Love on the run in The Kerryman Dingle Marathon
A SENSE of anticipation is building in West Kerry ahead of The Kerryman Dingle Marathon which returns next month, on Saturday, September 6.
The event, which includes a full, half and ultra-marathon along some of Ireland's most stunning scenery on the Dingle Peninsula, is fast becoming one of the country's premier marathons, attracting runners from all over the country and indeed all over the world.
Last year 450 full marathon participants and another 1,950 half marathon participants joined 78 ultra-marathon competitors and hopes are high this year that this year's marathon will be the biggest and best to date.
There is a particular emphasis on the ultra-marathon component this year as 2014 marks the last staging of the ultra in its current 50-mile format. The ultra-marathon will change to a 39-mile option in 2015 so this year presents athletes with their final opportunity to take on 50 miles of the Dingle Peninsula's challenging beauty.
Last year's ultra-marathon produced a romantic surprise in the form of a proposal on Slea Head! Kevin McLoughlin, who had travelled from the UK to Dingle for the event, dropped to one knee at mile 31 to propose to his girlfriend, Ann, who was cycling the route with him.
Kevin had been busy plotting the proposal for weeks and Ann, who was under the impression that Kevin was participating in the ultra to celebrate his 50th birthday, was caught completely unawares.
Everything went according to plan - Ann said yes and the couple were married on January 23 of this year.
The Kerryman Dingle Marathon takes place on Saturday September 6 this year; registration for the full, half and ultra-marathon – the last 50 mile ultra - is now open at DingleMarathon.ie.