Dublin Marathon 2017 - Jimmy Ward's day out !
The Dublin Marathon for 2017 brought great success for Galway City Harriers athletes and teams, including National team gold for the Ladies, and individual medals too, We will bring you some of their thoughts over the next couple of weeks... read on for Jimmy Wards story...
DCM 2017....we go again!
The decision to run DCM '17 was taken in the hours immediately after DCM '16. Having come agonisingly close to breaking 3 hours, I was licking my wounds in Doheny & Nesbitts when I was introduced to a French lad called Jerome. He was celebrating the success of the senior womens team who had just won Gold under his guidance and we got chatting. We may have discussed running but I can't be certain. Anyway, I later decided that armed with Jeromes plan, 2017 would see me break 3 hours.
Following said plan, I actually broke 3 in Limerick in April so when my thoughts turned to DCM 17 I had that monkey off my back thus taking a lot of the pressure off during the training block.
I followed Jeromes plan once again (very similar to Limerick, except for different paces) and after the 8 week Marathon training block I arrived in Dublin in excellent shape.
Race morning I met with fellow GCHers at Government Buildings for the pre-arranged photo at 8am. The excitement was building as were the nerves as the clock ticked towards 9am. I made my way to the start line along with Culan, Tony and Padraig deciding to go as far forward as possible. Once there we met up with Grainne, Martin, Dave, Siobhan and Elaine. We passed the few minutes discussing fuelling, pacing and basically reassuring each other that the training was done and would stand to each of us.
I had positioned myself up near enough to the front before the race began. My plan was to run in at 6:40ish pace and get round in 2' 55". I crossed the start line within 10-15 seconds but the first few hundred metres was bedlam. I had a close call when I clipped the heels of a guy crossing in front of me where he proceeded to face plant into a traffic island (sorry, but could have just as easily been me). I moved out to the edge where it was safer and decided to knuckle down to the job in hand. The first mile was bang on pace which I was happy with given that the first mile is notoriously fast. On through the North Circular and into Phoenix Park I let the pace drop slightly for the drag as I knew I could make it up in the downhill from miles 7-10 which I duly did. Conditions were perfect and the crowds were unbelievable. Coming into Kilmainham I heard Michelle Egan Browne long before I saw her, cheering each athlete she knew with great gusto. This gave me a great lift and got me thinking about all the GCH runners that I'd trained with all year. The miles were flying by and I realised I would be soon approaching halfway. I passed halfway about 90" behind my target but I wasn't concerned as I knew the course would be less challenging in the second half.
I was feeling comfortable going through halfway and was into mile 14 when I happened to glance at my watch. My pace was off and this felt tougher than it should. I was thrown for a few seconds before I realised there was a long drag here that I couldn't remember from 2016. I was uncomfortable long before mile 14 in 2016....panic over. Mile 14 was completed in 6:48 so time to get back to business. I was starting to become isolated so I picked up the pace to join two lads from Brothers Pearse who had pulled away from me. I ran with these lads for approx 3 miles before they upped the pace to low 6:30s (something I said?) I was tempted to go with them but knew it'd be a foolish move that I'd pay dearly for.
I settled into a nice rhythm, taking water at every station (although I should perhaps have taken more than a sip or two from each bottle) and taking my gels at miles 6, 12 and 18 as planned. More super support from Gillian Joanne and Diarmuid.....again a great lift before the business end of the race.
Roebuck Rd -Diarmuid the Kenyan...
I took another half gel just before mile 22 and the 'hill'. Jerome had advised to back off on the hills to conserve energy and pick up speed again at the top. Strava tells me I ran the hill in Roebuck Rd a full 6 seconds slower than 2016 so all going to plan. Do you know who didn't run Roebuck Hill slow? -Diarmuid Hennessy, that's who. I was just cresting the hill at mile 22 when the bould Diarmuid breezed past me with a big 'hello Jimmy, how's it goin, great day isn't it'. He looked so fresh and was hi fiving kids so much so that I though I was running backwards. I was delighted for him as I realised he was going to smash his PB.
I had picked up my pace again but was tiring quickly. By mile 24 I knew 2'55" was still there if I could only pick up the pace a little more....but I was running on fumes by now and fatigue was setting in fast. More GCH support from John Moran - I passed a sign saying 2K to go...(2K it might as well have been 20K). Anytime I looked up I couldn't see the finishing gantry...feck that...no more looking up. Runners were pulling up with cramp either side of me....I've never cramped in a run and had no concerns this time either....but where the hell was this finishing line!! Cheers again from the crowds...Danny Carr, Ian Egan Peter Payton and Ronan O Conghaile willing every GCH runner home....Finally it was within sight, I checked my watch and knew I was safely in 2'56" territory although my target was gone.
Crossed the line in 2:56:39 a PB of over 1' from Limerick on a much tougher course...that'll do nicely.
I congratulated Diarmuid and Gerry who had finished ahead of me and turned around to see Tony O Connor and Padraig McHugh cross the line comfortably under the 3 hour mark. Just behind them, Grainne and Elaine breaking the magical 3 hour mark (never doubted ye ladies). I wanted to stay and cheer on the rest of the GCH crew but as my heart rate was coming down I was feeling more and more queasy. I headed for my hotel for a shower and to call my family before heading back out to meet with my GCH 'family' and celebrate what was a super day for GCH. Team Gold for Senior Ladies, Cat Gold for Martin, Grainne and Carmel and Cat Bronze for Elaine and Siobhan....wow!
If DCM has taught me anything it's that running as part of a club is something special and GCH is truly a special club. The camaraderie between club mates throughout the DCM 'project' was unique. We trained, raced, laughed, suffered, encouraged, hurt, suffered even more, celebrated, achieved, laughed even more, throughout Summer and Autumn 2017. To see club mates succumb to injury just prior to DCM having trained all Summer was heart breaking but to see those very same people scream encouragement at you from the side of the road, having made the trip across the country to stand and support their team mates- that was humbling.
Roll on 2018