Wimborne Athletic Club

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Dublin Marathon – 27 October 2008

I entered what would be my first full marathon back in February, and nervously ticked the sub-4 hour box, thinking a good summer of training and maybe I could do it!

The training on the whole went ok, I steadily built up my runs and managed an 18.5 mile but never quite got around to that 20-21 miler I had planned…. However in the weeks leading up to the race I was feeling reasonably confident at getting round and maybe 4.15 or 4.30 would be a new aim!

However, two weeks before the race I felt the dull ache of the ‘ganglion’ on my ankle which I have suffered on and off for 2 years. Not too painful but on past experience continuing to run on it becomes very uncomfortable. How would it cope with 26.2 miles???

Training was tapered more than planned and even replaced with a few low impact cross-trainer sessions. I felt really nervous on leaving for Dublin and very down that maybe I wasn’t going to be able to complete it and let down my sponsors. However I decided that so long as I could walk I would finish it even if it took me most of the day.

The morning of the race dawned sunny but very cold, I packed my ‘pouch’ with ibuprofen gel, tablets etc and even tied a warm top round my waste in case I had to walk.

The atmosphere at the start was amazing, a friend and her mum had entered the race as walkers and we were all first timers and feeling nervous.

The cold had got to me by the time we set off and my feet were numb for the first couple of miles, couldn’t feel a thing! As I settled into the race at a comfortable 9.5 minute mile I started to gain confidence. The course was lovely and the sun was shining, having done most of my running on my own in quiet country lanes the crowds around me spurred me on and I couldn’t bear to slow down or walk for fear of being left behind!

By the halfway point I had a huge grin on my face, ibuprofen had taken any pain away and I now knew I was going to complete this race and that a 4.15 goal was not unreachable…..

By 18 miles I felt like I was flying, a quick look round at the pace of those running ahead of me soon brought me back to earth – not exactly flying but by now I was at just over 9 minute miles. On a downhill section (yes there were a few hills – or maybe slopes?) I even got my phone out and rang my parents waiting at the finish line to tell them to expect me in just over four hours!!! Perhaps I was being a little over confident….I knew sooner or later it was going to get tough. It came at 21 miles, those last 5 felt like the longest ever. Jelly Babies and a Nutrigrain bar kept me going and soon I was back in the city and the crowds were louder than ever (excellent support most of the way round would recommend Dublin for a first timer!)

I spotted my family at the end and felt a little tear in my eye, not sure if it was relief or just happiness and having finally completed my first marathon. On crossing the finish line I looked at my time 4.09, good enough for me!!! Despite two very nice St John’s Ambulance men having to remind me to breathe I couldn’t stop smiling!

The organisation of this race was superb, right from registration, which was done in minutes to the facilities at the start and the finish. The support was amazing all the way round and it’s a great city to visit (staying off the alcohol pre race was hard going though!) Needless to say a couple were had afterwards…..

Jools Maskell


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