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Dublin Marathon 2022

Dublin Marathon 2022

The Dublin Marathon 2022 was once again an amazing experience. The date of the marathon coincides with my birthday each year, at the end of October. I enjoy both events every year with equal enthusiasm, and have since 2013.  Well, maybe I like the marathon slightly more. The only exceptions were the virtual runs in 2020 and 2021. It’s an event that has the buzz and excitement of a world major, with only a slightly smaller field size. This year, entries reached 25,000 runners. 

My previous best time in Dublin came in 2019, when I ran 3:06:20. This was just a few weeks after running an almost identical time in the Chester Marathon. In 2022, I didn’t really have any expectations. The plan was to run it hard and go for a time. I ran the Berlin Marathon five weeks previous, and I struggled with a tight back, which prevented a strong finish. I hoped my back would allow me to run a sub three-hour time in Dublin. It caused issues in training so sub-three was anything but guaranteed. I received quite a few sports massages, did loads of yoga sessions and daily core workouts between the two races. With my fingers crossed, I hoped my back would hold up on race day.

I didn’t have a room booked in Dublin, which meant a two hour journey prior to the event. A group of five of us left the house just before 5am. My breakfast consisted of coffee, toast with peanut butter and some overnight oats that I prepared the night before. Most of this was consumed on the drive down. We arrived at a pre-arranged meeting point where I met some friends. They had picked up my race bib at the expo on Saturday, and waited for me at their hotel. At 7:30am, all ready and geared up, we walked to the race start to leave our kit bags. There was a delay at this point. The gates were still closed and didn’t open until around 8:15am. When it opened, we dropped our bags and headed to the Wave 1 corral, which was to start at 8:45am. 

As it was still early, I got some brief dynamic warmups in. The lines were rather quiet at the portaloos as well, so I stopped for a last minute visit.  I was early enough to get up front of the wave, just behind the wheelchair athletes and the elites. The three-hour pacers were nearby just in front of me. I didn’t plan on running with the pacers, but given my back issues, I thought it might be a good idea. The new plan was to stay just behind them, at least for a little while and see how it felt.

Dublin Marathon Finish Portrait
The finish line at the 2022 Dublin City Marathon
Dublin City Marathon 2022 Last 800m
Dublin Marathon last 800m
DCM 2022 Pack
On course in Dublin
Dublin Marathon 2022 Funnel
Dublin Finishers Funnel

Dublin Marathon 2022 – The Race

It was like a stampede when the gun sounded. The number of runners who flew past me at the start was crazy. I didn’t want to get caught up in a mad sprint, so I settled into my pace  early. The large, tight crowd made the bollards separating the cycle lane from the road rather dangerous to navigate. I imagine quite a few runners were taken out by one on their way around. It was tight for quite a few of the first 12 miles. It wasn’t until after leaving Phoenix Park the second time that there was any chance to really open the stride. During training, this was the point where my back had been giving be the most bother. 

As the miles ticked over, I got further and further behind the three hour pacers. I didn’t panic and I was resigned to my fate, whatever that was going to be. I took a ibuprofen at mile 11 as my back started to show signs of getting tight. I hit the halfway point at 1:29:58, which was not too bad and if I could keep it steady, It was still possible to run under three hours. I hoped to prevent the pain from overwhelming me like in Berlin, so I took the second ibuprofen at mile 16. This seemed to do the trick and I never really felt the distress that I did in training. As a matter of fact, at about mile 17, I started to feel pretty good and actually had a few really strong miles. 

The support on the streets of Dublin, as always, was incredible. The music, the cheering and the overall noise was amazing. Getting the shout outs from Roisin, Catraoine and the many other spectators from Fermanagh helped keep my momentum going.

I stuck with my nutrition guidelines that had been working for me well this year. My first gel with caffeine at mile 14, and the second, without caffeine at mile 18. I took a third gel, again with caffeine at mile 22 saving the last, also with caffeine, for mile 24. at every single water stop, where they were handing out small bottles, which made drinking very easy. There were a couple of miles during this last 10k stretch that took some energy out of me as I hit a few hilly sections, including mile 22. However, my overall pace was staying at or near the 6:50/mile mark, which meant I was in a good place.

I knew I wasn’t running close enough to the measured line in order to break 3. My watch beeped around 300m before each of the road signs marking each mile. But if I could keep the pace steady, there was still a chance to get close.

Dublin Marathon 2022 Friends
Friends posing after Dublin Marathon
DCM 2022 finishers funnel
Fist bump with volunteers at Dublin Marathon

The Last Mile

The last mile came with a tonne of support from running friends who were down to cheer for their club-mates. The Rock Runners had a bus load of supporters down and I received a lot of love from them. I got personal shouts from five additional friends in the last 400m, each of these made a huge difference. They gave me a boost of energy when my legs just don’t feel like turning over anymore.

I crossed the line at 3:01:08. There was not a thing wrong with that time. I was delighted to go from not being sure I would be able to complete the distance, to finishing just over three hours. I counted the Dublin Marathon 2022 as a massive success.

The special thing about Dublin is that there are always dozens of friends who run it every year and the post race celebrations are always top notch. This year, unfortunately, it was straight to the airport for me and I missed out on all the craic. There were so many great results from friends and teammates. Once again, I really enjoyed my run on this course. It is a special feeling to run well in this race and for me personally, it was a five minute course PB. I can’t wait until next year! Now for some post marathon recovery!

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