Mike Griffin

Clonakilty Marathon Race Report 🥉


Four weeks ago i was meant to be running in the Dublin marathon but because I fell and got stitches, I wasn’t able to run. I had most of two weeks off running before I could get back into it. This gave me loads of time to find and enter a new race.

The course for clonakilty changed in the last few weeks before it, back to the original route in clonakilty itself. This was a hillier course than the one advertised in courtmacsherry so I was a bit worried about my goal time.

We took the girls out of school early and headed on the long journey to cork. We eventually made it down and got checked in to the hotel right beside the start. I went and picked up my race number and then headed for dinner.

The Friday was Late Late Toy Show night and we all settled in for treats, toys and entertainment. I laid out all my gear for the next day to make sure I wouldn’t wake anyone too early.

I had a decent sleep and woke up for some breakfast. I only woke people up when I boiled the kettle for coffee. About an hour before the start, I headed out to warm up. It was much warmer than I expected and I decided to race in a singlet alone. I also had a sock change and somehow found a hair clip in my shoe. Glad I found that before I started!

The 10k, half marathon and full marathon started off together which made it hard to get the right pace for the first few kilometres. After a bit of mental maths, I figured I was in the right sort of pace and then got talking to another runner.

“Are you doing the full?” “Yup, you?” “Yeah, what time are you going for?” “2:50” “Me too!” “I’m Mike” “So am I!”

So there we were chatting away and telling each other to rein it in a little. The first hill was near Inchydoney. Then we had a steep downhill and a short climb back out. It was about here that I felt a bit tired. I looked at my watch and sure enough I was 8km in and it was time for a gel. Very quickly I felt better.

We were gaining on a runner in front of us at this stage but we didn’t want to rush up on him. Plenty of time to catch him. We joined back with the 10kers around here and dodged and weaved our way between them. We caught up with the other runner and the three of us turned off onto quieter roads before another uphill section. The other guy pushed the pace and seemed to want to drop us but we all kept in contact.

Another gel at the top and we had a nice downhill to recover. Things were going really well at this stage. We were ticking along nicely, everything felt comfortable and myself and Mike had made a little gap on the other guy.

Then we crossed over a junction and the stewards told us to keep going straight on. About 100m or so past them we saw some signs that were pointing right but they were after a junction. There were no stewards here so we kept going straight on. This turned out to be the wrong decision as we’ll see later.

We went on up and over a hill before a sharp left past a water station. We asked if we were going the right way and were told we were. So on we went, taking another gel along here.

We passed by a small strand and got a good cheer from Louise and the girls. They seemed surprised to see us…

A couple of kilometres further on as we were coming to the bottom of the steepest climb, we were passed by a car. The lead car. And then the lead runner. And another car. What the f@*#!

The driver of the second car slowed down and shouted out the window, asking if we had gone wrong. He said he’d be lodging an appeal for us at the end.

Just then I was totally deflated and all the energy fell out of me. I lost contact with Mike and walked for about five steps. I had a choice. Give up or make the best of it. I went with option two and decided to make up the difference at then end of the route.

I picked up the pace again and along with a couple of gels got moving nicely. I was starting to meet other runners now from the other distances and got a boost every time I went past someone.

Coming close to the end it looked like I needed another two kilometres to make up the distance. I went through the finish, got given a medal and went right back out again. Oddly I passed Mike still out running! He had decided to finish the distance before going across the line.

I finished up the full distance in 2:49:30 by my watch and walked back to the finish line. After talking to the organiser and Mike, we came to agreement that Mike had second and I had third. I was delighted with that and with my time.

In the week since the race I’ve had no pain or stiffness at all and I felt like I could go running again straight away. I waited until the Friday before going for a light run and felt great.

Next up is the National Masters indoors in January, for a total change of pace.