THE GREATEST SHOWMAN
Stablemate “Killie” Chris Beattie realised his dreams at the Dublin Marathon, going sub-3 in a pure-dead-brilliant 2:59:08, giving his PB the malky in the process as he slashed eight minutes off his former best. Gid stuff!
The Kilmarnock lad has gone a bit soft since moving down south, describing the day as “a wet one.” Get back up the road, and you’ll know what wet is, Beattie! The Killie boy placed 734th overall and 218th M40.
The Stable News’ very own Wildean scholar, Ally “the Chin” Smith, was pacing back and forth in Merrion Square Park, frantically checking his watch:
Ally: Right, that’s 2:58:50; he must be close! And there he is: YES, CHRIS, COME ON!
Ya dancer! He’s done it! Yes, man! Chris? Chris, come over here and give me all the juicy details.
Chris: Hey, Ally. Long time, mate! Hope all’s good. I was training for sub-3 but had a shaky three weeks in the block with an injury. So by the time I got to the line, I was just going to see how I felt on the day, but had realistic expectations (especially on a hilly course) that it may be 3:05-3:10.
Ally: Wise thinking.
Chris: I started in the first wave, but way, way, back (due to queueing for toilets). So I couldn’t even see the sub-3 pacers, and for the first 3km, I was stuck in at a much slower pace with no room. I tried not to panic and just settled in. I told myself, Calm down; it’s not the worst thing to just ease really slowly into it until there was space to pass and get into a rhythm.
Ally: Always the way with these mass mara’s, mate. At least you took the sensible approach and started slower, rather than trying to whizz by everyone. Go on.
Chris: Keeping fairly relaxed up the hills and making some of the time back from the start on the downhills, I passed halfway in just under 1:30:30. I had burst two gels and dropped another, so I had to call ahead to the wife to hand me some at just before 13.1. Got a few strange looks being on the phone!
Ally: Ha-ha, I bet. Well done to Mrs Beattie for having spare sustenance to hand.
Chris: As always, things started to get tough in the last 10km, but I just focused on getting up the hill at 22 miles that I’d been told about. I got to about 5 or 6km to go and asked the girl next to me, “Where’s this big hill that everyone talks about?” And she said, “It’s just by!”
This gave me a massive boost because I really expected something I’d be hiking up!
Ally: A nice wee surprise, deep into the suffering—great stuff.
Chris: The last 2km was the most horrid in any race I’ve ever had. I knew at that point I had very little time banked to get under three hours, so I couldn’t take my foot off the gas. All I thought about was everything coming down to the next eight minutes or so. That last stretch of 400m was the only time I realised sub-3 was happening.
Going over the finish line in 2:59 was by far my greatest accomplishment in running so far. I’d daydreamed about that moment for too long, and it felt better than I thought it would. I’m still not over it. 😂 I’ll be telling my tale over wine at Christmas to every family member who will listen.
Ally: Absolutely brilliant, man. I’m pure buzzing for you; what an incredible achievement. Although I think you’ll be left alone in the kitchen once a few of the family have heard the story. Anything else planned, or are you just going to revel in this for a bit?
Chris: Ha-ha, I think you’re right about Christmas. The plan is to get faster over the shorter distances until the summer and then tackle Berlin (or another flat marathon) in autumn 2024.
Ally: Perfect. I’ll let you go and enjoy yourself—I’ve a whack of Stablemates to see here.
Chris: Thanks, Ally.
The Stablemaster was blasting Runrig’s timeless classic “Loch Lomond” from his 1980s Technics hi-fi:
“You’ll take the high road and Chris’ll take the low road … Stick that in yer pipe and smoke it! … Chris paced it to perfection … Easing off and not panicking at the start saved his legs for the first 10km uphill … And then when the downhill came, it was game on! … Congratulations, Chris; you’ve earned it.”