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Unfortunately, under the current level 5 government restrictions, no group sports training is permitted. All Crusaders training sessions, for both juniors and seniors, are therefore postponed until further notice.
As before, we will be organising virtual challenges to keep everyone motivated. Message us here if you'd like to join the "Cru Challenges" Whatsapp group.
Otherwise, stay safe, stay fit, stay healthy, and we'll see you all again soon!
Bernard Suits, a sports philosopher, once gave a definition for sport as being the voluntary acceptance of unnecessary obstacles, which more or less describes what we have been entertaining ourselves with throughout the year. We have collectively fully embraced the predictive time and relay challenges that have been thrown at us and attacked them with gusto although no one was pressing us, and for the most part they have involved us running solo. The results have been fun to watch and have kept us in super condition for when racing ultimately returns.
From time to time we have been able to simulate an actual race and this was the case last Tuesday, when Mike and Susan organised 6 independent mile contests of differing standards from under 5 mins to 9 minutes per mile (and just for good measure added a 3k time trial for another group on top), on Irishtown track. The conditions were super. It was a bit chilly, but little wind.
But we should start with why the evening was organised in the first place. The week before, Susan required us each to predict how fast we would run a mile, and then run it, individually. That was a fairly typical challenge that we had seen before and the winner would have had the closest result to his or her prediction (running without looking at a watch). 43 athletes accepted that challenge and there were several winners, each only 1 second off their predicted times. Aine Kenny predicted 6:23 and ran 6:24, whilst Gian Piero Allerta ran 6:13, having predicted 6:14 and James Moran predicted 6:15, finishing in 6:16. Fiona Shine should get an honourable mention for being only 2 seconds out with her run of 5:58 versus a prediction of 6:00. Two others were on 3 seconds, Dee Ni Chearbhaill (6:47 finish versus 6:50 projection) and Esther Requena Ferri (6:02 versus 6:05 predicted). Just for the sake of information, the fastest female runners were Mary Horgan who was recorded as running 5:03 (but she admits there may have been a problem with the distance and she probably ran 5:20, still the fastest in the competition, for someone who became a mother only 6 months ago), followed by Orla Drumm (another recent mum) who ran 5:37 and Fiona Shine whose 5:58 earned her 3rd fastest. Among the men, the quickest was Ronan Moynihan who ran 5:22, followed by Dee Lawlor (5:24) and Cormac McGuire, who ran 5:37. Cormac claims he was helped by gravity on a favourable course, but his 5:48 on the track on Tuesday showed that he’s just as capable of running an excellent time without such aid!
So, Susan took those results and seeded everyone into teams of 4 for this last challenge (possibly the last of the year…but who knows?). The twist this time was for the combined relay teams, of which eventually there were 14 (so 56 runners in total) to predict their combined times, running with full awareness of pace, and also with the possibility of running in a racing environment last Tuesday. Results had to be in by Saturday.
The predictions were fascinating and, as it turned out, mostly reflected a consistent lack of confidence or difficulty in determining how much faster one can usually run with other athletes pushing and pulling around you. Among the 14 teams, the fastest predicted combined time of 24:10 came from team 1 (of Mary Horgan, Sam Carvill, James Moran and Niamh Corby), an understandably fast expectation. Team 14 were only 2 seconds behind in predicting a combined finish of 24:12 (with Ollie McGrath, young athlete Sarah McGettigan, Tanja Narancic and Sharon Woods). There was only a delta of 4:32 between the fastest and slowest predicted times, with team 12 (Fiona Shine, Conor Parle, Lisa Shine and Mairead Cashman) predicting 28:42 (and, in fact, they totally underestimated their capability and didn’t end up as the slowest team once the contest got underway).
On Tuesday then, many of the relay runners took to the Irishtown track to participate in the graded races. The maximum number on the track was 14, with the smallest field being 8, but averaging around 11, with the total number being 66 club members (along with another 8 in the 3k, won by Michael Kiely in 9:19). There were some super races and many of the athletes ran much faster than they had expected, most likely because of the competition combined with the benign conditions on the track. It was reported that several runners went out a little too hard, but everyone got round the 4 laps! One or two had really strong finishes, Sam Carvill in particular who was 30m behind the runner in front with a lap to go. Several may have achieved PBs on the night too. The fastest run came from young Crusader, Finn Boyle, who produced a 4:46 result and dominating his event. He was followed by Adam Flanagan, running 4:58 and Ronan Moynihan, 5:13. Mary Horgan showed that her predictive result was no fluke by finishing in 5:19 with another young Crusader, under 16 runner Sarah McGettigan in her first mile race, crossing the line in an excellent 5:26. On the night, the 3rd fastest female runner was Sarah Lyons who ran 5:42, showing considerable form in the penultimate mile race. Incidentally, Orla Drumm ran later in the week on her own, completing the distance in 5:21. On the night, Mairin Shine, coming off recent injury, worked hard to make her goal of breaking 8 minutes, missing out by only 3 seconds.
