It is a happier place than that were most people seem to live. It is definitely more rewarding and it allows for the unique blend of selfishness and selflessness as if the twine were meant to be together.
I like travelling to it more and more often as it offers a safe place for everyone where it is OK to be human and where it is OK to be your self. And that brings not only peace, but also joy and unlimited potential.
As it did again this weekend. On Friday a visitor was welcomed to Limerick for the weekend. It was Marathon Club Ireland Back 2 Back Marathon weekend in the gorgeous setting of the University of Limerick.
And Marathon running legend Collette O'Hagan from Dundalk was running her 374th & 375th Marathons. She was just back from completing the 6 Majors having ran Tokyo Marathon the previous weekend. It was such a pleasure to have Collette over. Every time I meet her I become a better person and a better runner. Her knowledge of distance running is very deep.
Thanks Collette for your stories and sharing your running wisdom.
Saturday at 7.30 we gathered at the University of Limerick Boat House for the first day of the running festival. The sun was shining brightly and it would not leave us for the duration of the race. It felt like the first day of Spring. Race Director Derek Mackessy with the support of Maryse, volunteers, marshalls and the ever present Lindsey and Vincent Guthrie once again offered us what most be the best value for money at any Marathon event in Ireland. Thanks to all.
We ran a 1 mile out and back loop before starting on 5 laps of 5 miles through and around the University of Limerick campus. Seriously, next time you come to Limerick pay a visit to the campus, it is a masterpiece mixing nature and architecture. It has new design buildings, river walks, cafe's, a living bridge and so much more. Definitely worth a visit.
I settled in an easy rhythm talking to IMRA notoriety Brian Byrne and also Paul Comerford who was on his 10th Marathon of the year. I moved on and spotted 3 friends about 300 yards ahead. It took me 2.5 miles to catch up with them :) I joined Michelle Burke (winner of last year's Tralee 40 mile), Shane Dunphy (en route to his 40th marathon) and Aiden Sheridan. Aiden is this year running 52 marathons in 52 weeks in aid of Breast Cancer Ireland. He ran numbers 11 & 12 this weekend. Please visit his FB page here: https://www.facebook.com/52marathonsin52weeks/
We stayed together for the next 15 miles until the Finish line also crossing paths regularly with Maighread Ryan. These are real friends, you can run 15 miles with them and have a great laugh and fun with at the same time. Thanks to the 4 of them for a wonderful couple of hours!
From L to R: Maighread Ryan, myself, Shane Dunphy, Aiden Sheridan and Michelle Burke.
So that was number 37 in the bag in wonderful weather. Returned to the scene of pleasure the next morning at 7.30am to help as Marshall and for Food Table Duty on the second day of the festival. The weather was turning and it rained nearly throughout. This did not dampen the spirits too much. And if one or other participant didn't feel 100% there was always a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on or a very well meant shout of encouragement.
I ended up running 2 laps of 5 miles with the wonderful Siobhan Dowling who was on her first Back 2 Back Marathons and had lost her running partner through injury early in the race. It was a privilege spending those 10 miles with a new found friend. Congrats to Siobhan on her first B2B. You have a wonderful spirit and willpower to match. You have every reason to be very proud of what you achieved.
When Siobhan came in to complete the race a group of fellow runners had waited in the rain at the Finish line to greet her home. Only people who truly love what they do can bring themselves to stand in continuous rain waiting for a fellow runner to finish after completing a Marathon themselves. I am so grateful to know these people and be part of this magnificent Club.
If you have completed 1 marathon and want to share in this magic, join Marathon Club Ireland. You will thank your self for doing so.
Next for me is Tralee for my own attempt at Back 2 Back marathons this coming Friday and Saturday.
There is no place I would rather be next weekend!!
Miles with Smiles,