SSE Dublin Marathon
The 37th running of the SSE Dublin City Marathon proved a real winner, with a record breaking number of participants, a first time Sunday race, and possibly the best weather conditions of the previous 36 Bank Holiday Monday events.
Last Sunday’s event ranked as the 4th largest marathon in Europe, with the support on the streets possibly worth an even higher ranking.
Milford AC had an entrant for every year of the marathon’s existence, with 37 black and red singlets prepared and willing to tackle the 26.2 miles of streets, parks and suburbs at varying paces and a mixture of trepidation and excitement.
The elite and faster club runners assembled on Merrion Square for a 9am start, where Milford’s leading contenders also got immersed in the action.
Peter O’Donnell and Damien McBride set the early pace, - well clear of the massive group following the 3 hour ‘balloon’ pacer. Peter was just recovering from a back injury which prevented his near surety of getting a recent novice cross country team medal, but the Kilmacrennan man is made of strong stuff, and maintained his consistent 4:10/km pace to lead home the Milford crew in 2:56:17, finishing in the top 300 of almost 17,000 finishers.
Damien McBride is the clubs most consistent marathon runner, and the teak tough Kerrykeel man showed his battling marathon qualities to run his 3rd sub 3 hour marathon recording 2:57:45.
Marty Lynch had two goals to improve on last year’s 3:08, and if possible get under the 3 hours. The Ramelton man delivered on both as he stuck to the 3 hour pacer like glue, only breaking free over the last 2 miles when he knew he was safely on target, closing in on Damien he ran a big pb of 2:57:54.
Milford 4th man under 3 hours was the determined Shaun Boyce. The Gortmacall man ran 3:20 last year and was determined to join the sub 3hr club. At 23 miles tiring legs were telling him to slow but he dug deep in the closing stages to reach the blue carpet finish with 31 seconds to spare, a welcome pb of 2:59:29.
Paul Russell set a pb of 3:04:23 after a 3:07 in Derry in June, but the genial Churchill man is closing in on the sub 3hr group.
Anthony Doherty had the misfortune to start in wave 4 due to a late entry. The Coolboy man would have been under the 3 hours with a more even pace out of wave one, but as a first time marathoner he was happy with 3:06:14.
Joe Gallagher has ran the last 4 Dublin marathons and on Sunday made number five his fastest with a pb of 3:09:08. Ramelton John Whoriskey has made remarkable progress in his short running career, running his first ever marathon he ran 3:20:54. James Whoriskey (no relative) took in his 3rd Dublin race and took 10 minutes off last year, with a remarkable 3:21:09 for the Lifford based teacher. Michael McHugh was in equal pb shattering form, and despite a bad knee injury, the Cranford man reduced his pb by 12 minutes recording 3:25:39. Hugh Coll, despite a lack of recent training ran 3:29:16, the determined Glenkeen man will look to improve significantly in the near future. Brian Doherty’s 4th Dublin event, also proved his fastest to date, the Cranford contractor taking six minutes off last years’ time to run 3:31:12.
Eoin Sheehy improved yet further taking 15 minutes off his 2015 time, recording 3:35:22.
Noel Kilpatrick improved almost half a minute for every mile, the Tully man improving by 12 minutes to record 3:41:59. Near neighbour and newcomer to running, Philip McGovern ran a remarkable 3:41:59 1st marathon outing. Paul McGukian had the biggest smile of the day as the Rathmullan man sustained a sprained ankle 2 days before the race, but with a tight bandage and some deep heat, he held out to run a “first and last” marathon in a comfortable 3:44:22.
Gerard Dorrian was very close to last years’ time with 3:45:11. Mark Scott made a late decision to do the marathon, but despite tight calf muscles near the end ran a very good 3:48:23.
Teresa Winston led the Milford ladies home, - the Letterkenny teacher ran a comfortable and almost effortless 3:56:52, with the pace making help of former couch to 5km colleague, Fiona Grier who was delighted with 3:57:12 first marathon. Kenneth Moore took in his first marathon, and was happy to achieve the sub 4 hour target, running 3:57:07.
Kieran Murray was on target for a sub 3hr 50, but after 20 miles his blood pressure went very low forcing him to stop to recover. He was fortunately well enough after 15 minutes to continue, and ran 4:21:36. A ladies trio of Agnes Ryan, Rosemary McGee and Jacqui Barrett ran every step together happily crossing the line together in 4:23:09. Frank McTaggart also made a late decision to run, and the Ballyare man acquitted himself well with a 4:31:58 first time marathon.
Francis Diver ran in the early Dublin marathons when himself, Eamon Gillespie and John Fitzgerald were the sole Milford representatives. The Sunday start afforded Francis another go at it, getting around in 4:36:43.
Bernie Gallagher ran 4:21 last year, but a summer of setbacks curtailed the training of the Wexford girl. However she was determined to ‘have a go’ and duly collected her medal in 4:37:54.
Mary McDaid joined the club as a recent new member and the Kilmacrennan girls excellent run of 4:40:10 belied her limited training.
A quartet of club runners ran together enjoying the camaraderie, fun, and sometimes tiring spells of the 26 mile route, Kate Begley and Fiona Blaney on their first marathon, with Debbie Houston on number 2 and Barry Browne on 3. All 4 crossing the finish line together in 4:45:55. Indeed 3 weeks ago Fiona’s marathon plans were in tatters due to a bad ankle injury, but with determination and the good work of physio Conal McFadden, she made it around unscathed.
Paul Ryan was an equal injury doubt with knee trouble, but the same combination of Conal and determination got the Milford man to the start and finish line 10 minutes inside last year with 4:58:20. Jim McCahill was also unfortunate with a late injury scare, which curtailed his training. The Ramelton man was happy to get around in 5:09:29. Sinead McTaggart put in a great effort to finish as she felt unwell from 10km, but was determined to finish and did so in 5:51:20 with some 3000 people still behind her.
5 club athletes ran for charities of their choice. Jacqui Barrett, Donegal Hospice. Agnes Ryan, LauraLynn. Frank McTaggart, The Alzheimer’s Society. Sinead McTaggart, Pieta House and Paul McGukian, Féileacain.
Milford had an unofficial team challenge with Finn Valley and Rosses AC. The team event is based on the lowest cumulative time of the top 10 runners across the line from each club. Rosses won the trophy with a combined total time of 30hrs:52mins:26secs, with Milford on 31hrs:18mins:26secs.
Ulster Novice and Juvenile Cross Country
This Sunday its back to cross country running with the staging of the Ulster Novice and Uneven Juvenile age groups at the Finn Valley Centre.
The following Sunday the Donegal Senior cross Country Championships take place also at the Finn Valley Centre.
For the 3rd Sunday in a row it back to the Finn Valley Centre for the “Remembrance 10km” on the road on 20th November.
The Club AGM will take place in the Clubhouse on Monday 14th November at 8:30pm. All welcome.