Looking around at me she asked out loud if she was in the wrong spot. While she would not have been entirely wrong, she wasn’t entirely right either. She was doing the Run in the Dark 10k like me. However, that was where our similarities ended. While I had a marathon not more than a month ago under my belt she had a pair of tracksuits bottoms on and was ‘vaping’, something not commonly associated with middle-distance runners of any background. But then it was the Run in the Dark 10k and people had come out from across Dublin and a bit beyond to run this city centre docklands run in aid of the Mark Pollock Trust.
I met Mark Pollock once. Kind of anyway. Myself and my friend Dave were running around Phoenix Park one early Saturday morning when we passed two men dragging tyres behind them. Unable to pass by with curiosity we asked what they were up to. Mark spoke first and explained that they were preparing to hike to the Antarctic. Two things immediately struck me. One was how in holding his head up as if waiting for the wind to carry back a response I noticed Mark was blind. The second was how utterly determined he looked.
He made it to the Antarctic in the end in an extraordinary fete of endurance. However just over a year later a catastrophic accident left him paralysed. Most would have given up, for Mark it was just the beginning and from this grew the Mark Pollock Trust where he set about trying to find a cure for spinal cord injuries. And from that the Run in the Dark came, a series of races that happen in some major cities across the globe every November.
The race itself should not be my favourite 10 k. Yes it is great to have the opportunity to dash the streets of Dublin that are usually closed to the runner. However, on both occasions I’ve found myself run into the backmarkers of the 5 k field coming to a close, some ‘vaping’ most not. In doing so it can feel a little like running into an asteroid field. That said I’ve always seemed to run well in it and back in 2014, not long after the disappointment of the 2014 Dublin Marathon I set my personal best here in a time of 37 mins and 09 seconds.
Almost 10 k with 7 of those at 4.05 pace. Just to keep myself ticking over.