I’ve always regarded the CCM as a tough gig. The course is physically and psychologically tough, especially in the second half. Then there’s the time of year – a mid-summer Marathon with the strong likelihood of high temperatures and worst of all the high humidity that’s characteristic of this part of the island. Not to mention the fact that it’s a wrong way around Marathon. Yes, after a mile circuit of the city centre, the course changes direction from anti-clockwise to clockwise. Anyone who’s run Dublin will appreciate the difference. I’m not sure I wouldn’t prefer a trip out to the Ballincollig roundabout and a full traversal of the Straight Road to running around Mahon in circles and going nowhere fast. And don’t mention that seafront section and the subterranean railway line. Perhaps a few decades of the Rosary might suffice until one makes it back to the Marina and civilisation. Anyway, I imagine if it were not for traffic considerations and time constraints on the Lee Tunnel, we’d all be turning left and not right at the North Gate Bridge. What I never considered was the possibility that the course might incorporate some bonus mileage as appears to be the case. No matter how hard I tried – and I did try hard – I couldn’t squeeze this Marathon Route into the standard 26.2 miles.
Just a few short weeks ago, we were all running around in multiple layers of clothing, battling wind, rain and biting cold. We waited for the easterly wind to abate, but it just swung around to the northwest and every long run throughout April and May was real test of endurance. I waited for better weather to head out to the Farm, but favourable conditions never materialised and I didn’t see any point in going head to head with the wind. And so, for the first time ever, I eschewed the Farm completely. Time will tell whether this was a wise policy or not.
For hundreds, if not thousands of runners this will be a week of high anxiety as the training winds down. The anxiety will reach fever pitch on Sunday, when they have to take the day off. People will be sitting at home berating themselves like Oskar Schindler, “I could’ve done more, I should’ve done more, a mile here, a mile there”, all to no avail of course. They’ll all have done their best and when Monday comes around they’ll be on line to reap the rewards of their efforts.
As for me, I’m tempted to grab a bicycle and measure that course for myself. The only thing is – I don’t want to end up a banner headline on the Evening Echo; “BARRS man arrested cycling through Lee Tunnel – in a contra flow direction”. Not to worry, when I explain my motives, I’m sure the Gardaí will exercise discretion in my favour. I’d be shattered if they didn’t!