Bringing the carnage to the Dublin Marathon 2016

Yup, I did it. 4 years after a disastrous first marathon, I did my version of nailing the Dublin Marathon.

Four years ago I ran my first marathon, in Dublin, and it was a disaster. Everything seized up at the top of my right calf around mile 10, followed a few miles later by my left calf. I hobbled the remaining 16 miles in pain. It had never happened before and it hasn’t happened since.

I thought that was the end of my marathon “career” and reverted to Halves and 10k’s until last year. I finally got the confidence up again and did both Tralee and London. This year was a bit nuts with Manchester, Lakes of Killarney, Cork and Berlin. But at the back of my mind I wanted to do Dublin again and get revenge for the 2012 horror.

Did it go well? Too bloody right it did! Not only did I get revenge, I got PBs for 15k, 10 Miles, 20k, Half Marathon, 30k and Marathon. I’m bloody chuffed.


Everything went right for me. I ran faster than planned for 10 miles then collapsed in speed as I always do. But a few faster ones in the middle and an very solid finish, despite walking all of Milltown, Clonskeagh and Roebuck, was enough to give me the result I wanted. Yeah yeah, I run barely above the pace of a walker, but I’m happy.

  • I’d like to thank the following:
    • All of our family and friends who came out to shout. It’s an incredibly powerful motivator to see people you know.
    • Joey, Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy Ramone for getting me through the last 3 miles
    • Andy from Headspace whose calming dulcet tones popped into my mind several times during the hard bits.
    • Jim Walmsley whose interview on Ginger Runner Live kept going around in my head. He said he’d bring the carnage to Western States next year. I turned that into a little personal mantra of “I’m bringing the carnage”. Of course in my case it was carnage on my body :-) But it really worked. Along with 26 miles of me telling myself “I’ve got this”.

Couple of notes:

  • The atmosphere before, during and after is wonderful
  • The newer route is much better. I didn’t mind the Phoenix Park this time at all.
  • Drinks stations worked perfectly for me. Faultless.
  • Like Cork, generic dance music seemed to work better for me than podcasts for the bulk of the race
  • Whoever told the German runner I met that Dublin is as flat as Berlin is an evil person :-) When I told the poor guy going up Milltown that the two worst hills were still to come, he was very very unhappy
  • The supporters were fantastic as always. More bands like Berlin and London would be good tho.
  • I had far more chats than usual due to my Berlin Marathon running top. It’s a great conversation starter for others.
  • They need to rearrange the bag drop-off. Despite our hotel being 5 mins from the start line, I think we walked 2+ miles going to/from bag-drop
  • RTE is a laughable embarassment. Did RTE Sport hide under their desks for the day, as we ran past their offices? Rather than live broadcasting the largest single mass participatory sporting event in the country and the fourth largest marathon in Europe? If RTE doesn’t think that’s public service broadcasting then it should be shutdown and give us all our money back.
  • The Marathon should forget about the RTE dinosaurs and arrange live streaming themselves like UTMB does. Thousands of people watched UTMB this year and that’s a tiny niche race compared to Dublin. With the right global promotion, Dublin could be a huge online media event.

If you are thinking about your first marathon or first Irish marathon, you should seriously consider Dublin. Yes, it’s very hilly compared to Berlin, London or Manchester. But it’s easier than many and the crowds really are superb.


Conor O'Neill

Tech guy who likes running slowly

Bandon, Cork, Ireland