It was an overcast and blustery day in Phoenix Park, Dublin on Saturday for the Irish Runner 5 mile (8.1km). The race is the first in a series leading up to Dublin marathon (which takes place in October), and this year attracted a substantial crowd of 5000 participants. The course is hilly, the first mile is downhill and consequently a fast one, then the second and third mile have a couple of uphill sections, before the course flattens out in the last couple of miles. Ten weeks out from Berlin marathon, this would be a good test of speed before I begin to really step up the endurance work over the coming weeks.
The first mile was downhill with the wind at our backs. After a 1.5 miles the course turned uphill and against the wind, so I knew that it would be important to be in a group at that stage of the race. The pace was fast off the start, owing to assistance from the wind and descending route. We passed the 1 mile mark in well under 5 minutes, the guy running next to me exclaimed 'NO WAY' with a thick Cork accent, in shock when he saw the clock (apparently the marker was short) My club mates Turlough Conway and Paul McGovern pulled up beside me.
At the 1.5 mile mark I maneuvered myself into a group and managed to get boxed in as two groups merged! But that was ok, because it meant that I hardly felt the wind, and I knew I could sit it out for a mile or so and then think about moving forward in the group as we reached the half way point. The two leading ladies were in the group. I felt very comfortable at the pace we were running, and I thought that I would end up pushing ahead of this group, hopefully with my club mates. The group started to break up a bit at half way, and I went with the breakaway guys. I couldn't see Turlough around, but i knew that Paul was still beside me.
The group of 5 or 6 of us pushed on, in a rotating leader type formation. Then the course turned with 1 mile to go and the wind was no longer a factor. I didn’t look at my watch, but one of the lads called ‘21:27’. I figured then that if I ran a 5:30 mile then I would achieve my 27 minute target. I still felt comfortable, and ready to go, so I boosted off the front of the group. I started pulling back guys who had been running on their own about 50/100 metres ahead of our group throughout the race. Managing to pull back tow or three of them.
I thought I was in the clear, with just a couple of lads in view to try and pull back, but then with 600 metres to go I was passed by one of the guys whom I'd been running with earlier in the group. Didn’t see that coming. I gave him a few seconds to get ahead and think he was safe, then with 300 metres to go I put the hammer down. Important to get timing right, because if you go out too soon then you can run out of steam before the line. With 200 metres to go I went past him. He kicked as well, but I had left enough in the tank and was confident that I could hang on.
My official time was 26:45 (average pace 3:19 min/km, last kilometre in 3:08), 31st place. Winning time 23:49. On track for Berlin.
Location:Phoenix Park, Dublin