The rookie: Sara Cahill
THERE have been times alright when Sara Cahill (42) has wondered what she's got herself into.
A native of Navan, living in Cork, she did some club running as a kid, but stopped by her teens and took it up intermittently again after her daughter was born, mostly "when the trousers were too tight."
She found her exercise groove by returning to social running and hooking up with an experienced women's training group in Blarney.
She has 'halved' a Cork Marathon with training mate Anne Tobin and felt she'd reached the summit of her ambition when they completed the 2009 Great North Run.
But Anne then entered them into the adidas competition to find a group of first-time marathoners for Dublin and she got selected.
That's meant being furnished with expert individualised training schedules and advice, though training with others is her natural preference.
"The group in Blarney is great. They've given me endless advice and motivation which helps you keep on track and not give up.
"I was whingeing like a baby one day and Frances Buckley, whom I do a lot of my long runs with, said 'don't worry, we're all feeling the pain' and you really need to hear that."
Having an iPod with a radio helped with her low boredom-threshold, but this summer sticking to her regime hit another complication. Her work with Stryker (an orthopaedics and instrument company) already involved foreign travel, but, since June, it's meant living in the US for a week and a half every month.
"We're based outside New York. I went out at 8.0 one morning to do eight miles, but, with the heat and humidity, I couldn't get past four."
Despite all the help, motivation and finding the time to train, have still remained a challenge.
"Even if you've done 13 miles it's the mental concept of running twice that, that you have to get your head around. Like, can you cope, either physically or mentally, with that?
"If work is busy, training really helps you to think things out, it definitely relaxes your mind as well as your body," she says. "When you're driving home after a run, your brain is happy!
"Running definitely lets you see places, meet people and have experiences that you wouldn't otherwise have."
With two 20-mile training runs under her belt, she is confident she will complete Dublin, "even if I run, walk or crawl home."