Dublin City Marathon 2013

Deer 2
Headed off bright and early this morning for the Dublin City Marathon. Just like last year. Only, this time, I would be standing at the sidelines with my camera and enjoying the sense of deja vu.

8 miles

My choice of pitch? The Phoenix Park. Specifically, the Chapelizod Gate exit. Easy parking, maybe some autumnal background colour and a nice atmosphere are the big attractions here. At eight miles, the athletes wouldn`t be too spread out either.

Leading Wheelchair athletes

Leading Wheelchair athletes

First to pitch up on the route were these three wheelchair athletes. They were having a grand chat when I saw them and looked like they were enjoying every bit of their day out.

Leading trio of men

Leading trio of men

And it wasn`t too long before the leading trio of men came into view. This year`s, the marathon organizing committee didn`t secure sponsorship until later on in the year. Too late, apparently, to pay the Ethiopian and Kenyan elites to join the field. No bad thing for the Irish though, as that meant they had a better chance of leading the field.

Leading trio-rear view

Leading trio-rear view

One of the leading ladies

One of the leading ladies

Damned if I could get a decent shot of the leading lady at this point. I think I was too distracted by the sheer absence of any body fat anywhere on the poor creature.

In the Autumn haze

It was interesting to see how the race really comes along in waves. When I was in the thick of it last year it felt like one vast corridor of bobbing people. But, from the sidelines, I`d a grand view of the breaks in the pack.

Pack

Some packs were smaller than others, of course. And it was also interesting to see that some folk were really chilled and chatting as they went along the route.

One guy even peeled off to take a pee in full view of everyone. Including my camera. Honestly, I didn`t even notice until I was looking at my pics later. Er, no, I won`t be uploading it yet. Guess you`ll just have to keep an eye on my picture gallery later on…

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat

Gotta love the runners who sport highly uncomfortable and amusing outfits, all in the name of charity.

Spot Bobo?

Spot Bobo?

My favourite was an astronaut-Chris Hadfield, maybe? He actually wore the astronaut`s head gear and suit down to his short and was carrying his astronaut legs as he ran. Nope, I didn`t get a pic. He was too damned fast for me.

But this guy wasn`t.

Gotta get to Sesame Street...

Gotta get to Sesame Street…

Twenty six miles in a Big Bird Suit? What a guy!

Lots of cheering and shouting from the crowd as the athletes left the park. Luckily the temperatures were perfect for running. That didn`t stop men running in full thermal gear-yes, even the damned tights I hate so much. And one guy even had a rain poncho over his thermal gear. Even though there wasn`t a drop of rain in sight.

I`m going to head over to my picture gallery later on with some more pics which may be of some use to some of the 14,500 brave souls who ran today. But, for now, I leave with my favourite wave of all…

The 4.30 pack heading towards Chapelizod

I left the Phoenix Park with the 4.30 wave this time last year. Ah! good times. In this pic, they had just left the Phoenix Park at the Chapelizod gate and are heading in for the final sixteen miles into the city.

I left the park today full of admiration for the very hard working,motley crew that makes up a marathon pack. And kinda hoping I`ll be with them again next year. Kinda.

Hey! Big shout out for fellow blogger Aidan Curran who was running the marathon today! Can`t wait to read his marathon report. Hope it went well for you, Aidan.

Cheers for the winners-Maria McCambridge-Women`s Title : 2 38 53 Seán Hehir-Mens Title: 2 18 19.
Paul Hannan -Wheelchair category

Bloom

Ate my way around Bloom this yesterday. Great fun!

Bloom is a garden festival, probably along the lines of the Chelsea Flower show, or any garden exhibition show in your area. It`s primarily about awarding competing garden designers for their magnificent showcase efforts. But`s it`s all about selling too. Everything from lawnmowers to black pudding and beyond. Not in a very pushy way though and so, you can go and have a whole heap of fun there and yet, buy nothing if you wish.

Which is more or less, what we did.

