‘One marathon placard read: If Trump can run, so can you!’

On his second gruelling Dublin run, Conor Barnwell was buoyed by spectator support

Conor Barnwell: “Even at the starting line I could tell it was going to be an inspirational day”

Conor Barnwell: “Even at the starting line I could tell it was going to be an inspirational day”

 

The Dublin Marathon certainly doesn’t get any easier, but whoever said it would?

The feeling you get at the finish line makes the sheer difficulty of the run worth it. Making my way unsteadily through the baggage area afterwards, dry mouth, cramping muscles, I’ve never wanted to be sat in a pub so much.

Even at the starting line I could tell it was going to be an inspirational day. I was just hoping that I’d be inspired enough to make it back to Merrion Square.

As we set off like herded cattle along the first couple of miles I was focused on navigating traffic islands, curbs and drains. I didn’t want my marathon to end prematurely through injury, so patience and calm was the plan for the first 13.1 miles.

Willed along

Even early in the morning, supporters were out in force, shouting and waving their flags and placards. It was brilliant. I’d really need them later.

Through the halfway point I felt great, helped along by the truly amazing pacers, fellow runners and my girlfriend Susan, a one-woman support team who helped out as a water carrier at various stages of the race, willing me along. I can’t overstate how grateful I am to her.

As we approached mile 16, I came across the Eiffel Tower, albeit a 10-foot tall one strapped to a runner. I doubt at this stage I could have climbed the fake tower, let alone the real thing. I was starting to feel it.

In an ideal world the entire 26.2 miles would be lined with spectators because their enthusiasm, support and humour is irreplaceable. My particular favourite was the boy holding a placard reading, “If Donald Trump can run . . . so can you!”. From start to finish the crowd were unbelievable .

Finally, the finish line . . . and in 4.45.19. I’ll take that.

Congratulations to all involved and huge thanks to my pacers and, of course, the fans. See you all next year. From the sidelines.