Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park, Dublin waits to greet over four thousand athletes. Five miles away, at 8.50 am in Dublin city centre, the marathon had begun.
President Michael D. Higgins only had to step outside his front door to catch all the action. Meanwhile, I hung around the Phoenix monument. Maybe I’d catch sight of Michael D. or a man in a skirt, or a barefoot runner even.
Well, as the song says, two outta three ain’t bad….
There was a great buzz about the place. Buoyed up by the steady beat of music from a local pop station and armed with clappers and balloons, the crowd clustered about the monument, and formed little knots along the footpath. Soon, sirens sounded, and a great cheer arose at the sight of the first athlete pushing his way along the avenue.
Wonderful to watch, the wheelchair athletes must have serious arm and upper body strength.
He was followed, some ten minutes later, by the lead runner, Dmitry Safronov.
…while two clusters of leading men hung back, no doubt as part of their race strategy.
Number three is Russian athlete, Aleksei Sokolov.
Pavel Teplykh is leading this group along, followed by Ethiopian Fikru Teshager.
And here’s… well, actually, I don’t know. There’s no sign of number 17 on the results page this evening. Help, anyone!
The lead lady couldn’t be far behind now, could she?
Yes, here she is~Maria McCambridge. Maria was intent on keeping her marathon first from last year and, while that didn’t quite run out, she ran a mighty race, gaining a personal best and a finishing an agonizing four seconds behind the winning lady.
This lady was faring very well at this point too. She’s Gemma Rankin from Scotland.
And here’s a girl who was well able to keep up with the guys too.
While further along the line, this lady from Raheny Shamrocks looked very comfortable, making it all seem just like a nice little jaunt.
There’s David Carrie in white and blue shirt leading Team Carrie along and already looking set to earn another yet sub-3 hour marathon.
The three hour pacers brought a huge crowd with them.
The cool shades and gloves worked well for this guy as he was making terrific progress at this point and completed the marathon in three hours four minutes and fourteen seconds.
While l`homme français was keeping up with the 3.10 pacers to the cries of “Allez!” from the crowd.
Conditions for running might have been a tad warm, if anything. A gentle south-westerly had brought temperatures up to the mid-teens and I marvelled at how oblivious some runners seemed to be to such heat.
Take this guy, for instance…
Of course, he couldn’t possibly have been as warm as…
FLASH! A-ah….Saviour of the universe…
And there were other charitable folk about who suffered on for their cause too…
Though I am not sure if charity was the cause here. Perhaps he was being patriotic?
Oh, and check out the barefoot look! I wonder how he fared by mile 26?
We’re only at mile five remember, and already the heat was getting to some folk.
And I wondered if this kid really stuck the pace? Three hours seems too long to be pushed around in a buggy.
It was striking how serious and focused everyone was in the first and second wave of runners.
They were so intent that they barely noticed the crazy lady photographer snapping at their feet. But as time wore on and the ordinary runners came along, there was a greater variation of expression. Some were there purely for a fun day out. For others, it had been a challenge to get to this point, and a challenge to work their way through it. These are my people, the Third Wavers.
Some took the waving literally.
Other just laughed their way along
Or clowned their way through the twenty six miles. Don’t you just love that outfit, though?
While others were happy to say…
“Yes, we did it. We were part of the Dublin City Marathon in 2014”
Considering that the winners would streak through the distance in a little over two hours, the less athletic possibly suffered more as they were a lot longer on their feet and not quite as streamlined.
It’s a challenge for everyone and for lots of different reasons. All of them deserve a great round of applause.
Disclaimer: Obviously I am not a race reporter so if you want to give me feedback on any aspect of this report please get in touch or comment below. I have some pics from last year’s Dublin Marathon here and will add more from this year’s photoshoot in the next day or two.