The End of the Line

Well, it looks like the marathon photo session is at an end. I’ve added new pics today in my Dublin City Marathon 2014 page.

If you scroll on down through that page you will find some of those runners I snapped from the 3:20 pacers right through to the 5:00 hour pacers just before Mile 5 on Chesterfield Avenue in the Phoenix Park.

There are two more posts concerning this year’s marathon with my kerbside highly uninformed commentary here and another post regarding the marathon photographs here.

The photo gallery on this post is a selection of my favourites from the latter section of the marathon. While everything is terribly serious for the sub-three hour crew, from a kerb-side perspective, the marathon gets to be even more fun as it rolls along.

Back to the land of the running now.

Or it would be if I didn’t fall on Sunday. Darn. More anon!

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Another Marathon

Another day, another marathon. But, no, not of the running kind.

 

100

Runners at the Phoenix Monument, Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park, Dublin

I spent the morning wading through the mountain-there’s over a thousand-of pics I took at yesterday’s Dublin City Marathon.

Naturally, having run a marathon once before, I am made of tough stuff. But, by the time I got pic number 100 uploaded onto my new Dublin City Marathon page, I was in need of a stack of gels. Although a fine red wine would have helped either.

Anyway, if you’ve been there you might want to browse through the pics here. And if you haven’t been there, you’ll get a feel for the whole experience by browsing through the pics anyway.

Today’s additions just takes you past the 3:10 pacer mark. All of the pics have been taken before the five mile point along Chesterfield Avenue, so all you runners look nice and fresh faced.

I’ll be adding more runners in the coming days, right along through to my people in the Third Wave.

Well done to one and all! Hope you’re not in too much pain today!

Dublin City Marathon 2014

Cyclist Chesterfield Avenue

Chesterfield Avenue, Phoenix Park

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.

Áras

Home of our President: Áras an Uachtaráin

 

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….

Time 18 44

Lead car

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.

Lead Wheelchair Athlete

Anyone give me a name for this athlete please?

Wonderful to watch, the wheelchair athletes must have serious arm  and upper body strength.

Lead Woman 28 18

Here come the women

 

He was followed, some ten minutes later, by the lead runner, Dmitry Safronov.

Lead Man

First man at the Phoenix monument

 

…while two clusters of leading men hung back, no doubt as part of their race strategy.

Leading Men

Leading men

 

Number three is Russian athlete, Aleksei Sokolov.

Leader Group two

More elites

Pavel Teplykh is leading this group along, followed by Ethiopian Fikru Teshager.

Leader Group 3

Who is this guy? I can’t see him on the results sheet.

And here’s… well, actually, I don’t know. There’s no sign of number 17 on the results page this evening. Help, anyone!

Lead Woman 2

Maria McCambridge

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.

woman 105

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.

Shorts

 

Relaxed Lady

While further along the line, this lady from Raheny Shamrocks looked very comfortable, making it all seem just like a nice little jaunt.

David Carrie

David Carrie

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.

3 hour pacers

Three Hour Pacers

The three hour pacers brought a huge crowd with them.

Cool Shades

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.

Allez

There are pacers at every ten minutes at the DCM

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…

Warm

Today was practically balmy

Of course, he couldn’t possibly have been as warm as…

FLASH! A-ah….Saviour of the universe…

Oohh, it's hot in here

Flash Gordon

And there were other charitable folk about who suffered on for their cause too…

Skirt 2

A grand bit o`skirt!

 

Running Rossies

Another guy with a great sense of humour.

Though I am not sure if charity was the cause here. Perhaps he was being patriotic?

Kilt

I hope he has running shorts under that kilt…

Oh, and check out the barefoot look! I wonder how he fared by mile 26?

Barefoot

Ouch!

We’re only at mile five remember, and already the heat was getting to some folk.

Bare chest

Gosh, it’s warm…

 

And I wondered if this kid really stuck the pace? Three hours seems too long to be pushed around in a buggy.

