Defying Limits: Ian Egan's 2008 Dublin City Marathon

May 28, 2024

Having performed well beyond his own expectations after entering the 2007 Dublin City Marathon at the eleventh hour, Ian Egan set his sights on the 2008 instalment seeking another unforgettable racing experience. 

Preparation for the 2008 Dublin City Marathon began in earnest for Egan in August. His training was rigorous and disciplined, characterised by consistent weekly mileage: 46, 56, 70, and 71 miles. September followed with similar dedication: 70, 50, 70, and 71 miles, punctuated by a series of races.

On September 14th, Ian ran the Tuam 8k, finishing second with a time of 27:37. The very next day, he clinched first place at the Clifden 10k, a challenging hill race, in 38:51. On September 20th, Ian faced the Dublin Half Marathon, where he clocked 1:27, admitting he "blew up" during the race. He capped off the month with a 27:11 finish at the Loughrea 5 mile on September 28th.

October's training consisted of 70, 70, 49, and 26 miles weekly, and included the Galway Bay 10-mile race on October 4th, which he completed in 59:45. In the seven weeks leading up to the marathon, Ian's long runs were impressive: 21, 20, 20, 20, 20, 16, and 8 miles. His training was simple and unassisted—no secret formula, no paid coach. It was pure running, driven by his own determination and confidence. As he put it himself 'running at its purest and simplest'.

As a member of Galway City Harriers at the time, Ian encouraged teammates to participate. They fielded a strong senior men's team, all sub-3-hour runners, with hopes of securing a medal in the National Championships.

Race day arrived with perfect conditions and an electric atmosphere. With no detailed race strategy beyond finishing, Ian made a conscious decision to aim for six-minute miles, a straightforward mathematical target. His splits were impressive: 5 miles in 30:05, 10 miles in 59:44, 15 miles in 1:30:21, and 20 miles in 2:01:19.

However, around the 21-mile mark, fatigue set in. Ian vividly recalls the mental fog and the temptation to walk. It was then he encountered Colm Burke, a formidable competitor from County Laois, stopped on the roadside. Realising that overtaking Burke put him in contention for a master's medal reignited Ian's resolve. His pace slowed to seven-minute miles, but his determination was strong.

Approaching the 25-mile mark, Ian knew he could finish. His sub-2:40 goal was out of reach, but he focused on the National Championships. The final stretch was gruelling, and the photographs of his finish did not convey the sprint which Egan's mind convinced him that he was achieving. Yet, he crossed the line in 2:43:39, leaving everything on the course. 

Ian Egan DCM '08
Egan approaching the finish

The wait for results was tense but rewarding as Ian's team secured first place in the club category, and he placed third in his age group (M40), a dream come true.

Reflecting on his achievement, Ian acknowledges he will never race a marathon again, feeling that nothing could surpass the triumph of the 2008 Dublin City Marathon. 

Having gone from being a spectator for the Dublin City Marathon in 2007, to running a sub-3 hour on less than a day's notice, and following that up by knocking over 10 minutes off that time 12 months later, Egan's marathon journey is nothing short of remarkable, a word which rightly describes the man himself. 

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