Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Dublin

Race Report: Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, Dublin

Date: 5th August 2013

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Cloudy, not too hot

Website: http://ie.competitor.com /

Positives: good expo, great course, excellent organisation, friendly runners

Negatives: lack of support around the route, pacers (what pacers?), goody bags

As @TheWelshWookie and I were making a weekend of it, we flew into Dublin on the Saturday afternoon, giving us plenty of time before the race on Monday. We headed to our hotel which was on the outskirts of the city, as we had a hire car.

After we checked in and organised ourselves we headed into the city itself, to find the expo. We took the Luas, or tram:

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We headed to the expo, which was well organised, busy, and had lots of stands. I had to pose, of course:

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I collected my bib, my race pack and Tshirt. The goody bag was a bit rubbish- but that’s not hugely important to me anyway. I then collected my World Rocker medal, albeit a bit premature as I hadn’t actually run the second half yet!

We then browsed the stalls, and I treated myself to some Yurbud earphones, which lock in place and don’t fall out. They also allow you to hear what is going on around you, for safety when out running. And the sound quality is great I LOVE them! I also bought some CEP calf compression sleeves, in neon green!

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We spent Sunday sight seeing, shopping and scoping out the start of the run at St. Stephen’s Green so that we knew exactly where we were going, and where would be best for parking.

On the morning of the race, we were up at 5am, had breakfast at the hotel, and drove into Dublin. We were greeted by some motorway signage 😉

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We parked right at St Stephen’s Green, so we didn’t have to walk too far. @TheWelshWookie headed off at 7am to find where he’d be doing the gear check, while I waited in the car for another half hour getting more excited just chilling out. At 7.30am, I headed onto St Stephen’s Green and took a walk around, just to soak up the atmosphere, and to keep warm- it was a little chilly, given that I was wearing shorts and a vest!

The facilities at the start were great: loads of portaloos, and the gear check was easy to use, spread out well, and manned by the wonderful @TheWelshWookie amongst others!

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The start itself was really good. From 8am, we were advised to go to our corrals, which was ideal. The build up was pretty slick with a very brief warm up, and the excitement built to the sounds of U2.  I was in the last corral, so anyone slower than 2:20 were all lumped together- all slowbies together!

Here’s the map of the race:

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The race started at 8.30 sharp, and the final corral (including me) headed off after about 10 minutes. We were notified that the pacers would be wearing coloured balloons, and I was hoping to track the 2:15 balloon, at least for part of the race. I only saw one pacer for each time- there were more in Edinburgh- and for some reason, the 2:30 pacer started in the corral BEFORE us? Huh? That made no sense to me, as I was running 2:20!

A sea of neon green!
A sea of neon green!

Anyway, we headed out of the start, and the support for the first kilometre or so was really good. Within about 10 minutes, I had caught up with the end of the previous corral, which was great, and I caught sight of the pacer. But, before I knew it, they had raced away on ahead! So much for running at 2:30 – I’m pretty sure they must have come in much quicker than that, as I didn’t see them again! So, after such a great pacing experience at Edinburgh, I was disappointed that this pacer didn’t seem to do what was needed for us slowbies, anyway. 😦

As we headed towards Phoenix Park, the support dwindled, and that made the course pretty quiet. A large part of the race was in the park itself, which was gorgeous. It also meant that you could run on the grass, if you preferred. We ran past the zoo, and there were some families out, showing support. I got a high-5 off of a boy of about 3, at mile 4, which was great!

At the 10k mark, we began to head slightly uphill, which was a shock as it was the first hill of the race, but wasn’t too bad. There were sensors at 10k, but I haven’t been able to find my 10k split anywhere on the website. Hopefully, I’ll come across it!

As we headed out of the park, I noticed that we ran along whole streets, with no one out supporting. I thought that was odd, but maybe support isn’t as good as elsewhere? What it did mean was that I really, really appreciated the support that we did get- it was greatly appreciated!

The route wound its way back towards the city centre, and at mile 9, we came to The Hill. Now in most races, it would probably have just been a hill, but for this lovely, flat course, it was THE hill. Pretty steep! But, at the top of the hill was a water station- whether that was by luck, or by design, I was happy to see it, and to fill up my water bottle.

From about mile 10, the support began to pick up a little, with some fantastic crowds over the last mile. One of the great things about this route was how quickly we seemed to come cross the finish line- it just appeared, out of nowhere!

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What made up for the lack of support were the brilliant bands at every mile marker. They were all really great, and this time, there were only two finishing  songs as I came past, so I got to hear lots of them! And, unlike Edinbugh, the mile markers were all present and correct!

As I crossed the line, I was handed my fab medal, and I managed to bag a bottle of water and a powerbar: the isotonic drinks were all finished 😦

I had to wait for @TheWelshWookie to finish giving back gear bags, so I headed back to the car, got changed, then came back to the square, where I found a wee spot to sit and listen to the bands. It was brilliant!

My stats: 2:16:04 only 5 seconds short of 2:15!! I  have no idea how many participants there were, but I finished 3990th. Here’s the only stats I could find:

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The Medal: Really good, fab, sparkly and heavy!

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I also had my brilliant World Rocker medal:

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Goody Bag: money off vouchers, leaflets, blister plasters & a packet of crisps

T-shirt: It’s a fab. neon green number!

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After a quick shower and change, @TheWelshWookie and I headed first to the Guiness Storehouse, where we enjoyed a Guiness, for it’s restorative powers only, or course 🙂

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And we finished our evening partying in the Temple Bar area, listening to some fantastic music.

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All in all, we had a brilliant weekend, and can’t wait to visit again!

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