Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Dublin Bandit

It started with a Facebook post, telling the world that I was in Dublin.  An old camp friend named Ray who works in Dublin saw the post and invited me for a drink downtown.  One drink turned into several, as they so often do, and in the course of the night he mentioned a 5 mile race (Irish Runner 5 Mile) he was doing the next day.  I asked if I could still sign up, but online registration had closed and there was no day-of registration.  I would have to bandit.

After drinks with Ray, it wasn't long before I found myself as the only American at a Brazilian ex-pat party near Christ Church, drinking and singing along to Brazilian folk songs I didn't know the words to...

I finally made it back to my couchsurfing host's place by 1am.  Up at 9:00 and out the door by 9:15.  I had to run from Croke Park to Phoenix Park where the race was being held and I was to meet Ray at bag check.  Ray had failed to tell me the race was on the other side of the park, so it took me longer to run there (all told it was about 3 or 4 miles).  Ray had waited for me as long as he could but had to jump into the starting chute.  I made it to the starting chute just as the race was starting but couldn't find him, so I jumped in at the very back of the pack and just started running.

It was a lovely course through the park, with a few hills and intermittent rain, and quite a change of pace (literally) to be running at the back of the pack.

I finally caught up to Ray around mile 3.5 when I unknowingly passed him and he called out my name.  We ran together for the rest of the race, Ray stopping occasionally to walk due to shin splints.

The runner and the bandit

After crossing the finish line, I was kicked out of the finisher's chute because they were handing out bottles of sports drink and finishers' shirts, though I wouldn't have taken anything anyway, being a bandit.

We caught up with Ray's girlfriend, her sister and her mother, and then caught a ride back to my couchsurfer's place.

It was a great morning, roughly 8 miles total, running with an old friend, my second ever international race, and a great start to my trip this summer.

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