Civil Service Harriers

Welcome to the
Civil Service Harriers
Athletic Club
Finding the runner in all of us
AKA Phoenix Park Runners
Estd. 1867
  1. Civil Service Harriers

    Dublin City Marathon 2018

    The journey to DCM2018 started back in late June when Keith shared the marathon “masterplan” (had to start with an Oasis joke, sorry). It had sessions on Tuesday and Thursday, with pace runs on Wednesday, a long run on Saturday and a few easy runs in between. The sessions were longer than usual, with pyramids around the Kyber/S-bends loop a regular feature. They were tough going but we quickly found ourselves getting fitter and faster.

    Come mid-September we were tired and the dark evenings (and mornings!) were setting in but we kept on turning up and churning out the runs. Doubts were setting in about manageable race paces, small niggles were keeping us awake at night but suddenly we were into taper time. Time for the body to recover and get ready for the main event. Keith gave us a final pep talk. It was hard to believe 4 months had passed since his initial pep talk in June.

    As the day itself came round, conditions couldn’t have been much better. Well, actually, it could have been a bit warmer before the start. It was absolutely baltic. But the sun was shining and there was no wind.

    From the start in Fitzwilliam square the route takes a quick right onto Leeson street. As you can imagine, this is complete carnage. It’s important to keep the head and wait for space to open up, which it eventually does once we make it onto the quays. I felt I only started to settle as we crossed the Liffey towards Blackhall place. It was the start of 4 miles of climbing, but we were entering into home territory now. The club were out in force on Aughrim street making us feel like royalty the whole way up. Thanks for all of the support guys!

    Then it’s into the Phoenix Park which is looking even more resplendent than usual (how lucky we are to train here). The Chesterfield avenue drag feels remarkably easy in the absence of any wind. More club support from Bren and Noel here and just like that we’re at the 10k mark and coming into Castleknock. I had been told about the phenomenal support in Castleknock but was still blown away. I had to fight back the tears as we turned at Myos and came to Castleknock College and the highest point on the course.

    After this there’s a bit of respite as you come down Tower road, back into the park, down Glen road and out the Chapelizod gate. There’s a lucozade station here which is noticeable as you start sticking to the ground. A taste what was to come later in MacGowans!

    Just after mile 10 there’s the first challenge of the day as we tackle the climb at the end of Laurence’s road. There’s some pacer bants as they start an “oggy oggy oggy” chant as we go through the underpass. I brace myself for the climb but I’m at the top in no time. What was I worried about? We had spent the summer sprinting up the Kyber…this is nothing!

    Onto Kilmainham then and a welcome cheer from Andrea! Then we turn down the SCR into Rialto and onto Dolphins barn. This is just nuts. As you turn the corner you come into tunnel of people cheering, Tour de France style. This provides a bit of a boost as we hit the halfway point and start a two-mile drag up Crumlin road. There’s usually a headwind here, but we’re spared today. It’s a bit of a boring stretch so I’m happy to get a shout-out from Sean Ryan along the way!

    Eventually we take the turn into Walkinstown and then onto Cromwellsfort road. This is a nice flat stretch and a good point to push on, if you were that way inclined. I was debating this when suddenly somebody clips my heel and my runner comes flying off and backwards into the crowd of runners behind me! I eventually retrieve it but have to do some work to get back to my pace group. I recall the words of renowned philosopher Mike Tyson – everyone has a plan B until you get punched in the face.

    This surge was probably a bad move. The next few miles are usually pleasant – leafy surroundings and generally downhill as you head into Terenure and then Rathgar. But I experience my first wobble of the day. I feel a bit nauseous and my calves are starting to tighten a bit. I remember Keith saying that there will be tough points but they’ll pass. I focus on getting to mile 20 where I have people waiting for me. I get to Milltown, go through the gantry at mile 20 and I’m feeling better. Thanks Keith!

    It’s shortlived though. We’re through mile 20 and the point where people say the real marathon race begins. We turn right into Clonskeagh and start 2 miles of running torture. It’s undulating, but mainly uphill. There are casualties everywhere – people walking and stretching, trying to relieve cramp. The demons start setting in as I watch my pace group pull away. But finally we’re at the last hill of the day, the infamous heartbreak hill. I find energy from somewhere (a caffeine gel most likely) and burst up it, knowing there’s the sweet downhill of Fosters Ave around the corner.

