 in January I think funds will be tight for some!
So with all said and done, thoughts onto a slightly more local marathon, The Cornish! 3 weeks time and word is Andrew and Jer may toe the line to help out Rich Savage for a team ? we need one other tho? ? come guys, step up to the plate ? Mark? Steve R? Anyone?