For those of you at the School Quiz on Friday night last, you will have received a printed copy of this article to read and heard Eileen say a few words. We wanted to share this with all parents, so the full text is here.
Dublin City Marathon (DCM) October 27th 2014 Fundraiser
Cake sales, raffles, family quiz nights, sponsored walks, wine and cheese evening and “voluntary” contributions: schools are no strangers to rattling the can to make up the shortfall in running costs. But against a backdrop of cuts to special needs supports and falling capitation funding, many schools including our St. Finian’s are increasingly reliant on fundraising to plug key gaps in the curriculum and basic needs of the school. Cuts to special needs support of 15 per cent as a result of austerity and capitation fee reductions of up to 11 per cent mean lots of schools feel cut to the bone.
An ESRI report last year showed 12 per cent of income in some schools comes from parental contributions. “Schools have no choice,” says one source about fundraising. “This isn’t fundraising out of choice – this is fundraising out of necessity” and funding shortfalls impact on the pupils. Another source advises that “If we’re genuine about education reform, improving outcomes for students and meeting the needs of children with special needs, we have to improve resourcing for schools.”
‘Let’s all watch that space’.
Fundraising is an essential component of schools in Ireland today. Without the generous support of our community, families and friends, we would fall short in the provision of essential requirements like heating, resource aids and other educational things like field trips for our children in St. Finian’s.
We understand the pressures that teachers face as educators and acknowledge all that you are asked and expected to do. As parents we are keen to work in partnership with you and provide any support we can.
As we were already doing the training program for the DCM and were at the stage of considering what charity to select, we decided just days before the DCM 2014 to fundraise for St. Finian’s in light of the financial difficulties and due to the shortfall with the grant for the recent extension.
The DCM took place on October 27th 2014 and 5 days prior to the event, Declan Furlong asked me if I would fundraise with him for the school. I had not given it any thought before this but immediately thought ‘Wow- why didn’t I think of that’. Next day, Declan had fundraising cards printed off and I asked Mary Casey to come on board also as she too was running the DCM. Off we set on our fundraising endeavors. Two days later I had 750 euro in the bag. By Mon 27th, together we had almost 2000 euros. Our final tally has been truly amazing considering it was such a late thought to do this for St. Finian’s.
Final figures reveal that we have raised €2,360. We have also received various donations worth almost 750.
So what’s the upshot of this? I guess it’s that with some effort, fundraising can mean so much more to schools than just raising money for a good cause. We are extremely proud as parents that we have raised these funds and have collected the above items in donations. Less tangible perhaps, but just as real, is what the pupils of St. Finian’s have gained. How do you put a price on resource aids and child development and the learning they provide, the excitement of field trips and education of these?
About the Marathon
Over 14,000 people took part in the Dublin City Marathon on October 27th 2014
The 26-mile race got under way at 9am with 4,000 runners from 47 countries joining around 10,000 Irish entrants. Among them, Declan and Mary and mise. Now that it’s behind us, I would describe it now pretty much as the ultimate test of endurance.
Preparation for the DCM & The Build Up.
In July 2014, I decided to improve my fitness and make 2014 be my year so decided to join the local Team Carrie. All 153 of us trained for 22 weeks following a well – tested, and proven to be successful training program, developed by local Dunleer postman and former European champion runner David Carrie. Ninety of us had never run more than 5 km before, including me.
1 Week To Go
My preparations for the week leading up to the event while feeling awfully excited and quite anxious of course were as follows:
Sleep was my priority, so that at the start line I’d be as fresh as spring-meadow-flavored washing powder. I knew I would be buzzing with adrenaline the night before, so I ensured I got plenty of sleep that week, including some naps during Saturday and Sunday. Any sleep I got on Sunday night was a bonus – and even without much sleep that night, adrenaline at the start line saw me through.
Watering myself is something else I had attend to all week, not just on race day. Regular sips during the day are more effective at hydration than glugging back a bottle in one go.
Because the marathon is a psychological challenge with some running attached, I thought and talked positively about it in the build-up. Negative language, even as a joke or modesty, has a way of seeping into your sub consciousness and conditioning you to expect and fulfill a negative outcome.
