I have many stories regarding my many trips to Dublin as Joints in Motion, Coach Greg in the 80's.
Here's one I tell on occasion, I'll call
Run me in Coach.
Every year ( maybe 5) I ran Dublin Marathon as a marathon coach, I would bring across the sea from Rochester a "team" of individuals I worked with to accomplish individual goals of running a marathon, many for their first ever running such a distance and raising funds for the Arthritis Foundation.
We worked for weeks/months training as a team once a week. I would review their individual training plans set for them based on their abilities, check in with them, reset for next week or so with the goal of getting to the starting line in October healthy and rearing to "go the distance".
Our teams ranged in numbers 5 to 15 0r so. Their abilities ranged from non-runner to experienced runner, short, tall, old, young, fat, thin. Usually I'd say to each one, "don't worry, one way or another I'll get you there." They were diligent in their training and for the most part I was confident they would succeed. Some I had some trepidation about, but I was a coach, I can do this.
After the first year of being Coach Greg, I was a pro. I was responsible for leading the team through the airports and finding the hotel we stayed at, getting the team to marathon registration to pick up our numbers, and ready them for the start usually the next day. And most importantly introducing them to the finest Guinness in the world and showing them the city local music hot spots. Could you guess there were many stories involved?
My plan was to get everyone to the start on time and prepared to run a race that they worked hard months for. Being the fastest runner of the team and wanting to "run my own race", I would start in the lead pack of the thousands of runners and my runners could find their own place in the pack.
Once the gun sounded and we were off and running, it was every person for themselves and hopefully they would find their way to the finish line.
My routine would be finishing my run (usually sub 3hr), get my bling, grab a water or Gatorade and a small bite of something to eat (and just maybe a swig of Dublin's finest brew... or maybe a full pint... yes I did), I would return backtracking the course and locate my first runner to run them in to the finish. It was a very rewarding experience for both of us, being with many when they finished their first marathon.
Back and forth many, many times after running 26 myself, I was in ultra-marathon mode.
Now here is the story I wanted to tell.... all runners I hunted down, I had to run back maybe a mile or two. No problem, I was counting heads.
Couple of my team were on the heavy side and I worried that they wouldn't finish. So, after hours of finishing my crew, three women remained unaccounted for. I ran and ran back about 10k back. I was tired and thirsty.
I spotted a neighborly woman who looked like she just came back from church, sitting a small table under an umbrella sipping a teacup. There weren't hardly any runners left to cheer on. I greeted her with cherry hello and asked her for a drink. "What ya have lad?" I joked "how about a Guinness?" Of course, she went in the house and came out with a bottle in hand. Jolly for me. We sat and chatted like I always do (babbling Brooks) quite enjoying it myself and the experience.
After quite a while wondering where on earth these women were. Around the corner come my last runners. There I was sitting at a table on a fine Sunday afternoon chatting with this woman, Guinness in hand with my coaches running uniform on and they immediately recognize me yelling at me "Coach what the heck are you doing?" Well, immediately I say farewell to my new friend at take up running my lady team in.
Side note.... remind me to tell you the Jameson whiskey story. One of my favorite.