So what kind of idiot does a marathon 2 weeks after a 100 miler. That would be me then.

So it turned out I was running Dublin Marathon precisely 2 weeks after the Autumn 100 race. HoweverI would be in Dublin with the ASICS FrontRunners, having fun, having Guinness and having a grand old time. If I was going to have sore legs anywhere, it may as well be somewhere good, right?

I started my race preparation with a pub quiz and a whisky tasting evening at the Irish Whiskey Museum organised by ASICS FrontRunner UK. I mean, who am I to let a little thing like a marathon stand in the way of whiskey tasting? Eeeeeek!

Waking up the next morning I didn’t regret the one whiskey but I thought the second, third and fourth might have been a bad idea. I had a big plate of beans, chips, mushrooms to wash away any last vestiges of whiskey and tiredness. But hey, I’m not going for any time records. I’m just out for a run to see the sights and enjoy all of the atmosphere of a big city marathon. No pressure and no hassle.

After breakfast, I walked up to the start of the marathon with Pete, Holly, Jonathan, Becca and Lotta. Pete was going for a very quick time, Holly and Jonathan were running together and Becca and Lotta running as a pair also. I decided to set out on my own in case my legs weren’t up to much after my previous long race.

It was the most CHILLED OUT marathon start ever. No massive pens of people jostling for position or people worrying about start times or paces. There was a start gantry and a few people running across it and that was it! Due to the toilet queues at the start, we were running slightly late but it was worth it for a start like this!

Wide, clear roads, no stress, no shoulder to shoulder jostling but I turned the corner and there were the runners. I was running at the back of the pen ASICS had put me in which was the 4:00 - 4:30 runners. The pen must have been busy as the road was a solid mass of runners, shoulder to shoulder, legs moving in unison. There was no room to change pace at all until around 5km when the road widened and I could adjust my pace to fit what was most comfortable. I wasn’t going for a time today. It was a lovely chance to enjoy a road marathon and the sights of Dublin without having to keep an eye on my watch.

One thing that I found strange about running a race in another country was not recognising any of the running club colours. Usually I’ll recognise the clubs from their strips, the red and gold of Serpentine, the red and white stripes of Massey Fergusons, the green and red of Spa Striders and the green and gold sunburst of Northbrook. But I didn’t recognise any colours at all. No words exchanged with a familiar face or a chat to a member of familiar club colours. I probably saved a lot of energy not chatting though!

The first few miles of Dublin marathon are pretty flat … but it’s deceiving!

I enjoyed the first hill as it was a nice change of pace and a chance to stretch out a bit. The other hills not so much. There are SEVENTEEN hills – I actually went onto the Garmin afterwards and counted them as I was convinced my tired legs had deceived me when I was running the course. Nope. That’s a lot of hills.

However my legs felt great! You know that feeling when you fell all light and bouncy and reckon you could run forever? That. My legs had that.

And then they didn’t.

There wasn’t any gentle “Ooh I’m feeling a bit tired now”, I literally went from bouncy and happy to ‘punctured bouncy castle’ within about half a mile. It was a shock and the fatigue of the previous run catching up with me.

Therefore at mile 16 when my stomach started complaining about all of the baked beans for breakfast, I decided to have a quick stop at one of the on-course portaloos. I was most unimpressed when someone decided to force the door open deciding that the door must have been jammed and revealing me to all the passing runners. Thanks then! It did however give me a speedy incentive to get out and get running again!

Dublin marathon is a remarkably pretty course. It goes through parks and past gorgeous houses and gardens. Some houses were decorated for Halloween which was fun and running past orange ribbons and bulbous pumpkins added to the festival atmosphere of the marathon. 

I ran mile 22 for my father-in-law who started running at 60 and really encouraged me into running. He even entered me into my first marathon because I didn’t have the courage to enter it myself. Mile 22 is always the toughest. 

(Photo by Jack Schofield of Stage Seven Photography)

I noticed a few fancy dress runners on the course too including Spider-Man a really ENORMOUS Oompa Loompa and even Sonic the Hedgehog had donned his trainers. The support for the runners was epic too. There weren’t supporters all around the course, and the park was fairly quiet but where there were supporters they were vocal, enthusiastic and really smiley! It was lovely!

Best of all those was the ASICS Cheer Station at Mile 25. The ASICS Frontrunners had set up a cheer station about half a mile down from the hotel on the course and you could hear them almost half a kilometre a way. A marathon is a long way. Sometimes I forget that and it was SO nice to have friends on the course who would cheer for me and give me one last push towards the finish. My legs hurt, I’d had my dignity revealed to half of the field when I was interrupted mid-loo stop and I was tired. So seeing these lovely people at Mile 25 helped. Gazz spotted me having a tough old time and left the cheer station to run with me to almost up to the finish, encouraging me the whole way. Thanks Gazz, appreciated that. 

Spotted Curtis at the finish running people in and walked back to find Holly and Jonathan. Jonathan who had smashed his PB and was sporting the standard I’ve-Just-Run-a-PB-Hobble. It’s like a smug walk but more painful. Becca and Lotta had also had a great run with Becca smashing a good chunk from her time also so it was a smiley happy group who headed back to the hotel. I decided that I would celebrate my marathon finish with the largest dinner I could find. And possibly a small Guinness.

(You get a hat AND a medal!)

I love meeting up with the FrontRunners, it’s not just about being the fastest but it’s about being your own best whatever that is. We’ve got such a nice group and everyone is so different. I’m really proud to be a part of that. 

(Photo by the lovely Jevi)

Also I don’t know whether you’ve heard of the Runners Renew Programme (IG: @runners_renew_programme) but my fabulous friend Jevi started it. The idea is to donate second hand running shoes to other people, mainly women, to get them running:

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Sarah Booker

Emergency Services from Midlands

Age group: 40-44
Club: Rugby Triathlon Club, Northbrook AC,
Coach: Chris Weeks

My Disciplines
Ultra marathon Trail run Ultra trail run Long distance triathlon Marathon

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