Magnificent Mulvanna amazes in marathon run
Tuesday, 15 November 2016
BRIAN McElvanna had a truly amazing run in the recent Dublin City Marathon.
Participating in his first ever 26.2-mile event, and in a vast field of almost 20,000 athletes, the Lissummon man scorched through Ireland's capital to clock the astonishing time of 2.45.23.
And even more astonishing there were just 98 others who crossed the line at Merrion Square in front of him. And many of these were professional athletes with thousands upon thousands of miles under their collective belts.
By contrast 40-year-old Brian, who competes in the colours of Armagh AC under the legendary Dermot Kerr, has only been running for just under two years. In that time he has participated in a few races - for instance last year's Newry City half-marathon and the recent Run for Autism half-marathon (that he won).
He entered the Dublin event late as he had been injured and in fact he only got in about two months quality training before the race. And as most marathon runners know, to be competitive over the classic distance, they need at least six months (or a year's) high quality training.
Furthermore Brian, married to Christine, has three young children: Evan (6), Dylan (3) and Harry (one and a half) and he also has a stressful job as managing director of Newry Computer Centre in Monaghan Street, so obviously his time is always at a premium. Thus to get his training done Brian had to do many of his long runs at the unearthly hour of 6am.
Initially Brian had hoped to break the three-hour barrier and had intended to join the three-hour target group in the event. But just before the start when he saw a fellow Armagh AC clubman Gary Henderson up ahead, he decided he would just run quietly in his wake and if he felt the pace was too hard, or it got too hard, he could ease off. Gary too was running his first marathon but he had a strong athletic background and in fact had represented Northern Ireland at cross-country.
Remarkably, Brian, a former GAA footballer with Lissummon, found the pace ok and was delightedly to make the halfway stage at 1.22.08 well below his anticipated 1.30 - incidentally he went through the 10k mark in 39.19!
Brian did get it tough in the latter stages of the marathon, but then doesn't everyone? And in fact he was able to finish at a highly respectable 6.30 pace. Also he was chuffed to pass his brother-in-law John Breen, another who was making his marathon debut. John was amazed at seeing his novice in-law ease by.
In the end Brian was hugely delighted at his remarkable 2.45.23 - and it must be said his other two Armagh AC clubmates didn't too badly either, Gary Henderson recording 2.44.47 while John Breen did 2.46.45.
But with such an astonishing first marathon, what does the athletic future hold for Brian McElvanna? Brian himself isn't sure but he says he will play it by ear.
However, after clocking 2.45 on limited training, the sky is surely the limit for the quietly spoken unassuming Lissummon man.
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