Call it the luck of the Irish. Within a 7-day period in March, 2015: 1) I won a trip to run the 2015 Dublin Marathon courtesy of the 317 Pub and the Bozeman Running Company, and 2) I finally learned – after a 20-year search - the location of my ancestral home in County Westmeath, Ireland. I’ve participated in the Run to the Pub every year since the event’s inception, but when my bib number was selected to win one of the Dublin Marathon trips, you could’ve knocked me over with a shamrock. You see, I’m not a fast runner; I don’t even look like a runner. Drivers who see me jogging along the roadside likely peg me as a “stranded motorist” as opposed to a “marathon trainee.” Once the euphoria of being selected subsided, I promised myself that I’d train as hard as possible for the race. After all, I owe it to the Run to the Pub runners who weren’t selected to give it my best effort. So, before jetting to Dublin, I logged over 900 training miles in preparation for the race. The race conditions were perfect – sea level, cool temperatures, misting rain – and the crowd was wonderfully supportive. I must’ve heard the expression “well done, lad” 500 times over the course of the race. My race plan was unfolding perfectly until mile 18, when my new plastic orthotics and the Dublin pavement starting having compatibility issues, punctuated by shooting pains up both legs. My race pace leaked like a punctured balloon and it was a real struggle to finish. The last 4 miles entailed more “shuffling” than “running.” Legs afire, I finished the race 40 minutes slower than anticipated, but, by golly, I finished. After the race, I walked the short distance back to my hotel, but I had to be assisted up three steps to the entrance by two helpful Irish octogenarians who typified the warm, welcoming spirt of the Dubliners we met on our trip. My wife Laura, who waited at mile 25 to cheer me on to the finish line, was befriended by a group of race spectators who were likewise supporting loved ones. They bonded quickly and were reticent to go their separate ways once the last runner that they were tracking (me) had passed. The trip also allowed me the rare opportunity to visit for the first time the plot of land that my ancestors farmed in the 1800s. We drove 90 miles west from Dublin to the tiny townland of Clonthread in Westmeath County and explored the 9-acre property at the invitation of the current land owners. The small agricultural town was frozen in time – with many of the same hedgerows and buildings that delineated in an 1855 historical map of the area. I was able to stand inside an old stone structure on the property that sheltered my ancestors in the 1830s. It was a moving experience – one I’ll never forget. I will remain eternally grateful to the 317 Pub for awarding a trip that I’ll consider one of the highlights of my life.