People on (a) Sunday.

Stablemate Stephen Rooney buried his Teutonic demons and sliced six minutes off his PB with a scintillating 2:49:58 at the Berlin Marathon. 

Rooney resented the unfortunate 20℃ temperature and 100% humidity but adjusted accordingly to finish 547th out of almost 25,000 participants and 60th place middle-aged-has-been. 

After a well-earned rest, Rooney was ready to relive the race and met up with Ally “the Chin” Smith at the Castle Cafe in Cork: 

Ally: How’s it going, Stephen? I’ve already ordered us a couple of Guinnesses—to help with recovery, of course. Fill me in on Berlin, then. 

Stephen: It was great to be part of a major marathon again; I hadn’t done one since Manchester 2019 when I ran my (then) PB of 2:55:59. 

The adrenaline was flowing on Sunday morning, and the goosebumps arrived when the organisers played “Sirius” by Alan Parsons over the speakers as the start time approached.


I was hoping for a 2:45-ish time. However, from early in the race, everything felt a lot tougher than it should have done. After five miles, I decided to sit at the 6:25 pace and see how I felt at mile 20. I’m glad I did: otherwise, I would have struggled towards the latter end.

There were a lot of people who pulled out around halfway due to the weather conditions—and even more at mile 20. When I reached mile 20, an executive decision was made to just stay at this pace and take whatever time I would get. 

A good friend of mine told me that, Once you see the Brandenburg Gate, give it everything you have, and that’s what got me in sub-2:50. I even managed a negative split by two seconds.

I had some ghosts that I needed to bury in Berlin, as I fell apart at mile 24 in 2018 and collapsed across the line with a 3:02 time.

Ally: What a run! Fair play on adjusting to the conditions and charging to the finish. Anything else lined up this year? 

Stephen: I’m hoping maybe to finish the year with a half-marathon PB and also do some 10K and 5K races, depending on how the legs recover.

Ally: I’m sure these Guinnesses will help with that, pal, ha-ha. Ready to order? 

The Stable News put a call through to The Stablemaster, who was filming his new “Stazza-Yoga for Ultimate Performance” DVD: “Blimey, I’ve not touched my toes for years! This system works! Pre-order for €99.99 and get a FREE STAZZA SIGNED PHOTO! Anyway, what’s young Rooney moaning about? Sub-2:50 in hellish humidity is alright in my book. Well done, Stephenovich; I hope you’re ready for the training to spank all those other PBs.”