I had just started to become a runner about a year before running the Run to the Pub half marathon in 2016. The 13.1 mile distance was the farthest I had ever run before. Although the run had gone well for me, it was quite a challenge! I remember sitting with my wife after the race talking about how we would NEVER run a marathon. I also remember thinking that I may or may not be able to get out of the chair I was sitting in. That was about the same time my number was called as the 4th and final winner of the Dublin Marathon trip for 2016! When the shock of winning wore off, I realized that I was going to Ireland! I couldn’t believe it! Then I also realized that I was going to run a marathon after all. I have to admit, I was a little terrified. A few days after winning, my wife and I decided that she would make the trip with me and also run the marathon. Our training was a very humbling experience. My wife works full time and I am in graduate school at Montana State University working on my PhD. On top of that, we have a 2 year old that has more energy than both of us combined! Taking turns waking up at 4:45 am to run was never easy, but we both knew that the commitment it took to train would make crossing the finish line in Dublin that much more rewarding. We followed the training schedule posted on the Dublin Marathon website religiously and I had already set a goal to run the race in 4 hours. Training was a great experience for both of us. We learned so much about ourselves and what we were capable of. Unfortunately, two weeks before our trip, my wife developed a stress fracture in her hip and was unable to run in Dublin. My wife’s injury showed me that running 26.2 miles was nothing to take for granted and even if you properly train, finishing was not guaranteed. Race day in Dublin was a beautiful sunny day with ideal temperatures in the upper 50’s. The 2016 marathon was the largest in Dublin history with over 19,000 runners. The energy from the runners and the spectators was pretty incredible. The course was a mix of city streets and rolling country side. What a way to see Dublin and the surrounding area! My race went just as I had planned it. I was able to settle into my pace and hold it through the finish line, finishing in 3 hours and 58 minutes, two minutes under my goal of 4 hours! The encouragement from the crowd over the last two miles was amazing, it literally pushed me through the line. I don’t think I would have broke 4 hours without it. I have never been more proud of myself as I stood (well, hunched over leaning on a metal barrier and trying not to pass out is probably more accurate) and waited for my proud finisher’s medal and shirt! I could barely walk up and down stairs for a couple days after the race, but it was totally worth it! After the race I met up with my wife, and luckily her hand and arm were not injured, so we hit the pubs for a cold pint! Ok maybe more than one! We were able to extend our time in Ireland and travel to the western coast, which was an amazing experience that we will never forget. It was astonishing how many Irish people had connections with Montana, through working in the mines, or traveling for pleasure. Some just said they knew Montana from the movies! Proof that we live in a one-of-a-kind place. Thank you so much Pub 317! This was such an unbelievable trip. We’ll see you at the race in March 2017!