Top -Gate & Trauma in Berlin

Top -Gate & Trauma in Berlin

The weekend brought us what is turning out to be an annual pilgrimage to Berlin. This year the club had 9 runners taking to the streets of this magnificent historic city with Donal, Kevin, Mark, Alan and Warren travelling on the Friday and John and Ciara following on the Saturday. Although Ciara was not physically there, she was minding the lads and dealing with discipline issues via What’s App. In addition to these we had the super sisters of Marianne & Catherine.

From arriving to the airport it was obvious the lads were going to need some minding as Alan lost his boarding pass only to be found by a helpful lady who noticed it falling away from his pink ‘ man purse’ as he called it but it was something that even the most feminine of ladies may find too girly. As the lads were heading to board the plane Warren was summoned via the tannoy to go back to the collect his bank card which he left at an airport shop. On the way home Alan left his phone in the airport only to be kindly be handed in and returned on the plane by an Air Stewart. Clearly Mark ‘ school principal of no kids’ given his  responsibility capability has slacked off and let the lads down on this trip. They can’t be blamed. The lads arrived over and headed straight to the Expo to collect their numbers before hitting their hotels and heading out for dinner with no beer. At the expo the lads cynically abused all the marathon tourists who queued for a long period to get a photo in front of a large cardboard picture of the Berlin start line before queuing for a long period to get a group photo in front of the cardboard picture. Ummm!

Alan, Donal and Kevin had a room together whilst Mark and Warren shared in an adjacent hotel. Donal insisted on taking one of the two joining single beds so he had easy access to his spooning partner Alan whilst Kevin had a double fold out bed to himself. Kevin not to be left out was regularly made feel special as the lads physically embraced him. Mark had Warren who as it turns out not only talks non talk during his time awake but also as he sleeps. He was heard saying in his sleep telling himself ‘ I am a beautiful man, I am a beautiful man’ which indeed he is- both inside and out.

Saturday or limbo day in what’s the aim is to purely pass  the day and eat eat eat. Here Alan displayed his experience and love for all things consuming as he set out a carb loading plan which involved consuming enough to feed a small village including a visit to the now pre- race ritual of Subway. There were various strategies taken here with Mark ultimately regretting his decision to select the 6inch sub option or 15cm as they locally refer to it. This is only Marks second marathon and he will learn from this experience and not allow this to occur again.  There was no mishaps by the other lads as they bought enough to allow Mr Subway Berlin to put his kids, Grandkids, Hamsters and dogs through college and pay for their weddings.

Ciara had now arrived with her husband Maurice as did John Meegan who met up with the lads for dinner as they downed pizza, pasta and soup to ensure enough carbs were now taken to fuel them until Christmas. Ciara in a different part of Berlin opted for a more civilised pre- race meal with Maurice.

Race Morning

The rain drizzled down as the wet streets awaited the Berlin 9 as did a rising 99% humidity which was kindly announced at the start of the race to the crowd. As the race started and within a mile the guys were sweating at a rate normally found at the end of a race they knew the bodies could hurt late on- and they did. The lads had a nasty experience which was enough to put anyone off a marathon but lucky for them  their mental strength was good as they blocked out this horrendous. The lads went out to have great races but it is a surprise they got to start at all given with what they had to witness. Warren decided the day before to purchase a cheap throw away top from Lidl which he bought when out shopping unsupervised. Top- Gate as its now called resulted in what looked like Mark walking towards the lads as they met to go to the start line with a guy in drag as this black woman’s top rounded Warrens man chest with both the collar and next cut in a horizontal line to subtly portray his beautiful cleavage. The lads stood motionless with the mouth agape as they stared from one to each other then to Warren then to Mark. Their look alone posed a question to Mark of ‘Why’ to which Mark with trauma in his eyes aggressively  shook his head as a gentle tear crawled from his left eye. What Mark had to see in that room no man should have to witness. The spooning, naked frolicking in room 1133 by the 3 stooges was insignificant compared to this. We only hope Mark succumbs to sanity soon. There is now an emptiness in his expression that could only come from a traumatic experience. We can only pray with time, medication and a good therapist Mark returns to his former self.

First home for the club was Alan McKernan in a time of 2:46 with a 3 1/2 minute PB. Alan ran steady and very even and dug deep with the legs starting to seize with 10 miles to go. Alan had simply set himself a target to obtain a time ahead of his good friend Paul Gannon’s marathon PB which he did by about 7 seconds. This was not a target created out of malice but to be used as a catalyst to bring Paul out of marathon retirement as we all know he simply cannot allow his PB to be forever surpassed by his much older humble friend.