    Then it’s over the UCD flyover, another lovely downhill on Nutley Lane and then left onto Merrion road for the final 2 mile run into Merrion square. I realise as we approach Merrion road that I have a bit of energy again so I go ahead of the pacers. It hurts, but this is what we’ve trained for – the fast finish long runs, the pace runs on legs still tired from the session the night before. I’m focused on the finish line when suddenly Brid Ryan appears in front of me with a mega phone! This perks me up for the final surge and I get ready for the finish line photos with the obligatory “arms raised in the air” pose. The official photos show me stopping my watch. Goddammit.

    I finished in 3:38:51, delighted. I meet Sally at the finish line who looks like she’s just back from walking the dog. Her aim was sub 4 but she’s finished in 3:53:51. Great result.

    Performance of the day has to go to Vincent O’Neill, with a time of 3:26:19 on his first marathon, placing him 13th in his 060 age category. Amazing running Vinny.

    Brian Walls was the first club member over the line with a time of 2:58:34. This was despite struggling with some cramping over the last few miles. Great stuff from Brian. Cramping was also an issue for Andrew Davies who still managed to finish in an excellent time of 3:04:17. This placed him second in the O55 category in the national championships. Well done Andy.

    Ed “Kipchoge” Murphy had another excellent run with a finish time of 3:27:01. But that wasn’t enough for Ed, a week later he ran the NYC marathon finishing in a very respectable (but painful) 4:26:25.

    Brian “go hard or go home” Boland finished in a great time of 3:31:13. He was followed by Tony Garvin in 3:34:55. Keith Farrell took 20 minutes off his marathon PB to finish in 3:37:39. Some running guys.

    Antoinette “riding cream” Moloney’s early taper didn’t hold her back with a massive PB time of 3:50:16. Congratulations Antoinette. Marie O’Connell dug deep at the end to finish in 3:53:54. Paul Pugh was next home in 3:56:39, well done Paul.

    Niall “the assassin” Heylin’s dodgy knee let him down in the last few miles but he still managed to hang in there and finish in 3:57:46. Well done also to Niall for managing to raise over €1000 for MS Ireland. Alan Julian also broke through the 4 hour barrier this year finishing in 3:57:30. Congrats Alan, great running.

    Sunil Singh also got a great PB finishing in 4:15:45. All that sprinting to make the start of the sessions must have paid off Sunil! Marie “machine” Norris had a tough day at the races with some cramping in the second half of the race. She managed to hang in there and finish in a very respectable 4:28:29. Well done Marie. Marius Crisan also had a tough finish to the race, finishing in 4:33:21. What a guy though – will we ever forget the couple of cans in the bath?!

    Stephen Downey made the decision to get round the course as best he could. He’d never really recovered from his 4 half marathons in 4 days back in August so it was going to be a struggle. He finished in 5:49:17 to cap off a great year of running. Well done Stephen.

    I have to finish by saying a massive thank you to Keith for his coaching and support over the last few months. He really went above and beyond for our group with nutritional plans, race advice and constant words of encouragement. He never seemed to have a down day and kept us motivated throughout the whole process. And all this while doing his own training. Thanks Keith, we smashed it!

  2. Civil Service Harriers

    Dublin Novice XC 2018



    The first cross country event of the season took place last Sunday in the Phoenix Park with the Dublin Novices. The course was a variation of the Munich mile, with two laps for the women and five laps for the men. The ground was nice and firm underfoot but a bracing wind gave it a nice wintry feel. It’s not cross country if you’re not suffering.

    Laura Cullen was first lady home for the club in 21st place, with Brid Ryan not far behind in 28th place. Angie McElligott, on the comeback trail, placed in an impressive 43rd. Next home was Amanda Treanor, followed by Lucia Pes. The women’s team finished in 6th place overall. Great running girls!



    Well done to Eanna Kavanagh who was first man home in 30th place. Eanna was followed by Paul O’Neill in 45th place, Gareth Horgan not far behind in 49th and Tibor Kulich in 71st. The men’s team finished in 7th place. Well done guys!



