Annual city marathon runs into record books
THIS year's Dublin city marathon, which takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, is the most popular on record.
More than 13,000 runners, who have put in months of training, will line out for the 31st Lifestyle Sports-Adidas marathon, which makes the event one of the "friendliest" marathons in the world.
Despite the global recession, more than 74 countries will be represented on Monday, while the 8,500 Irish participants is also a record.
Race director Jim Aughney said the organisers were delighted to break the 13,000 mark for the first time. "When the marathon started 31 years ago ,we started with about 2,500 people, so this bodes well for its future in Dublin," he said.
Making a return this year is current marathon record holder Russian Aleksey Sokolov; while in the women's elite category, last year's winner, Kateryna Stetsenko, from the Ukraine, will be hoping for her second consecutive victory in Dublin.
Most of the competitors will be running for their own reasons and hoping to raise millions of euro for their personal charities.
Among the starters will be an Oireachtas team of 11 runners, led by Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan. The seven TDs and four senators are raising money for a number of different charities. For nine of them, this will be their first marathon.
Another group at the starting tape will be the Irish Wheelchair Association's own 'Superheroes' team.
For one contestant, Dubliner Tony Mangan (53), the start of the marathon will mark the beginning of a round-the-world jog in which he plans to clock up more than 42,000 kilometres over the next three years.
"I won't be running a marathon a day, some days I'll rest and will take time out, including a return trip home in June," he said.
His round-the-world trek, through which Tony is planning to raise funds for the organisation Aware, will take him through North and South America, New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Russia and Europe before rounding off his trip to coincide with the Dublin marathon in three years' time.