A Run Down Memory Lane

The day had arrived. Sunday 9th October 2005.

Venue: Cardiff.

A cold autumnal day, perfect for a marathon.

The aim was a PB and hopefully to break 3 hour barrier for the first time.

It was a fast fairly flat course of 2 large loops going through Cardiff Castle and finishing off in the Millennium Stadium. I was certainly up for it.

It all seemed to go well for the first 8 miles or so but soon after that I started to feel a pain in my lower back. My stride was shortening; this was not supposed to happen at such an early stage. By 12 miles I had slowed down considerably; a PB was already out of the window.

I had a dilemma: shall I carry on with the second loop and see how far I could go which could lead to a long term injury and I might need to pull out of after 18 miles in "no-mans land"? Or, I could change my plans and finish off in the Millennium Stadium, which was looming, having covered about half the distance.

I decided to do the sensible thing for a change; I was not going to come all this way and not finish in the Millennium Stadium! A quick detour was all that was required.

As I entered the stadium I was greeted with a massive roar from the crowd; there were literally thousands of people inside and I was getting a standing ovation. What a great reception! I naturally carried on with a lap of honor acknowledging the warm support; I did not want it to end now but I crossed the finishing line, activating the chip which was attached to my shoe.

Oh my God! My name and race number appeared on the electronic scoreboard. I had won the Cardiff marathon in a new world record, beating the previous time by about half an hour! The glory was short lived however I was unceremoniously disqualified on the spot.

I asked the officials if it was worth appealing as I had not set out to do it on purpose. They were not amused! One official told me in a Welsh accent: "You do know boyo you wont be receiving a T-shirt!"

"Do I care?" I replied. "After all, you cant take away the memories!"

Happy Running!

— Eddie Gilligan