A latter-day Joe Strummer.

Stablemate emeritus Tadhg “the Curator” Crowley overcame illness and injury to secure a 2:52:23 clocking (a 72-second PB) at the Dublin Marathon. 

The Stable News’ eager beaver, Ally “the Chin” Smith, was raring to get torn into the Stablemate shenanigans at the finish: 

“Here we go! I can see the Curator himself fleein’ hame! Tadhg? TADGH? Dae ye hay a mineet fir The Stable News?” 

“Sorry, Ally; I need to rush back to my brood! Tell you what: I’ll meet up with you in a day or two and give a full rundown.” 

“Oh, nae bother, ma man! Ah get it … Family first, an’ aww that … A’ll see ye soon.” 

Once he’d clocked off, the Chin got a bit too carried away at the post-mara’ party. The next day, he arrived at Tadhg’s gaff: 

Urgh, gid te see ye, TC … Can ah jist huv a wee lie doon, an’ a’ll hit record on ma cassette deck, and ye can tell me all aboot yer, ugh, marathon.”

“Had a good time yesterday, I see! Here: make yourself comfortable, and I’ll be as brief as I can.” 

“Cheers, man.” 

“I started my DCM training block at the start of August and had a clear time goal of going sub-2:50. Last year, on my marathon debut, I ran 2:53—so it was logical that I’d look at smashing through the next round number!”

“Gid, gid.”

“Training went perfectly for the first seven weeks, and then I was hit by a bout of sickness and missed about 10 days, including a planned 24-miler.”

Ugh, dinnae mention sickness, hmff.”

“While I knew I wasn’t likely to lose much fitness, there’s something about an interruption to a training plan—and the blank spaces on a perfect Strava chart—that can be unnerving. Thankfully, I had Coach Stazza to set me straight, as he always does.” 

“He’s gid like that. Telling you Strava chuggers tae calm doon, ha-ha!” 

“Ha-ha, that’s true! I got back on track, but on the week of the marathon, a muscle injury flared up next to my shin bone. I managed it during the week; we eased right off the running and just rested it as much as possible.”

“Nae gid, man, but rest is better than dain mare herm.”

“Absolutely! All this to say that by the time I got to the start line, my goal had changed from sub-2:50 to just getting around. I even brought my phone with me in case I needed to get an Uber from the far side of Phoenix Park!” 

“Get roon anyway ye can, even in a taxi, ha-ha.” 

“I had the advantage this year of knowing the route, so I planned to go off easy for the first 7 miles and then pick up the pace if my body allowed. The injury hung around for the first 2 miles, but then it disappeared, and I managed to get through the rest completely pain free.” 

“Result! I’m sterting to feel a bit better masel’!” 

“I held myself back as we headed off up Chesterfield Avenue until we got to Castleknock, and then I cranked up the pace. I felt comfortable until about mile 16, and then things got hard. I tried to slot in with a small group who were attempting to pace a female athlete to a category prize. Eventually, I pushed on as they were struggling more than me.” 

“Sounds like ye were cruizin’, man!” 

“The rain came down hard as I covered the last few miles. Once I was over ‘Heartbreak Hill,’ I got a second wind and began picking some runners off. At this point, I realised I could still snag a PB, so that drove me on. Once we got on to Northumberland Road with about a mile to go, I went for it, hoping I’d enough in the legs to get me home. I did. Sprinting past dozens of athletes to get in at 2:52:23 and a 72-second PB.”

“Flippin’ brilliant, Tadhg! Owercomin’ adverstiy et its finest, ma man! Ye’ve really came oan in yer time wi’ The Stablemaster.” 

“That’s a fact, but over this past year of training, I’ve really struggled to get a significant block together. Mostly due to family commitments and a new baby on the scene, but also catching COVID and other illnesses. Throughout this, Stazza has been superb. He’s adapted the training accordingly, and was always available to talk me through recovery, and to adjust targets. And because of this, and despite all the interruptions, I’ve finished 2023 with 10K, 10 mile and marathon PBs!! What can you say; they don’t call him the best coach in the world for nothing!”

“They caw him that? Ha-ha only kiddin’—course he’s the best coach in the world! Gid gawn again, Tagdh, an’ enjoy the new babba. Am share we’ll see ye back out racing very soon.” 

“Thanks, Ally, all the best.” 

Coach Stazza had just finished washing up when the News came a-calling: 

Hands that do dishes can feel soft as your face / With mild green, Fairy Liquid! 

Ahh, nothing better than getting the dishes done the old-fashioned way … And our boy Tadhg will have plenty to do with his football team of kids, ha-ha! … To pull out a threescore and 12 PB after all he’s had to deal with this year is testament to his racing IQ … He managed it well and charged ahead, like Josef Albers formalising the Interaction of Color … Bloody marvellous!”