Report submitted by Kayanne Horgan on the completion of her first marathon at Run Galway Bay on October 6th 2018.
The plan was to do a half marathon on home turf with friends and enjoy the day on the 6th of October. But for some deep sub-conscious unknown reason I put my name on the waiting list for the full marathon. It was on my bucket list to one day do a marathon but I didn’t really want to actually run one…. so a dilemma! I had to hijack myself.
Well, be careful what you wish for. One morning in late August I got an email from the Run Galway Bay organisers offering me a slot in the full marathon. To say my stomach lurched would be an understatement. Now it had been put up to me would I do it? Yes. Go for it I thought!
Dingle Half Marathon
I had Dingle half coming up in two weeks so I got out the diary and worked backwards with my husband Karl, who reassured me I could do it but I hadn’t a weekend to spare. I joined a group of lovely ladies who had many, many marathons between them. Valarie Fogarty was a particularly fantastic support to me. I won’t lie – the first two long runs were very hard.
I was hoping a magic food station would pop up somewhere but that just taught me to bring enough food and drinks with me to get me by. I am not a ‘gels’ gal so instead I bring raisins, crackers and a sports drink on a run. A cycle top is ideal for all the food as it has a pocket in the back but for some reason running tops don’t. So I got the reputation of wearing the wrong gear, a bit like the character ‘Declan Moffat’ that Tommy Tiernan described. I had become the ‘Denise Moffat’ of the group.
Dingle went really well. The day was still and mild and I ran with an old friend that made the miles seem short. We took selfies and high fived every child we met along the route. You always meet interesting characters in a race and this day was no exception. We met ultra-runners keeping company with their friend coping with depression. We met a lady getting back to herself after having a baby. We met someone recovering from cancer treatment that was intent on running Dingle. It was impossible not to be inspired by everyone around us. Onwards to Galway Full distance I thought!
Race Day in Galway
The weather on the morning of Saturday 6thof October was spectacular. Not a cloud in the sky or a whisper of wind. Quite unusual for Galway Bay. I arrived at 8.28am just before the off at 8.30am. Not being a watch wearer I never know my pace. Running with my training ladies gave me intel that my pace was around 6.20 per kilometer.
Armed with this specialised knowledge I tucked in behind the 4.30 pacers and decided to try and stay with them. Paul and Michelle, the two pacers, were outstanding company. Again, the conversation kept the miles short and before I knew it we were on our fourth lap. Food stations were plentiful. Paul warned it would be difficult at the start of the last lap but to keep it going. Looking around at the Bay in all its beauty was a lovely distraction. So many familiar faces on the lapped route helped, especially my daughter Maeve and supportive husband Karl. To say the last 5 kilometers were hard is very much an understatement. I was approaching my ‘Frodo’ moment at about 22 miles…. I had never been that far out of the Shire.
The Struggle Versus the Reward
As I struggled to keep with the pacers for the last few kilometers I had to tell them to go on without me. My legs were heavy and my energy sapped. I could barely keep momentum going. Then my daughter joined me for the last kilometer and I just about kept up with her. We crossed the line together and she felt she had won the race. I knew I had won something special too. My first marathon that was a great experience with wonderful pacers and people on the course. The cherry on top was the next day I saw my time was 4.29 so the clever pacers had left a buffer for us, knowing that we would inevitably slow down for the last few kilometers.
As a working Mum trying to juggle the ever-shrinking 24 hours in a day I saw that it is possible to set a goal and go for it. With encouragement and support at home, not to mention the regular osteopathic stretching and treatments from my hubby, Karl I got to the start line – which is the most difficult part. Letting the day unfold and taking it all in is the key. It was a great place to do my first marathon.
So whether your goal is a first 5k or 10 mile or 26 mile run my advice is to concentrate on all the positives and your reward will be the natural high afterwards that gratitude and the achievement will give you.
Bucket List – major tick!
To sign up to Run Galway Bay in 2019 and tick that first marathon off your bucket list click HERE