A RECORD number of Irish runners will take to the streets of the capital on Monday for the largest ever Dublin City Marathon.
For the first time ever, Irish runners will outnumber their counterparts from abroad, with 57pc of the record 11,700 participants being natives of Ireland.
Among them are the sons and daughters of marathon founder Noel Carroll who will be taking part in the race for the first time to mark the tenth anniversary of their father's death.
Siblings Enda (42), Nicola (41), Noel (37), and Stephen (33), have been training together each weekend over the past few months to prepare for the event that their father was instrumental in kick-starting almost 30 years ago.
The well-known Dublin City Council press officer sadly collapsed and died while he was training athletes at UCD a decade ago.
"We've never run the Dublin City Marathon before so we thought there was no better idea than to run in dad's memory," said Stephen.
The closeknit family will be cheered on by their partners and children as well as Noel's widow Deirdre who will present the winner with the Noel Carroll Memorial Trophy.
They will also be raising funds for the charity named on behalf of their father, the Noel Carroll Building, a training centre and halfway house for street children in Calcutta which Enda Carroll and Goal director John O'Shea opened in 2003.
Other participants include more than 30 gardai from various ranks and divisions from across the country who will tackle the gruelling 26-mile course to raise funds for a variety of charities as they lead off the race for the first time.
Sergeant Mike Miley, a member of the Garda Choir, will also sing the national anthem at the beginning of the race.
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said An Garda Siochana is honoured to be taking part. "Sports, fitness and community involvement are key elements of our organisation and every effort is made to encourage officers to participate through bodies like the Garda Athletic Club and a range of other sporting clubs, organised under the auspices of Coiste Siamsa (Garda Athletic Association)," he said.
The throngs of amateurs will be running alongside an impressive array of elite runners, including Russian athlete Alina Ivanova who will be defending her title after winning the event for the past two years, followed by fellow Russian Larissa Zousko who came in second in the race last year.
Ukrainian runner Dmytro Osadchy, who won the 2005 Dublin City Marathon, is also a contender for first place in the men's event along with Briton Tomas Abyu who came in second in last year's race.
Limerick runner Simon Baker will also try to set a new world record for the fastest marathon on crutches.
He lost his right leg below the knee in an accident four years ago and is now hoping to break the current record set by Aengus McFadden who completed the course in seven hours and 13 minutes.
Gardai, meanwhile are advising motorists of severe traffic restrictions that will be in place in the Merrion Square, Nassau Street, and St Stephen's Green areas of the city. A full list of diversions is available on the garda website at www.garda.ie.