    Full results available from Dublin Athletics

  3. Civil Service Harriers

    September 2018 Race Roundup

    As we start to break out the hi-viz gear and head into winter training (the dreaded zoo loop!!!), here’s a bit of a lookback at some of the achievements the club had on the roads in September.

    Lakes 10k

    The month started off with the Lakes 10k out in Blessington. This had been touted as a flat course but some climbing in the second half of the race made it lot more challenging than people expected. Nevertheless there were some great performances from the club.

    Congratulations first of all to Brid Ryan who was third lady overall in a time of 43:15. Great running from Brid. Well done also to Gemma Treacy whose finishing time of 44:31 gave her a new PB over 10k. Some more great running from Amanda Treanor and Ashleigh Irvine who finished in 48:22 and 51:32 respectively.

    Thomas Geoghegan was first of our men home in 42:25, with Mark Carroll closely behind in 42:38. Next was Padraig Mac Carron (43:23), Maurice Kennelly (49:25) and Maurice McCartney (52:29). Great running lads.

    Hole in the Wall 5k


    Club members didn’t have to go too far for this inaugural local charity race. Two laps of the Fifteen Acres – easy on paper, but that second lap always seems to go on forever. And I’ve never worked out why you always seem to be running into the wind, despite running in a circle….

    There was a large turnout from the club. Seems people will do anything for a free breakfast. Might have to start bringing a few breakfast rolls down to training on Saturdays.

    There was silverware all round, including a double for our ladies with Emily Ennis and Ashleigh Irvine taking first and second spot. Great running girls! And it was a double celebration in the Ryan-Ennis household with Noel taking third place overall. Well done Noel!

    Dublin Half Marathon


    The Dublin Half Marathon was back in the familiar surrounds of the Phoenix Park. While most of the club was busy with marshalling duties we had a number of club members racing, with a big turnout in particular from the marathon group.

    It was a deceptively tricky course. After a fast start down the Glen road and Military road, the next few miles up Wellington road and the North road are a bit of a drag. There was also a last minute course change which brought runners up Whites road at mile 8. The climb here presented some challenges for runners, not to mention the marshalls!

    It was PBs gallore for the club. Brian Walls was first man home in a blistering 1:20:15 earning him a PB. Ed Murphy got a massive PB finishing in 1:30:06. For a while we thought he was doing a three-legged race with the pacer. Ed was followed by Paul Foran in 1:33:01. Niall Heylin, in his half marathon debut, and his first outing in club colours, finished in an impressive (but agonising!!) 1:35:01. Brian Boland was next home in 1:37:03 – another PB, followed by Marius Crisan in 1:38:54 and yes another PB. Tony Garvin overcame some recent illness to finish in 1:41:52. Alan Julian also got a PB with 1:42:06. Sunil Singh was next home in 1:45:19. Amazing running guys!



    Eleni Zacharogianni was first lady home in a PB time of 1:39:11. Next was Ann Foran in 1:39:23, followed by Maria Mellsopp in 1:44:19. Sally-Ann Lynch also got a PB, finishing in 1:48:28. Marie Norris finished in 1:50:16 and an impressive 9th place in her age category. Next home was Mella O’Neill in 2:02:42. Some really great running from our ladies!



    Roll on the marathon!

    Rathfarnham 5k


    A large contingent from the club made the trek southside for the Rathfarnham 5k. Some great running on the day with everyone finishing well under 25 minutes.

    It was a case of another day, another PB for Gemma Treacy who was our first lady home finishing in 20:10. Great running from Gemma. Fiona Fagan wasn’t far behind in 21:29 and a PB I believe? Well done Fiona! Ashleigh Irvine was next in 23:33, followed by Emily Ennis in 24:11. Great running girls!

    Paul O’Neill was first man home in 17:14. Well done Paul! Congratulations to Sean Ryan who was first in his age category, finishing in 18:14. Christy Smith was next in 19:50, just ahead of Nick Devery in 19:52. Maurice Kennelly earned himself a PB with a time of 21:24. Next was the other Maurice, Maurice McCartney, who finished in 23:53. Well done guys.

    Exciting month ahead as the marathon group heads into taper ahead of the big day and the rest of the club don their spikes for cross country. Happy training folks!

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