Category Archives: Races

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Fun Run

A couple of hours after finishing the 10k it was time for the final event of the weekend, the Fun Run.

Going into this it was quite unclear exactly what the distance was. One document said it was 4k, another claimed it to be 1.5 miles while the guy doing the announcing at the start line initially said it was only a mile before changing his mind on at least two more occasions. It was moderately amusing, although a bit frustrating too, especially for Dawn for whom this was her second run of the weekend. She wasn’t sure what to prepare herself for.

In the end it turned out to be 1.42 miles, basically starting beside the RnR ‘village’ and ending at the 5k/Half Marathon finish.

I was actually more worried about coping with this than I was about the 10k, simply because it had been two hours since I finished and was concerned about my legs seizing up. I tried to keep moving and went on the occasional short jog which did do a job in keeping the worst of it away.

Dawn had her concerns, too. Again, a lot of it focused on her breathing but, as with the 5k, there was also her calf/Achilles issues to think about it. Also, could she do it again?

She did! We both did!

Even though we knew it’d be a shorter distance we set off at considerably faster pace than the 5k despite the uncertainty over exactly how long it would be.

And as with the 5k, I was guided by whatever pace Dawn wanted to go at which turned out to be over a minute per mile faster than yesterday.

It was great to see her have the confidence to do that and even though the route was flat part of me wished for a hill of sorts just to see how she’d get on, although I’m not sure she’d agree!

I know she was pushing herself and did struggle at times but it was still really heartening to see her once again not give up, walk or let her difficulties beat her. That’s really inspiring and taught me something.

Anyway, after the Fun Run finish, it was time to collect our bags and our Remix medal for completing at least two events over the two days – a brute of a thing in the shape of a guitar complete with spinning plectrum in the middle. Rock ‘n’ roll!

It was an absolutely fantastic couple of days running. The company wasn’t bad either, thanks Dawn. You were amazing and should be really proud of yourself for what you achieved.

Oh, and we bumped into Spanish man, Liverpool RnR chap and Brummie couple again! By the end of it all I wasn’t quite sure who was stalking who!!

Relive my run

 

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin 10k

And so onto Sunday, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin 10k. The course followed the same route as the Half Marathon before turning off for the finish in Phoenix Park via the Chapelizod Road gates, not that I have a clue whereabouts that is!

From memory, the 8:30am start was the earliest I’ve ever had to race … that meant leaving my room in Trinity at around 7am and making my way to the start at the 3Arena (or the Point Depot in old money!).

Remember how I said in my 5k blog that Dawn and I kept bumping into the same people over and over again? Well, it happened again. I got to the Luas stop on Abbey Street and, lo and behold, there was the little Spanish man standing waiting – and pretty soon the Brummie couple turned up too. It was good to catch up with them and nice of them to ask how Dawn had got on in the 5k which, of course, I waxed lyrical about.

The tram came … and went. It was absolutely jam packed so I decided to wait for the next one although the longer the wait went on I started to consider walking to the start. It was only about 20-30 minutes away so easily doable. Indeed, quite a few people did start dandering down before, another tram turned up which I managed to squeeze onto – quite literally. My butt cheeks became quite acquainted with the door by the time we reached our destination!

Anyway, I got there eventually, sorted out my baggage, left it onto the truck and made my way to the starting pens. I felt quite relaxed, I’ve been here many times now so all the old nerves have largely disappeared … indeed, I get more nervous going for a run on my own than I do in a race these days. Or maybe it was the AC/DC soundtrack playing over the PA system that helped!

The race started and off I went, feeling quite comfortable despite two very long days during which I’d taken a combined total of almost 60,000 steps.

The opening kilometre or so was along one side of the river (the O’Connell Street side) before we crossed the Talbot Memorial Bridge onto the Temple Bar side of the city centre.

The route hugged the course of the Liffey for a large proportion apart from one detour up to Christ Church Cathedral and a real bugger of a hill. Short but very sharp although this really was a case of what goes up must come down and at one point as we doubled back I was able to see how many people were behind me … and there were loads! This gave me a real impetus to push on because I sensed I was on course for a decent time.

Back we went to the river, past the gates of the Guinness Storehouse and on to Heuston Station before turning off for the grounds of the Royal Kilmainham Hospital and then the outskirts of Kilmainham Gaol.

It was around this point that something quite remarkable happened. I was running along, minding my own business, before suddenly becoming aware of these people shouting my name.

My immediate thought was to look around to see if someone with ‘Martin’ on their shirt was nearby but I couldn’t see anyone. I know I didn’t have it on mine because I was wearing my club shirt.

So I went on again but, within seconds, the shouts came once more. Just behind me were a group of people dressed up like rockers from the band KISS – painted white face, black wigs, rock gear and, ummm, inflatable guitars …. the whole look.

They were shouting at me but I hadn’t a clue who they were. “Who are you? Do I know you?” I hollered back ….. amazingly, it turned out to be Allison, Emma and Chris from my running club who were down as part of a larger group doing the Half Marathon in costume.

