Huge entry for big day in Park
With several of Ireland's top road runners choosing to compete in the Great North Run in Newcastle on Sunday, the race for top honours in Saturday's National Lottery Half-Marathon in the Phoenix Park will be a very open affair.
This year's National Lottery Half-Marathon -- the final event in the Race Series -- has received an all-time record entry of 8,500, a big challenge for the race organisers.
"We have had our biggest ever entry in all the events in this year's Race Series and it also looks like we will have a very big entry in the National Lottery Dublin Marathon in October," said Race Series director Jim Aughney.
Barry Minnock from Rathfarnham/WSAF AC will lead the challenge in the men's race, but the Dublin runner is still struggling to recover from a stomach bug he picked up at last weekend's World Mountain Running Championships in Albania.
Siobhan O'Doherty from Borrisokane AC and Angela McCann will lead the women's challenge. A number of celebrity runners are expected to take part in the race, including Ray D'Arcy of Today FM. Full details of the race are on www.dublinmarathon.ie
Meanwhile, Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers) and Sean Connolly (Tallaght AC) will lead the Irish men's challenge in the Great North Run.
Both athletes have their sights set on securing an Olympic 'A' marathon qualifying standard for the London Olympics and Sunday's race over half the distance will be a good form indicator for them.
Maria McCambridge should be the leading Irish woman in Newcastle and the outcome of this race will influence her decision about competing in the Dublin Marathon in October, where a showdown between Kenneally and Connolly could bring a new sense of excitement to Irish marathon running.