Saturday 10 December 2016

Inspirational blogger goes the full distance in Dublin city marathon

Published 27/10/2015 | 02:30

Pauline Curley wasn't the only one who burst into tears when she crossed the finish line yesterday.

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Carrie Poettcker was crying a good 800 metres before she got to it and no wonder.

She only took up running in July 2013 and has built up quite a following on her very candid blog and twitter account under the nom de plume of 'Thisfatgirlruns.'

"I finished it!" the thrilled Irish-Canadian said, who has lived in Ireland for 15 years and is now happy to reveal her identity. "It took me six hours, 51 minutes and 15 seconds but I did it and I bawled like a baby!"

Not even tough weather conditions could stop her finishing her marathon debut.

"The weather scuppered my plans to run faster and then my arm went dead which I couldn't understand when I wasn't carrying anything," she laughed.

Runners make their way across the James Joyce Bridge during the SSE Airtricity Dublin marathon
Runners make their way across the James Joyce Bridge during the SSE Airtricity Dublin marathon
Pauline Curley of Tullamore Harriers with her AAI National Championship Trophy after the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon 2015

"But I finished it, I've done a marathon. it's hard to describe how that makes you feel. I had such great support. My friends were there at half-way and at 18 miles and at the finish.

"I also earned ¤1,200 for the Simon Community and that spurred me on too, I felt I had to finish for them and those who sponsored me.

"At some points I had to walk, especially between the 17th and 20 miles but I ran from 24 miles onwards.

"I missed the marker for 25 miles and started to really panic because I knew it should have been there. Then suddenly I saw the 800-metre marker.

"Just around that point a guy said to me 'this is your day!' and that was it, my face just crumpled! I was trying desperately to hold it together but I just couldn't!"

On her blog Carrie recounts her journey to becoming a runner, recalling that she could not run even 120 metres the first time she tried it.

"It is hard to believe what I've done, it is definitely proof that when you put your mind to doing something you can achieve it," she said.

"What it has given me is a lot of confidence. I haven't actually lost a lot of weight and I need to figure out now why not.

"But I have become so much fitter and healthier."

She said she will continue to write her blog, particularly because of the feedback she receives from it and her 3,500 Twitter followers.

"People have said I have inspired them which is great and my next thing is to try to speed up my times over shorter distance," she said.

"When I finished I cried and hugged the first person I saw and then I bawled and hugged the person who gave me my medal. It was so emotional but also so amazing."

For Carrie's next running adventures follow her on Twitter and on 'thisfatgirlruns.com'

Joining ‘Shamrocks’ proves lucky for Caroline

Caroline Farrelly, a Cavan woman who now lives in Killester, was another who got a little tearful when she crossed the finish line.

“I’m sorry for crying but it just means so much to me to finally run 3:40,” she explained.

“I ran in my 20s and only came back to it a few years ago. I’m 49 now and I wanted so badly to run 3:40 before I turned 50 .

“This is my eighth marathon and I’ve finally achieved it thanks to Raheny Shamrocks.

“I joined the club three years ago and you wouldn’t believe the support and camaraderie they give you.

“When I crossed the line, who was there only Pat Hooper (ex-Irish Olympian and a Raheny coach).

“The way he greeted me, he was as proud of me as if I was (current Raheny international) Mick Clohisey! That just set me off crying, I couldn’t help it.”

Caroline described finally achieving her goal like “giving birth to my third child!”

“I have a 14-year-old daughter who is already running and a 12-year-old boy and this has been like my third baby!”

So, will she have another  child – metaphorically speaking? “I don’t know,” she laughed. “Maybe to mark my 50th.”

Top cat Jimmy among hurlers who certainly weren’t on ditch

Making your marathon debut at the age of 62 is quite a challenge, so congratulations to Jimmy O’Brien who did just that with a time of four hours and 15 minutes.

Jimmy is a two-time All-Ireland club winner with James Stephens and joked that he wanted to win his special category of “grandfathers born in Kilkenny in 1953.”

His wife Eileen, three adoring grandchildren and extended family all cheered him on proudly and he also raised money for the ASD unit in St Patrick’s DLS school.

Afterwards Jimmy even managed to walk to Kilkenny. Well, the Kilkenny shop on Nassau Street actually, for some well-earned sustenance.

Another hurler running his first marathon was ex-Offaly senior Kevin Rigney who, along with his brother Donal (AKA Diesel) and four others, did it to raise funds for Tullamore two-year-old Conor Doyle, who suffers from a rare liver disease.

The race also included two 90-year-olds – Ed Power from America and Phonsie Clifford from Inchicore. Our sources tell us that one of them was particularly keen to check the personal best of the other, who has moved into his age-category!

Don's perfect timing

Many marathoners wouldn’t improve or achieve new personal bests without those great volunteers who now ‘pace’ large groups of them on race days.

One of them was Don Hannon from Roundwood, Co Wicklow, a bearded mountainy man glowing with health, who chuckled that he just runs marathons “for fun.”

That’s because Don’s an ultra-runner who thinks nothing of running for 100 miles or more.

He had the onerous task of being one of the 3:30 pacers yesterday, a magical time that many regard as the  barometer of marathon success.

His pre-race advice? “Just relax and don’t worry if your pacer gets 200m ahead of you up a hill. You’ll always catch up on the other side.”

When he crossed the finish line Dan’s watch read:  3:29.11. Job done!

‘Despicable’ Mayo men and Lily on run add to fun of the day

Just how seriously people take their running is underlined by the diminishing numbers of fancy-dress runners in Dublin annually, despite its proximity to Halloween.

One of the minority who dressed up this year was Noel Flood (43) from Kill, Co Kildare, who ran in a fetching stripey prisoner’s outfit.

He has previously competed as Superman and Spiderman but is still serious about his running, with a decent 3:41 personal best.

He also had a great reason to take up marathon running.

“I gave up smoking a couple of years ago and running was a great way to stay off the cigarettes,” he said. “I’m still off them.”

Also catching the eye yesterday were Michael Doherty and Michael Canty, from Ballina, dressed like twin ‘Minions’ from the film Despicable Me. Injuries and interrupted training curtailed their usual competitive streak so they decided to have fun with it.

“I did it in 3:06 last year but did it in 3:46 this year,” Doherty said. “The kids on the course loved it, and a special part was that we’d stop and then someone else would stop and say ‘Thank God you stopped, it makes me feel better!’ Then we’d go again and they’d go again alongside us. That was pretty special.”

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