Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Dublin Marathon

This may be of interest to those doing Dublin Marathon as its a new course this year. Its doing the rounds.

Miles 0 - 1.5: 
The start is the same as previous years, in that it gets going on Fitzwiliam place, then swings right onto leeson st. It’s a fast start and before we'd swing right at the end of leeson st and by Stephen’s green. But this year you keep going straight ahead all the way down Kevin st, through the lights and into the coombe.
Miles 1.5 - 3:
You turn right up Meath st and that’s a drag all the way to Thomas st. Its about 300 - 400m. Its not a big incline but that street is very narrow.......even more narrow with cars parked on the left hand side, so there could be some congestion. Then you turn right onto Thomas st and its a fastish section which gets even faster when you go down the hill at christchurch. At the end of this hill you go left along the quays.
So basically the first 3 miles are fast.
Miles 3 - 7:
At the end of the quays you turn right over the bridge, then left and straight ahead onto parkgate st. This is where a drag starts that goes from here to castleknock. From here to the phoenix monument its quite sharp(as far as drags go anyway) and then flattens out for a bit, but then as you hit the castleknock gate it goes up again. This is around the 10k mark and I have to say that stretch out of the park is the worst of the drags (so far). This section I think will cause a some problems for people in that tyring to maintain marathon pace will leave you fried.........but not straight away. And thats the devious thing about it, if you try to hold MP here you wont feel the bite until later, but it will take a bite. Best thing to do is to drop the pace back a few seconds per mile, let yourself be comfortable and tuck in behind a group let them do the work. And I have to mention the wind.......it'll be in your face all the way up, for sure.
Miles 7 - 9:
You go left from castleknock onto college road, which surprise surprise, is another drag........but its a short one, about 200m. But I'd still hold back and not try to fly up it. But this is where the fun begins because theres a good mile of downhill. And its really fast........I know a lot of people say you should be careful on fast downhills but personally after the time you've lost on the 4 mile drag it makes sense to let rip. A bit. And being careful of course not to top yourself over a pothole. You swing left back into the park and this will be a bit of a shock to the legs after the speed of the down hill. But it doesnt last long because you swing right onto the upper glen road which is another fast section that goes as far as the Chapleizod gate.
Miles 9 -12.5
Out of the park and past Donore Harriers HQ, then you go left into the village and its fairly flat. The road surface though is in a jock so be careful.
And then theres the Hill up st lawerences road. Like the drag in the park its early enough in the race to be tmepted to just blast up it. But I'd advise against that. Again, death by a thousand cuts, that kind of thing. You blast up that hill now and I promise you it'll take a bit a few miles later. Personally I think the best thing to do is to slow right down and stroll up it.
Then youre onto sarsfield road which is flat, you go right under the bridge and theres another drag. This is a sneaky one because it doesnt look like much but again if you try to maintain Marathon pace here you'll put a dent in yourself. Then after that youre by kilmainham and swing right where theres (yet) another incline. Its short and sharp though. The section after this aorund the south circular road is a strange one. It always seems very quiet, like a ghost town.......but in the distance you can hear the rumble from dolphins barn. The road surface here is in an absolute heap and there seems to be a big camber(from right to left as you go towards Dolphins barn). Its flat but because of the dodgy surface and the camber, it always seems like a hard section to maintain MP.
Miles 12.5 - 15
When you turn right at dolphins barn theres always a massive crowd waiting and its actually awe inspiring(double if the weather is good). So You do get a lift from the crowd and you can find your pace quickening as a result, but its best to maintain your composure, not get caught up in things because this is actually a pretty tough stretch that goes on for over 2 miles. And you can be guaranteed that the wind will be in your face......even if it seems like theres no wind and everything is calm, there'll be a wind. In your face. So again, tuck in behind some man mountain and conserve your energy. Dont try to maintain marathon pace on this stretch, like the drag in the park, ease back a few seconds per mile(a good few seconds). Halfway point used to be outside superquinn but its now out side a chipper called Mona lisa.......classy.
Miles 15 - 17
Once you hit the walkinstown roundabout thats all the big energy zapping drags done and dusted. You turn left onto Cromwellforths road which is a long straight stretch thats more or less flat. Fortfield road at about 17 miles is a drag. Its not a very long section but I always find it hard to turn from the relative flatness of the previous section to the drag up this road, it can kind of bring you to a standstill. So best to take it handy and not try to flog the pace. Actually the next section at the back of Terenure college is deceptive, its not flat even though it might appear to be but anybody whos run the sportsworld race will know that its not an easy stretch.
Miles 17 - 20
You turn left onto the terenure road and thankfully this is a nice fast section. Actually from here to milltown is fast so this is the time to really go for it and take advantage of the downward drag.
Miles 20 - 22
Theres a hill in Milltown and personally I really hate this one. Its nothing major in the grand scheme of things but its sharp and at this stage of the race can take a bite. After that though its flat to downhill for a bit and then the hill at clonskeagh. Or to be more accurate, the series of hills and plateaus at closnkeagh, because you go up for a bit, it flattens, you go up again, it flattens and you go up again. Then its by the mosque and you turn left up roebuck road. Its flat enough but then at the end, just before you turn onto fosters avenue theres roebuck hill. This has been discussed before and for whatever reason its gained a rep as being the course bad boy. Its not really. Its sharp and it will put the hurt on you but its short and its over before you know it.
Miles 22 - 24
Fosters Ave. This is a very quick section and you can just let fly. 4miles to go and you gotta start emptying the tank here. Left and the end onto stilorgan dual carrigeway, still fast, then right over the UCD flyover and onto nutley lane. So 22- 24 is fast.
Miles 24 - finish
Left at the end of nutley lane and onto merrion row which is a long straight stretch. The road is wide and exposed and I personally hate this part. Up by the British embassy then the RDS, you swing right onto Shelbourne road. Another long stretch that’s fairly quick. 
The old course would have you continue on over the canal, but with the new course you swing left up haddington road. It’s a bit of a drag but nothing killer, and then you turn right onto Northumberland road. And from here it’s a long straight run to the finish. And it is long........
I have to say I prefer this finish to the old one. Before the hump at the canal and the stretch up Pearse st were pretty horrible. This way it seems to be over quicker.
And thats it. I was talking to a friend the other day who said that after a while everybody becomes an expert. I dont claim to be an expert but I'll say how I think this course could best be run and you can do with that information as you please.
I think you should start off easy, really be careful on the section from the pargate st all the way to castleknock, like don’t try and run marathon pace, slow it down. Ditto for crumlin road. I think a negative split of at least 2 minutes is the way to go, trying to run even splits on this course is nuts. Maybe the course profile doesn’t look so bad but there’s a profile and then there’ the real thing. Hold back on the hills, dont try to blast up them, you'll pay for that later on. Wait until the walkinstown roundabout to make a move, its about 11 miles to the finish from there which is perfect for negative splitting. Respect the hills, make hay on the quicker sections, run very comfortably over the first half and go for it after walkinstown. And especially go for it once you hit fosters ave, that’s 4 miles+ of Gold.