We had to wait until Saturday evening to work out which team had actually won the challenge, and as pointed out above, it wasn’t a case of being the fastest, but by being the most accurate!
In the final analysis, the difference in the predicted times of 4:32 was almost matched by the actual results. At the end, only 4:54 separated 1st from 14th, a tribute to the overall selection, and the fastest team was team 1, as expected, running 78 seconds faster than anticipated, in 22:52. The 14th placed team still ran just under a minute faster than the slowest predicted time. The average delta between the predicted and actual results was 40s, with 10 of the 14 teams running faster than predicted (on average by 28 seconds), and only 4 running slower (on average by 44 seconds).
It wasn’t until Saturday evening that the winner and runner up completed their challenge and the long-time leaders in the clubhouse, team 13 (20 seconds margin) and team 10 (23 seconds margin), were displaced. In 4th place came team 10 (Seamus Moore, Ciara Lynch, Margaret Foley and Hayley Glynn who ran 26:37 versus 27:00); In bronze medal position came team 13 of Finn Boyle, Tim Purdue, Darina Scully and Joanne McGlanaghy who were 20 seconds off in running 26:18 versus their prediction of 26:38; Runner-up place went to team 2 of Ronan Moynihan, Esther Requena Ferri, Barry O’Neill and Emily Glen. They ran 15 seconds slower than their predicted time of 24:12, finishing in 24:27. And the winner was team 4. The team of Eugene McDonough, Diarmuid Byrne, Aine Kenny and Evelyn Neary predicted a combined time of 25:58 and actually ran 25:47, a gap of only 11 seconds and producing in fact the 8th fastest combined score overall.
Congratulations to the winning team this week and to all who took part in this challenge and those that have been conducted throughout this extraordinary year. Hopefully, we’ve still got it in us to be competitive once everything reopens for us. If we don’t, it won’t be for lack of competitive training! Thanks to everyone who’s made this year a sporty one!
Your correspondent wishes you a merry Christmas and a happy and, above all, safe, New Year.
Due to the lack of competition this year, we do not have enough images to create our normal Club Calendar. But so that members do not completely miss out on having a calendar this year for next year, we have created a more conservative 2021 calendar for anyone who wants one.
The 2021 Calendar is available for free as a PDF download.
Click the link below to download the 2021 Calendar.
2020 will clearly be remembered as the year of the pandemic and all its negative aspects, but for Crusaders it will also be remembered for some of the positives, such as the completion of the new clubhouse at Irishtown Stadium which, with its 40 metre indoor Mondo track, will be the envy of many athletics clubs in years to come. Hopefully, not only will we be getting the keys soon, but also, we’ll actually be able to make full use of the state of the art facility. 2020 will also be remembered by us as the year of virtual time trials and challenges, a truly welcome means of dealing with the lockdown situation.
As hoped, we’re now back to training together, albeit under government and Athletics Ireland constraints, but it is brilliant to be able to meet up at Tuesday and Saturday training. Returning to the track on Tuesdays and to the Phoenix Park on Saturdays is also major, since these facilities are just what we need as athletes. How long we’ll be able to enjoy this limited freedom is today anyone’s guess, but while it lasts we’ll use what we have to the full.
This weekend we were also able to use the park (albeit in cold and windy conditions, but that’s to be expected in the highest and most exposed part of North Dublin) to complete the latest mixed distance relay challenge put together by Brendan and Susan, which followed a blind predictive 8k time trial the week before.
