Tuesday, May 08, 2012


The Limerick marathon had several highlights for me. One of them was sitting outside that cafe just past the finishing line with Mick Rice when a gentleman (who I had seen earlier with Frank Greally) walked by, saw my Boston Jacket and started talking to me.

Him: Did you go to Boston?
Me: Yes.
Him: Did you run the marathon?
Me: Yes.
Him: I won it.

It's not every day you get to shake hands with a winner of a major marathon, and I have to admit that I would not have recognised Neil Cusack if he had passed me on the street (unless he started talking and introducing himself to me, of course), but he is damn good looking for a man at the age of 60, and he is a true gentleman indeed.

Could the day get any better after that? Sure, by City beating Newcastle, which is a game I had a really bad feeling about. And then, just to impress the kids, I made it into the Irish Times with a name check on Tuesday. (Paul's left hand made it as well but did not get named).

There were plenty of other photos over the internet. The biggest advantage of running with a big yellow balloon is that you can spot yourself immediately.

Coming off the noisy bridge in UL

Pacing with a Garmin

We've lost our group!

Everyone's heel striking!

Photos by Munster Images, Kieran Clancy Photography, Mike Johnson and Shelly Kirwan.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day, but reviews from other runners have been decidedly mixed. The mile markers got a few mentions, and if you think accurate mile markers are vital then of course you won't have liked the race. There were quite a few complaints about congestion, something we did not have to deal with in the 3:15 group but others did, especially ones that got caught by the half-marathon runners. It was my first time doing it, but from what I hear there have been clear improvements from a very dodgy start 2 years ago. I'd still recommend the race, but there is definitely room for further progress.

As for myself, I have been feeling pretty good. Walking down a staircase did not pose a problem and since I saw after Connemara that I recover faster with short recovery runs than complete rest I have been doing exactly that for the last 2 days. I won't do any "real" running before Kildare, but at the same time I am not planning any off days either.

7 May
5 miles, 40:34, 8:07 pace, HR 138
8 May
5 miles, 40:03, 8:01 pace, HR 145


  1. Impressive pacing in the marathon!

  2. must have been great meeting neil cusack-one of the true trailblazers of irish marathon running along with donie walsh , the hooper brothers etc

    is a plan formulating for how you will tackle bangor?

    great pacing in limerick and best of luck in kildare

    cathal daly

  3. Be careful with the heel-striking, you can do major damage to your knees.

  4. I love meeting and talking to great runners of yesteryear. Cool photos and nice to see you in the paper. The balloon helps a lot for spotting and spectators like it as well.

  5. Neil sounds like a top bloke. I'd never heard of him. 2:13 is still a respectable time, even after 40 years!

    Nice pic in the Irish Times - you should laminate that one.

    Yes, I'm a bit over the footstrike debate. There's 'good' heel-striking and bad (the overstriding kind) as this video shows:http://youtu.be/uR82Rec_yGQ via Runblogger.

  6. Yes, how dare you be heel striking during a fairly quickly run marathon race.... ;)

  7. and to think i buy that paper every day and they dont mention my left hand !!....... paul...

  8. neat post, I enjoyed the pictures and your story, your kids really have allot to talk about now Dad is photographed running with a yellow balloon

  9. Heel striking is normal. People need to get over this.

  10. Great post. Fab pictures. Can I distract from heel striking, though, to ask about the Bangor 24? I've tried to figure it from the website (not for very long, to be honest), and I think that the website might assume a certain amount of knowledge. My question is: what exactly will you be doing. What is the format of the race? Could you explain as if to a complete ignoramus, please?

  11. Niamh, the format is very simple. The race starts on 6 July at 6:45 pm and ends 24 hours later on 7 July at 6:45 pm.

    We are running laps around a track.

    Whoever runs the most miles in that time, wins.

    You can take as many breaks as you want, but the clock keeps ticking.

  12. Oh dear lord!!! Laps around a track ... that is a real, real test of endurance and love of running! D'you see, I think I grasped that somewhere and thought I must have read incorrectly .... . The very best of luck with it. I'm doing something on the 7th ...the Ring of Kerry Cycle, I think. I'll be thinking of you! Heavens above ....

  13. Thanks, Niamh. Any moral support will be highly appreciated on that day. ;-)