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Dublin Marathon 2016 – Fair Play To Ya

Should you do Dublin? Without a shadow of a doubt – it was truly awesome!

I found myself with a glass of rosé in my hand one night in June, chatting to people on Facebook when I was overcome with a sudden urge to sign up for another challenge...

My Walk the Walk journey began in 2009, I signed up for my first MoonWalk London in May 2010, since then I have completed 5 MoonWalks and The Virgin London Marathon in 2013. To say it has become a lifestyle choice is an understatement!

After The MoonWalk this year, I knew I would be doing The MoonWalk London 2017 but I kept looking at the Challenges page on Walk the Walk’s website. Dublin just kept calling me, it didn’t take much persuasion from my WTW Facebook friends to sign up.

Friday 28th October I found myself completely out of my comfort zone, sitting in Stanstead Airport about to fly to the Emerald Isle on my own, butterflies in my stomach... what if nobody spoke to me, what if I didn’t know what to do? As part of the preparations for Dublin we had a Facebook Group that we had all been on in the weeks before the start. A number of us were flying in from various airports all over the UK early in the morning. We agreed to meet up just inside the terminal building. It was easy to recognise everyone in their bra t-shirts! Then began the adventure!

We caught the pre-booked bus into the city centre, chatting to everyone as if they were long lost buddies and not people we had met half an hour earlier.

On the bus I met Janine Bell, my poor roommate for the trip. Amazingly by the time we reached the hotel everyone just assumed we were friends travelling together. The nervous apprehension lifted and I knew I was going to enjoy every minute.

Getting into the hotel, the beautiful Conrad, wave after wave of pink bra t-shirts arrived and after unpacking we all made our way for the first ‘team talk’ which was actually afternoon tea.

What a treat! Sandwiches, cakes and our own pots of tea - a fabulous way to introduce ourselves to the other members of the team. Then we all went our separate ways and did our own thing for the evening.

The next morning we were all up early for our action packed day, although there was breakfast at the hotel most of us hardly touched a thing. We were off for the 4k International Friendship Run which was a great way to kick start the day, in our decorated bras of course. We even saw a Walker inside a replica of the Eiffel Tower! It was here that I learned some new Walk the Walk songs, thanks Nina, in my I’m still singing “people always ask us...” we should release it as a single!

After this we went to the Convention Centre where we devoured the cooked breakfast that was provided for all the Walkers and Runners and watched traditional Irish dancing and listened to local music.

No peace for the wicked! We then hopped on the coach to visit Kilmainham Gaol where a very gorgeous Irishman gave us the guided tour. Fascinating history and far too many facts to share here.

Back to the bus and off to the Expo to register for the actual marathon, pick up a few goodies and then a Walk back towards the town centre via shops and then on to the hotel to bath get changed and all meet up for your pre-marathon Pasta Party! Another fabulous meal, I don’t think any of us could believe the portions. This was the first time I’ve seen 30 plus women (and two men) drink nothing but water – we all knew what the following day had in store for us... and incidentally we had Walked over 10 miles on our relaxing day!

Sunday morning, I was up with the larks, down to breakfast... porridge followed by a three egg omelette and plenty of fluids... and then we all met up at 7.45am for the short Walk to the Start Line.

As we Walked through the streets of Dublin, in our bras, we were a formidable sight to behold. ‘Fair play to ya’ would ring in my ears for the rest of the day. At the start line Nina was interviewed by Irish TV thankfully we weren’t singing at this point.

The starting gun went off for our zone and we were off... very soon our team had fallen into several pockets of Walkers and I was very fortunate to be able to Walk with Nina and Yvonne Harkness – we soon started picking off the miles. At each mile marker we high fived each other. We Walked through some spectacular suburbs of Dublin, through the most beautiful Phoenix Park, where autumn was in its full glory, the halfway point was on the Crumlin Road. The euphoria was building having Walked many miles before I was anticipating a dip between miles 14 /16 and 20. Unbelievably this didn’t happen, I truly did follow the Training Plan this time and it paid off – big time! Before we knew it were down to our last 800m, we were still going strong at the Finishing Line - Nina, Yvonne and I holding hands as we crossed the line. Job done!

Well we certainly brought colour, humour and awareness of Walk the Walk to the people of Dublin and they embraced us with their overwhelming friendliness.

So Dublin in a nutshell – what a wonderful bunch of people I had the pleasure to spend the weekend with. Walk the Walk you are an amazing family to be part of. Immense thanks and love to Nina, Kate, Alicia and Jen for making it probably the best thing I’ve ever done (apart from having my children of course)!

There are too many people in the team to name but you are all wonderful and I hope we meet up soon. At next year’s MoonWalks -  if not before.

Should you do Dublin? Without a shadow of a doubt – it was truly awesome! However, don’t bother packing a posh frock... just add more bra t-shirts... that’s all you need!

What’s next for me? Berlin or New York?

Tracey

Inspired to join our Walk the Walk team in 2017, join us now! 

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