I thought this was fantastic and hilarious in equal measure so, after the obligatory selfie and chat, we set off running together. They’re all faster than me (not hard, admittedly!) so I only managed to stay with them for a short while although I caught up again soon after when they stopped to play some air guitar with one of the many bands along the route.

Leaving them to it, I ran on with the final words of Emma ringing in my ears “Don’t you dare let us catch you!” and I didn’t. It really motivated me to keep plugging away for the last couple of kilometres.

As I approached the end the 10k runners were instructed to take the left side of the road to turn into Phoenix Park. As I did I expected the finish line to be right in front of me, but I couldn’t see it. Instead, all I could see was this mass of runners away in the distance and at a great height.

Instinctively I thought I had to go all the way up there and, I’ll admit, it really threw me. So I started walking, quite demoralised, until one bloke shouted at me that the finish line was just ahead of me and those runners were on the Half route … and, sure enough, as I turned the slight bend on the road, I could see the 10k finish a couple of hundred yards away.

Immediately I sprinted for it as hard and fast as I could, spotting Dawn standing on the right side. In my mind I was all graceful and Gazelle-like but, after seeing the only official picture of me, I was more like a lumbering juggernaut. Ah well.

In the end, I was pretty pleased with my time. I was faster for the fourth consecutive race so, all told, a satisfactory performance and a really great experience.

Relive my run

Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin 5k

What a successful weekend of running that was!

The latest in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon series was taking place in Dublin and after discussing it with my friend Dawn we decided to make our way to the Irish capital to take in some of the races being held.

I opted for the 5k on Saturday and the 10k followed by the Fun Run on Sunday whilst Dawn, who had crossed the Irish Sea for the weekend, opted for the 5k and Fun Run.

This is the story of the 5k.

Arriving in the city on Friday we immediately went to the packet pickup in the classic grounds of Trinity College in the heart of the city. I was also staying here, and it definitely added a sense of grandeur to the entire experience.

Registration etc. was extremely swift and straightforward and in a matter of minutes we had collected all our various documents, race numbers and so on. Indeed, that efficiency was more or less the case across the whole weekend.

I say ‘more or less’ because the only real hitch of any description came on Saturday morning when trying to make our way to the famous Phoenix Park for the 5k. As we collected our number we were given ‘final’ instructions which, amongst other things, detailed transport options including shuttle buses to get to the starting line.

Unfortunately, at least in the case of the 5k, these instructions contradicted themselves. We arrived at the designated stop and met a man from Spain who was also waiting. Pretty soon a chap who had done the RnR Liverpool event turned up, followed after that by a couple from Birmingham or thereabouts, judging by their accents ….. all of us in the correct place as per the instructions.

What made this noteworthy is that we kept bumping into these same people over and over again during the weekend. There were thousands in Dublin for the various races yet we kept seeing the same people. What were the odds of that happening? It was quite amusing really and also good to follow each others progress.

After a short discussion we determined that no bus was turning up and that the instructions were wrong, so we all made our way to the nearby Luas stop to get the tram to Heuston Station on the other side of the city centre whereupon shuttle buses *were* waiting to take us the short distance to the starting area.

I should say at this point that Dawn is very new to running. She has recently completed a C25K programme at her local club, and had only ever ran two 5ks – a Race For Life and her nearby parkrun – both in the last few weeks.

On top of that, as an asthma sufferer, she finds it very difficult to regulate her breathing whilst running, attends regular physio sessions for a number of leg and foot issues and less than a year ago went through shockwave therapy to treat a serious Plantar Fasciitis problem.  The fact that she runs at all is nothing short of astonishing.

I mention all this because it’s very relevant to what followed.

As we wandered around the starting village I could notice Dawn getting very nervous. This was a huge event for her. She was worried about her breathing, the tightness in her calves, her Achilles …. and she was also warning me that she’d be rubbish, a far worse runner than I thought she’d be, grumpy, slow and so on.

I am no stranger to pre-run ‘sick with worry’ nerves and our finishing time didn’t bother me in the slightest. My only concern was staying with Dawn from the start line to the finish, and doing what was required to get her through. This was all about her.

The race itself was a triumph, it really was.

We set off at a steady pace …. and just kept going. That’s right, we kept going. Apart from one very brief section of around 200 metres at the bottom of a slope Dawn ran the whole thing. I’m pretty sure that faced with the same route again she would tackle the rise because there was another one shortly afterwards that she did run up, almost getting to the top before even realising it was there!

And not only did we keep going, we got faster in the second half of the run, started to pass quite a few people and finished inside the time Dawn had predicted for herself.

Coming down the long finishing strait was a special moment, a goosebumps type of thing, knowing that Dawn completed it and absolutely smashed it.

In my mind I likened it to how I felt turning onto The Mall at the end of the London Marathon. I felt so much pride for Dawn, knowing what it would have meant to her, such a massive accomplishment.

Personally, I had no doubt she’d do it. I had total and utter confidence in her. A massive well done from me. Excuse the pun but she absolutely ‘rocked’ it.

Relive my run