Tom Reflects

Posted by Ciaran Tobin on 27 October 2020


In the strangest of years this year's Dublin marathon went virtual. Having completed a virtual marathon earlier in the year in a surprising 3:05:01 I was immediately encouraged by alot of club mates to go for a sub 3 hour marathon. This had never entered my mind as being remotely possible until this point. With very few races around to motivate I thought I would give it a go for Dublin. The training plan was written down, more days and more mileage than I had ever come close to doing. Months of hard training and hard miles with great support from all of the guys in the training group and I was as prepared as I could be for the challenge. The original plan to run Virtual me arse marathon in Athboy had to change with the ever changing restrictions due to Covid-19. A new route devised, a bit around Knightsbrook and 4 laps of the rock, and we were ready to go.


I had great support, Quinton Bourke to pace me for the first 2 laps and Tom Feeley to pace me for the second 2 laps, Maurice Brennan cycled beside me all the way acting as my motivator and feed station manager. I couldn't have asked for any better. We set off at 8 20am on Sunday 25th of October. The conditions were dry and bright, unfortunately the wind was stronger than we would have wanted. We quickly settled into sub 3 hour pace. Unfortunately my breathing did not settle the same way. On lap one as we turned on the Summer hill road I realised that this was feeling alot harder than it should. My breathing wasn't right. But, encouraged by Maurice that I was still settling into the run we ploughed on.

On lap 2 I settled a little better, but not enough. Quinton was like a metronome on sub 3 pace, but he was starting to drift slightly away as I began to develop a stitch. Just over half way through I was forced to stop to get my breathing under control. Time to move to plan B - go for a PB. We picked up Tom Feeley at the roundabout by the donkeys field and we were off. A new pace settled into. There were a couple of hard miles before I settled into a reasonably good rhythm. I couldn't have asked for any better person to get me around those last 2 laps. Tom ran for me, whatever pace I needed and encouraged me to get the best out of myself on the day.

Through cramping legs and everything in me telling me to stop I made it to the end, just about, before dropping to the ground. EllenVitting and Heather Carty cycled in the last half mile as well to get me there. I will never forget the comforting words from Heather as she told me I looked like s**t and was grey. There was something about balls too. As someone pointed out she should be a motivational speaker. Through the hardest moments I had the image of young Penny in the Trim AC top in my mind. My discomfort was temporary and would pass, her discomfort and pain has unfortunately been her life. No more motivation do you need.

So the takeaways for me from this years virtual Dublin marathon: 1.You have to run the race on the merits of the day, always have a plan B, C etc 2. I am so lucky to be part of this running club. The support I have had over the months of trainig and on the day was incredible. I could feel everyone wiling me on. Everyone was so happy for each others achievements. 3. I am delighted with a new PB. I got the absolute max out of myself on the day. 4. I will break 3 hours... Just not on that day. Thanks for all the support Tom Moore

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