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Friday 19 September 2014

Cool customers line up for city marathon

Peter Kearney

Published 27/10/2012 | 05:00

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iT'S going to be a cold one for the Dublin Marathon on Monday -- but not this cold.

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Sarah Robson and Ruth Whelan became the first Irish women to finish the 'Polar Circle Marathon' in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, last Saturday week.

With temperatures at this weekend's marathon set to be low, it is equatorial heat compared to the Arctic conditions experienced by the Stillorgan, Dublin, pair.

Running in -8C, on rocky, snow-filled roads, Whelan and Robson called on "inner strength and training" to get through it.

Whelan kept going "inspired by the wonderful surroundings".

It was a unique experience to be so "completely alone with only the sound of your breath" as company, she said.

The marathon and preparation were as much a mental as a physical journey. Since March 2010, Whelan has been on a fitness programme, losing almost four stone. She also quit her bank job recently to become a personal trainer.

The pair were put through intense training since January of this year by John O'Connell from SF Fitness camps.

In Greenland conditions were treacherous, putting the marathon in doubt. Fortunately, within 24 hours there was snow fall and the race was back on.

The training and the anxious wait beforehand were worth it as both ladies completed the gruelling test.

Robson finished second in the women's race in a time of just over four hours.

Whelan found it "a surreal experience" which proved she can "do anything I put my mind to".

She now has her sights set on the Bagan Temple Marathon in Myanmar in November 2013.

Meanwhile, Sarah Robson is back in Dublin to run her second city marathon in a row this year.

Irish Independent

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