If you tell others – and yourself – things like “I’m dreading the marathon, it’ll be awful, I’m out of my depth and I’ll never finish”, you’re increasing the likelihood of this actually happening. I think I talked about the marathon in positive and realistic terms: “I’m a bit nervous, it’ll be tough, but I’ve trained as well as I could and I’ll do my best. And I’ll finish!”
My running on the last week was a couple of short, light runs just to keep ticking over. My midweek run included a mile at my target marathon pace, just to practice how it feels. I used these runs to mull over my race-day strategy: target time and visualizing the finish. Then on Sunday morning, I chillaxed for the day visiting the family in North Meath for the best of a Meath prime fillet beef dinner.
You’ve probably heard of carb-loading: eating loads of carbohydrates in the days before a marathon. This doesn’t mean huge plates of pasta for every meal. Instead, from Friday, I added a little more carb to my usual meals, while between meals I had small snacks like nuts and seeds. I made sure to include fruit and vegetables in order to keep things ‘right’. And on the morning of the marathon I had the same breakfast as before my long runs.
As if it were a new mother-to-be’s hospital bag, and to avoid the nasty surprise of finding items still in the laundry basket the night before the race, I got my gear ready. Also, bin liners – I cut a hole in the bottom, as advised by my Team Carrie running buddies, to make a disposable rain-proof poncho for keeping warm while waiting at the start.
Finally, on the big day I was at the start area an hour before the race began. There’s no such thing as arriving too early – I could somehow relax, use the toilets, do my usual warm-up, enjoy the buzz and focus on the race. Meanwhile, last-minuters dash, panic and expend valuable energy.
Eileen’s memories of the DCM 27th October 2014
1. Don’t sleep very well. Wake up early…too early. This is it. Got to get the breakfast.
2. Getting a super large bowl of porridge into me at 5.30 and setting off at 6am with friends Paula and Martin in the car, feeling really good and ready. Temperature 16 degrees at 6am- it’s going to be a warm one!
3. Team Carrie (TC) Photo 7.30 – start to make our way to the starting line. Everyone high as kites with excitement.
4. The great support all around the course, especially from TC supporters and new friends from Dunleer and Togher. This is amazing. So many people come out onto the streets, thousands.
5. Seeing my family near in the Phoenix park up near the Navan Rd. gates. So good to see their faces and hear them shouting come on mammy. Yes, that me! I do a skip and a reel for them. Patrick (husband) says ‘ let me see ye do that at the finish line’. And there’s my dear friend Dora, my ‘Aussie Adventure buddy’ with her family in Castleknock and Chapelizod. I am buzzing!
6. Shane, my running buddy, with his long socks to his knees that I am trying not to laugh at, keeping my pace in check in Phoenix Park and throughout. He is a great running buddy!
7. The bloke BBQing burgers in Chapelizod, smell soooo good. Would love one of them!
8. Ogy, Ogy, Ogy. Oi, Oi, Oi. under the Chapelizod by-pass
9. The guitarist in Kilmainham
10. Half way – feeling really good. Don’t know what all this talk about ‘the marathon being really tough’ is all about.
11. Seeing more TC friends in Walkinstown . You can do it. ‘Yes I can’. Turn to Shane and say ‘Yes we can’
12. Mile 16. Right foot getting very sore- have to take a look. Tell Shane to go ahead. Lovely lady offers me some oranges- they are so juicy. Thank you.
13. Bushy Park…Thinking- the winners are sitting down relaxing now and me still slogging it. My foot is ok, just a small skin break. Make some sock adjustments. Very sore toe though.
14. Mile 18, Catch up with Shane. Need the toilet. Or is just in my head?
15. Mile 19. Do I need the toilet, Yes. Going to stop at next toilet location. Pass Gordon- his shoulder is injured and he has to walk. I feel devastated for him but keep going. Kids shouting ‘yer nearly there’. Have to laugh at that- they mean well but- 7 miles is ‘not nearly there’.
