I’m sorry you doubt me, brother

IN WHICH WE REACH THE END OF ANOTHER YEAR, HOOK UP WITH OLD FRIENDS FOR A SING-SONG, MAKE ONE FINAL ASSAULT ON THE EVEREST THAT IS THE MARATHON PB, AND NEATLY WRAP UP 2022 WATCHING SOME REAL RUNNERS…

Saoirse, Tadhg and I, having a small session at home over Christmas

You had one job. All you had to do in these final months was do your training programme. Your race time and date was in the calendar. And then you went and booked a gig with your band in the local pub on the same day. Iacta alea est, and all that. Which is not at all a Latin translation of ‘double-booking’, but that is indeed what I had done. And it gave me a neat ‘out’ for my dilemma. The dilemma was this: what if I did actually achieve my goal of a new personal best, but achieved this in the very controlled and somewhat sterile grounds of a totally flat and cushioned running track? Would it really count? Should a marathon not be run on a road or a track, and ideally go from point-to-point? After all, this is where the idea was born. Had Pheidippides run around in circles, the Greeks would have been in real trouble.

But avid readers of my blog (!) know that I had crossed this Rubicon, albeit mentally, a few weeks back, so in truth, the gig really just sealed the deal. Once I had realised there was no chance of me doing a marathon that started at midday on New Year’s Eve, and then thinking I could get home, get washed and changed and back up to the studio in time to take down all the gear, load up, transport to the pub, set up and sound check… and on top of that, try and play a half-decent gig on what would be a ‘big’ night out for some… well, it was non-runner. Ho, Ho!

So the next step was to devise a new route; one that would be more faithful to the ethos of marathon running. And of course, who better to have on board than Gary, and where better to run a flat course than alongside the canal. So the only real decision we had to make was which stretch to choose. As I was keen to avoid too many busy road crossings, we pushed the start out deep into the midlands. Enfield seemed like a good prospect for a start point, and one option was to do an out-and-back. After some consideration, Gary up with the more ‘de-luxe’ version which would see us drive to Enfield, catch the train to Mullingar, complete with Gary’s bike, and then set off from this large Westmeath town which is roughly halfway along the Royal Canal Greenway between its end points of Cloondara and Dublin.

[For canal buffs, it is also the summit level of the canal, and it is from the nearby Lough Owel that the canal is fed. There are other feeders too, and over the course of the canal’s history, certain factors have impacted on these necessary supplies, not least drainage works and land ‘improvements’. This has seen a reduction in flow from some of these sources. On the plus side, much less regular boat traffic means less water moving through the locks, so there is a balancing factor, I suppose. But overall, the Royal requires water to be pumped regularly into it from some river sources to keep it topped up these days.]

Mullingar train station to Enfield along the canal is, as it happens, just about bang on for a marathon. And so all that remained, once our cunning plan had been drawn up, was to pick the day. Thinking that I would leave myself a couple of days to recover before the gig, I chose Friday, and Gary very generously took the day off work to make it happen, and very subtly pointed out on my last blog post that Friday was actually the 30th, and not the 29th. All of which proves that if you need someone to manage your event, perhaps I am not your man. But I’ll pass on Gary’s number, if you like 😉

But Friday it would be. The train tickets were bought, so we would be meeting up at 9am at Gary’s house, driving to Enfield with his bike in my car, catching the train to Mullingar, and then it would be time to run.

The week beforehand was of course Christmas, and we had a relatively quiet one. Both Dallan and Tamsyn live nearby, but were doing their own thing on Christmas Eve, though we did have a nice family dinner together, with Mum, on Christmas Day. We also popped over to see Dad, who is, alas, still stuck in the hospital.

