Ireland conjures up images of green rolling hills, Irish pubs and beer–I can attest all of those are true. Two weeks ago, I participated in the Dublin Marathon hoping for a little bit of the luck of the Irish to pull me through the 26.2 miles. My luck paid off that day and I crossed the finish line–with a very slow time due to injury. However, I recommend this race for a number of reasons, all of which relate to the Irish spirit.
The crowds–Chanting “Well done” and “Good on you” constantly throughout the race, the Irish spirit came alive in support of all the thousands of runners. They lined the streets singing, cheering and playing Irish music to pep up the step of the marathoners. In fact, of all the places I’ve traveled to in the world, Ireland tops the list of friendliest people. Plus, if you want a country loved ones will enjoy while you attend the expo and spend a half a day running, the Irish citizens’ smiles are ready and waiting.
The post-race parties–While I didn’t find any official “post-race party,” no worries. Any street in the City Centre (where all the Dublin action happens), will supply a choice of Irish pubs and pints of Guinness Beer. The Irish call it “strong tea,” as evidenced by their ability to out drink any tourist. You’ll resupply your energy with plenty of liquid calories.
Pre-race food–I was hard pressed to find spaghetti–typically the runners’ pre-race food of choice, although the marathon itself did offer an extra-cost carbo-loading dinner. But the pubs offered hearty Irish stews with flavorful potatoes and your standard Irish soda bread. Carbs aren’t hard to find!
The course–Taking you down O’Connell Street, the widest street in Dublin, the course traverses throughout the city, through a quiet park, next to the Dublin Zoo, and up the hills of the city. The only bad news: headwinds and rain. I didn’t face too much rain, but 40 mph headwinds greeted me for a few miles.
The 2014 Dublin Marathon awaits! Happy training!