Chicago Marathon 2019 Race Report by Karen Bevan

By Karen Bevan

From my first marathon in Cork 2014, I pretty much knew that I was hooked! Not because it was a good marathon, but because it was so very bad & hurt so much, I knew I could only do better the next time.  So, with a lot of support from club mates & friends (you know who you are) I set about improving my marathon.

Some people love the speed and all out pain of a 5k or sprinting flat out on the track but for me it’s the marathon, that will always win out as my favourite race. I enjoy the training that it takes to get ready for the start line, the long runs, the long tempos and the friendships built along the way. In a strange way, I also like the unpredictability of the race itself.  The first win is getting to the start line in good enough shape to reach your goal. The second win is getting to the finish line, knowing that there is a point that it’s going to hurt, but making the decision to keep on going. The third win is hopefully achieving your target!

I had to think about where and when did this all begin. That’s the strange thing about Eagle AC club nights out; you think you are heading out to catch up with club-mates, maybe celebrate after a race. However, over the course of the night the conversation turns to goals, someone plants a seed/target, someone else agrees it’s a good idea, and then before you know it you’re training for a marathon (hopefully this is not just me!)

That’s where it started, Ruairi Egan (as the above unnamed person who agreed to the crazy target) and I set about setting a ‘good base’ back in February. Ruairi had his sights set on Dublin, while my plan was to head to Chicago along with Derek Costello. We teased out a marathon program, with the help of some of the ‘pro’ runners in our club and got stuck into that training plan in early June. We had a great summer of training alongside many other Eagles, who I won’t name for fear of leaving people out, then suddenly it was taper time and time to put all the training to the test. Very disappointingly Derek got an injury and despite his ‘never give up’ attitude he was unable to travel to Chicago this year.



So, on my 8th Marathon I landed on the start line in Chicago, on October 13th, 2019. This was not only my first visit to Chicago but my first trip to America and travelling with me on this trip was my husband Danny & daughter Lily.  I have to say I was a bit blown away by the scale of the place – huge buildings line the never-ending lake Michigan, with about 23 miles of running/ cycling paths along the shoreline. It is a magnificent and very beautiful city.

The two days leading up to race were very cold but race day itself was about 9 degrees, a bright & sunny autumn morning, perfect in my book. Yes, there was wind, I’m pretty sure there will always be wind in Chicago.

The Marathon itself is a monstrous undertaking. 45 000 runners line up to run, and I must say the organisation of such a large-scale event was amazing. It’s an early start, filling into ‘Millennium Park’ between 5:30 and 6am, on a cold & dark morning. On entering the park, it’s a bit like airport security, only sealed liquids allowed & any opened bottles must be discarded, bags checked and anything not clearly visible is dumped. It was freezing cold, despite several layers of clothes, but the stewards & participants alike are all so helpful and happy that you can’t help but feel excited. We were all directed to our various starting corrals and at 7:38 am our wave D was underway.

The best thing about the start of the Chicago marathon is the width of the road.  There is plenty of space, once out of the corral I was on race pace from the very start. The worst thing about starting Chicago Marathon is the watch. Surrounded by tall buildings and running underneath the city through ‘Whacker Drive’, your watch has no idea what is going on. Despite promising you that it has GPS, when it starts beeping sub 5-minute miles you know that there is something up!

There’s no chance of getting thirsty in the Chicago marathon! There is a water/ Gatorade station every 1-2 miles with stewards lining the streets holding out cups for you. These are no ordinary stewards, they must be the most enthusiastic stewards in the world, they never stop telling you that ‘you got this’ or ‘you’re doing great’ and after a while you kind of start to believe them!

The support overall was amazing, I cannot remember any point of the race without crowds of people cheering you on, holding signs, telling you to ‘hustle’, or telling you that you are a crazy and wonderful human being!

Before I knew it, I was at the half- way point. This is where with the help of my watch, a pace band and some maths, I realized that at 1:34, I had gone out a bit too fast! After a decision not to panic, I ran on and convinced myself I was feeling good. This is where I spotted my chief supporters and after a boost with my ‘Go Mommy’ shout, I was back in action.

I carried on and felt pretty good up to mile 21. That’s when the end of marathon fatigue was setting in, so I distracted myself with important decisions like whether or not to have a gel, what would I order at the cheesecake factory when I finished or just taking my time through the water-stations, again soaking up some of the volunteers enthusiasm, and mile by mile made it through.

The last mile of Chicago throws a lot at you, there is the ‘Bio-freeze’ tent, which promises to take all your pain away if you just stop in for 20 seconds, followed by a truck serving beer, but I resisted both and carried on. Finally, there is the hill, well it’s more of an overpass/ bridge, on an average day this would not be a problem but at mile 26 with 400 meters to go, it’s tough. I have a vivid memory of one lovely man standing at the top of the hill shouting ‘this is it, the last turn!’. He was not lying, once we turned the corner there it was, downhill with the wind behind to the lovely finish line, made all the lovelier when there is a PB on the clock, 3:12:29.


