BY SINEAD KELLEHER
There’s no sibling rivalry in the O’Shea household - both Ann and Brian O’Shea have trained together since last year for their first ever marathon, and on Sunday they crossed the line to get their first ever marathon medals.
For Brian the last nine months have completely changed his life and Sunday was the culmination of a lot of hard work.
“I can't believe that the time dissolved away so quickly. It only seems like yesterday I ran my first training session, waiting for Marcus to blow the whistle so we could begin walking.
“It feels incredible that only nine months later I ran a full 26.2 miles!”
Brian says he enjoyed every minute of his first marathon, from the scenery to the encouragement from spectators and volunteers.
“It was like nothing I have ever experienced before - it’s hard to explain it in words,” he said.
“Before I knew it, I was coming down Denny Street to cheers, and had a smile from ear to ear,” said Brian.
A car accident prior to the race led to him having to slow down a bit but it didn’t halt his dream of completing the Kerry’s Eye Tralee International Marathon.
“Afterwards I can only say that I felt euphoric. The feeling of accomplishment and the buzz from the endorphins racing through my system.
“All round, it had to be the best experience of my life. I really learned today that long distance running, while a physical activity, is primarily a mental one.
“I ran with my mind - controlling my pace and sticking to my plan of action and reaped the benefit due to this. I didn't even hit the notorious wall.”
Ann followed in Brian’s footsteps, deciding to take the plunge to do her first ever marathon, and was delighted to cross the line in 5.20 on Sunday.
“I really enjoyed it and actually found it a lot easier than the 21-mile training run,” she said.
“I’m also delighted I didn’t visit the wall. Overall, I found it grand - although the last few miles were tough and I ended up walking up the last few hills. But I enjoyed trotting down the other side!”
She says that the support and the Jelly Babies in The Kerries got her through, and it was some relief to see the finish line in Denny Street.
“The Kerries were lonely enough, but the Jelly Babies one little child gave me were like the magic I needed. Nothing tasted so nice as them,” Ann said.
“I used the Skinny Mile to gather myself. We walked a fair bit of this just to have the energy to get to the finish.
“All was well until I got a stitch in my side as we came on to Rock Street from Pembroke Street, but a slight slowing down got rid of it and once we saw to the finish line, we got a sudden burst of energy,” said Ann.
Brian says that the event made him proud to be a Tralee man.
“Seeing the support from members of the public down along the whole route was deeply touching, and even people out walking their dogs or going about their normal business would shout support at you as you passed them.
“From start to finish it was unbelievable. This event has made me proud to call myself a Tralee man,” he said.
Sibling pride, not rivalry,
in first-ever marathon finish
Brian O'Shea and Ann Shea before the start of the marathon
Claire Molloy, Ann Shea and Mary Harris all smiles at the finish.