In Dublin’s Fair City… – Pete O’Grady

In Dublin’s Fair City… – Pete O’Grady

As I said some time ago – I love BIG races – the atmosphere, the big start, good bling and a nice finish. They are usually an opportunity foe a weekend away as well.

No-one does big bling and races like the Rock n Roll series so this year myself and Marion, along with some likeminded Sweatshop runners, signed up for Liverpool, Dublin and Las Vegas (with Madrid already booked for next year!).

As many will know, Marion has had a major problem with her eye requiring surgery and, with a gas bubble still in there, she was not allowed to fly. This lead to all sorts of discussions – cancel, ferry or I go by myself (something I’d prefer not to do). As we could not get a refund and the ferry plus extra hotel night would prove too expensive for poor pensioners I ended up kissing her good bye on Saturday morning and heading off to Manchester Airport, wearing running kit!

The flight landed at 9am and having collected our bags, 5 of us jumped into a taxi, with a driver who thought he was a stand up comedian, to be taken to Phoenix Park for the RnR 5k that started at 11am. We collected our numbers and made it to the start line with 2000 others. A lovely but deceptively hilly route was completed in 22.54.

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It was then bus/walk back to the city centre and to the race expo to pick up t-shirts and numbers for Sunday before checking into the rather grand Gresham Hotel. Within 30 minutes we were meeting at the pub next door for lunch and the 1st Guinness of the weekend. Some then did a wander around the streets looking for an eatery to book for the evening, ending up at a rooftop bar for more refreshment. With restaurant booked it was back to the hotel to meet some others before heading straight back out for the evening meal (with wine of course, like all good athletes).

Sunday was the big day – up early, porridge then a walk along the Liffey to the start line. Baggage drop was easy and we managed to avoid the huge queues for the loos. The pens were pretty full but there was still space to wave at the cameras and have a laugh with some other runners. Finally we were off.

I’d not really trained for this race and was expecting a PW. I usually start fast (for me!) and get slower – it doesn’t matter how fast I start I always get slower – so thought I’d start at 8 minute miles. Had a very pleasant run along the river, past a big church (Cathedral?)and the Guinness factory, past museums etc. Kept up my pace for 6 miles, even past the family with the barbeque wafting the smell of cooked sausages in the faces of the runners. The 10k runners disappeared here into the lower park gate thinning the 15000 crowd. I had a plan to take on water at all stations and gels when available and kept to this.

After the 6.5 mile mark the course is nearly all up hill – a long drag along the side of Phoenix park for nearly 2 miles then another long slog in the park itself. There is a welcome downhill before the sharp hills start. I could feel myself slowing in anticipation and half way up the biggest hill I thought ‘sod it’ and started to walk for about 50 yards. It was hard to get going then but I tagged along with a couple of others and we ran more than we walked for the last couple of miles.

You could see the tents for the finish and I managed to pick up speed for the last 500 yards. Over the finish line in 1:56:29 – still sub 2 hours so happy.

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Got my medal plus the one for running on Saturday and one for running at Liverpool as well then went to get changed for the Fun Run.

It has become something of the norm for the crowd of us to don superhero outfits and my trusty Spiderman morph suit was put on again with the help of 2 Belgian girls who must have wondered what was happening. They took the 1st of hundreds of pictures I was then asked to pose for.

The run was 1.7 miles but took 20 minutes, lots of photos, running with kids, high fives – fantastic fun. And another large medal!!

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After loads more photos it was back to town for a shower. We all met in the pub and that’s when it started – Guinness, Gin, Guinness, a blow up monkey, dancing and singing with Americans (There will be a search on itunes for ‘Alice, Alice who the ****’ and ‘Delila’ from Montana I bet!) and other runners in Temple Bar. I’m not sure how many drinks we had but let’s say it was a few. Time flew by and before we knew it we were eating McDs at 12.30am before staggering back to the hotel.

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Monday consisted of breakfast/coffee and a final Guinness before catching the bust to the airport.

Blimey it was fun, great runs, great company, great food, great drink, great craic.

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