 

Buggy

Mammy, Mammy, I want to get out!

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.

Francis

Hi! to you too, Francis!

Other just laughed their way along

Thumbs up

Thumbs up!

Or clowned their way through the twenty six miles. Don’t you just love that outfit, though?

Clown

Oh, only twenty one miles to go in this get up.

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.

Five hours

In four hours time it will all be over.

 

Applause

Hey Well done you too!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn Glory

Outward Bound

Heading out onto the Irish Sea at Skerries Harbour

I snatched a piece of glory for myself on a long, slow, Sunday run by the coast. It was one of those very bright October mornings with the moon a finger-painted smudge in clear blue skies over the bobbing boats of Skerries harbour.

returning

Skerries Harbour

White sails dazzled in the clear, calm waters, as the members of Skerries Sailing Club busied themselves with their yachts.

And there were plenty of land lubbers about delighting in the crisp clear air or, like myself, taking pictures of the pretty scene…

Long shadow..

…and silly shadow selfies…

Oh, I could feel my old enemy, Procrastination, setting in. It was time to go.

The Skerries-Balbriggan route is very popular with runners and walkers. No doubt, it’s spectacular views have a lot to do with that. And of course, hugging the sea as it does, it is entirely flat. Always a plus for a plodder like me.

The downside though is that the footpath is very narrow, and its surface is dangerously rough. Three miles in, loose gravel got the better of me. I stumble. Almost saved myself. Then, horror of horrors, slam onto the ground.

It’s the classic little-kid fall, featuring two grazed knees, two skint hands and lost pride. I hobble to a nearby gateway to assess the damage and recover my composure. And, apart from a hole in my leggings (damn, my last good pair) I am good to go.

As it turned out, this wasn’t the worst of my pathway woes…

I had to step off it several times to let pedestrians by, always, of course, with an eye out for a car careening round a bend. And, worse still, there is a patch just outside Skerries where the path runs out entirely.  Possibly to encourage runners to up their tempo a tad.

It had that effect on me, anyway.

It would be really good to see this pathway widened and resurfaced. A lot of people enjoy it and, with a truckload of health problems festering in our overfed and depressed population, this investment would do the world of good for both Skerries, Balbriggan and their visitors.

But otherwise, the mild autumn temperatures and sea air made for perfect running conditions. And, even though I love to listen to talk radio during these long slow runs, I took frequent earphone breaks just to enjoy the sound of the sea and its accompanying birdlife.

Here and there I’d catch a glimpse of redshank, oystercatcher or snipe, while the gulls, announced their abundance with raucous cries.

Soon, I was heading into Balbriggan. A solitary red bricked chimney declared it’s industrial heritage. This was the ancient chimney of Smyths’ textile factory.

The town was built on tights, balbriggan being a term used to describe a fine knit textile which was once manufactured in that town and turned into hosiery and underwear.

Lighthouse

Balbriggan Harbour

 

Balbriggan hides its glories well.  One of the joys of running, of course, is that it tends to sniff out these charms, and so brighten even the most tedious of trots with sparkling gems.

The harbour glistened in the morning light. After the hideous railway perimeter and ugly jumble of buildings, it seems all the more surprising. And, a little further along there is a Martello tower, yes, another one to match the ones I’d seen in Dalkey,Sandymount, Donabate, Portrane, Loughshinney and in Skerries itself.

Winding back through the town, there is the interesting court house building, and a beautiful Carnegie library opposite.  But little else to delight the eye.

I was homeward bound at this point, however, looping back to Skerries and already looking forward to the return journey, trotting along between the railway line and the sea, and enjoying ever second of it.

I met more friendly runners on that route than any other I had encountered. I figured that was because they were as happy as I was, enjoying the scenery and the glorious autumn day.

Ten miles done. I barely felt them. Not, I hasten to add, because I am super fit, or even fit.

But, because some runs just are sheer joy.