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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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phoenix Park Run

Lest you think I’ve been lounging around…

Well, I’ve been running. I enjoyed a nice long slow run on Sunday. Eight and three quarters of a mile. Yes, I know, I know, should have pushed for the whole nine miles but I had a weak moment when the sight of my car coincided with 8.75 miles of running and well, that was all I had left in me.

Crosstraining on Monday consisted of mowing the half acre(push mower, mind,not one of those fancy ride on yokes!) and wrestling the brambles out of the hedge. At times like that I am really glad I run. It just gives me the physical and psychogical will to keep going. Well, at least up until the 8.75 mile stage of anything.

Tuesday and I made myself-literally, bribed myself-into running three miles. Actual running running. As opposed to jogging running. My pace has become positively funereal so I am pushing this week for more speed.

That should be “speed” since I am infinitely more tortoise than hare.

And yesterday, I took Teen Girl off to the park for a trot. Not any old park. This is the Phoenix Park in Dublin. It’s a favourite haunt for sports’ enthusiasts of all sorts. But, really, for all sorts of people following all kinds of pursuits.

Áras an Uachtaráin, President Michael D. Higgins’ home, is here. And well worth dropping into the Phoenix Park visitor centre of a Saturday morning just to get a guided tour of that house.

And Farmleigh House, where the government hosts states people from other nations, is also on the grounds of the Park. Tours available every day, except when we have our international guests.

And here too, is the American ambassador’s bolthole, just a short trot from the American Embassy in the city.

It was late evening when we arrived. A little too late, unfortunately, to pop in on Michael D., the Ambassador or any international guests.  But perfect for an evening run. The place was nicely busy with cyclists, rollerskaters, strollers so you also get a sense of being part of a big, active group.

Sight of the Day has to go to the young family we spotted out for a stroll. A five year old, his parents and two double buggies. Yes, two, with twins in one and well, I couldn’t be sure if the second one was twins or siblings and Teen Girl was already embarrassed enough by my staring. So I just had to run on. And wonder at the marathon efforts it must take to manage that merry troupe.

The run? Well, just two miles of dashing around, stopping to take a pic and dashing off again. Since these efforts were cringe-worthy in Teen Girl’s book, she contented herself by doing her own thing.

Meanwhile, I’ve made a promise to return to the Park for a longer run. It’s the scene of a ten mile run in August and if I push beyond that 8.75 mile Sunday run, I just might make it.

 

 

Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin

Farmleigh house facade

Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park, Dublin was one of the illustrious addresses of the Guinness family from 1847 until 1992.

The particular Guinness was the great grandson of brewery founder, Arthur Guinness. The family sold the house to the Irish State in 1999 for the €29.2 million. €23million and two years were spent on its restoration by the wonderful people at the Office of Public Works. And, by 2001, the house was opened to the public.

The house has been adapted for State visits so that it can accommodate visiting heads of State from other countries. At other times it is open to the public for guided tours, concerts and other events.

It really thrills me to see such places opened so highly accessible now to all of us in the country. I`ve been to many events there, including their wonderful Christmas markets, their summer markets, concerts and art exhibitions. Yes, you can tell I`m a big fan of the OPW and I`m glad, given our history, that we are reclaiming, restoring and repurposing these places rather than have them fall to rack and ruin.

The tour of the house is free and just half an hour long. I`d hoped yesterday to enjoy my third tour of the place but when I rocked up at the Farmleigh front door, it seemed there was no one at home at all.

Courtyard Farmleigh

The Courtyard at Farmleigh

So, I rambled around to the courtyard for a bit. Usually a hive of activity in summer, this too was deserted. The gallery too, was empty.

And then, I found the side entrance. Ah yes, I had forgotten. This is where you queue up for your free guided tour folks. So don`t let the silent house and absence of signage put you off.
Side Entrance

Side Entrance

Only there was no queue. Just me, and six other people for the guided tour.

farmleigh dining room

The Diningroom

We trooped up from the basement to the diningroom. Panelled in Irish oak and hung with three hundred year old Italian silk tapestries, I could easily imagine a scene from Downton Abbey in there.

This, our guide told us, was where Queen Elizabeth and President Obama were welcomed on their recent visits to Ireland. The table is original to the room, while the china bears harp insignia of Irish state china. The cutlery is from Newbridge and the crystal is also Irish, coming from the Waterford.

Stairway

The Hall

The entrance hall in Farmleigh is something of a piece de resistance. I wish I had a better picture of it here. Yes, you can see the fine Italian fireplace and the view of the mahogany staircase running to the upper floors. The mahogany for this stairway is from San Domingo mahogany, from Central America.

But  I`d love you to see the doorway.  There are magnificent Connemara marble pillars and Greek styled statues either side of it.  And then, a step up towards the grandeur of the hall itself. There is lots of glass incorporated into the design beautifully dressed windows all around the door.  Light also floods through the glassed roof above the stairway, so that initial effect upon entering Farmleigh  is of space, light and grandeur.

I wondered if the Guinness kids came charging through the front door and plonk their mucky trainers and cricket bats there for the servants to clean up?

But onwards then to the lady`s boudoir…
boudoir

The Boudoir

Oh, I wouldn`t mind having a room in which to take tea with my pals. I`m not sure I`d be having it in here though. Yes, it`s all very pretty with it`s delicate plaster work, light colours and curved walls. But there is nothing to do in it. Except talk and take tea and well, um, I think I`d rather join the guys in the library. I really want to climb the nifty staircase there and spend some time in the gallery browsing through the rare books.

Frmleigh library

The Library

The Guinness family bequeathed the library to the Irish State on condition that they mind the collection there. There`s a letter from Daniel O`Connell to his wife there which he wrote after the Catholic Emancipation Bill was passed. And a primer in the Irish language which was used by Queen Elizabeth 1. Along with thousands of other rare books. A rainy afternoon in there would be just heaven!

But we must dance onwards to the ballroom.

farmleigh ballroom

The Ballroom

Lighting is a particular feature of Farmleigh as it was one of the first houses in the country to use electricity. There are three chandeliers in the ballroom-a magnificent French one, flanked by two from Waterford. The finely plastered walls are another feature as they are not plastered at all. In fact its wood panelling, with fine carvings added, and the whole painted off white to resemble plaster.

We were taken to the conservatory then. It reminded me of the glass houses in the Botanical gardens, complete with pots filled with the kind of greenery of which Victorian lords and ladies were so fond of.

We didn`t get a peek at the state bedrooms upstairs. There are fourteen in all with bathrooms en suite. Some are decorated in the 19th century and others in the upper floor, in modern style. Or so the guide told us. I don`t believe her though and really think we could have slipped up there for just the tiniest little peek.

But no, it was time to go. Our guide shepherded us out through the front door.
Farmleigh

Farmleigh Estate

And, with the views of Farmleigh estate and the Phoenix Park beyond, it was time to go running.

Further information on farmleigh.ie

Pictures of Farmleigh interior here are all from farmleigh.ie.

Farmleigh exterior photos are my own.