The Sun Shines as North Belfast Proudly Represented in Dublin Marathon 2010

The 31st annual Lifestyle Sports-adidas Dublin marathon was held on 25th October 2010. It was a perfect day for marathon running, with cool temperatures and glorious sunshine, as 13,000 plus runners took to the streets of Dublin. The Dublin marathon can only be described as one which gets better every year and this year proved no exception with support rife among the City’s streets. In true style, North Belfast sent a strong field of runners to the start line.

First home for the club was Jim “Ben” Benson who ran a fantastic time of 2.39.22. Ben was 5th in his category and, yet again, it was another impressive run from Ben who consistently delivers high quality marathon performances.

Next home for the club was Darryl Blair who ran a superb time of 2.46.58. Running comfortably from start to finish, and with almost identical splits for both the first half and second half, it is hard to believe this was only Darryl’s third marathon. His superb mastering of the tough distance makes it hard to believe that he is only 24. He took a massive 15 minutes off his last marathon time – an excellent race and a well deserved time, Darryl! There is a lot more to come!

Mark Sturgeon came next. Despite suffering the infamous “man flu” the week before and picking up every other niggle on the planet throughout his training, Mark too ran a great pb of 2.55. He went through the first half in 1.29 but picked the pace up at mile 19 to clock a second half, and a negative split, of 1.26. When asked how he felt after the race, his words were “I feel super!” though his wife is convinced he actually said “I feel like superman!”

Completing his 48th marathon, the ever metronomic Greg McClure came next in a time of 2.59. As usual, Greg set a steady first half of 1.30.30 and gradually went on to push the pace in the second half to clock 1.29. He commented afterwards that at mile 20 he didn’t think the sub 3 hour was going to happen but those of who know Greg know only too well his superior strength over the marathon distance and few doubted that the sub 3 wouldn’t happen.

Next was Lisa Tracey (though this was her last outing in a marathon as Lisa Tracey). From now on, the married surname of Sturgeon will be adopted to see if it will bring her any luck for a sub 3. Lisa ran 3.03 and, while still happy she ran a pb, was disappointed not to get closer to the 3 hour mark – that is now the goal for London 2011!

Finally, newcomer Gerard McNamara was delighted with his pb of 3.12. Gerard set out with a goal of 3.15 and completely smashed it! Gerard has only recently joined the club and no doubt more pbs lie ahead!

All of the Club runners who ran are, of course, indebted to the wonderful Belfast support team we had along the streets of Dublin. Angela Burns, Jenny Bill and Reg Kapur left a frosty Belfast at 6.30 am to offer their support to the club runners. A leisurely breakfast at the new motor station became a floundering panic as they realised that the race started at 9.00am and not 9.30am as they had been reliably informed! Despite all of this, they were to be heard screaming support at every 3rd mile along the course and offering much needed cups of water and drinks – we all couldn’t have done it without you guys! Marty Rea popped up religiously on his bike shouting “perfect running” to all of us. While the Gardai threatened to remove him from the course, he reliably told them his name was Gareth Grew so Gareth your Dublin marathon career has officially been ruined! The media footage, at the half way mark, shows all the runners acknowledging Marty’s support and, if you listen carefully, you can actually hear him shouting “perfect running” over and above the banging drums! Last, but not least, thanks as ever to Matt Shields for his words of wisdom and advice to all of us in the run up to the marathon.

The Dublin marathon was the last marathon of the 2010 season so it’s onwards and upwards to 2011 as we all set about trying to conquer new pbs!

Lisa Sturgeon

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