WITH nine weeks left to go, runners all over the county and beyond are starting to gear up for The Kerryman Dingle Marathon 2013 which takes place on Saturday September 7.
Now in its fifth year, The Kerryman Dingle Ultra, Full and Half Marathons attracted 2884 registered competitors in 2012 and the anticipation is already palpable ahead of this year's event.
The first Kerryman to cross the line in The Kerryman Dingle (full) Marathon in 2012 was Cromane's Marcus O'Shea who sailed home in a net time of 3:05:16 having only taken up marathon running four months prior to the event. "The hills were tough but overall it was OK," said Marcus who was placed ninth overall in the full marathon rankings.
Last year, Cork man Eoin Sugrue claimed the premier spot in the full Dingle Marathon in a time of 2:48:13 while Kerry woman Nora Barry of Lixnaw was the first woman home in a time of 3:22:21. The half marathon, which finishes at Kruger's in Dún Chaoin, saw John Meade first past the line. The first lady home in The Kerryman Dingle Half Marathon in 2012 was Gillian Cotter.
The 60 or so supremely fit athletes who undertook the 50-mile Ultra Dingle Marathon course perspired and inspired in equal measure in 2012. The first Ultra athlete home was Keith Whyte completing the course that saw him tackle Conor Pass and Slea Head in 5:59:25 while the first lady home was Amy Masner who completed the course in 7:36:33 placing 14th overall.
Michael Lynch of Limerick Athletic Club was among those participating in The Kerryman Dingle Marathon for the first time last year.
"The course is without doubt the nicest course to run; the first half of that marathon is absolutely spectacular," he said, "there is no other place in the world like it."
"The scenery on The Kerryman Dingle Marathon is spectacular and you will lose yourself in it – that's the reason I'm going back again."
Registration for The Kerryman Dingle Marathon 2013 is now open at DingleMarathon.ie. Anyone thinking about undertaking the challenge is advised to register online now as places are filling up fast.