The night before the marathon I was in Italian restaurant with some family and I had a safe choice of Spaghetti Bolognese. However I also had a rum based cocktail it did have a few fruit juices, hopefully that would not affect me on race day as I do not normally drink rum.
The pacers met at a hotel (5*) about 2km from were I was staying. It turns out this hotel is were the elite runners are, we where then taken 30 minute before the start to the race. turns out we where getting warmed up with the elites!!!
It was pacers to the left and elites to the right. So I decided against putting on my old trackie bottoms and bin liner as per usual pre marathon. Glad I had previously bought a new tracksuit (same make as the main sponsor) so I did look ok for a change.
We where then taken to the front of the race where we would collect our balloon.
We where all expecting either a normal size balloon or a foil balloon (like happy 30th. Instead they were BIG I would say weather balloon size, which I had a nice pink one with 4:30 on!!!
We then had to walk through the runners to our position, it was like the parting of the red sea.
Before the start the band played the Irish national anthem and Danny Boy.
There was about 3 or 4m ribbon attached so when running you had to be carefully not to get tangled with the other balloon (this happened a few times), trees and road signs. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be when I saw the size of them, luckily the wind had easied a lot form the previous two days. There were a few double takes when spectators saw the size of the balloon, a few people asked if they could have it but I needed it for a few more hours still.
It was strange when I looked around about half way round as the whole of the road they were all following us. The number of people following us gradually decreased as we went round.
When I got to mile 22 I was interviewed by a person from RTE (Irish TV) as I was running along. This is the section where I would normally struggle at on this cause, likely this time I was not and was able to speak about the pacing using GPS, stopwatch, pace band and the three of us doing the same.
In the last mile and a bit we were encouraging those who could to go a bit faster while we maintained our pace. All of the 4:30 pacers crossed the line together and were greeted by the race director who congratulated each of us.
All three of us in our pacing group were all within a few metres all the way around which was good for pacing and we finished with a a chip time of 4:28:53.
These completed my Grand Slam (triple header) of endurance events in Ireland this year and also adds International Marathon Pacer to my list of sporting achievements.
I can still be sponsored online at http://www.justgiving.com/OneBobbyRobson/ raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Then I went back to the elite/pacer hotel for shower and a few Vit G drinks (the first one went down quicker than they poured it) before heading to Kennedy's for a quick pint on the way back to the hotel. Also stopped at a chip shop (The Lido on Pearse Street) before going to Eddie Rockets for some more high fat and protein food/drink just to help aid the muscle recovery process.
The photos are provided by a member of Boards.ie and there complete set of photos is available on flickr.