48 Crusaders participated in the predictive time trial with everyone planning their own individual routes and trying to guess in advance how fast he or she could run it. Most of us were about a minute or so out, and generally expecting that we would be slower than our actual runs. One or two were spectacularly inaccurate, but it was amazing that the winning runners, since there was more than one, were only 1 second out. The challenge was won by Maureen McGinley who predicted that she would complete the distance in 47 minutes and was only 1 second slower, whilst Darran Lovely, who was also rewarded with the fastest time overall, predicted 30:59 and finished 1 second ahead. There were a few others who were pretty close too. Margaret Foley was 2 seconds out when running 37:13, having predicted 37:15. Barry O’Neill was 3 seconds out, running on much of a course established by James Cottle earlier the same day. Barry ran 36:58, having predicted 36:55. Finally, Emily Glen was only 4 seconds away from her prediction of 39:45 in running 39:41.
The fastest women in the challenge were led by Orla Drumm who completed the distance in 31:30, followed by Aine Kenny (34:50) and Esther Requena Ferri (35:15). For the men, Darran Lovely led the way in 30:58, followed by James Cottle (32:06), just one second ahead of Seamus Moore (32:07).
So, the following week’s challenge involved 14 teams of 4, with each runner covering a different distance up to a combined 17.6k. Each team had to decide who should run the 8k leg, the 5k leg, the 3k leg and the one mile anchor. The one stipulation was that if any runner had run the mile leg in a previous challenge he or she would be ineligible to run that distance in the latest challenge. To the extent more than one runner would otherwise be ineligible, we had to toss a coin. For most teams, however, it was pretty clear who should run which leg.
Many congratulations to the winning team which comprised of Ger Forde, who ran the 8k leg in 29:52 (the second fastest of the competition), Orla Drumm, who ran the fastest 5k overall in 19:30, Louise O’Riordan who ran the 3k leg in 13:36 and Gian Piero Allerta who ran the mile in a PB time of 6:15 for a combined time of 1:09:13. Second place was secured by a team only 15 seconds behind in 1:09:28, comprising Eugene McDonough who ran the fastest 8k leg of the challenge in 29:21, organiser Brendan Glynn (5k in 22:25), Mary Horgan, who ran the fastest 3k overall in 10:59 and Fiona McCormack who ran the mile in 6:43. The virtual bronze medal was won by the team comprising Seamus Moore (8k in 32:11), Fiona Shine (5k in 20:26), Luke Haran (3k in 11:38) and Maureen McGinley (mile in 8:33). The third placed team ran the challenge in a combined 1:12:48. It was great to see that, throughout this series of challenges, different names have appeared on the podium. Congratulations to all. Indeed, the 14 teams were separated by only 17:30 minutes and, moreover, only 53 seconds separated 5 teams from 6th place to 10th. Great seeding!
For the record, the fastest athletes on each leg were as follows:
8k: Women: Aine Kenny (34:28), Olwyn Dunne (37:56) and Joanne Carey (44:14).
8k: Men: Eugene McDonough (29:21), Ger Forde (29:52) and Dee Lawlor (31:45).
5k: Women: Orla Drumm (19:30), Fiona Shine (20:26) and Esther Requena Ferri (21:52).
5k Men: Kevin Kavanagh (20:55), Conor Parle (21:19) and Brendan Glynn (22:25).
3k: Women: Mary Horgan (10:59), Gillian Earley (12:09) and Lisa Shine (13:00).
3k: Men: Luke Haran (11:38) and James Moran (12:54)
1 mile: Women: Maria Kennedy (6:40), Fiona McCormack (6:43) and Rachael Golden (7:30) with Sharon Woods (7:30).
1 mile: Men: Zlatko Kulic (5:19), Karl Walsh (6:05) and Diarmuid Byrne (6:10).
On Saturday, we had a Crusader, Miriam Logan, participate in an actual race. This was the Wicklow Hospice Half marathon, which did not receive much, if any, advance publicity. As a consequence, the field was relatively modest at under 30. There was also a marathon race which involved 2 laps of the same undulating and relatively challenging course along country roads in Wicklow and this was contested by only 7 athletes. In fact, the course was an out and back in cold and windy conditions. The wind was behind the runners on the way out but very much in their faces on the return. The athletes also experienced painful hail at times too. In a field dominated by Parnell AC, the overall half marathon race was won by MSB and international athlete, Sean Hehir, in 1:10:30 ahead of Bohermeen and MRR’s Ronan Wogan in 1:18:42, whilst Miriam placed 3rd in the women’s race, having arrived late for the start and having to come from quite far back (along with missing a turn in the race at one point too) in a time of 1:54:10 and 17th overall. The women’s race winner, who placed 5th overall and who ran 1:28:10, was Parnell’s Sheila O’Byrne.
