Two hours before the start of the third annual Dublin Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, rain pelted the city. But the luck of the Irish was with thousands of runners who took to the streets. By the start of the race the rain stopped, the runners started and the race rocked on.
No one enjoyed the morning more than Paul Pollock and Lizzie Lee. Pollock pulled away from Mick Clohisey in the final half mile to win the men’s race in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 7 seconds. Clohisey finished second in 1:05:18.
As for the women’s race, it wasn’t much of one. Lee dominated, winning in 1:13:25. Sarah Mulligan took second in 1:17:33. Lee, who hails from Cork, won in 2013, then skipped last year’s race after giving birth to her daughter, Lucy, in June.
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Mulligan won the 13.1-miler to Phoenix Park in 2014.
This time, Lee regained her title, and, at 35, set a personal record. Her previous PR was 1:14:05. Motherhood obviously agrees with her.
“It’s superb,” Lee said. “I can’t wait to get in the car and give her a cuddle this evening.”
By about Mile 8, Pollock and Clohisey had pulled away and it was a two-man game, Clohisey in the lead, Pollock drafting off his shoulder.
“No one was willing to take the lead,” said Clohisey. “I thought someone might take over.”
Bothered the past three days by a cold, Pollock wanted to exert the least amount of energy possible.
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“My coach said, ‘Sit in as long as you can,’ ” explained Pollock, who lives outside Belfast. “I sat until about a half mile to go and thought, ‘That’s long enough’ ”
The race served as Ireland’s half marathon national championships. While Clohisey wasn’t keen on Pollock drafting off him for miles, he didn’t complain.
“A race is a race,” said Clohisey, who lives in Dublin and was cheered throughout the course. “It’s a championship race. I didn’t have to take the lead. I could have sat back as well.”
The event attracted runners from 48 countries. Nearly 1,100 Americans hopped the pond. Some 1,500 runners represented the United Kingdom.
The race began at The Point Village, hard by the Irish Sea. The first three miles hugged the Liffey River. At the Saint James Guinness Brewery, the route veered away from the river and past landmarks such as the Museum of Modern Art.
The last five miles winds around Phoenix Park. At 1,760 acres, it’s the largest park in Europe, a constant sea of green grass, green trees and open fields.
Said Melissa Beach, who came from Atlanta for the race, “This is a place where you’d just like to come and have a picnic.”
As with any Rock ‘n’ Roll Series event, runners hit the road in costumes. There were leprechauns, runners in tutus and wigs, some playing the role of wanna-be rock star, carrying inflatable guitars.
“I loved hearing the bands,” said 25-year-old Chelsea Roussopulos from outside Denver.
“I like that they played songs we know,” said her friend, Rebekka Gyger.
“Like ‘Deep Home Alabama’ and ‘Wild Thing,’” added Roussopulos.
Hanging in Dublin gave Gyger a bit of a history lesson.
Said Gyger, “I love that you can just be walking down the street, see an old cathedral or see some building that’s been here since, I don’t know, the Vikings.”