Ethiopia's Alemu Gemechu wins the 36th Dublin marathon
A heavy veil of grey clouds spit rain down on the capital as thousands of runners, young and old, made their way through the city for the 36th Dublin Marathon.
The SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon got underway at 9am this morning and more than 15,000 athletes took off across the starting line at Fitzwilliam Square.
Almost 4,500 athletes from all across the globe- 62 countries- joined an estimated 10,800 Irish participants for the Dublin Marathon.
And an additional 3,853 club athletes were registered to participate, according to the organisers.
Nataliya Lehonkova of Ukraine 1st woman over the finish line in a great time of 2:30:00 (TBC) pic.twitter.com/Je0kLIc2Or— Dublin Marathon (@dublinmarathon) October 26, 2015
Sean Hehir is the national champion pic.twitter.com/2yBI8QEmUk— Athletics Ireland (@irishathletics) October 26, 2015
Ethiopia's Alemu Gemechu took the honours in the men's race in a time of 2:14:01, ahead of Kenyan Francis Ngare who was six seconds further back.
The first woman across the line was Nataliya Lehonkova of Ukraine in a time of 2:30:00.
Clare's Sean Hehir was the first Irishman home to claim his second national title in three years in ninth place overall in a time of 2:19:47.
Pauline Curley was ninth in the women's event and claimed the national title in 2:49:32 at the age of 46.
The dull start to the day failed to dampen the spirits of the athletes and their throngs of supporters who wove their way around 26 mile course from early morning.
Last year’s reigning champion Kenyan Esther Macharia is among the runners today, hoping to defend her title. Also running is Olympic medallist Sonia O’Sullivan, international mountain runner Sarah Mulligan and the 2014 Kenyan winner, Eliud Too, is back to defend his title.
The first competitors to finish the race are expected to cross the line shortly after 11am.
And the leaders of the wheelchair race competitors are expected to return home shortly before that.
This is the final time that the race, which has become increasingly popular in recent years, will be held on a Monday for the near future.
Race organisers recently announced that next year’s event will be held on the Sunday of the Bank Holiday weekend, October 30 2016.
Jim Aughney, race director, said they hope this will attract more international competitors.
“This year we have over 2,000 participants coming from the UK and Northern Ireland but we would like to see this figure double for the marathon in 2016.
“By moving the race to Sunday, we are hoping to encourage the runners to spend the full weekend in Dublin which will allow them to enjoy other activities and sights that the city has to offer before they return home after the race,” he added.
Among the participants in today’s race is Kieran McCarthy, who is running for TLC4CF and Clare Crusaders, two charities close to his heart as his daughter Aoibheann lives with Cystic Fibrosis.
Before taking to the finish line today, the dedicated father cycled from Dublin to Shannon yesterday, before participating in a 10km swim. He then cycled back to the capital last night.
His wife Sinead said their daughter inspires them everyday.
“(She) doesn’t let anything faze her. Kieran knows that he can’t take the disease away but by doing this challenge he wants to show her that nothing is insurmountable and you just have to keep fighting,” his proud wife added.
Meanwhile, the Bank Holiday weekend is set to end the way it began - with another rainfall warning from Met Eireann.
The national forecaster has issued a yellow alert for heavy rainfall across southern parts of Munster and Leinster today.
Dublin, Louth, Wexford, Wicklow, Meath, Cork, Kerry, Tipperary and Waterford are the areas that will be the worst affected.
The weather warning - which was issued at 7pm last night will remain in place until midnight tonight.
Rainfall of between 25mm and 45mm is expected throughout the day with spot flooding in some parts of the country.
Wind warnings are also in place for southern and eastern coasts as strong southeasterly winds are forecast throughout the day.
Runners at the Dublin Marathon may avoid the worst of the weather, however, as the bands of rain moving in from the west are forecast for the late afternoon, becoming more persistent throughout the evening and night.
Motorists have been advised to slow down and increase their braking distance in the wet weather.
AA Roadwatch are reported that roads are currently wet and slippy in Tralee, Cork City and in Wicklow Town.