With just 60 days to go until the SSE Airtricity 35th Dublin Marathon on Monday October 27, runners of all standards are turning out in their thousands for longer races that will help their preparations for the big day.
Last weekend was a particularly busy one with the SSE Airtricity Frank Duffy 10-Mile attracting close to 5,000 runners from all over the country to the Phoenix Park.
Making her annual visit to the race was Maria McCambridge of DSD who had won the event four times in the past five years and was hot favourite to make it five last Saturday.
That is exactly what she did, with her time of 55 mins 15 secs underlining her superb current form. Scottish visitors took up the next two places, followed by Siobhan O'Doherty of Borrisokane, another race regular.
Team Scotland dominated the men's race, with Andrew Douglas the clear winner in 49 mins 57 secs. Tallaght's Tomas Fitzpatrick finished third. In the Dublin Championships, Raheny Shamrock won the senior, M40 and M50 team titles.
Afterwards, McCambridge confirmed that she will defend her Irish marathon title for a second time at Dublin in October. She had taken a rest from marathon running after Dublin last year, and turned down the offer to run at the European Championships.
"I really didn't want to run another marathon earlier this year, but the hunger has come back," said McCambridge after the race.
A day later, she travelled to Letterkenny with husband Gary Crossan to support the inaugural Donegal Marathon and Half Marathon and finished sixth overall in the "half".
Michael Black was the winner, with Gary second; Benny Mullan and Jolene Mellon were the marathon winners.
The pair now head to Spain for three weeks warm-weather training.
In a packed weekend for long-distance running, Freddy Keron Sittuk of Raheny and Tullamore's Pauline Curley were the winners of the Longford Marathon. In an exact repeat of last year, Sittuk - although five minutes slower than in 2013 - was first and Gary O'Hanlon of Clonliffe second. On her annual visit to Longford, Curley, now in the over-45 age group, beat Angela McCann of Clonmel for a second year and took her fifth consecutive title.
DSD's Michelle McGee, who grew up locally, was first woman in the half marathon, with Philip Harty of West Waterford the overall winner.
In Sligo, the Warrior's Run 15k attracted over 800, with Clonliffe mountain runner Brian McMahon and Breege Connolly the winners.