Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sep 29th 2010 Hmmm....So much for a day or two (rolling eyes!) its the best part of a month since I promised, on Sept 11th, to post an update on the C Team - Cancer Survivors relay run in the Cork City Marathon on June 1st.

This was the second year that we organised a team of Cancer Survivors to run in the relay event of the cork City Marathon.

In 2009, we had 6 runners for the 5 legs, doubling up on the last leg, and finished in 4:01:27.

This year, we had 6 again, and had a woman on the team. It was disappointing not to have any last year. So this year we had: Marianne Murphy (Endometrial Cancer), John Quigley (Prostate Cancer - surgery), Brian Kenneally (Testicular Cancer), Ned O'Brien (Glandular Cancer), Mossie Shanahan (Skin Cancer) and Joe Dineen (Prostate Cancer - Radiation)

Joe Dineen, John Quigley and Mossie Shanahan pictured close to the Start/Finish point in Patrick St. Cork, at the launch of the Cork City Marathon Relay. The €3,000,000 figure in balloons was the Irish Cancer Society's fundraising target figure for the event.

We met on the night before the race to sort out the logistics of meeting, handover, etc, and, most importantly, so that everyone would meet. This was the first time that several of us had met face-to-face. Very important is you're handing over to another relay runner! Ned wasn't able to make the Sunday night as he was travelling on the morning of the race. He had never met any of the others, except for me.

Forecast for the day wasn't good, with rain and wind predicted in a narrow band. The hope was that it would hit during the night, or hold off until afterwards. We wouldn't be so lucky, the rain hit before the start, but wasn't too bad. However, as the morning progressed, it simply worsened, with the worst hitting when we were going along the Mahon/Lakelands Walkway, the most open part of the course.

We met up, at the City Hall, for a pre-race photo shoot:

The Original Golden Eagles Relay Team

John Quigley, Dave Muldowney, Gary Relihan, Conor O'Brien and Aoife Quigley, along with Gary's daughter. Note: The bands on my right hand are our relay 'batons' - I have two; one for each of the two teams I was running on; C Team - Cancer Survivors and The Original Golden Eagles.

C Team - Cancer Survivors
John Quigley, Joe Dineen, Ned O'Brien, Marianne Murphy and Mossie Shanahan. Missing was Brian Kenneally - he had to rush off for the bus to his relay changeover point.
The red technical t-shirts were kindly sponsored by Maher Sports.

C Team - Cancer Survivors team members with Rose O'Dea of the Irish Cancer Society.
John Quigley, Joe Dineen, Rose O'Dea (Irish Cancer Society), and Ned O'Brien.

Leg 1
Marianne had originally hoped to run in the event, but persistent shin splints put paid to that, so she walked the first leg as our official number carrier. I ran the first leg, unofficially, for C Team - Cancer Survivors and also, officially, for Golden Eagles, so while we were bending the rules a little, to ensure that Marianne was our official runner, we still had fully continuity and handover from start to finish.

Marianne & I set off, in very wet weather, from Patrick St. and, while Marianne was walking, I set off 'hammer and tongs'. I quickly went ahead of the 3 hour pacing group and had high hopes of hitting my personal target of 35:00 for the 5.5 mile leg. By the time we'd hit the Quays, at about 3.25 miles, the easterly wind had risen....and the 3 hour pacing group was closing behind me. They passed me just before the 4 mile mark and I hung on for dear life - just 1.5 miles to go!

I got a second wind and inspiration after that and gave chase, passing the 5 mile mark in 33:51 and caught the group, just before the relay changeover point, and handed over the C Team baton to Brian.

I wasn't so lucky with the Original Golden Eagles team - we'd hoped to finish in around 2:51. There was no sign of my handover, Gary. I went right through the relay changeover point, but no sign of him. Having spent about 7 minutes looking for him, I decided to go on to the next changeover (We never figured out afterwards what happened - he was there but, despite all my shouting, we never met up - plans, plans & disasters)

I had planned to accompany Brian on his leg - he was hoping to go at about 7.5 min miling - but he had too much of a lead for me to catch him over the 5 mile leg. Anyway I ploughed on as best I could, trying to make up time for the Golden Eagles team (but knowing that we were going to lose about 10-15 minutes on our target handover for the second leg)

Meantime Brian handed over to Ned for the 6.25 mile third leg. At this point, the wind was up and the rain was at it's worst.

Ned O'Brien (C4205), about 0.5 miles into the third leg, with Blackrock castle in the background. All the runners behind Ned appear, from their different coloured numbers, to be marathon runners.

On the Golden Eagles team, I handed over to a frozen Dave Muldowney in about 81 - we'd hoped to handover this leg at about 67-68 minutes. I quickly met up with Brian and, rather than waiting for a bus (the relay courtesy buses were running late) we decided to run back along the marathon route to the city centre.

Brian Kenneally and John Quigley 'warming down' on the third relay leg, by Blackrock Castle.

Up ahead, Ned ran a very strong leg, handing over to Mossie Shanahan for the hilly 5.25 mile fourth leg. Mossie, in turn, handed over to Joe Dineen, for the fifth, and final, 4.25 mile leg. While Ned accompanied Mossie for his leg, both Ned and Mossie ran with Joe to the finish. So for the day, both Ned and John ran about 17 miles for the day, Brian did about 12, Mossie 10 and Joe & Marianne covered 4.25 and 5 miles respectively.

Meantime, after changing into dry gear, Brian & I headed for the 26 mile mark and waited for the others came in. When they arrived, we all ran into the finish, coming home in 3:27:51, a full 34 minutes faster than C Team - cancer Survivor's 2009 time!

Ned O'Brien, Joe Dineen and Mossie Shanahan approaching the 26 mile mark.

C Team - Cancer Survivors coming in to the finish together ( the guy in the middle is a member of another team).

C Team - Cancer Survivors after the finish
Brian Kenneally, Ned O'Brien, Joe Dineen and John Quigley (Mossie Shanahan and Marianne Murphy both missing)

As one of the team said afterwards "It was great to come in to the finish together. It was just brilliant! Better than any medication or drugs!"

One of the prime aims of C Team - Cancer Survivors is to inspire people not only other Cancer Survivors but also others who may be affected by Cancer, e.g. family and friends and also the medical people who look after us. As someone said about C Team - Cancer Survivors recently: "You're world class!"

If you'd like to run with C Team - Cancer Survivors in the June 2011 event, please get in touch.

No comments: