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Waterford’s Viking Marathon sees O’Hanlon wins his 5th 2013 Marathon

Saturday June 29th saw the second annual Waterford Viking Marathon set off from the Mall in the city centre in glorious weather.

Over 2,000 participants travelled from Europe, Australia, the US and from all corners of Ireland to gather at the start line. The full, half and relay marathons started together with a rapturous cheer and an electric atmosphere as the gun went off.

After leaving the city’s environs the race ran through the countryside before reaching the scenic town of Tramore for an out and back loop that was the entertainment highlight of the route. Spectators lined the promenade to cheer on Gary O’Hanlon as he led the race pack through the seaside town. Music and song was in abundance over the entire route and whilst no marathon is easy, this year’s certainly presented many challenges, but spirits remained high.

An impressive 350 stewards lined the route and ensured the safe return of all involved to the Waterford Regional Sports Centre. This year the runners were treated to a full lap of the brand new blue Mondo track before crossing the line to cheers from the thousands of spectators in the stands and strains of Waterford band, “Kodakid”, playing in the background.

The half marathon winners got their just recognition this year with West Waterford’s Raivis Zakis hitting the track first ahead of Michael Morgan, St. Finbars Cork and Brian Murphy, last years Marathon winner form Carrick-on-suir AC in a course record time of 1.13.05. In the women’s event Teresa Agar finished in 1.28.34 with Susan Finn following closely just 26 sec behind.

Gary O Hanlon, Clonliffe Harriers succeeded in his drive for 5 winning his fifth marathon this year completing the course in 2.28.05 ahead of George Waugh of Bandon AC. Local man Frank Quinlan reached the podium again this year with a 3rd place finish in 2.49.12.

Tullamore Harriers Olympian Pauline Curley enjoyed the undulating roads around the city and county, which presented no problem to her. ‘It was a last minute decision to enter, having given everything at Cork last month, but I’m delighted I came down here and really enjoyed the day and the cheers from supporters out on the course’.

A festival feel then took over as a stream of tired but determined runners crossed the line with many extraordinary and emotional moments to behold. The most poignant story being that of the Ryan & Ethan Marathon challenge. 250 runners from Tramore and surrounding areas helped to raise over 30K euro for Ryan & Ethan two local Tramore boys who suffer from ALD, a rare neurological disease. The Waterford Hospice and The Alzheimer’s Society of Ireland were the two nominated charities to benefit from Waterford Viking Marathon with many more local and national Charities benefiting through monies raised.

So all round a huge success, was the overwhelming consensus for most who took part, be it organising, running, stewarding or supporting. A memorable event created not only by the heroics of the participants but by a sense of Waterford taking the Waterford Viking Marathon to its heart.

Registration has now commenced for 2014, For further information and route map log on to

The Long and Short of it

Ten weeks from WVM (God it sounds like some type of war doesn't it!) and I'm still on track. The Long Runs (they deserve capital letters) are getting LONGER and the short runs are becoming more frequent and I seem to be living in Lycra these days.

Since I last blogged I have seriously upped my game training-wise and had the lovely experience of the 5 mile Bunny Run last Easter Sunday, which started and finished at the RSC. Oooh, the next run that will finish there is the marathon. Gulp.

Bunny Hopping

Firstly, I'd like to offer a massive congratulations to Jason King and Trevor Swift and all involved in the Bunny Run. It was a pleasure to run the 5 mile course dressed as a bunny, with the sun shining and everyone smiling all for a great cause – Waterford Hospice. I managed an easy 42 minutes with a comfortable pace of about 8.20 minute miles. Grr I still need to push just that teeny bit harder and afterwards I wondered if I did, maybe I'd have run a sub 40 minute 5 mile. Anyway, there's plenty of time left to do that and get to Trevor Swift and Brian Swaby standards (1st and 2nd) but it was a fantastically orchestrated event which brought runners, walkers and the families waiting around the RSC together. From burgers to bouncy castles, biscuits, Shrek and Donald Duck – the Bunny Run had it all. I even got my bunny ears on (though I got them, and the bow and tail from the hen section of Partyworld – what I didn't see that day SHOCK!!)

I'm into a new training plan thanks to Waterford AC's Brian Swaby, where, as I said, the Long Runs are really upping in mileage and I'm now out running 4 times a week rather than the 3 I had just about managed since January. Okay, it's hard. It's really bloody hard. But it will be worth it and it's only for the next ten weeks and I know I'll be so pleased that I stuck with it.

The long evenings and good weather make running such a pleasure especially on the heavy miles. From my memory of the other day, here's how my 16 mile Long Run generally fared out:

13 Weeks To Go

Holy Moses this is really happening! It's nearing the end of March and Spring has arrived with summer hot on its heels and there's just over 13 weeks until I stand at the starting line of the 2015 Waterford Viking Marathon.