The next challenge for us all will be a predictive 1 mile. It will be interesting to see if we have got any better at predicting our performances!
Club subscriptions for 2021 are due on 1st January, and may be paid online from today. You will find a link for renewing your sub HERE or at www.crusadersac.ie, under the "Join" heading. All renewals should be paid by 31st January 2021, and payment is required in order to train and compete with the club.
The Crusaders committee acknowledges that we have not been able to train and compete together as much as we would have liked during 2020. However, we are hopeful for the year ahead, and we look forward to as many of our valued members as possible rejoining us for 2021.
We are back to in-person training this week, and we are also open to new members. Anyone wishing to join the club can also do so online at www.crusadersac.ie.
The Goal Mile on Christmas Day has been a tradition in Crusaders for many years. With the help of Crusaders members and others we have been Hosting a Goal Mile in Irishtown Stadium since it opened 17 years ago.
This year due to the Covid 19 restrictions we have been advise not to promote the traditional event. Goal have decided that all their Goal Mile events will be virtual this year. We are looking for you to support Goal by running a mile in your own area over the Christmas period 20th to 31st December.
You can go online to goalmile.org to donate direct if you want and get a t-shirt or skip the t-shirt and use the following link below to join my team to support the local Irishtown effort.
Please share this link with family, friends and work colleagues and on social media. If possible, please download and print the attached poster and display in a local shop, your work place or school.
Thank you for your support
Eoin Everard has offered our senior and masters members a free Sports Pilates Course. Normally the Beginners Sports Pilates cost €60 for 6 weeks but he wants to help runners see the benefits of Sports Pilates totally free to start with.
Here is his website if people would like to learn more about the course -
All you need to qualify is to commit at least one hour per week and be a member of Crusaders AC.
Any members who are interested in the Pilates Course can email Eoin directly on email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to Eoin for extending this offer towards our club members.
Please note the club has no direct involvement with the course so please direct any questions etc towards Eoin, Thank you.
One of the most impressive responses to the situation in which we find ourselves has been the way Crusaders have rallied to face the weekly challenges that have been set by coaches Susan Walsh and Brendan Glynn. We are now in our second lockdown with less than 10 days to go before any adjustment and we keep our fingers crossed that we may see at least a limited return to group training from 2 December and, who knows, a return to Irishtown Stadium. Time will tell and maybe we shouldn’t be overly confident. The one thing that is clear is that it will be some time before any proper racing is likely to take place and we already know that the Liffey Valley-organised Tom Brennan 5k on New Year’s Day, together with the Raheny 5 miler at the end of January, both of them iconic events which herald the start of road racing for any year, have announced that they will be virtual in 2021.
In the meantime, we have our weekly challenges, which are an incredibly welcome distraction for the more than 80 runners who regularly take part in them. Indeed, the WhatsApp group, where everyone can sign up for each challenge, has 140 followers, well over a third of the club’s membership. Moreover, it’s also been great to see newcomers to the club participating together with long-standing members.
Without any proper racing taking place, be it cross country or road, there is no time like the present for making the most of what we have in order to experiment with technique and focusing on strength & conditioning, generally staying as healthy as possible. Several of us subscribe to online Pilates and yoga as well as undertaking some conditioning exercises which generally do not require any equipment, other than body weight. Together with the Tuesday sessions that we are given by Susan and these other aids, the challenges help to provide a benchmark as to where we are fitness-wise and it is gratifying to see that even though many of us are having to run solo with no competitors around us to push and pull, we are still able to post fast times, some of us even achieving PBs. The challenges are also so helpful in keeping us really motivated at a time when we might otherwise feel down.
What has also been great fun to see is the ingenuity of many of the runners to seek out fast routes, avoiding crossing traffic as much as possible and taking into account weather conditions. Several have taken full advantage of the helpful topography of south county Dublin whenever the wind has been blowing in the right direction. Those living within 5k of the Phoenix Park have also found some fun routes. Additionally, it’s been great to see how many athletes, not only Crusaders, have returned to run on what remains of UCD’s historic track in Belfield. Only 200m of it remains as a recognisable track (from half way down the back straight to half way along the finishing straight), but even with an asphalt-covered carpark taking up the remaining space it is just about possible to discern the outline of what had been there before. There are small potholes in places and that part of the track that remains can feel a bit slippery when wet as it has been worn down by so many years of use (or neglect!), but it is a real delight to be able to access it. Using Belfield for the challenges is a decent alternative to some of the fast downhill routes that are otherwise available to us in the area, but which put a lot of strain on the quads!
