Another Dublin come and gone and another wonderful day. For a lot of the journey I didn’t think that I’d hit my 2:45 target but a strong finish brought me in just under the numbers with 2:44:31 on the clock. As a friend of mine wrote recently, There are only so many ways to say ‘I ran twenty-six miles and I ate a lot of gels’ and so I won’t offer the full blow-by-blow account here for fear of boring the socks off you. In truth it was a relatively uneventful race. There was no moment of crisis, no exceptional drama. When the gun went off I got straight into a good running rhythm and I ran as fast as I dared until the finish. Although I was behind the 6:18 minutes per mile pace for most of the way, I picked it up close home and ducked under my target. I suppose the races that go well make for the worst race reports.
The feeling that I took away from Dublin this year more than any other was of gratitude. I was grateful that Jim Aughney and his team at the BHAA had hosted such a wonderful race. I was grateful to have such a friendly and positive club to travel with to the event and above all, I was grateful to have had the opportunity to take part. I spoke briefly with a very well-known and accomplished marathoner just before the start of the race and they were full of doom and gloom. Perhaps it was just a pose, but they gave every impression that the whole exercise was a chore and that they’d much rather be at home. I think they were a little miffed when I didn’t play along but, to be honest it was a little hard to take. I dream of those days when I find myself at the starting line of a big race, in good shape and with perfect conditions to run quickly. As I said, perhaps it was just a pose. I have to hope it was.
It had been a long-held ambition to dip under 2:45 and so, from that point of view, I’m very happy to have ticked that box. I was hopeful rather than expectant before the race because training had been patchy since the 100 miler in August. As I’ve heard said before, ‘Sometimes you’re the pigeon and sometimes you’re the statue’. Having assumed the ‘feathered’ role more than once in recent years it felt good to be the statue this time.