Karen after finishing the race with a 14 minute PB!!

Once across the finish line there are rows of volunteers again ready to help whoever needs it. They give you your medal, wrap you in a foil blanket, give you post race protein bars & fruit and a beer! Then you shuffle on to the ‘runners reunite area’ where you see the very welcome faces of your family & best supporters ever.


I would highly recommend the Chicago Marathon; it was a great experience. The course is good for runners and spectators, as there are long out and back sections where the supporters may only have to walk across a block or two to see you a second time. The city is amazing and the support along the way is like nothing I have ever experience before. If ever you get the chance, I’d suggest you make the trip!






Eagle AC at Dublin City Marathon 2019

(Report by Mairead Lonergan, Ruairi Egan and Karen Bevan)

Dublin City Marathon 2019 took place on last Sunday, 27th October in what were near perfect running conditions. 33 members took to the start line in what would end up being one of the most successful and memorable days to date in Eagle AC’s history. From Individual Senior winning performances, to individual M40 and M55 medals,  to team Golds, to team Bronzes to many many PB’s, there was plenty to celebrate and discuss come lunch time in Doheny and Nesbitts!

group start

Finbarr Lehane, Darren Casey, Karen Bevan, Jonathan Kenneally , Ruairi Egan and Sandra Manning

Aoife Cooke produced a stunning display when running a time of 2.32.34 to win the Athletics Ireland National Marathon Championship and, as a result the Senior Female Gold medal. This performance came as no surprise to those who have witnessed the amount of training Aoife has put in to prepare for the race over the past number of months along with club mates and training partners Damian Kenneally and Mark Smith. We were absolutely delighted to see all of her dedication and training pay off on the day!


Aoife Cooke  – National Marathon Champion!!!

Speaking of Mark Smith, he ran a new PB of 2.27.42, just 4 weeks after running a 2.28 in Berlin!! Mark finished in 29th position overall and his time earned him an M40 Gold National medal! Sean O Keeffe ran another great sub 2.45 marathon with his time of 2.44.20. Martin Leahy had a hugely impressive race when finishing 2.51.28. This time ensured that Martin claimed the National M55 Silver medal! Six other club members ran sub 3 on the day – Damian Kenneally, Mike Forde, Donal Dowling, Brian McGuire , Tom Fox and Dermot Slyne. Tom and Brian’s PB’s along with Martin’s ensured that the Eagle M50 team won National Gold! Their total time of 8.47.02 gave a 23 minute cushion over runners up Raheny – Shamrock AC. Brilliant performances by Martin , Brian and Tom!

Vincent O’Sullivan completed his first marathon in a great time of 3.07.29. (Rumour has it that he is already planning his next one!!) David O Keeffe ( 3.07.58) and Darren Casey (3.11.01) both had very steady runs also. Sandra Manning was the second Eagle lady to cross the line in a brilliant PB time of 3.08.13. Third lady to finish was Catherine Murphy (another PB!!) in 3.14.06. Aoife, Sandra and Catherine’s times ensured another team medal for Eagle AC, this time in the Senior Female category. The girls claimed National Bronze when finishing 3rd Female Senior team. Karen Bevan finished just behind Catherine in 3.15.41, a brilliant time just 2 weeks after her 3.12 in Chicago!!


Sandra Manning looking like she could run another 26 miles!!

Karen’s training partners Ruairi Egan and Finbarr Lehane also claimed huge PBs on the day when their months of training paid off in spades with times of 3.16.34 and 3.17.05. James Quinlan ran ( we think!) his 11th marathon of the year, finishing comfortably under 3.30! John Sheehan and Gary Gibbons too finished comfortably under 3.30. Glenn Kenneally finished just over the 3.30 mark in 3.32.49. Helen Cronin, Mairead Lonergan, Eddie Trindle and Ken Nyhan ran and worked together for long periods of the race ensuring lots of shouts of ‘Go Eagle’ from the crowds which were much appreciated. They all too achieved PBs on the day with by far the most impressive one going to Ken – Ken took 25 minutes off his previous best time!! Amazing improvement and running by him! Siobhan Holland was the next Eagle to cross the line, just behind Ken with a 3.45.30.


Gary Gibbons on his way to sub 3.30 pb!

Karen Kelleher had a great run on Sunday and broke the 4 hour mark for the first time. Karen’s training partner Olive also finished well under the 4 hour mark. Charlie Byrd ran a 4.02.11.Catherine McCarthy, despite injuries in the run up to the event ran a very steady sub 4.30 marathon. John Swanton also claimed a sub 4.30 time. Very steady and impressive runs too by Catherine O’Leary and Don Keogh, both finishing sub 4.45.

