The conditions were close to perfect, mild for late October in Dublin the locals were saying. The air was filled with the usual pre-marathon tension and the smell of fallen leaves. All marathons are special, but there was something surreal about running through the streets of a 1,000 year old city. Friendly people lined almost the entire course as it stretched outside the city to beautiful parks, neighborhoods and countryside.
The chants of "Well done" and "Brilliant" from the spectators became even more important in the later part of the race when the hills and distance were taking their toll. The low back trouble I've been fighting for a decade or so ended my running at mile 22 and I had to walk out the rest of the course. So it wasn't the finish I'd hoped for but I was satisfied to enjoy the amazing experience and call this my last full marathon. (I think I can still manage some respectable 13.1's).
The week that followed was a blur of cool weather, lush, green landscape, pubs, castles, cliffs, crazy wrong-side traffic, gift shops, too many french fries, (chips), and some of the friendliest, real people I've ever met.
Thanks to Run to the Pub for a first rate bucket list trip.