THE PEACEFUL ONE
Billed as one of the fastest half-Mary courses in the world, the Antrim Coast Half-Marathon had a herd of Stablemates toeing the line in hope of a quick time. Our very own Clydesdale, “Burly” Brendan Sheehan, hoofed it up the Coast Road in a thunderous 74:49, snaring a 2’16” PB in the process.
There were plenty of smiles from the other racers when Sheehan stepped up—A fantastic windbreaker, they must’ve thought. Unfortunately for them, they hadn’t counted on the pace he’d set, one that would earn him a 25th place finish in the mass race.
The Stable News’ press junketeer, Ally “the Chin” Smith, was on hand at the tape to hear from the big boy:
Ally: Nice to see you again, Brendan. When we last met, you weren’t sure what races you had lined up.
Brendan: Ye. Fellow Stablemate James Doran was signed up, so I thought I’d join him.
Ally: Nice! Well, how’d it go? I see you’ve chopped another good bit off your PR from June.
Brendan: I knew it was a fast course, as the field was stacked with élite athletes and top club runners. Ranks as the 13th fastest race in history, I believe. So it was just important to find a nice pack around your own pace, and sit in while the wind was against it, and open up in the back end of the race.
Ally: Good strategy.
Brendan: It was an out-and-back course, with the wind against you in the first half and with you in the second half. The good thing about a race like this is there are so many runners between 60 minutes and 80 minutes. That allows for a lot of competition on the course and offers a nice distraction from the pain you’re going through!
Ally: Sounds fun.
Brendan: I actually never looked at the watch once—just ran by feel. I find it’s the best way because if you are not hitting the paces you expect, you won’t drop the head so easily if you are none the wiser.
Ally: Ignorance is bliss. If you keep motoring like this, you’ll be sub-70 in no time.
Brendan: That’s a bit off yet; I’ll try for under 74’ first and work down. Small steps.
Ally: Ha-ha, I’m a dreamer. That’s a bit more realistic; really well done. What’s next on the race calendar?
Brendan: Cheers, man, I’ve booked a half-marathon in Seville in January.
Ally: Quality. Sun, sea, and racing. I’ll need to make sure there’s plenty in the travel budget, so I can be there.
Brendan: Yeah, good man. It’ll be some race.
The Stablemaster was recovering after a hard aqua jogging session when he called the News:
“Ahhhh, the perfect two-to-one ratio of carbs and protein in my special piña colada smoothie. It’s a secret recipe handed down from The Grand Stablemaster himself.
OK, on to the matter at hand. Brendan has come so far in the past few months … After that stress fracture business was sorted he still had to lose 20kg to even think about running fast again … But he’s got his weight under control, and that 10-day stint in Portugal with fellow ‘mate James Doran has worked a treat … Get the passport at the ready, as Kenya is calling before Seville … Good man.”