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DSD Meet & Train hits Ibiza

Tim Wise recounts Meet & Train's adventures at the Ibiza half Marathon in the evening of Saturday 20th April. What do you get when you combine Irish runners, a Spanish island, and a route that twists more than a mystery novel? You get the unforgettable point-to-point adventure that was the DSD Meet & Train group’s Ibiza Half Marathon trip! The day started with us being herded onto a bus, packed tighter than a tin of sardines. Little did we know, this would be the most straightforward part of our day. As we unloaded, the local onlookers seemed bewildered by the sight of an army of silver singleted, pasty Irish runners, slathered in SPF 50. Tadhg, ever the motivator, rallied the troops through the warm up and pep talk so stirring that even the local statues seemed ready to join in. The race itself? Sold to us as a “downhill delight,” it proved anything but. Those first few kilometres? More packed than our bus ride, weaving through narrow, winding streets that made overtaking a game of tactical nudging. The water stations were pretty useless given the heat, with cups barely a third full and slowing down necessary to ensure that the small amount of water actually ended up in your mouth. Just as we were getting into our stride, the route threw us a curveball—or rather, an uphill battle that would make the Kilmashogue car park climb look like a gentle incline. At the 9km mark, just as you were questioning your life choices, the rhythmic beats of samba drums provided a much-needed boost to drag our weary bodies to the summit. Passing by villas where dogs barked their encouragement (or was it disdain?) and locals cheered us on with sangria in hand, the route then plunged us into a terrain reminiscent of an IMRA race. Hairpin bends required a rapid decision-making that had us constantly debating: speed up or brake? As we emerged from the countryside into the dazzling lights of Ibiza town, the route’s undulating nature continued to test our resolve. And just when you thought it was over, the race threw one last trick at us—a maze of sharp bends that had runners zigzagging like confused lab rats seeking the elusive cheese of the finish line. Amidst all the chaos, the glittering strands of hair of our female runners caught the sunlight, adding a touch of glamour to the gritty endeavour. Our very own Cynthia also became an overnight sensation. Interviewed by a local TV station mid-race, she managed to gasp out answers while maintaining her pace, thus securing her place as a local celebrity. The final stretch was a scene of jubilation, enhanced by the unexpected presence of the Dublin Footballers, who joined in cheering our triumphant runners across the finish line. In the end, Tadhg’s inspirational words must have stuck, as the group all finished and notched up a record five podium finishes: Romaine blazing through the course, securing second place in the F40 category with a personal best of 1:32:52. Colleen winning in the F45 category, clocking in at 1:32:37. Ado showing his mettle by finishing third in the M45 category with a stellar time of 1:16:51. Tadhg, claiming third in the M55 category with a time of 1:34:12, though his celebration was cut short by the mysterious disappearance of his trophy—a curious incident currently under investigation. Lorraine rounded out our podium finishes by taking third in the F55 category at 1:42:50. Additionally, Tracy and Paul Croke delivered standout performances, setting personal bests of 1:50:50 and 1:36:23 respectively, proving that personal records were as plentiful as the sangria at this event. Well done to everybody (and apologies to anybody whose notable times I’ve missed out on)! For the record, the race ended up being the easiest endurance event of the weekend - what followed was 2 nights of eating, drinking, singing, sharing tales, laughter and beginning plans for next year’s away trip! Muchas gracias! *** Meanwhile, back in sunny Ireland Meet & Train took part in the Wexford Half and the Connemara Half. And Pádraig smiled his way through the London Marathon. Some photos from the weekend

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