So, onto the challenges (we’re now into our second season!) which we have been following since the end of October and the previous challenge, both solo and relay, of the virtual Dublin marathon. We started out with an individual 3k time trial to determine team composition for the next challenge. There were some truly impressive times produced by that, allowing Brendan and Susan to put together 21 teams of 4. Each team had to decide which of its runners would attempt 3k, it needed two, and which would instead run the mile, the remaining two.
The competition was frenetic and over the 9.2k cumulative distance the teams were separated by only about 6 minutes. Indeed, the first 11 teams came in only 3 minutes apart and several overall were separated by 5 seconds or less. The challenge involved not only getting the right balance in its composition but also having each team figuring out the best plan of attack. It was a tribute to the organisers that the competition was so close. The winning team in this first challenge, in a combined time of 34:44, was a Spanish-Irish combination of Cristian Vilchez Ceballos, his partner Esther Requena Ferri, Paula Bradshaw and Alma Hanevy. Congratulations to them. The second placed team, which finished in 35:51, included Warren Swords, Kevin Kavanagh, ladies captain Rebecca Fleming and Evelyn Neary, and they were followed in third place, just 17 seconds back in 36:08, by a team comprising Eileen Glynn, Damien Keaney, Conor McGuinness and Rory Goldsmith.
The first 3 male athletes on the 3k leg were Warren Swords (9:43), Eoin Fitzpatrick (9:54) and Eugene McDonough (10:30), with the fastest females being Catherine Thornton (10:50), Orla Drumm (10:56) and Alma Hanevy (11:26). The fastest miles for the challenge were recorded for the men by Maurice Kelter (5:18), Luke Davis (5:19) and by Conor McGuinness (5:35), whilst, for the women, the fastest three times were recorded by Mary Horgan (5:49), Fiona Shine (6:12), just ahead of Esther Requena Ferri (6:14). Well done all!
The next challenge was a blind 5k time trial, where we all had to predict our times and then see how we actually did without consulting our watches until we had completed the distance. For some of us it meant planning a route and then having our watches beep at the end. Several ran further than the prescribed distance, but it is always possible to extrapolate the actual time for 5k afterwards. Again, some of us ended up with personal or seasonal bests. In any event, there were a number of extremely close predictions, several within 10 seconds of their targets, but the winner by far (who predicted the slightly odd time of 24:38 and ran 24:37!) was Alan Kavanagh. Talk about knowing your body! Weather conditions on the Saturday were also really helpful to fast times as there was practically no wind on that day.
The blind time trial enabled Susan and Brendan to fine tune team composition further. It is clearly a fine art, if not a science!
The latest completed challenge took place a week later and finished this weekend. It involved 21 teams of 4 again, and again the distances were mixed. One runner had to complete 5k, 2 runners were required to run 3k, with the 4th running the distance of a mile. Again, we each had to determine who ran which distance, a challenge in itself!
The fastest team of the challenge, which finished in 47:58, comprised runners who had appeared separately on the podium previously, although not on the winning team. Conor McGuinness and Kevin Kavanagh were joined by Margaret Foley and Darran Lovely. Eileen Glynn, Diarmuid Byrne, Cormac McGuire were the next team, coming home in a combined time of 49:45, with the third placed team of Michael Fitzsimons, Ciara Lynch, Gian Piero Allerta and Aoife Cowhie, a further 28 seconds back in third place.
It is great to see so many different names generally on the podium, a testament to the team selection!
So, the fast male runners of the 5k leg were Adam Flanagan (16:50), Eugene McDonough (17:45) and Cristian Vilchez Ceballos (18:00). The fastest women were Orla Drumm (18:07), Catherine Thornton (18:46) and Alma Hanevy (19:43). The fastest male runners of the 3k leg were Dee Lawlor (10:26), Conor McGuinness (10:32) and Diarmuid Byrne (11:35), 1 second ahead of Kevin Kavanagh. The best times recorded by our female runners were by Mary Horgan (11:10), Niamh Corby (12:03) and Aine Kenny (12:08). Finally, the fastest mile times for the women were recorded by Fiona Shine (6:26), Rebecca Fleming (6:30) and Margaret Foley (6:55). For the men, Eoin Fitzpatrick ran 5:12, followed by Paul Dempsey (5:23) and Barry O’Neill (6:42).