John start

John Swanton 

As well as being represented in the race itself, Eagle AC were also very well represented in the support stakes! It was great to see familiar faces on the route, providing runners with much needed encouragement and shouts! Ian Roche , Dolores Gibbons, Michelle Traynor, Daniel Luxton and Fergus Nugent were all spotted along the way. Special mention to Fergus who had been planning to run the race himself this year but unfortunately had to pull out due to injury. We hope that he has a speedy recovery and is back running before too long.  Derek Costello was at his usual spot, outside the Clayton Hotel at mile 25 providing some much needed shouts of encouragement!! He also, of course captured plenty of photos!!  Due to injury Derek was unable to run this year but we are all hoping he will back running the streets of the Capital in 2020! We’re sure there were a few other members in the crowds on the day also – their support was definitely very much appreciated!


Well done to all our members who participated in DCM this year. It really was a great day for the club. It was brilliant to see all of the hard work and dedication that members have put in over the past year paying off! On that point, a special mention needs to be given to those in the club who have provided support, training plans and advice throughout club training for Dublin this year. So a massive thank you to Damian Kenneally, Elaine Guinane, Darren Casey, Ruairi O Callaghan, Neil Kingston & Mark Smith. These guys have been the backbone to the Dublin training plans and it is no coincidence that with such a talented bunch of runners providing direction, the club did so well on the day.

All that’s left to say?? Roll on DCM 2020!!


Post race analysis in Doheny and Nesbitts!


Eagle AC Dublin City Marathon Results 2019

No Name Gender Gen Pos Category Cat Pos Club Chip Time Pos
63 Mark Smith Male 29 M40 2 EAGLE A.C. 02:27:42 29
120 Aoife Cooke Female 8 FS 8 EAGLE A.C. 02:32:34 55
3940 Sean O’Keeffe Male 135 M40 35 EAGLE A.C. 02:44:20 152
20705 Martin Leahy Male 248 M55 2 EAGLE A.C. 02:51:28 274
3687 Damian Kenneally Male 269 M35 80 EAGLE A.C. 02:52:20 293
20733 Mike Forde Male 410 M40 117 EAGLE A.C. 02:56:23 447
2988 Donal Dowling Male 431 M40 126 EAGLE A.C. 02:56:51 477
5370 Brian McGuire Male 483 M50 17 EAGLE A.C. 02:57:32 534
4192 Tom Fox Male 486 M50 18 EAGLE A.C. 02:57:33 538
20553 Dermot Slyne Male 588 M40 169 EAGLE A.C. 02:58:58 653
8056 Vincent O’ SullivanMale 898 M40 271 EAGLE A.C. 03:07:29 983
993 Sandra Manning Female 76 F35 15 EAGLE A..C. 03:08:13 1031
724 David O KeeffeMale 945 M40 281 EAGLE A.C. 03:07:58 1018
2277 Darren Casey Male 1137 M40 340 EAGLE A.C. 03:11:01 1209
7782 Catherine Murphy Female 118 F40 35 03:14:06 1399
2533 Karen Bevan Female 135 F40 42 EAGLE A.C. 03:15:41 1497
2043 Ruairi Egan Male 1451 M50 101 EAGLE A.C. 03:16:34 1562
2985 Finbarr Lehane Male 1482 M45 282 EAGLE A.C 03:17:05 1597
4195 James Quinlan Male 2201 M40 631 03:26:25 2430
2761 John Sheehan Male 2378 M50 183 EAGLE A.C. 03:28:10 2665
915 Gary Gibbons Male 2720 M45 532 EAGLE A.C. 03:29:08 2840
2922 Glenn Kenneally Male 2853 M40 811 EAGLE A.C. 03:32:49 324
3490 Helen Cronin F35 03:35:44
10185 Mairead Lonergan Female 449 FS 105 EAGLE A.C. 03:36:21 3606
7847 Eddie Trindle Male 3112 M40 876 EAGLE A.C. 03:36:26 3610
14973 Ken Nyhan Male 3802 M40 1052 03:43:51 4527
886 Siobhan Holland Female 709 F40 210 EAGLE A.C. 03:45:30 4741
12961 Karen Kelleher Female 1313 F40 406 EAGLE A.C. 03:56:41 6685
9849 Olive Dooley Female 1333 F40 413 EAGLE A.C. 03:57:21 6829
4970 Charlie Byrd Male 6071 M50 610 04:02:11 7733
15367 Catherine McCarthy Female 3357 F45 745 EAGLE A.C. 04:28:24 11362
8645 John Swanton Male 8683 M35 1708 EAGLE A.C. 04:29:53 11540
11199 Catherine O’Leary Female 3815 FS 626 EAGLE A.C. 04:39:30 12608
13012 Don Keogh MS 1499 01:05:35 04:44:20


(Photos thanks to Derek Costello )