Stopped by the food pavilions first. (Ah, yes, you can see where my heart lies…) Just wanted to get there before the crowds, you understand. While my girl scoffed a crepe, I had a cappuchino. Then we headed for the artisan food marquees.

One exhibition area was devoted to Irish cheese. All we were required to do was to follow the crowd and nibble our way through award winning cheeses. Damn shame I didn`t take note of what cheeses I liked. But then, I liked most of them. I even bought a little lunch pack at the end with a variety of cheeses. Cute idea: it contained a selection of cheeses, tiny crackers and even a serrated balsa wood knife.

Really, I was amazed at the ingenuity, craftsmanship and sheer energy of the cheesemakers. Tough, tough work but they obviously are passionate about what they do. And cheese marketting is a hugely important part of that in a very tough environment.

Remember the Seventies?

Remember the Seventies?

Having been reared on Calvita processed muck, I never knew what cheese really was until I holidayed in France. Yesterday reminded me to experiment more with cheese, especially Irish ones. We`ve fantastic cheeses in this country.

We ambled along to find more fantastic stuff in other marquees. While my girl headed straight for Big Al`s very popular burger stall, I contented myself with the Ballymaloe stand. More cheese-Kilmeadan cheddar this time-and Ballymaloe`s variety of relishes. Ah, so many riches!

I sampled Rudd`s black pudding after that. Loved it. I passed on the oatmeal smoothie stand though and the herbal tea stuff. Way too healthy for me. But managed to taste Coole Swan`s liquer. Just in the interests of giving you my opinion and nothing to do with the fact that it`s alcoholic. Had to taste it twice to be sure I really liked it. I do!

Still hungry, we rolled on over to another marquee. Here we tasted Silver Hill duck and organic chicken. The chicken guy-wish I`d taken note of his name-had a terrfic line of patter.

As he fried up his chicken pieces, he explained how his chickens were only fed twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. That encouraged them to roam about the place all day and it was this exercise which gave them smaller fillets and bigger legs. Meanwhile, a big screen in the background showed his beautifully white feathered hens rambling around on his farm, while the products were beautifully packaged for sale in the fridge.

Where do these people find the time to manage their farms, attend to the business end and develop their marketing strategies? And hope it all works out too? Think I`ll stick to the day job, thank you.

It`s well worth their while attending Bloom, of course. According to the Bloom people, 80,000 people attended the five day event last year and they`re hoping 100,000 will attend this year.

Fed and watered at this stage, we rolled along to the main events-the showcase gardens.

I did manage to take a few photos here. Mainly because I wasn`t as interested in the planting as I was in the food. But interested enough to study the pics later on and see if anything was doable in my own patch of grass.

One day my flowers will grow like this.

One day my flowers will grow like this.

The wet look-very suited to our climate

The wet look-very suited to our climate

Bloom2

Live Music]

Ah yes, a little light music…

There was plenty to enjoy at Bloom for everyone. Except one screaming pesky two year old. Telling said two year old that if he doesn`t stay in his buggy he won`t get to the picnic area is pretty pointless. Little kids live in the present tense. They-especially little boy kids-do not do deferred gratification. Or picnic areas. Or being confined in a stationary stroller while Mum queues for coffee. In front of me.

I was needed my cappuchino so I couldn`t escape the silly parents and their wretched child.

Why Dad couldn`t move the stroller along while Mum stayed in the queue, I just don`t know.

Maybe they`re one of those daft couples who insist on running ten kms with string tying them together. Or worse, holding hands.

And that takes me neatly on to Juneathon and running.

No, I didn`t forget.

After rolling home and still stuffed, it was time to eat the little lunch pack I`d bought earlier. Of course.

But I did run. Had to, didn`t I? Day one and already had amassed thousands of fat globules. Sticking to my Hal Higdon half marathon plan I went for a three mile jaunt. Even added an extra half mile at the end.

Beautiful summer`s evening, with lots of little joys along the river path. And a realisation that running helps food taste better, and everything more doable, and even tantruming two year olds seem mildly tolerable.

Running helps us live better. In fact, I am sure it helps us bloom.