Again, we saw some personal bests, one notably being recorded by Tanja Narancic who broke 13 minutes for the first time, running her 3k in Kilbogget Park in a time of 12:56 behind Fiona Shine who also ran her mile so well. Many congratulations to everyone who took part all around the country and to those finishing on the virtual podium.
The challenge was typically an enormous success. Only 11:30 in total separated the 21 teams, with the first 17 only 5 minutes apart over a distance of 12.6k.
Our next challenge is a predicted 8k time trial. Bring it on!
Over the past few months this last bank holiday weekend had been shaping up to be a complete damp squib. With all hopes of running the Dublin City marathon having been dashed, little by little all other running events were closing down too. Indeed, we had been hopeful that at least cross country fixtures could have restarted by now and we would have been looking forward to the Leinster Novices, where traditionally the club has excelled, and which usually takes place on the Saturday before Sunday’s running of the marathon.
Well, we knew from some time ago that the DCM would not be going ahead, but then towards the end of the Summer we heard about the organisers’ efforts to stage a virtual marathon in its place, with everyone running it in their own localities, counties or wherever they might find themselves. This certainly appealed to several of our members who felt they could do the training, even though the time to prepare was much shorter than most would have liked, or indeed needed. Susan Walsh then had the bright idea that we could take the opportunity to help those signing up for the virtual marathon by providing a marathon route and getting club-mates to volunteer to provide support on the day. It was thought this could also help with raising much-needed funding for the new clubhouse.
With only a few weeks available, a committee, led by Miriam Logan, with Olwyn Dunne, Paul Kelly, Lisa Shine and James Cottle, got together to discuss the logistics. Mindful that, under government guidelines at the time of planning, we couldn’t really hold an official event and had to keep within a maximum number of runners if they were running together, we realised that, in order to provide adequate support and to keep it off busy roads, the marathon would have to be in the Phoenix Park, observing a stipulation from at least one runner that the route had to have accessible toilet facilities….and that didn’t mean going behind a tree! So, a flat 5.275k loop was created that would take runners 8 times through the grounds of the Visitors Centre, the one building in the park with adequate (and, moreover, open) facilities! Having then worked out a route, a date (the Sunday when the original race would have taken place) and time of day (early!), we then thought about how we could make the occasion even more interesting and Liz Nixon suggested we hold a relay in parallel. A brilliant idea as it turned out! The chosen route was ideal for this, since we could accommodate teams of 4 runners on it. Miriam Logan was then charged with ascertaining interest in such a relay and had a super response from our membership. Paul Kelly, Olwyn Dunne and Lisa Shine also worked hard to promote the fund-raising aspects of the venture too.
During this period, we were also mindful that some groups who had organised similar virtual activities had found themselves in a sticky position with the OPW, particularly if tables and water stations were involved. Anything classified as an event in the park requires a permit, which can be difficult to get. So we needed to ensure that it could not be characterised as an event, but as training, and we felt we were well inside the guidelines for that since we were unlikely to have not many on the course at any one time. They would be spread out and, moreover, would have been running under AI guidelines since everyone would have had to have filled out a Covid contact tracing form in advance. At the time we thought we would have perhaps 12 or so runners for the entire distance, with maybe 9 or 10 relay teams.
As everyone knows, these plans became totally academic and redundant the weekend before the bank holiday as we were told that from last Tuesday we are to have 6 weeks of solitary confinement (from a running point of view) and most of us would find that our limit of 5k would not quite get us to Phoenix Park after all. Moreover, we would not be able to run with anyone who is not in our respective household.
Undaunted, the organisers were determined that the event should go ahead and when calls for interest went out again on the basis of a virtual relay, we found the response absolutely brilliant. Not only did we have 17 full distance marathoners take part over the three days of the bank holiday weekend (some of them having decided to run on the spur of the moment), but we were also able to create 23 teams out of those willing to run parts of the distance, some of the runners answering the call right at the last minute. To be fair, 4 of the runners didn’t realise they were even in teams until James Cottle bumped into 3 of them in Booterstown on Sunday in mid run and was advised that each was running a half marathon (Donna Barry, Cliodhna O’Reilly and Maureen McGinley), which enabled Cormac McGuire who was also running a half to be part of a team after all!