My brother’s four together over Christmas in London. Adam (proud Dad), Leah, Oren, Saul and baby Leo Finn
…and as it happens, this was Saoirse and Tamsyn looking at pictures of the new baby…

I managed a few runs in the build-up to the festive day, and then skipped a couple before picking up again on Stephen’s Day with an easy four miles in the park. Then my last run before the marathon attempt was with Mark, where we hooked up on the 28th and did another four miles, but in very civil fashion, as we stopped at the 3 mile point to check out the hot chocolate in Insomnia. I am happy to report back that it is indeed worth stopping for, and I move a motion to the committee that, going forward, all runs should include a mandatory hot chocolate break…

The day finally arrived, which was preceded by the obligatory poor night’s sleep. Indeed, I woke at one point with the firm idea that it was time to get up. I lay in bed and thought I would get up in a minute or so. As the fog cleared somewhat, I thought it wise to check the phone as I couldn’t recall hearing the alarm that was set for 7am. And sure enough, it was about five minutes to two in the morning. Eurgh. These false starts are grist to the mill of any runner (or indeed, traveller with a plane to catch, for example), so I don’t expect sympathy. But it would be nice if you at least nodded silently in solidarity. Are you nodding? Good. Let’s continue.

7am arrives, finally. The porridge was made and despatched and some faffing about amongst the running gear ensued. In truth, I had lots of time to get everything ready (which, of course, I had already done the night before). But I would rather be up and about in plenty of time. I had picked up a selection of bars and gels for the run during the week, and these were loaded up with a change of warm clothes. Apart from the addition of the GoPro (Gary’s great idea), I would be travelling reasonably light to the start point, not least as whatever I ditched at the start line, Gary would have to stuff into his rucksack and carry back to the car on his bike.

Last minute checks before I set off to pick up Gary, and the only item I added at the last minute was the old Garmin 910XT – the original triathlon ‘beast’ of a device that compares with the old blocky Nokia mobiles from way back. It sits heavy on your wrist, and in comparison to the svelte Forerunner 55 would be something of a nuisance. But a real drama would be a watch failure during the event, and though I knew Gary would be timing it too, he would be on the bike and quite possibly whizzing up and down, stopping and possibly doubling-back, so his stats would be off. And for this gig, we needed accurate stats, because I would begin running at any old time in the morning, but would not stop until the watch ticked over into 26.22 miles. Two watches would give me both confidence of a back-up plan, and also a second set of data to correlate the first.

Enfield Train Station. Trainspotters please note: only one side of the platform is in use, and there is no bridge… something of a conundrum

We arrived in plenty of time at Enfield. Here I handed over my various bits and bobs to Gary for storage, and we took refuge in the meagre warmth provided by my car’s pitiful heater until it was time to get on to the platform. The weather was not promising. Unless by promising you mean ‘promise of rain and wind’. Not an auspicious start to the attempt, and the best you could take from the weather report was that the wind would not be in our faces. Perhaps not at your back, but at worst, over your shoulder. And indeed, we had factored that in with our choice of start and run direction. Down there for dancin’, as we say in these parts. The other small shard of hope is that, despite having some incredible tech at their fingertips, the decent folk at Met Eireann (Ireland’s weather service) seem to make a hames of it now and again. So we could but hope that we would strike it lucky on this damp and cold Friday.

And indeed, once we boarded the four-carriage train with its sum total of two bike spaces (one of which Gary had booked online), the sun did indeed come out, and we whizzed along through the flat terrain of Meath with tantalising sunlit glimpses of the canal and the route we would be taking back. One piece of tech that was working perfectly well was the digital read-out of the distance to the next stop, and at one point, I remarked to Gary that it must be wrong because it just flashed up that it was 35kms to the next station, and the next station was Mullingar, and that seemed way too far away to be correct, until the penny dropped…

I’m on a train…

Needless to say, our journey outbound would be far swifter than our return. We disembarked at Mullingar Station and found a loo for a last minute pit stop before returning to the canal towpath. Gary suggested we walk back up towards a footbridge, and selected a point on the path where tar met cobble-lock, and decided that this would be our start line. As good a place as any. And with the watches all tuned in to the satellites above, and the GoPro recording proceedings, we set off.

