On Saturday I returned to Kilkenny to run the Tullaroan marathon again – the same marathon I had run in May. The last time, I had found it very, very tough, and I wasn’t expecting it to be any easier this time – especially considering that I hadn’t run further than 10 miles since the Tralee 100K at the start of August.
I travelled up with Brian, Marilyn and Conor (who was doing the 10K), and we left Tralee bright and early for the two and a half hour trip. After the usual banter and messing on the journey (and sleeping for some people), we arrived in plenty of time to register and get ready. As was the case last time, the marathon was starting at Tullaroan GAA club, and everything was kept running smooth by the great Vincent Guthrie, one of the best, and friendliest, Race Directors you are ever likely to meet.
Myself, Brian, and Mazza set off with a large group from Marathon Club Ireland, though we were taking our time, so the main group soon disappeared in the distance.
Myself and Brian were treating this as a training run, while certain other people had been out on the town till the wee hours, and so weren’t going to be breaking any records!
Brian and I knew only too well what was ahead of us on this course – hills, hills, and more hills!
We had warned Mazza, but I think she may have thought we were exaggerating…..
It was warm for the first few miles, and we were soon into the hills – one of the tough things about this marathon is that you keep coming over these hilltop ridges, expecting to find a downhill, but discover that there is yet another hill on the other side! As the roads went up, so did the temperatures, and we were soon feeling the effects.
Mazza was a lifesaver for me – I knew that she was suffering, and all I had to do when I felt I couldn’t go any further was hold out a few extra seconds, and she would break before me, and ask us to slow down! This became a theme of the day, and Mazza eventually copped onto it, and wasn’t too impressed with me. I was delighted though – normally she would be well ahead of me!
We had great fun on this run, despite the incessant hills. There really is nothing like running a marathon with friends, especially friends as crazy as these two.
The course consists of two loops, and by the time we got to the end of the first loop, I was really feeling the pressure – the lack of long runs for the past few weeks, coupled with the heat, was sapping my energy, and I was not looking forward to the second loop!
Surprisingly enough, I seemed to get a bit stronger as we went on, and actually didn’t feel too bad for the last 5 or 6 miles – the complete opposite of the last time we did this marathon, when I was all but crawling the last stretch. Brian drove us on as usual, and, despite walking the worst of the hills (and a few that weren’t too bad!) we managed to pick it up a little near the end, and even passed a few runners in the last couple of miles.
We crossed the line holding hands, and discovered that we did it 30 seconds faster than our previous time! Talk about consistent.
After the relief of crossing the line, we had some of the very nice coffee, sandwiches, and cupcakes provided by Vincent’s crew, and watched the presentations of medals to some of the runners who had reached particular milestones – it was great to see Mary Toomey Roche receive her 25 marathon medal, and the great Denzil Jacobs receive his 100 marathon medal.
Thanks again to Vincent and his crew for another great (and tough!) marathon, to the people of Tullaroan for supporting it, and to the brilliant Marathon Club of Ireland, who make every run an adventure.
Thanks to Mary Mockett for the pics.