What a great race!!. Dublin is certainly the best marathon I have done. Not in terms of performance, I finished in 3h 14m 37sec but in terms of organisation and crowd suppport.
Liz and I made our way to Dublin on the Saturday. We stayed at the schoolhouse which turned out to an inspired choice as it was happily placed halfway between registration and the start.
We spent the Sunday doing touristy things such as visiting the Guinness storehouse and doing the open top bus ride. The bus ride is not as cheesey as it sounds and is a great way to see the city.
The race is always held on the October Monday bank holiday and this day is now known as Marathon Monday in Dublin. Large portions of the city are closed off for the race. There was a record 12500 doing the race. The start was at 9am so we got up at 6.30 for a 7am breakfast and left the hotel at 8.30. A complete result as we avoided the need to use the portaloos!!
The start was fantastic. A rousing rendition of the Irish national anthem followed by a few bars of Molly Malone and we were off.
Perfect conditions as well. No real wind and a high of 14degrees.
This was Liz's 1st Marathon and we had separarted to start in different parts of the field. I was more anxious for her than myself as she was doubtful of starting having picked up an injury a month before the race. However she was at the start dosed up with the contents of a chemist shop and ready to go.
I was determined to go off slowly and did so. In truth it wasnt difficult and I found 7.15 pace beyond me at a comfortable effort. I settled for running as I felt and passed 10m in 75min.
I was struggling in the 2nd quarter of the race and felt a finish of any sort would be OK. A niggle in my calf then a niggle in a hamstring kept me focussed on keeping things v steady.
By halfway I felt a new lease of life. I had had a gel at 10m and maybe that helped. However I determined to keep things safe and went through the 2nd 10m in exactly a second quicker than the 1st. The crowds were absolutely extraordinary. I have never seen or heard such loud enthusiasm and it makes such a difference.
After 20m as every marathon runner knows its just 10k to go. At this stage I had been passing people almost continuosly since halfway. Although I hadnt speeded up everyone around me was slowing down and what a boost that is. After 20m I really headed for home and got my pace below 7min/mile for the 1st time in the race. I was flying past my peers and it felt great.
The crowds got better and I kept passing people. Inevitably the last 2m were abit slower but the finish around Trinity college was something special with the crowds 4-5 people deep and all yelling their heads off.
I finished in 620th out of 10500 finishers.
After a quick trip back to our hotel I was able to locate Liz at 24m. I was also able to see her finish in 4h 49min. A great performance as she could only walk/jog the last 6m due to her injury recurring.
So all in all a great weekend and a race I would recommend to anyone.