Our starting point: Green Bridge, in Mullingar. You’ll never guess where I robbed this from, Gary!
https://royalcanalrunner.com/)

My plan was to try and maintain an 8:20 minutes per mile pace for as long as possible, and see where that got me, in terms of distance. That equates to about 5:12 minutes per kilometre. The programme I had been following to get me to this point was actually for a three and half hour marathon, but I knew in truth all along that this was not an option. The hamstring injury I had sustained over a year ago has not really healed, and anytime I pushed towards the tough end of the demands of the plan, I could feel them beginning to sing like the St. Winifred’s Girls Choir. This is a bad thing; both in terms of possible muscle injury, and as an analogy. And I had tried the whole marathon PB lark before, and this injury was the result; a calamitous cascade of mishap and mayhem which led to a truly failed attempt and a regressive tic that causes me to make hideous wordplays at every available eventuality. (that’s not true; you’ve always been like that… ed.)

So I was cutting my cloth, so to speak. I would dial back the ambition from eleven to something hopefully within reach. But even then, there were other factors to consider along with the dodgy hamstrings. I had missed some key runs taking on the Dublin Marathon charity gig, and then developed something akin to Covid shortly after (though I never tested positive, despite the rest of the family doing so). And in the build up this week to the run, I had nursed a head cold, complete with sore throat, snotty nose and aching back. Indeed, with a couple of days to go, I tinkered with the idea of pulling the whole thing. But I trusted to luck and whatever pantheon of lesser gods that have been detailed to look after ageing, middle-of-the-road runners. Whatever meagre prayers I offered might actually have found their way into the correct inbox, because the head cold, whilst it didn’t shift hugely, did at least stay in the background, and once Friday arrived, the steady drip of adrenaline was enough to push it to the back of my mind. Go, chemistry!

The other glitch in the matrix happened on the day before Christmas Eve, when I had an incident out walking with the dogs that resulted in me landing heavily on both knees, ripping my jeans and grazing one knee and jarring the other, amongst other exciting little injuries. But it didn’t seem to affect my running, so I would just add it to the slings and arrows that would have to be dodged as we laid siege to our goal (that tic is back again, ed.)

The canal at Mullingar loops around the northern edge of the town as it would have existed at the beginning of the 1800s; 1806, to be exact. Modern-day Mullingar has gobbled up this antiquated piece of Georgian-era engineering and expanded far past this boundary line. But the old dear still minds her own business and surely doesn’t begrudge the locals enjoying the towpaths for their leisure these days, in exchange for horse-drawn barges and later, diesel engines. And I, not quite a local, am also enjoying the banks of the Royal Canal, albeit full in the knowledge that the start of any marathon is always driven by a little too much fizz and pop that will soon fade as the throttle is eased back to where it needs to be. Just like the old Bolinder engines from the first fuel-powered barges on these canals, my old engine too is a diesel 😉

And sure enough, Gary suggests we are ‘a little hot’ on the pace as the first kilometre comes and goes. With a watch on each wrist, both reading miles and metric, I am beeping away like a distress beacon. An 8.04 min/mile is indeed a little on the feisty side, so I dial it back, and get the next mile in on 8.22, followed by an 8.18. This is more like the pace we need. I have ample time to regret not running this in kilometres now, mainly so that I could correct pace glitches sooner. Even though the other Garmin is indeed reading in kilometres, I’m not having an easy time reading the display, so I just agree to disagree and get on with running, and trust that the legs will find their own rhythm.

Before we hit the three mile mark, we have to tackle the first of several road crossings. This is the relatively busy N52, and Gary shoots on ahead to press the pedestrian crossing button at the lights. But as I reach the top of the ramp, traffic is light, and I dart across and rejoin the canal. Soon, we skirt close to the even busier N4; another road we must cross shortly. We have passed through the Mullingar Cut, and one of the bonuses of having Gary riding shotgun is his knowledge of every stretch of this waterway, which is a most pleasant way of taking your mind of things. He also ensures that I remain on the correct side of the canal. 🙂

At about 13k, we must once again rise up off the canal and cross a busy road before dropping back to the towpath again. Once more, we are lucky with the traffic. The last time I was here, I was with young Jim, and we were on the bikes doing the Right Royal Triathlon. Alas, this time, I would have to rely on Shank’s Mare to get me home.

