Marathon360 - Lonely road to Dublin 2017

Ronan Runners

For some reason, I've decided to run the Dublin Marathon 2017!

Now I've run (slowly and walked a lot) three marathons before. I've watched other people do it, and yet I've still made the decision to do another one...

For anyone who has run the 26.2 miles, you will know it's no easy thing. 

For those of you who haven't completed the task, I'll try to summarise some of the initial feelings - not about the run yet, that will come later.

This is simply about the first days of preparation. 

  • At the time of booking my race number, I was excited and proud to join the 20,000 people who will be taking on the same task in the capital on the 29th October.
  • When gearing up for my first run I told myself that this one would be different. I was mentally prepared and I had time on my side for preparation.
  • Four minutes into my first run... 'WHAT HAVE I DONE... NOW I REMEMBER WHY I SAID NEVER AGAIN'!
  • Twenty minutes into the first run, two or three away from completion... 'it's not so bad, it will get easier'.
  • Ten minutes after a shower... 'I feel great and I'm going to blow this out of the water!!' 

You’ll see a pattern developing:  

  • Two minutes into my second run... 'Oh my God this is worse than the first, what the #@%$ am I at??!!'
  • Half an hour into the second run, and nearing completion... 'I'm nearly there, it's not so bad.'
  • Fifteen minute after a shower... 'I feel great and I'm gonna destroy this on the 29th… keep doing what I'm doing I might even win!'

This pattern will continue until I cross the line, if past experience is anything to go by. Delusional thoughts, both positive and negative, will come into my head. But there are a few facts I can tell you, even at this stage.

  • During training, I will think of every excuse not to run. The mind can be a creative thing and some of the excuses will be weird and wonderful.
  • I will hate every second, minute and hour of those lonely miles. This is not the same for everyone, but it is my experience.
  • When tuning my body, I will feel pain, sometimes in places I didn't think imaginable. Parts of me will be sore that I didn't think were used when running. No-one understand chafing like a runner...!
  • I will ignore the excuses and run anyway.
  • I will learn to enjoy the space a run gives me to think, believe it or not, relax, and look at the world around me with a different perspective.
  • I will feel pain. But I will recover, STRONGER…!
  • I will win the Dublin Marathon on 29th October!!


But here's the most important part. I'm not naive. I will not feel the ribbon on my chest.  I know I will not cross the line first. 

The race I am running is against me. This race is more than 26.2 miles. This race is about the mind's ability to overcome negativity, from the most harmful and strongest of places, ‘yourself’. 

I will tell myself things such as 'Stop, you can't do this. Stop, you are weak. You should stop, fake an injury….anything, just Stop Stop STOP.' 

I won't do any of these of course, as I am stronger than that. I will cross the line at some point, and I will win MY race. 

This year I have decided to run in aid of the wonderful charity called Start360. I have the privilege of working for this organisation and seeing first hand the positive change it makes on our society. 

Start360 puts clients at the centre, and supports young people, adults and families who need a bit of extra support in their lives. 

By running the marathon in aid of Start360, I'm hoping to raise a bit of funds to contribute to helping the organisation grow and sustain the wonderful work we do.  

We are Start360, and CHANGE STARTS HERE.  

You can support my training at

Ronan McGinley