7 of the teams were put together by their members, whilst the remaining ones were assembled by James Cottle, trying desperately to balance them out as much as possible. In the event, it didn’t work out too badly and the maximum time spread between those teams was only about 23 minutes, with some of the teams only seconds apart. To encourage as much participation as possible we offered up a choice of distances from 5.275k through to half marathon. Most opted for 10.55k (a quarter marathon), whilst we even had a runner, Joanne Carey, famously born on the day of the first DCM, who ran 3/8 of the distance (15.825k)! As this would have been the first time for most running these odd distances, they would all have recorded PBs (music to James Cottle’s ears!).
Throughout the weekend, the roads and parks around Dublin and elsewhere were filled with runners running the virtual marathon or parts of it. It is said there were more than 5,000 runners who completed the full distance and the same again running half marathons. Some of them had supporters out cheering on everyone. One group in particular was positioned at Booterstown Dart station and running by them felt like going through the traditional Cru gauntlet on race day. They were cheering on every runner regardless! Those of us who ran were able to spot like-minded marathoners, often easily identifiable with their gel belts and/or water back-packs. Many were wearing previous edition Dublin marathon long-sleeved shirts. As we passed each other (in some cases several times) there would be a mutual greeting and good luck wishes.
We had at least two runners in Galway who took part in the relay challenge. Aine Kenny ran her quarter marathon in East Galway whilst Catherine Thornton ran along the coast in gale conditions further west for her half marathon contribution. As everyone will appreciate, we also enjoyed windy conditions here on the east coast and were all looking for routes which could minimise the negative impact of any headwind. There’s a rule of thumb apparently that a tailwind that can improve your pace by 10% will hurt you by 17% when reversed.
It was all for fun at the end of the day and you can see how everyone did below. There were inevitably some excellent performances among the 80 relay runners and 17 marathoners. Our fastest male marathoner on the day was Kieran Little who ran 2:49 and our fastest female marathoner was Olwyn Dunne who ran 3:53 and who pulled husband Joe, who had done little training for the event but still managed 3:56, through some sticky patches! The marathoners were relying on an app created for the occasion on which we could track their progress, but most found that Strava was a more accurate record of their run. Indeed, Olwyn’s app indicated she was still running 2 hours after she had finished and was in fact treating herself to a well-deserved glass of red!
Our fastest male half marathoner was Luke Davis who ran about a thousand times round a football pitch in UCD for his 1:31:55. The fastest female half marathoner was Catherine Thornton who ran an out and back in 1:34:10. The fastest quarter marathon performance came surprisingly from John Thuillier with an awesome 37:29, whilst his female counterpart in this category was (less surprisingly!) Orla Drumm in 44:13, but honourable mentions should go to Lea Braud (46:26) and Sarah Lyons (47:38). All excellent times. The fastest 1/8 marathoners were Edel Haverty (22:23) and Gill Early (22:28) with Alan Keane (24:32) followed by Thom Martini, just coming back from injury (25:45). Other honourable mentions should go to Patrick Needham who recorded a PB time in breaking 3 hours (2:59:32) and Cormac McGuire who ran 1:33 for his half marathon and didn’t even know he was running for a team! In addition, at least one marathoner, Mick Smyth who recorded a super time of 3:06, ran on most of the course that was originally planned by us in the Phoenix Park for the event.
It should be acknowledged that it’s not easy running any distance in a virtual competition, totally on one’s own. It’s nothing like the rough and tumble, the pushing and pulling, of an actual race. So the results are truly laudable.
First place in the relay went to the team of Liz Nixon and Maria Kennedy who both independently ran identical times (50:13) for their quarter marathon along with Darran Lovely and Tim O’Donnell. They collectively finished in 3:05:22, 90 seconds ahead of the second placed team which was a last minute creation involving Vinnie McGuinness, Ciara Lehane (who nobly agreed to run double the distance she wanted to run!), Dave Carter, Gill Earley and Darragh Jordan. Third place went to the team of Catherine Thornton, Emer Kenny and Orla Drumm who were a further 1 minute back. Congrats to all of them.
The first 10 teams came home in under 3:20, and despite the efforts of all of the teams, we were beaten by 4 marathoners (Kieran Little, Barry McGuire, Warren Swords and Patrick Needham) all of whom broke 3 hours for the distance.
Last, but not least, our fundraising efforts have not been in vain. At last count, the total raised over the weekend is just short of €3,000! Thanks a million to everyone who contributed (there's still time to donate!) and thanks so much to all those who ran and who brightened up considerably what could have been the most miserable time for us long distance runners! Many thanks should go to the committee involved in staging the event.
