Dublin. Capital of Southern Ireland and largest city on the Emerald Isle. Famous for its welcoming locals, nightlife and of course it’s Guinness.
Club stalwart Keith Ruth took the journey across the Irish Sea to complete his swansong marathon in memory of his dad.
“He passed away at 55 which was way too early. I promised myself that I would run something for him when I reached 55. As he was a Dubliner, choosing Dublin Marathon seemed perfect”
Perfect indeed, what a beautiful tribute.
Started in 1980 by Noel Carroll, this race was unusually run on a Bank Holiday Monday until 2016. It was an instant hit with sign ups jumping from 2100 to over 11000 in just 2 years. It continues to grow year on year and it’s easy to see why. Promising a fairly flat course and great support all the way around.
Starting in Fitzwilliam Square, the route took Keith through the streets of the city, crossing the River Liffey before heading North west toward Dublin Zoo and through Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park in any capital city in Europe.
“I had tears running down my face in the 1st mile, it was really emotional” Keith tells me
After emerging from the park Keith took a Southerly turn before skirting the edge of the park then crossing the River Liffey for the second time at around the 10 mile mark
Halfway saw Keith cross the Grand Canal before passing Brickfields Park.
“My son and dog Rufus ran alongside me for a tiny bit, it was my highlight of the race”
Keith continued on but the challenge of mind over matter started to bite.
“The tiredness has started to kick in and it affected my confidence. It was a mental struggle”
It’s during these times in a marathon that the will to finish has to take over. You’ve come so far but have a long way yet to go. The self doubt starts to nag, trying to trick your legs into slowing in rythmn or worse still, stopping all together.
“I suddenly heard the voice of Jodie Wilmott in my head. She told me that a marathon is a 20 mile training run followed by a 10k race. That really got me going again”
And get going he did. He kept battling away. One foot in front of the other, running with his dad in his heart. He continued on, past the University and the Elm Park Golf Course.
24 miles and the final turn for home. The tears returned as he approached the finishing straight. He could see Michael, Rufus and girlfriend Carolyn as he gave it one last push across the line.
He’d done it. A beautiful tribute to his much missed dad.
And as the cherry on the cake he’d cracked the golden 4 hour mark for the second time this year. Something that he’d been chasing for years previously. So to do it for his Dad was an extra special moment.