When it comes to marathon day there are four types of people in this world.
1. There are those who cannot understand why you would ever want to run a marathon but will come out to support you for undertaking what is, and don not excuse the pun – a marathon task.
2. There are those who cannot understand why you would ever want to get up early and stand around for hours often in the wet or cold to cheer on mostly complete strangers.
3. There are those who now understand why you would do both.
4. And then there are those who don’t know the marathon is going on and are wondering why there is such a traffic delay on a Sunday morning.
I used to fall into the second category happy or determined to run but never quite understanding the reason so many people supported us. In my second Dublin marathon I remember passing throng and throngs of people whose cheers and claps seemed never to end, irrespective of who was running past them. I remembered how the Americans in south Dublin with college names emblazoned across the warm hoodie tops used to be the most vocal and I thought, “seriously, what is the maximum amount of runners the could know in an Irish marathon?” Yet they just kept shouting and by mile 22 I was so thankful that they did.
It wasn’t until my first attendance of a marathon when I was injured and unable to run that I finally found the enjoyment out of it. I recognised etched in the enthusiastic faces of those early on, the hopes and dreams of PB’s and enjoyable runs. And then I could identify in the pain and grimaces painted across them on the backward stretch the same emotions I had felt in my own runs. And I found myself hitting the nearest shop and buying two big bags of jelly babies for those struggling down Pearse Street who had one last loop of Trinity to do. Jaysus, it was great!
On Sunday I will be on the road this time round and the grins or grimaces will be etched on my side of the barrier with the claps and cheers on the other. A shout to the fans then for helping us home and if you have a few jelly babies comes mile 25 God Bless You!