Pacer becomes pacee

After a few times of pacing at the London marathon, I decided to become a ‘follower’ at the Dublin Marathon. 

This is a great city marathon on a Bank holiday Monday preceded the day before by the international breakfast run.  The breakfast run is a social 4k with flags of many nations – I managed to get the St Georges Cross that had been left unused and ran with that (see picture below).
The weather on the Saturday & Sunday was grim so Monday’s blue skies were a welcome sight.  Although a little chilly at first and a bit windy it nevertheless was pretty ideal conditions.  The course is a real mixture of city, parks and suburbs.  Phoenix Park is stunning, the architecture in the central city is very scenic and the route through the suburbs is really well supported.
I decided to try to run my first sub 4.30 in a few years and went to follow the pacers.  Having been a pacer myself on a few occasions I knew that there was more space in front of them rather than behind so employed this strategy and ensured I didn’t go too far ahead.  All went well.  I crossed half way in 2.14.38 which was bang on schedule, my next few miles were still on track and then I got to 20 miles.  After having given myself a good talking to, I struggled along for half a mile but by then the 4.30 pacers had caught me and over the next few minutes they edged into the distance.  No matter what I tried my legs were seizing up and I couldn’t keep going.  The final 10km was an inglorious run/walk affair and with 2+ miles to go the 4.40 pacers rumbled nearer and then past me.
So my target of sub 4.30 was well and truly missed with my final finishing time of 4.47.59.  But as always, the marathon tests you and if you are found wanting, you get spat out!  The atmosphere was great, the event was well organised, lovely finishers medal, Janine and I had a good weekend (she saw me at four places on the course which was a bonus) and my marathon tally nudges up to #28 (Mark Evans tells me I should include Ironman marathons….).
One more 26.2 before the year finishes and then of course, next season is where the big improvements will come.  Don’t they always.
(Mike Clyne)