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Marathon is here to stay

Although a title sponsor has yet to be nailed down, entries are already coming in for next year's Dublin Marathon on Monday, October 28.

"The race is definitely going ahead but maybe not the same version as recent years," says race director Jim Aughney.

With no race sponsor for this year's race, the post-race party and TV coverage was scrapped. "We have to look at everything, such as prize money, promotion abroad and the Marathon Mission, although it has been such a success," says Aughney.

Thanks to the Marathon Mission, standards are steadily improving in Irish long-distance running, with four women qualifying for the London Olympics and six men under 2 hours 20 minutes.

In its 33-year history, the Dublin marathon has seen lean times. "In 1992, we had no title sponsor and we survived. Adidas then came in and gave us a huge boost," says Aughney who has been involved with the race since 1989 and as race director since 1997.


He's pleased that the number of Irish runners in the race continues to grow. "We had 10,000 in this year's race and that mostly is a result of the race series we started in 2002.

"People were able to manage the five mile and were getting comfortable. We persuaded them to try 10 miles and the half marathon with a view to attempting a marathon a year later. It worked exactly as we predicted -- the number of Irish runners in the marathon went up in 2003 and has since gone through the roof."

Closing down the city of Dublin for a day doesn't come cheap with the Dublin Marathon not getting much change out of €1.5m in operational costs.

"For the first time since 2004, we have increased the entry fee to €75 which still compares well with other big city marathons. That extra money will be something of an insurance policy."

Aughney and his team are still talking to potential sponsors, although it is getting late in the day for next year's race. "Whatever happens, the race will go ahead. We just have to be more imaginative in how we use our resources."