As the old and new N4 roads head south-east, we continue eastwards into the bogs of Westmeath. At the 15k mark, we begin the gentle descent afforded by the series of locks that drop our elevation from the heady heights of 102 metres to around 75 metres over a distance of about 3.5 kilometres. We are hardly plummeting like a stone (or plunging headlong at breakneck speed like legendary cyclist Sean Kelly in the Tour de France, with a top speed of 124km/h!). But any fall of that nature is welcome when you are slogging away. We soon level off again, and will remain at this elevation until the finish.

We pass Nanny Quinn’s pub – a well-known landmark on the Killucan Road – and push on further into the wild, flat and boggy expanse of Westmeath. As we hit the halfway point, the clock is showing about 1.49, and not long after that, we pass into County Meath. I don’t mention it to Gary at the time, but I am feeling a little peaky. Not sure from what, but just a little queasy, and the head is a little cloudy. We have been following a solid fuelling strategy which seems to be working okay. A gel every half an hour, which Gary has dutifully marked on his phone with an alarm. As the allocated time arrives, he shoots on ahead, roots out the gel and hands it to me as I pass, and then takes away and stashes the empty wrapper. Not even Eliud Kipchoge gets this treatment.

But every marathon has these patches where you hit a little squall. Unless it morphs into a storm that threatens to capsize you, you are just as well to keep sailing on into the wind, and wait for it to pass. And sure enough, as we reach the Hill of Down and Molerick Bog, with about 2.20 on the watch, the body seems happier again. We have had a few showers of rain, and the jacket has been on and off to suit. Again, the pure luxury of being able to hand this over and get it back as required cannot be underestimated.

As we approach the psychological 20 mile barrier, we cross over the Boyne River aqueduct. The 20 mile mark is a funny one; it feels good to finally get into the twenties. It feels like you are nearly home. But beware! Here be monsters! You still have 6 miles left, or 10k, and regardless of your fitness levels, if you have been pushing your pace near to your max, then you will be suffering at this point. Many a marathon PB has been lost in these last few miles, because in truth you are really only about three-quarters of the way there, and this last quarter is where the hard work you have put in will pay dividends. And if you haven’t banked those miles, well, to quote Warren Buffet out of context, only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked…

I was beginning to recognise some more familiar landmarks. I was now on the edge of territory that I had cycled and ran a few times in recent years. We were now on the Longwood Level, and soon we would be passing Ribbontail Bridge. Sure enough, after about a mile, there it was. Next stop would be Furey’s Bar.

Ribbontail Bridge on the Long Level (© Irish Independent)

Since about the 18 mile point, the pace had been dropping slightly from between 5:10 and 5:15 to 5:25 or thereabouts. Gary was starting to call out the distance left to run. And indeed, I had been doing my own mental mapping since the 10k to go mark, when I would typically set out from my house and do a loop of the park. And now each beep of the watch would get me closer to home, closer to Enfield. Closer to the point where I could just stop damn running…

My left knee was giving a few little twinges, but at least the hamstrings seemed to be under control. Just keep pushing. Keep running. Another beep. Mile 23. 5:30 pace. Sod it. It would do. Beep. Mile 24. 5:29. Keep going. Beep. Mile 25. 5:24…

One mile to go, says Gary, and we both reckon we will have to hit the ramp at Enfield and join the road to get those last few metres in. Houses start to appear. We are close. I can see the bridge ahead. Beep. Mile 26. 5:36. There will be no grandstand finish today. No ‘burn off the last fuel in the tank’ sprint to the line. There is no line, anyway, and the gauge is empty.