16. Come to next toilet location- forget to stop and realize I have passed the toilets, Keep going. Mustn’t need them after all. And Heh! Would lose a few minutes on my race time. No not stopping now. No longer feel the pain in my foot- it’s numb. Is that good or bad, Afraid to look at foot again. No- one shouting my name- everyone shouting Shane’s name. Make adjustment to number on my shirt so that my name can be seen.
17. Mile 20. Totally forget I need the toilet. All in my head. Start to hear my name being called. Thank goodness- need all the encouragement I can get now.
18. Mile 21. My marathon has started. Boy this is hard, very hard. Is there a short cut- would anyone notice. Only 5 miles to go. Beginning to find this a real struggle. And continue to do so until Mile 24.
19. Start to doubt myself, can I complete this?. Girls collapsed in front of me- have to sidestep her. I keep going. Shane says- she’s grand, her friends are there. Lots of runners on the side of the road wrapped in foil with Ambulance personnel. This is awful- will I make it to the end. No more smiling.
20. Will I walk for a bit. No, not a good idea- legs will give way altogether
21. Hey, look who it is. The Gooch is giving out Lucozade bottles at the top of Roebuck Rd. I think about GAA. Would love to be still playing GAA. No, maybe not. What if I got injured. Getting old. Too old to go back. Or am I. Yeah, I definitely am
22. Going up the UCD flyover. This is so hard. Can I finish this. Please let me finish this. Please please. I repeat over and over, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it, I can do it- this is it, this is it, this is the worst part. If I get past this hurdle, I am on the home run
23. Over the other side- I did it. That was so hard. Coming up there was so hard. Maybe I can get thru this ok.
24. Oh no- this is not happening. The 4.20 pacer passes us out. I look at Shane and ask him did he see that. He says ‘see what’. I say the 4.20 pacer. He says No. I ask Shane to up the pace to keep up with pacer, he is happy as he is so I push on out of pure stubbornness so as not to let the 4.30 pacer catch up with me. David Carrie says I can do this in 4hrs 10mins- 4hrs 21mins. And if he says I can, I can
25. Start running hard. The finish line is getting closer. Nutley Lane onto Merrion Rd. A long burst and I keep going. I see that comedian, what’s his name- learned Chinese and Gaeilge. Oh yeah- Des Bishop, no energy to say hi, weak. Everyone shouting and cheering. Stranger shouting ‘Come on Eileen’ as I had written my name on my number (every little bit of encouragement helps). Stranger gives me the most delicious, most welcome fruit pastilles I’ve ever had. “Go on Eileen” he says “they’ll get you to the finish”. He’s right, they did. I keep running to the British Embassy
26. The RDS – gonna start the final push. Team Carrie supporters shouting encouragement to everyone on Shelbourne Rd. ” Just keep doing what I am doing and all will be ok. End is very near but not near enough.
26. Hearing my name being cheered on Shelbourne Rd, Haddington Rd, Northumberland Rd and Mount St. No energy to look and see who’s cheering me but there’s no way I’m stopping now. Hear a big scream ‘Eileen’, pull my head out of my chest to look up- it’s Patrick and the girls again- ‘overwhelmed inside’
26.1. Pushing it hard to the finish. Crowds of people everywhere. My goodness, they are amazing to come out. Feeling good.
26.2 Finished…4 hours 18 mins. My First Marathon. Relief.
26.3 Collect my medal
Mary’s memories of the DCM 27th October 2014
I would say it was a wonderful day and I am glad I completed the DCM ’14. I did this for the school my boys attend. I feel a great sense of achievement and would like to thank all who supported. Would I do this again- Yes.
Declan’s memories of the DCM 27th October 2014.
A sincere thank you to everyone for the support and encouragement.
February 2015: Can you make a difference?
Let’s together plan the next fundraising activity. Any ideas, please contact the Parents Association. Contact details can be found on school website.
What about the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half Marathon August 2nd or maybe the Frank Duffy 10 mile on August 22nd. Both runs are held in the beautiful Phoenix Park.
Anyone care to join me- please let me know.
Keep a look out on the school website for further information!
Please find links to the suggested races
Eileen O Connor Murray
(If you want to get involved in any of our fundraisers, or have ideas on how to raise more money for our school, our committee members and contact details are listed on the Parents’ Association page. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, all help is gratefully received.)