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13,000 take to the streets in virtual Dublin marathon


David Conachy and John Greene push the pace

David Conachy and John Greene push the pace

David Conachy and John Greene push the pace

It may be a very different event this year, but that hasn't stopped more than 13,000 runners from pounding the pavement for the KBC Virtual Dublin Marathon this weekend.

Runners logged on for the marathon via a phone app, which recorded the length and time they ran.

The event, which normally winds up in one day, kicked off yesterday and will finish up today.

Parents created their own mini finish lines, held by their children, as they completed the virtual event.

Even gardaí got involved in the running action, all to raise cash for charity.

Garda Gavin Fleet and Garda Billy Molloy, of the Community Policing Unit in Cabinteely, Dublin, took part in a marathon, walking 42km to raise funds for LauraLynn, Ireland's children's hospice.

Though more than 20,000 took part in last year's event, the drop in numbers hasn't taken away from the sense of fun for many runners.

Running groups and athletics clubs took to the Phoenix Park and other locations across Ireland, England, Canada and France to maintain some of the atmosphere from the marathon.


"Couldn't have asked for a nicer day for a run. A virtual Dublin Marathon half marathon in the bag… Let's hope the streets can be packed for the full race next year," tweeted runner Daniel Kelly.

Charity SavingDylan.com, which raises funds for those with multiple sulfatase deficiency (MSD), tweeted how runner Andrew Patterson had taken part in his first marathon to raise funds to help MSD.

Crumlin GAA members completed both a half and full marathon to raise funds for Crumlin Children's Hospital.

Irish runners could only take part within 5km of their home but social media helped in maintaining the group activity element.

INM head of visuals David Conachy, a regular Dublin Marathon runner, also ran in the virtual event.

This was his eighth marathon in the last five years and while it wasn't his toughest event, it certainly was "the loneliest".

"There was no buzz, no lift from the crowds cheering you around the streets of Dublin, and the energy you drew from that," he said.

"My wife and daughter arrived at exactly the right time, as my spirits were flagging… It wasn't quite Dublin but it was enough."