Slog up the ramp and onto the bridge. Turn left and stare at the watch. It just needs to tick over to 26.22 and we can stop. Time seems to stand still. I seem to be standing still, but I am still moving forward.

Then the watch tells me we’re done. Both watches agree. Gary agrees.

We’re done.

3.42:37.

If there’s a commentator up in the stands, they will be joyfully exclaiming how Declan Kenny has just smashed his old record. Knocked it out of the park. A solid 13 minutes plus off the previous best. The crowd goes wild.

But this afternoon, on a cold and grey December day in Enfield, it’s just me and Gary, and a few locals out and and about. I haven’t used the old Garmin for so long, I can’t even remember how to store the data, so I take a picture of the screen instead. I ring Saoirse to let her know I’m finished and still alive. I hobble back towards the car, and root out some warmer clothes. I change my shoes and socks, and we drive down to the café on the Main Street and I treat us to a well-earned lunch. Gary recommends the hot chocolate and the breakfast croque, and that sounds good to me, so I order two of those and we sit down and finally, after hours of travelling by car, train, bike and on foot, we stop moving.

Would you like marshmallows with that? Why yes, Yes I will. I shall have ALL the marshmallows…

The aftermath is a little blurry, but I drop Gary back to his house, and I get home in one piece, and the bath is calling.


The following day, I arise early. I was late to bed, but after these events, I find that I am wired to the moon, and regardless of the physical tiredness, the mental hamster-wheel is spinning away furiously. Nothing profound, of course. Just a whirl of different emotions all jumbled together like a week-old laundry basket. I am also keen to get up to the local canal and see some of the Lock Up The Year action. I would normally take part in this run, and it’s the highlight of the running calendar for me. And right across the road was the Le Chéile running track where the 24-hour race would be kicking off at midday.

So I took out the Trek and cycled up. It was a nice leg-loosener. It was still a little early for the 11 o’clock half-marathoners along the canal, so I called over to see how things were shaping up on the track. There was a hive of activity with some little gazebo tents set up alongside the track. The music was playing and Anto Lee, the race director, was mooching about with laptops and cables, getting the last minute details ironed out.

Leixlip’s Le Chéile Athletics Club track

I cycled back to the canal before 11 and met up with some of the hardy participants, and Brendan, one of the run organisers. With the full marathon already underway from 9am, and the half now running, the only race left to start was the 10k at midday. But I was back over at the track for the beginning of the day’s main event, which was the 24-hour spectacular. The marathon I had planned to run kicked off as well, but I was glad I had changed my plans. I can’t for the life of me say what time I would have achieved that morning on the track, but I suppose it would have been the same if not better than the outing along the canal. I’ll never know. But I hold with my pet theory about what constitutes a marathon, and what doesn’t.

The start, image © John O’Regan

The group that set off for the full day’s running was a motley bunch indeed. But the ultra runners tend to be anyway. I don’t really include myself in their ranks, and here’s why: when all was said and done, five Irish national records were broken over the course of the run, including the ladies’ 6 hour and 12 hour records, and the men’s 12 hour and 100 mile records. As it happened, after our gig in the local pub, I dropped the drummer home with some of the band gear, and called into the track. It was about 2 in the morning. The music was still playing, and dedicated souls were still lapping away. Ed McGroarty had just finished setting a new record for the 100 miles, and his race was run. I offered him a jelly baby as he passed by on the way to the clubhouse, but he declined. He was looking for real food, not sugar. To put Ed’s run into some perspective, he ran close to four marathons back-to-back. His overall pace was 8:16 minutes per miles (mine, for one marathon, was 8:30). He was banging out 3 hour and 36 minute marathons. One after the other. So, like I say, these folks are the real deal.

That said, I’m a big believer in ‘you do you’, in the most positive way possible of understanding that ambiguous sentence. Each to their own. Someone’s 30 minute parkrun is going to be their crowning glory for the year, and that’s the way it should be. We’re all different.

