Thursday 14 November 2019

Running this town for forty years

Book gives fascinating insight into Ireland's iconic marathon

Paul Deering

The sponsors might have changed several times over in its 40 years, even the course and so too has the numbers taking part not to mention all the changes in running gear and runners but there's one thing that remains the same about the Dublin City Marathon, its enduring quality as one of the best in the World.

And, what makes it so special as the many thousands of runners who take part each year will testify, is the people, the thousands who line the route each year to cheer on literally every single runner.

It's the most amazing feeling ever to be running the streets of our capital city and you hear the encouraging shouts of "come on Sligo, you're doing great" when the Sligo AC vest comes into view.

And, of course such support is not confined to the club runners, every participant has their name on their number nowadays so that no one is ever left out and each word of praise is lapped up especially when the going gets tough.

And, Dublin being Dublin, at the tough stages especially from mile 20 on, the crowds are at their biggest with plenty of much needed jellies in outstretched hands waiting patiently for those who need them most.

It's truly a family occasion. Mums and dads and their children are out in force with the myuch needed sweets and home made signs of encouragement, some very witty indeed.

The Dublin Marathon is a remarkable 40 years on the go and next Sunday the biggest entry in its history will toe the line with the 22,000 entry cut off reached many months ago.

Amongst the runners will be dozens from Sligo, many running for clubs and many more as individuals with some raising much needed money in the process for various charities.

In terms of organisation, Dublin City Marathon has to be up there with the best. It seems like an effortless task each year but it takes thousands of volunteers to pull it all together.

The Dublin course is not the quickest in the world, the winning times over the years suggest that, but it's held at a lovely time of the year for running, usually in ideal temperatures and many runners do a pb on it. A new book by Newtownmanor native, Sean McGoldrick, a former journalist with The Sligo Champion and a runner himself, charts the history of this remarkable event. Some 1,421 runners finished the first in 1980 and last year, it was16,251.

Crossing that finish line in no matter what time you do it in is some achievement and one that lives long in the memory. Very few leave it at the one, Dublin has that endearing quality that lures you into coming back again and again.

Sligo Champion