We are now all looking forward to Susan’s training sessions and challenges over the remaining 5 weeks of our solo running sentence!
11th 1. James Harding 50:59, Paul E. Kelly 56:47, Ciaran Diviney 38:49, Grainne Regan 53:54 [3:20:29]
18th 2. Brendan Glynn 60:53, Pauline Szypruk 58:16, Rob Crowley 43:59, Gearoid Grogan 53:58 [3:37:06]
21st 3. Lisa Shine 58:44, Mairin Shine 1:07:44, Fiona Shine 68:06, Anna Shine 58:22 [4:12:56]
9th 4. Aine Crotty 54:02, Rebecca Fleming 49:39, Sarah Lyons 47:38, Lea Braud 46:26 [3:17:45]
19th 5. Diarmuid Byrne 53:05, Darina Scully 55:09, Gavan Doherty 74:18, Russell Murphy 53:41 [3:56:13]
1st 6. Liz Nixon 50:13, Maria Kennedy 50:13, Darran Lovely 41:58, Tim O'Donnell 42:58 [3:05:22]
20th 7. Neil Brown (half) 1:55:43, Kelly Brown (half) 2:05:24 [4:01:07]
5th 8. Sheena Warren 60:53, Dee Lawlor 43:00, Ollie McGrath 42:58, Philip Matthews 46:52 [3:13:43]
17th 9. Louise O'Riordan (half) 1:59:48, Michael O'Conor 40:20, Conor O'Riordan 50:31 [3:30:35]
8th 10. James Cottle (half) 1:32:30, Joanne Carey (3/8) 1:19:01, Thom Martini (1/8) 25:45 [3:17:16]
15th 11. Aitor Arribas Velasco (half) 2:00:51, John Thuillier 37:29, Peter Murray 47:35 [3:25:55]
7th 12. Tanja Narancic (half) 1:53:32, John Mulvihill 38:22, John Gleeson 45:08 [3:17:02]
10th 13. Luke Davis (half) 1:31:55, Mairead Cashman 60:06, Phelim Murray 47:30 [3:19:31]
3rd 14. Catherine Thornton (half) 1:34:10, Emer Kenny 49:29, Orla Drumm 44:13 [3:07:52]
14th 15. Emily Glen (half) 1:55:05, Michael Kiely 38:45, Kevin Kavanagh 49:56 [3:23:46]
6th 16. Carina Davidson 58:16; Peter O'Toole 40:36, James Moran 52:14, Cathal O'Hara 43:27 [3:14:33]
12th 17. Stephen Hurley 40:16, Marta Imaz 51:42, Dee Ni Chearbhaill 51:47, Hasit Zala 58:17 [3:22:02]
4th 18. David O'Donnell 48:30, Michael Fitzsimons 43:55, Eugene McDonough 40:51, Georgina Hawkins 58:17 [3:11:33]
16th 19. Ciara Lynch (half) 1:58:00, Aine Kenny 47:28, Rory Goldsmith 41:08 [3:26:36]
13th 20. Margaret Foley (half) 1:47:00, Edel Haverty (1/8) 22:23, Alan Keane (1/8) 24:32, Amy McGuinness (1/8) 23:11, Philip Hamilton (1/8) 25:59 [3:23:05]
2nd 21. Vinnie McGuinness 38:54, Ciara Lehane 56:10, Dave Carter 43:03, Gill Earley (1/8) 22:28, Darragh Jordan (1/8) 26:17 [3:06:52]
22. Cormac McGuire 1:33:00 (half), Maureen McGinley 2:33:00 [4:06:00]
23. Donna Barry (half) 2:09:06, Cliodhna O’Reilly (half) 2:18:00 [4:27:06]
24. Mick Smyth 3:06:48
25. Patrick Needham 2:59:32
26. Olwyn Dunne 3:53:50
27. Joe Dunne 3:56:11
27. Leo Lundy 4:39:52
28. Barry McGuire 2:56:26
29. Kate Murray 4:06:00
30. Maurice Kelter 3:54:19
31. Kieran Little 2:49:01
33. Triona Quill 4:03:24
34. Conor Parle 4:15:59
35. Donatas Jocius 4:05:43
36. Liam O’Brien 4:01:08
37. Warren Swords 2:54:33
38. Alan Kinsella 3:57:07
39. Richard Phelan 3:54:00
40. Daniel O’Mahony 4:04:00