The following morning, I popped up around 11.30 to see the grand finale. The small group that had set out nearly twenty-four hours ago had dwindled down to two: Aoife Mundow and Susan Morrissey. Aoife is the Irish 24-hour record holder, and even though she had just set a new 100 mile record and had planned to call it a day at that point, soldiered on until the end, even though she knew she could not beat her own record. The digital clock ticked over from 23.59:59 to show the full ‘day’ had elapsed, and John O’Regan (himself a legend in distance running), blew the whistle, and the two ladies could finally bring their own great adventure to a conclusion.

I had been chatting to Tom, a running mate from Leixlip, at the early stages of this event. At that point in the day, he was toying with the idea of the doing the 9pm marathon, though he knew he’d murdered by his missus if he even mentioned the idea. Discretion. Valour. You know the drill.

Anyway, he turned to me, nodded towards the runners, and asked me would I tempted to try the 24-hour run, and I just looked at him, shook my head gently and laughed. “Of course I would!”, I replied.

Here’s the link for an official review of the day.


I should probably mention, in the midst of all that running, we played our gig in the Salmon Leap Inn. It went very well, by all accounts. I find it hard to judge sometimes, because I can be in great form and having a fun time myself on the guitar, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the audience is feeling the love. Conversely, the opposite is also true. But Saoirse is a great critic (in the positive sense), and reckoned it sounded great, so I will take that.

Here’s a gag, with a few pics of the night. Apologies to Ciaran, the drummer, who didn’t make the cut 😉


I’ve had a few days now to reflect on the marathon last Friday. After any of these forays into the unknown, you will, if you are being honest with yourself, pick through the bones of the thing and see what went well, and what didn’t, and how you could improve.

From a runners perspective, in no particular order:

– the route selection was a good one, even though there were some road crossings. There is no single stretch of the canal’s 90 odd miles that has a clean 26 mile-run without crossings. There are bridges at regular intervals, and some allow you to go under, but others don’t, so you must ramp up and down, and cross whatever road is in your way.

– the route overall had a small negative elevation, which again is a rarity on marathon routes. Most ‘big city’ marathons are a loop of sorts, so you start and finish in more or less the same place, so your overall elevation is zero. Some are hillier than others, of course. Some are famously flat, like Berlin.

– It’s a canal, so the overall elevation is pretty much zero anyway. (See above). Or, in layman’s terms, it’s flat!

– Having Gary alongside at all times was an absolute luxury. A one-man motivational machine, handing out the fuel and interesting heritage gems in equal measure. Documenting the event on GoPro with additional commentary. Highly recommended!

– Speaking of fuel, my strategy on fuelling was quite simple, but seemed to work. I used High 5 Aqua Gels. Every half an hour, a gel. It was to be plain, plain, caffeine, then repeat. That would get me three hours in, at which point I usually don’t bother with gels as the stomach has had enough. As it happened, I managed five in total, but I had a bottle of Tailwind on the bike as a back up and this was a nice lemon-flavoured break from the fruity gels.

– Piddle breaks: I like to stay hydrated, and it would not be unusual for me to stop and pee at least three times during a long run. But on this gig, I needed to cut down on unnecessary stoppages. My one cup of tea at about 7am that morning was my only liquid intake before the run. And indeed, I did only have one short whizz halfway through the marathon (and you will be delighted to hear that you can still move forwards whilst doing so, albeit in a sideways motion, and no, it wasn’t captured on GoPro… well, leastways, I don’t believe so… I haven’t reviewed the footage yet!)