Next home were the gruesome of Kevin Clancy and Donal ‘The Guard’ Cashin in a super time of 2:57 with Kevin making a 12 minute PB which was no surprise after the year he has had with massive improvements in all his races. Donal who has had injury issues resulting in a summer of inactivity took on a 4 week training plan to place himself in a position to run the race which is both nuts, incredible but not recommended for a standard human. The guys worked together with Donal helping Kevin on a couple of occasions with pain and cramp issues to get him going which all came on post 17 miles after the treacherous climb on Heartbreak Kerb. In hindsight the guys had not taken this kerb into account during their training. An ecstatic and emotional Kevin was understandably very chuffed at his achievement as he entered the holy grail of marathon times joining the elite sub 3 group as did our next finisher. Kevin or S3K as he now calls himself has already displayed signs of taking on characteristics of another ego maniac as he practiced his speech on the plane home for his civil reception as he expected to be greeted from the plane by Michael D, a band and thousands of adoring fans. He was deeply concerned about what attire to wear on the open top bus through Dunboyne too. We fear a monster had been created. It was great to see Donal complete a full marathon too which he did not manage to do last time. Mick Foy was watching at the tracking App in hope for it to pause potentially providing another opportunity for a good ribbing should Donal not complete it.

Warren McIntyre (S3W) on his debut marathon with a target to break the 3 started training early into the year making great improvements to put himself in with a chance. He worked hard, as like all the guys, the legs suffered late on  but he showed ‘True Grit’ to push himself through the Brandenburg gates to finish in a time of 2:59. He came in with 13 seconds to spare into the arms of a doctor-was placed on a stretcher – got lost arriving back to the hotel a couple of hours after the lads who were placing bets on whether he was lost or requiring medical help. It turns out he did both. Warren walked around Berlin for two hours, stopping people on the street to ask them to check their phones for his official time. He returned to the hotel bedraggled and still wondering if he had broken three hours because none of the Berliners could access the results. Warren many times has now spoke of his respect for marathon runners as he learned of the tough journey that it can be. Warren – you are now a marathoner and always will be and a very good one at that. Kudus!!!

Both Kevin and Warren got inducted by Alan through the now customary sub 3 bandana which is now part of the Dunboyne sub 3 ritual. We anticipate more of these to be handed out in Dunboyne on marathon night after Dublin. There will be a nice one plucked for our Lewy who is very excited for this.

John Meegan was next as he did his sister proud as he beat her PB to come home in a super time with a massive PB in a time of 3:17. John’s hard work paid off as he ran a very strong race with his fastest 10K left for the end. We see more improvements as John officially re-joins the club in the coming weeks when his transfer comes in.  John was very informative too about Sarah and her delinquent juvenile activities as a teenager. Please see the lads for details. John was as fresh as a newly baked Clancy homemade brown bread after the race much to the lads annoyance.

Next home was Mark McDonald in only his second marathon coming home in 3:39 to achieve a sub 3:40. This was a 17 minute PB for Mark a mere 10 months after his debut marathon in Dublin. This is only the start of Marks marathon journey as he we go on to chip many many more minutes off this time. Mark unlike the lads was walking freely as the marathon took little from him showing his ability and there’s more to come.

Ciara Nolan Devitt was home just after Mark in 3:40 which was super considering she had issues on the course resulting in multiple stoppages. This was also a PB for Ciara who may not be in good emotional state after witnessing the dancing antics of the lads that evening. Poor Ciara!!!

With everyone finished accountable and ultimately safe, the guys commenced their celebrating ending up meeting at a beer- fest venue where on arrival and before even ordering a beer they were seen doing a train around the venue with about fifty of their Asian marathon brothers and sisters who embraced the Irish lads with hugs, high fives and handclaps. This was the start of the dancing which the gang did to the band who looked like they were freshly plucked from the over 90’s bingo hall as they repeatedly played the same songs including ‘YMCA’, ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Tell me Ma when I go home’. There were lots of videos and pictures taken here which hopefully will not surface and needless to say none of them will be telling their mothers about the dance floor antics when they go home. Later on the 3 lads arrived back to 1133 with Alan for once being the responsible one as he tucked the gruesome twosome into bed after they lay on the bed and literally entered snore land in seconds. Obviously Alan did not do this without taking some pictures first.

We also had two other members running who the guys did not get to meet in the sisters Marianne and Catherine who both ran super races and will hopefully post about their experiences.

So what learning do we bring home from Berlin? Dunboyne has superb athletes who achieve some great times. There will be more Berlin marathons for this group. We also learned that Alan and Warren were separated at birth and both probably could do with care assistants to keep them on track. Finally we learned that Warren is really funny – and sometimes he even meant to be.

The lads would like to thank all their fantastic club mates who supported them pre and post the race with calls and texts which was genuinely motivational. It was a tough day, but knowing they were each being cyber stalked by multiple people often helped push them – especially during the usual marathon dips which we all encounter. Room 1133 would like to thank their amazing lady running friends who very kindly arranged a card and a bottle bubbly to be sent to their room which was gratefully consumed after the marathon.

The guys would also like to thank Gary for guidance and  Phelim who personally  adapted sessions for guys, timing and running with them as they did extra reps as they were a few weeks ahead of the Dublin gang.

Next up – The Dublin gang.

Best of luck to all. Taper is approaching👍👍



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