The Dublin Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon



At the weekend a contingent from the Monday night beginners group packed their bags and headed to the Dublin Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon on the 4th August.  The run has a live band at every mile and a finish line festival to welcome runners when they finish their 13.1 miles. Obviously with the race being on a Monday we needed to get there two days early in case there was any jet lag; a huge risk on a flight of 45 minutes.  We had been assured that the best cure for ‘short flight jet lag’ as it is known is Guinness and good food.  We left nothing to chance and made sure we acted on this recommendation immediately. 

After a busy two days in Dublin sampling the local delicacies we remembered that we had actually come to run and formulated our race plans.  None of us were out to chase times, with the GNR coming up fast and Alison and I nursing on-going problems, so we decided to run a nice steady training pace run and enjoy ourselves along the way. 

Race day arrived and we prepared ourselves with a hearty breakfast of porridge in McDonalds, helped down by an exchange of banter with a few locals who hadn’t quite made it home yet.

We donned our Blyth vests, our matching green tutus and attractive green headwear (we’re very serious runners you know) and headed down to the start line.

The run starts on the North Quay in Dublin and crossing one of the many bridges before setting off through the City Centre following the river past the Temple Bar area (where there is wonderful accommodation featuring free 3am entertainment every evening) for the first few miles of the run.  We stuck to our plan of a nice steady pace, Sue and I running together and Alison and Lynn pacing each other round.  There were a few cheeky little hills in the first few miles, where the route snaked away from the river past Christ Church Cathedral and up towards the Museum of Modern Art, but these caused no problems at all.  The streets had plenty of supporters out and shouts of ‘Go Blyth’ were everywhere we went.  By four miles in to the run we were heading out of the City Centre and up towards Phoenix Park, still keeping to a nice steady pace which meant we could stretch out and enjoy the craic with the many locals on the streets who were very appreciative of our new running kit. 

As we entered Phoenix Park up a deceptively large incline up to the 10k markers Sue began to feel all too comfortable at our easy pace and zoomed off into the distance to achieve a good time of 1:58, under her PB of 1:55, but excellent preparation for her GNR. 

Unknown to us Lynn and Alison had stopped mid-route to be interviewed by an Irish running magazine and to be photographed by a million adoring fans.  I’m sure neither of them loved this attention (ahem).  Sadly at this point Alison’s pre-run niggle turned into mid-run injury and they were forced to slow down and use the run as an opportunity to join in with renditions of songs from Frozen. 

I continued on a wide loop through the park, the largest within a capital city in Europe, including a few challenging inclines, although nothing as bad as I had expected.  The atmosphere in the park was excellent and the support from the crowd was amazing – I can’t even count the number of people who shouted me support as I ran by.  There were large numbers of volunteer marshals despite a well marked route. 

In the last few miles I felt some nagging from my previous injury and slowed down a bit, enough that I could really enjoy the run – chatting to other runners and singing along to the bands. 

While I’m sure the competition up at the top end of the race was fierce it was also an ideal run for the beginners group due to how much fun it was – there were no PBs set for time by any of us but I definitely smashed my PB for how many high fives I was given by a crowd!

A really good run in a fabulous, friendly city with enough hills to provide a bit of challenge and enough craic to get you round them easily…. We will definitely be back in the future and will be taking more of the beginners group with us!