With the Lifestyle Sport Adidas Dublin Marathon just over six weeks away, half marathons and longer are dominating the racing calendar at the moment. A record entry of over 8,000 is expected for Saturday's BHAA Dublin Half Marathon in the Phoenix Park -- more than 2,000 up on last year.
A record entry of over 8,000 is expected for Saturday's BHAA Dublin Half Marathon in the Phoenix Park -- more than 2,000 up on last year.
Upfront, the race is wide open, with 12 members of the Marathon Mission team -- including last year's winner Brian Maher -- off to the Great North Run, along with Frank Duffy 10 winner Maria McCambridge. It means dedicated club runners will fancy their chances.
Because of the large numbers, a wave system will again be used at the start. First wave is for runners expecting to run under 100 minutes, second for runners who wish to run between 100 and 120 minutes and the third for everyone else. Pacers have been recruited to run at sub-1.30, sub-1.40, sub-1.50 and sub-2 hour pace.
The race start is close to Mountjoy Cross, a 15-minute walk from the Phoenix Monument. Castleknock Gate will close from 7am to facilitate the race start, so use other gates if coming into the park by car.
For those walking or using public transport, shuttle buses will start from Parkgate Street at 8.15.
The one-lap course heads down the main road twice, first to take in a loop of the zoo side of the park, before a longer and more convoluted loop on the 15-acre side. A map is available on the website and is worth studying closely.
Among those running will be members of the Wicklow Hospice Marathon 100 Team set up by Bill Porter from Rathdrum. On the team, all committed to raising funds for the Wicklow Hospice Foundation, is a combination of marathon veterans and first timers.
Among them is East Coast FM CEO Sean Ashmore and Andrew Doyle TD, both taking on the marathon for the first time.
Marathon veterans include Olympic mountain biker and international hill runner and cyclist Jenny McCauley, Wicklow GAA man Ciaran Byrne, who runs the race for the 29th time, and Mary Nolan Hickey from Arklow, the only woman to have run all of the 30 Dublin marathons to date.