– The ideal run line: on every big city marathon, you might notice the ideal run line painted onto the road. This is laid down for the elite runners who have the pick of the line they wish to run. This line also is the optimum line to run if you only want to do the exact marathon distance. For us lesser mortals, a typical large marathon sees you running an extra few steps. A quick scan back through my own more recent Dublin Marathon distance stats show 42.55, 42.72, 42.49… all over the official 42.2k distance. It may sound churlish, but if you are trying to get a PB, those extra yards will hurt; indeed, when I say extra yards, it could be up to half a kilometre. And that could be three minutes or more. Imagine missing the three hour magical mark by seconds… well, two of my mates have done just that. And so, the cunning beauty of running one’s own marathon route on one’s own is that you pick your own ideal line, and it really doesn’t matter a damn anyway, because you are going to run the exact marathon distance and no more.

– Pace; the dirty four-letter word: pace is where it’s at. You know this, though, because you’ve been following my blog for years now 😉 Even if it took you the whole day to do, on your hands and knees, it’s a marathon. Kipchoge has done one under two hours. So what. Same distance. You do you, remember? Well, the only proviso is that you need to pace yourself. When folks hear that phrase, they usually assume, in running terms, that you have slowed down. Not so. It really means you have worked out the fastest way of getting to the finish line without blowing up. We’ve all blown up, right? Even running for a bus. So whilst my early pace was a little hot, and the later pace a little on the cool side of where I would have liked it to be, overall the 8.30mile/5:17kilometre pace was very decent for the day, and only marginally outside the best I could have hoped for. And in truth, I know, coming down that last stretch with a few miles to go, that I had paced it fairly well, as there was nothing left in the tank. And that’s about right.

– The year finished off well. A new marathon PB, and a total for December that was the highest month of 2022, even including Declan’s Way in July, which was a surprise. Yesterday was a day of cold beauty in the park, where a single jet’s contrail stretched from one horizon to the other. A day of reflection. A time to take stock. I know 2023 is going to be a challenging year. Family comes first, and there will be a good deal of re-training to take on board for my career change. Running may have to take a back seat. But that’s okay. There will always be time for a quick jog around the park with a mate, and a hot chocolate afterwards. And there is the fun prospect of crewing for Gary when he tackles the Connemara100 in August.

– In the stats below, there is a spike in the heart rate. It looks more dramatic on the graph than it would be in reality. But it’s something to take note of. I wouldn’t be the first runner to discover a heart condition thanks to their GPS watch.

And if I may be so bold, allow me to suggest that you don’t give up anything for the New Year, but rather, take something up instead. To my mind, ‘giving up’ has negative connotations (even though we typically give up ‘bad’ things). Be creative. Make music. Make art. Take up running, walking or hiking. Just do something positive. And make it a habit. Once it’s a habit, it’s hard to shift. So make it a good one!

And on that note, let me finish with this positive peice of news. 53-year old Gary McKee ran a marathon every day for 2022. He raised over a million quid for cancer charities. What a legend. Here’s the link.

And finally, huge thanks to Gary O’Daly (who blogs at https://royalcanalrunner.com/) without whom I couldn’t have achieved my PB. Cheers, Gary. I’ll repay this debt someday.

Happy New Year folks. Here are some dogs…


P.S. The title of the blog probably means nothing to you, unless you are familiar with The Commitments, an Alan Parker film from 1981, based on the Roddy Doyle book. It’s something of a classic in Ireland, and much like Braveheart, which came out about four years later, you were nobody unless you had a part in one of these movies 😉

Anyway, go and watch The Commitments, if you haven’t already done so. It’s uniquely ‘Dublin’ in many respects, but still translates well. Though needless to say, the thick accents might have you wishing for subtitles on occasion. Oscar-winner Glen Hansard has a starring role too, and keep an eye out for a brief cameo from a very young Andrea Corr of The Corrs fame.

Johnny Murphy (right) aka Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan from The Commitments who sadly passed away in 2016

6 thoughts on “I’m sorry you doubt me, brother

  1. Wow! Well done! Congrats on smashing your old record! Terrific run, marathon, gig, home session, dogs … a triumphant start to the new year in general, I’d say. Sorry Da is still in hospital … but on the bright side, you’re way fortunate in your friends. Gary is a prince.

    Liked by 1 person

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