Nearly 50 countries were represented at the inaugural event.
DUBLIN — Perfect conditions highlighted the inaugural Rock ’n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon benefiting SeriousFun Children’s Network on Monday morning, as 5,200 runners from 49 countries hit the streets of the Emerald Isle capital, with U.S. residents making up more than 30 percent of the field. Green graced the entire first half of the course as hundreds of participants sported the signature Rock ‘n’ Roll neon race tee on their 13.1-mile Irish journey.
Mark Christie of Mullingar Harriers A.C. made his first attempt at racing a half marathon a memorable one, winning in 1:06:09. He took a confident lead during the first three miles of the race, and was tracked closely by Sean Hehir of Rathfarnjam W.S.A.F. A.C. (2nd, 1:06:41) before breaking away to seal victory. Gary Ohanlon of Clonliffe Harriers A.C. finished third in 1:07.33.
“The bands every mile really helped break up a tough race for me. It was definitely a good Rock ’n’ Roll element,” Christie says of the race series’ signature musical acts. “I was familiar with Phoenix Park but not so much of the course after that. Some of the hills were a surprise [laughs].”
On the women’s side, Liz Lee of Leevale A.C. ran away with the win, clocking 1:14.48. “You’re always going to enjoy winning,” she laughs. “But it was really good to have music every mile — it gave you that extra pep. I love Phoenix Park, and I like hills. We have hills in Cork, so I enjoyed the rolling hills after the park.”
Gladys Ganiel of the North Belfast Harriers followed closely in second, crossing the line in 1:15:09. Originally from Maine, the all-smiles Belfast elite says she would definitely run a Rock ‘n’ Roll event again, “especially if it’s in conjunction with the national championships.”
The inaugural half marathon doubled as the 2013 AAI National Half Marathon Championships in Ireland. The Clonliffe Harriers A.C. won the men’s team title, with their top-3 runners all placing in the top-10. Leevale A.C. was the top women’s team, led by the champion, Lee, with their second runner placing fifth overall.
Participants were all smiles, excited to try out the newest addition to the international Rock ’n’ Roll collection. “I’m easily influenced,” said Gail of Charlotte, N.C., who ran the race with six of her girlfriends. “This is my first half marathon. It seemed like a great excuse for a vacation with the girls.”