I won't lie. I'm not exactly hyped up in full marathon mode as I type this right now, but I'm getting there. I've had a pretty hectic weekend hosting the Deise Jigs & Reels Freestyle in Cappoquin on Saturday night and then off to Wexford Park to support our hurlers in a fabulous display against Wexford at Wexford Park on Sunday. Somewhere between the match and now I have developed what my children call 'gammy eyes' and am writing this blog from my bed with a very bad dose of conjunctivitis. It's highly contagious and my two boys (and husband) are literally keeping me at arm's length. My husband has moved into the spare room incase he comes in contact with me or my pillow in his sleep (so I really am a lonely long distance runner) and Harry, our 4 year old takes one look and me and yelps 'yikes' like when Scooby Doo sees the monster! He actually stood frozen with his back to the wall when I walked past him last night. He has that 'every man for himself' and 'survival of the fittest' mentality'. It seems our older son Jack, 7, is the more sensitive soul. He actually started to cry when I told him it was better to high five me instead of our usual kisses and hugs before school this morning. But like Jesus to the lepers, he defied the infection protocol and made his way to my bedside to kiss and hug his mammy. Oh son!!!

The reason I'm explaining this is because I committed a cardinal running sin - I put off the LONG RUN yesterday (14 miles) thinking I could do it today and now it looks like I'm going to miss it altogether this week.

To a rational person this shouldn't really matter. But to anyone training for a marathon, long runs are vital, they're what it's all about really and the guilt of missing one hangs over you like a dark cloud until you actually go out and do it. So you could say I have icky conjunctivitis (rampant in many crèches at the moment by the way) and Runner's Guilt. However, up to this, my training plan for this month (see link) from Brian Swaby is going well and I'm feeling stronger and fitter than my previous time out on this Marathon road.

Just A Little Bit Faster

I had been struggling last month with grasping the 'speed' interval sessions. Every marathon runner wants to shave some time off their previous record, whether it's a few minutes or even an hour. I'm no different and have made no secret of the fact that I think I SHOULD be capable of changing tack and upping my speed. I met with Brian Swaby (Waterford AC/ Swaby Sessions / Unbelievably fit and running loving man) a few weeks back for a speed session at the track in the RSC here in Waterford. Running on the track is a great experience and it was amazing to see so many running groups there all with the same purpose - enjoy running, get fit, achieve, believe, excel.

Brian was quick to rectify my mistakes (I was running too fast and then exhausting myself) and yet managed to get me to up my pace to a 'fastER' level comfortably doing 8 to sub8 minute miles as speed. Speed is not sprinting, it's simply a faster than normal pace without over-exertion. I'm finally there and incorporating it into my running more and more.

Waterford Viking Marathon looking for Entertainers on Route

Music makes up the heart and “sole” of this event. Live bands will be performing a variety of music from alternative, classic and punk rock to blues, jazz , soul, hip-hop, rnb, along the race course in Waterford City and Tramore. The bands set the tempo for this marathon party, where runners and spectators alike will be “dancin’ in the streets” to these mini-concerts.

Is your band ready to rock for thousands of athletes and spectators? The Waterford Viking Marathon is looking for bands, choirs, DJ's , drummers, brass bands from all genres to perform along the race course.

If your band is interested in the opportunity to perform, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . There will be plenty of publicity on WLR FM in the run up, during and after the event.

Running Into Spring - 18 Weeks To Go

Hi again, welcome to the Mid-Term break blog. I hope you're running is coming along nicely and you're starting to feel like this marathon thing is actually possible at this stage! Not to sound like a total aul wan, but there's a great stretch in the evenings and it could even be time to move to my capri length running bottoms and put away the Helly Hansen thermals.

I've been off work on The Big Breakfast Blaa all week as the kids have school mid-term. It's been lovely to chill with them every day, and not set my alarm for 5.15am every morning! Even though I thought I'd get lots of extra running done, it hasn't panned out that way, but I'm sticking to my training schedule and can feel a noticeable improvement. I thought that working full-time would make it difficult to fit in running mid-week, but this week has been the hardest to get anything done. Being a stay-at-home mum is a very hard job and the only reason I'm here typing this blog is because Jack and Harry have gone swimming with their cousins so I have a two hour window woo hoo! You should see the state of the wardrobes.

My hat is off to all mothers who manage to stay at home with little ones and still find time for training. I've been ringing my husband at work to the point of stalking him, just to have some adult conversation this week. And it's been more difficult to get the runners on when he comes home from work at six o' clock and get out the door. Actually, I was all ready, in my running gear, on Pancake Tuesday evening, making pancakes for the troops with the intention of serving them up and getting out for a 30 minute session. But oh the hot pancake with melted nutella oozing everywhere proved too much. "Bite into this and thou shall not be able to run," said the voice of reason in my head. Nom nom nom, it was delicious. I stayed in my running gear watching the live Eastenders episode (which was very good) and 're-scheduled' my run to the following night. And had another pancake.

Long Runs

The long runs are coming nicely to me at this stage. I covered 8 miles on Sunday and look forward to bringing that into double figures soon. On Feb 7th I ran the Slaney Olympic Enniscorthy 10k in 53 minutes comfortably. I know the Anne Valley 5 mile was on the day before but I couldn't make it. Well done to all who ran it, especially the organisers who even included a race for the kids! The John Treacy in Dungarvan was a huge success recently too. It's great to see so many races at this time of year, not forgetting the weekend running groups who continue to help people build up mileage in a fun, social way. I've heard the Saturday runners are a great bunch and of course the Sunday runners that leave at 9am from the Supervalu car park. Check them out on FB, there's nothing like a bit of company on a long 10mile.

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