Inspiring Runners

 

Christine Kennedy

Christine Kennedy-link to photo source and article here

Is there something wonderful going on in Senior Running?

I am prompted to think this by the many posts of veteran runner, Mary Lou Harris and the following  comment from Mary Lou on one of my Dublin City Marathon posts:

Great reporting and photography. I just came across a Running Times article about Christine Kennedy, age 59, who won the Dublin Marathon back in 1982 and this year ran a 2:59 marathon (apparently an age record).

Senior women are burning up the roads and the records this year.

Christine Kennedy, as it turns out, is a Galway woman, long settled in California, where she co-owns two running shops and runs up to 85 miles per week. Inspired by the inaugural Dublin City Marathon of 1981, she vowed that she would run it too, even though, at that point she was very unfit. She commenced training that year and, in October 1982, she ran her first marathon in 3 hours 31 minutes.

In 1990 Christine was the first woman home in the Dublin marathon in a time of 2:41:27 and she repeated that success the following year in a time of 2: 35:36.

Long settled in America, and, with years of great competitions and success behind her, Christine is now focussed on being the first lady in the F60 category to run a sub 3 hour marathon. She has targeted Boston 2015 for this attempt.

I put that proposed time in perspective by digging through the results page on the Dublin City Marathon website.  It’s well worth perusing the stats there to see the state of play in this country for senior women. And, although we’re not close to having an F60 woman run a sub-3 hour marathon, the results are still very heartening.

There are three women in the F75 category, with the lead lady Anette Olsson coming in at 5 hours 8 minutes and 44 seconds.

The F70 category has eleven runners in total with Frances Brelauer leading the category with a finish time of 4:35:57.

The F65 category has a best finish time from Sue Nicholl of 3:43:45

While the F60 winning time is delivered by Mary Lynch on 3:45:44.

The important thing, in my book, is not that the records are broken, but that everyone takes fitness seriously, as a means of enhancing their quality of life. If aiming to beat one’s own PR, one’s neighbour, or break a record drives that goal on, then that’s a good thing.

Just seeing older people out there running, inspires all of us. Women in this country especially, have not always been encouraged to do this in the past. However, Dublin marathon participation rates for older ladies compare very favourable with popular marathons such as Prague and Boston, and, given the numbers of younger women who have taken up running in recent years, the senior race participation rates should increase a lot in the years to come

My body serves me very well but, a reality check tells me that it’s more of a trusty Volvo than a nippy little Porsche. Even with all the training on the planet, I am not going to break any landspeed records any time soon.

 I do enjoy being fit, though. And I do believe fitness of for everyone, not just the super duper elite athletes.
 Sure, there’s that little nagging voice going on that mocks my efforts and chides me:
Hey, aren’t you too old for this?
Is this really doing you any good?”
” Wouldn’t it be nicer just to curl up with a great book?”
And, much though I’d especially like to concede to the last point, I know I have to keep getting out there to benefit from the cardiovascular conditioning that regular aerobic exercise provides.
Our running elders are guiding the way to a healthier, fitter future. A future that’s there for any of us with a little luck and a lot of effort. Of course, it doesn’t have to happen through running either. But I suppose, what with all the events on offer, from parkruns to marathons, there’s a lot of opportunity these days to enjoy running.
Mary Lou Harris has a lovely post about Olga Kotelko and her super senior running successes. Olga is 94.
So c’mon, if we all keep moving, maybe we’ll be wonderful in our F90 or M90 years too!

 

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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!

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.