Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Tralee International Marathon, a special experience.

Most people in Ireland visit Kerry. Most use Killarney or Dingle as their base. Most also bypass Tralee. I for one fail to understand that.

On Paddy's weekend all roads lead to .... 

Every time I go there I have the most wonderful of weekends. There are great food spots, plenty of lively bars and is far better value for money than the aforementioned. And you don't have to drive far to come across amazing scenery at Fenit, Banna Strand, Ballyheigue or Kerry Head.

Banna Strand near Tralee

Then there is the people. I have lost count of the amount of the amount of friends I have made on my trips to Tra Li. This weekend was no different.

St Patrick's Day weekend means only one thing for the last few years. It's Tralee International Marathon weekend. Now managed by Tralee Harriers AC it starts and finishes at the Tralee Wetlands, a beautiful spot just across from the Aquadome. There is a 5K, 10K, Half and Full Marathon.

Tralee Aquadome

Tralle Wetlands, start and finish of Tralee International Marathon
Traveled the day before on St Patrick's day by train so as to not to get stuck behind the many parades in the towns between Limerick and Tralee. Number pick up in the Rose Hotel, meeting some good Marathon Club Ireland friends, John, Vincent, Catherine, Lindsey and Humphrey to name but a few. You see, long distance and marathon running is also about building friendships and meeting up. It's half sport, half social connection.

Off for dinner in the Brandon before bedtime and met with John and Sheila from MCI. Thanks for the company at dinner, the conversation was great.

The race was at 9.30am so there was time for a proper breakfast where I got talking to a family from Kilmallock who had 2 members doing the Half Marathon. We nearly missed the start we were having such fun telling stories. Do you see a trend yet? Marathons are FUN events with FUN people. Also at the start I met with Jennifer and Patrick from my hometown near Brussels who had come over to Tralee to take part!! It truly is an international marathon :)

After the start and a lap of the lake we started the first of two 13.1 mile loops around Tralee with a stretch of the Canal. While the route (on link below) is rolling there is only really 2 hills on each lap making it 4 hills in total. The first is actually short enough while the second is longer and gets a bit steeper later on in the climb.


This was only my 3rd run past 10 miles in over 3 months and I was surprised how easy the first lap was as I came through the first half in just a few minutes over 2 hours. Near the end of the first loop the snow came and it became colder and denser as we continued in lap 2. Thanks to Liz Leonard, Catherine Guthrie and Pat Torpey for miles of company on separate occasions. These chats are wonderful and make the miles melt as fast as the falling snow did thankfully.

There was a couple of loop backs and places where you could see fellow runners and it was great to see so many familiar MCI faces from all over the country.

While loop 2 was tougher on me because of the lack of mileage so far this year I managed to finish the whole Marathon in splendid form and with a smile on the face and a wee dance over the finish line.

Still smiling after 26.2 miles, bling included
The run was also made easier by countless marshals and volunteers some dressed in cartoon characters and most must have been really cold standing out there for hours. Without them we would not do what we love. So a big, big thank you to them :)

Oh, and let's leave the last and best mention to the most amazing group of people called Born To Run Tralee Marathon Club!! The nicest, craziest, friendliest, most compassionate group of people you will meet on the running circuit. I feel privileged and honoured to be a member! And they know how to party as hard as they run!!

Born To Run Tralee Marathon Club after party!!

As mentioned in the last blog the mojo is firmly back. Next up East of Ireland Marathon on Saturday 24th next in Longwood, County Meath for number 3 of 2018! Bring it on!!

Next visits to Tralee are July 28th for the Born to Run 40 Mile and August 25th for the Kerry 100K!!

Miles with Smiles.

Patte xxx

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