File photo.

Stablemate Keith “Dopey” Butler heigh-hoed 15’01” off his marathon PB at the Virgin Money London Marathon—dig, dig, dig, digging through a phalanx of participants, finishing in 3:12:17, and securing himself a Boston qualifier! 

Butler bounced like Tigger through “near-perfect conditions [with a] little headwind in the final few miles,” for a 499th age position and in the low thousands overall. (It’s the London Marathon, guys—give the boy a break.)  

The Stable News sent Ally “the Chin” Smith to grab the Disney fanatic for a few words before he jumped in his Lightning McQueen kit car and Bolt-ed:

AS: Nice to meet you, Keith. How was it, then?

KB: I really enjoyed being back running with crowds again, and London is on par with Dublin for atmosphere. I was hoping to go under 3:10 and fell a little short, but overall was delighted, as my “B” goal was to get a Boston qualifier, which I did. 

I felt really comfortable and in control, up to 35km. In my head, I was planning to kick on at that stage, but my body had other ideas, so I just hung on and got it done. I had a metatarsal stress fracture in the spring, and a bad vaccine response in the summer, so training was quite interrupted. So all in all, it was a good result. Previous official PB was 3:27:18 from Dublin in 2019. So it was an official PB of 15’01’’. I did run 3:19:30 in a virtual race in 2020, but I’m told they don’t count in Stazzaland.

AS: They sure don’t, ha-ha. That’s great, thanks.

KB: Ah, ah, before you go. An unexpected benefit of the Stazza Super Base training was that I was in good shape after the race. For the first time ever, I had energy for a few beverages that evening and my body was in great shape the following day (my head not so much). 

AS: Excellent. Coach Stazza’s head might swell to enormous proportions, but that is great to hear.

KB: Oh, and one other thing that happened; nothing to do with running, but a funny story. 

AS: You sure have the gift of the gab, Keith. 

KB: Yes, I do. Anyway, on my early flight home on Monday morning from Gatwick, the lovely Ryanair stewardess spotted that I had travelled with my out-of-date passport (which no one, including me, spotted on my outward journey) and wouldn’t let me on the flight. I spent 15 hours getting home after switching airports in London and flying with a different airline (Aer Lingus thankfully accepted my driver’s license) into a different city in Ireland to eventually get a bus home to the West of Ireland. Much tougher and more stressful than the big day itself. And my head was not well.

AS: That’s all you need after a marathon. What’s next for you on the race calendar, apart from a Disney+ binge-a-thon? 

KB: Glad you asked! Boston, baby—in the spring. I plan to run all the marathon majors in the next few years.

AS: A quality aspiration, Keith. Look forward to hearing from you then. 

Coach Stazza was back out at Tralee Bay, attempting to master paddleboarding: “I’ve had to wait until now before I gave it a go … Can’t have everyone laughing at me falling off and in a wetsuit … They’d think I was a beached whale, hahaha! On to Keith’s run: fantastic run, and he’s come on leaps and bounds since joining The Stable in June. He better get that passport renewed, as Boston ain’t far away. Let’s get to work!”