For many of them it was an emotional morning, and a poignant day – a mixture of excited anticipation and sadness as they lined up wearing black ribbons.
Lining up and ready to go!
Over 50 ribbons had been distributed to runners and supporters during the previous days.
Just before the start the race announcer read this message :
“Over 30 Mayo AC competitors are here today wearing black ribbons on their distinctive red and green singlets in memory of their friend and clubmate, Michael McNeela, who passed away suddenly just 11 days ago on 19th October.
He had trained hard for the marathon and was running strong to be here today.
Michael had completed 3 Dublin City Marathons previously, running a 3:14 PB in 2015.
He is fondly remembered by his running family today.”
On Saturday our runners had received a lovely message from Michael’s nephew, Cillian McNeela: “Best of luck to all in Mayo AC tomorrow in the Dublin Marathon. We will be thinking of you all. Michael will be with ye all to push ye to the finish line. The McNeela family “
At the start Race organisers also acknowledged the memory of Pat Hooper, Irish Olympian, who also passed away suddenly in October 2020. This morning, for the first time in 20 years, the Dublin Marathon took place without Pat as official race referee.
Race day was good for running 14C, bright with a breeze in places.
Many in our squad were looking to better previous Dublin finish times, some were running their first Dublin, and a couple their first marathon.
Our first finisher was Eamonn Joyce who ran the race of his life finishing in a brilliant 2:41 and within seconds of a negative split. He finished with an excellent new PB too – he ran 2:54 in the Clogher marathon two years ago. We’re all delighted for him.
There were also fantastic pbs among our seven sub3 finishers – both Tadgh Hanrahan and John Gordon ran 2:50, Brian Fox 2:52.52 and Gerry Kirrane clocked 2:58. Great running too by Mark Basquille, Darren Flanagan and Colin McDermott – they all dipped under 3 hrs .
Colette Tuohy was our first woman finisher, as she was in her debut marathon in 2019 in 3:07. It was understandably a tough day for her.
She ran hundreds of kilometres in training with Michael McNeela along the Greenway and the roads and lanes near Castlebar. Like many today she had a difficult time over the final 10k, but stuck in there couragously to cross the Merrion Square finish line in 3:20.
Anne Marie Staunton and Paula Donnellan were our second and third women finishers respectively, both running consistently well to match their 2019 times.
Tony Hegarty knocked an impressive 23 minutes off his previous best with a well paced 3:35 run. Padraic McVann had a great race too coming home in 3:29.
Our M70 runner Patrick Sweeney clocked 3:41 – a super time – and is he is probably guaranteed a national silver medal in his category, following gold in the Half-marathon last month in Fairyhouse.
All of our finishers will have stories of their experience today. Post race analysis will include relief, exhilaration, disappointment and all the other emotions that this adrenaline filled day engenders.
For now it’s time to celebrate their achievements – rest and recovery to follow!
Congratulations to all our Dublin Marathon finishers today.
Huge thanks to all who supported our athletes – in the run up to the event at the start, around the course and at the finish area. Thanks also to those who sent photos and information.