There were a couple of times during todays Cork to Cobh 15 miler that the urge came on me to break out of the 7 minute miles I was running and chase after a few "hares". I resisted until about the last mile and a half which was too late to do any real damage to my plans for a trial marathon paced (fingers crossed) run. I headed into town with Pat O'Connor, my next door neighbour, with plenty of time to get in 5 miles before the race, but ended up warming up over 2.5 miles. Pat was planning on heading out at 7:00 pace also. I was a few rows behind him and Pat Twomey at the start. Pat Twomey was aiming for 7:10 pace, so I thought I would see them both once we settled into our paces. Some of the other Eagles were heading out at 6:45 pace (the sub-3 club) and others at 7:30 pace. I settled into a comfortable pace from the start covering the first mile in 7:03. No sign of the 2 Pats. They must have headed out at a faster pace, which should not have surprised me. I tried to mimic my plan for Dublin by taking on plenty of gels to see if I could stomach them - no issue there - I took 4 in all. For the first 8 miles I settled into a small group of runners that appeared to be yo-yoing back and forth against my steady pace. I passed halfway in 52:18 (06:58 pace - 12 seconds ahead of target) and the half marathon point in 1:31:12 (06:57 pace - 34 seconds ahead of target).
My pace upped slightly after 13.5 miles as I heard a few runners on my heels and basic instinct kicked in. Shortly before the 14 mile mark I caught up with Pat Twomey and could see Pat O'Connor ahead. As my legs were relatively fresh I decided to go for it over the last mile - "can't hurt me that much". I don't think Pat was too happy as I came up behind him with half a mile to go. I pushed on passing a few more and down the hill for a sprint finish to the line stopping my watch at 1:43:15 - 6:01 for the last mile and 105 seconds ahead of target. A slow 2.5 mile warmdown with Pat gave us 20 miles for the day. Well done to Brendan who had a "Cork to Cobh" to remember! Can I hold 7 minute pace for a marathon - I don't know but i'll give it a good shot if the first 15 miles feel anything like today.Splits as follows:-