Day Before Dublin Marathon 2012
This morning I volunteered as a race steward for the first time. That essentially means standing in a corner for an hour or so directing runners. It was for the "Breakfast Run" an easy 5k that is part of the weekend of events leading up to Dublin Marathon tomorrow morning. Lesson #1: Bring gloves.
On the instructions of the Guard (police office) at our corner I had the onerous task of persuading runners not to mount the foot path (side walk) where curb was wet and potentially dangerous. I tried to remain light hearted and helpful and hopefully I didn't annoy runners (who were forced to run around me) too much. But I had no choice but to stand at that exact spot - basically in the way of anyone who likes a very tight race line! Lesson #2: Walk your part of the course in advance, work out runners line of sight.
As you would expect the day before a marathon, nobody was really sprinting. Several friendly exchanges, one runner even said "thank you stewards". Lesson #3 - say hello to stewards when I'm out racing!
The stewards tomorrow have a much more onerous task. The later parts of the course will be open for 8 hours, and there are a lot of jobs to do - directing runners, collecting junk, giving out water, directing traffic - and most of them are volunteers. There will be about 14,000 runners - including myself - and we are depending on them!
As for myself, I've been told to run at 7:30 min/mile pace by my coach!
That seems optimistic to me, but I might give it a shot. I only ever do better than I expect in races when I take risks. If I play it too safe I end up with the same time I had the last time. My target 6 months ago was to beat 3:30 (with a PB of 3:33 that's pretty conservative). After a few months I decided to go for the brother's PB of 3:23. This will encourage him to beat me in 2013, this little competition is good for both of us in the long run! I've been in Phoenix Park Runners club for a year now and based on my half marathon and 20 mile times, Tony (the coach) has decided I can do 3:15 or so. 3:15 is also the Boston 2013 qualification time. I don't think it'll happen, my best guess says 3:20 if everything goes well, which I'd be very happy with. But I'll start out ambitious and see how it goes.
I'll know by 12:30pm tomorrow one way or another. I'll probably post my time on twitter. Good luck to everyone taking part: runners, stewards, families, spectators, emergency services and organisers!