FOR most people, the marathon is a special event not to be indulged in too often. Then there are the members of the 100 Marathon Club Ireland.
For them, a marathon is something you do once a month or even once a week.
Notching up one hundred marathons is their target and so they travel far and wide to find certified marathons they can add to their list.
Although running is the ultimate cheap sport, when you're chasing marathons and have to consider travel, accommodation and food, as well as the entry fee, the costs can multiply rapidly.
Out of this came a brainwave; why not organise a series of low-key marathons in the Dublin area? Costs would be kept to a minimum and anyone who entered would be sure of a properly measured course, drinks stations and an official finish time.
"What we aim for is professionally organised marathons without the fuss and the expense of the bigger events. For your €20 entry fee, you get a course measured to Athletics Ireland standards, water stations and gels, plus a medal and an official time when you finish. If we make any profit, it will go to charity," said Ger Copeland, one of the men behind the East of Ireland Marathon Series.
So far, two runs have taken place in the Clontarf area of Dublin, with all 50 places on offer taken up in two to three hours.
Winner of the first race was Paul Molloy in a time of 3 hours 10 mins. Copeland himself won the second race in 3 hrs 15 mins, with Maura Dineen first woman in 3 hrs 54 mins. Others took quite a bit longer to finish, but that wasn't a problem.
"Above all, we want to attract people who know what they're about when it comes to marathon running," said Mr Copeland.
So far, the feedback has been "fantastic". Ger is quick to emphasise that marathon running is not for everyone. "Our group is a marathon group, so if you're built to run 10km, then don't do marathons," he said.
If, however, you do want to run marathons, then the East of Ireland Series could be what you're looking for.
Next race is on Saturday (9am start) on a new course around Howth.