The Covid-19 pandemic has achieved what neither the weather nor power struggles within athletics failed to do during the four decades: it has stopped the Dublin Marathon for the first time since its launch in 1980.
Torrential overnight rain could have scuppered the first edition of the race. On an early morning inspection, course director Brian Price discovered the Tolka River had over-flowed its banks and part of the intended route near the nine mile mark in Finglas was flooded.
Following consultation with race director Frank Slevin, it was decided to reroute the race. The runners did an unscheduled lap around St Stephen’s Green at the start to make up the difference.
Back in those days everything about race day was a bit more casual – race numbers were still being distributed in race headquarters in Kevin Street College of Technology, up to half an hour before the scheduled noon start.
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Political in-fighting within the then notoriously fractured structures of Irish athletics emerged as a far more serious threat to the race during its inaugural years.
Numerous attempts had failed over the decades to heal a 'split' in the sport. Finally in 1967 an agreement was hammered out to unite the various fractions under a new umbrella organisation called BLE.
But a sizeable faction of the National Athletic and Cycling Association (NACA) - one of the groups involved - refused to accept the deal.
It was against this turbulent background that a new organisation called the Business Houses Athletic Association was set up in 1979 to organise races for runners representing their work place.
Crucially they didn't care whether runners were members of BLE or NACA. Regardless of their affiliation they were allowed to race together for the first time. In reality most of the thousands of runners who participated in BHAA races didn't belong to either organisation.
The late Noel Carroll was well aware that how petty politics have bedeviled Irish athletes. Together with RTE’s Louis Hogan, who conceived the idea of the marathon as a publicity tool for the newly-established Radio 2, they wanted the new race to be free of all ‘political’ ties and be open to all-comers.
So they approached the newly established BHAA and asked them to organise the event. BLE did their utmost to scupper the marathon between 1981 and 1983 by threatening to ban any of its members from competing in it.
The ban proved worthless because Ireland's leading marathoners such as Dick Hooper – the first winner of the race and the only athlete to win it three times – ignored the threat. Ultimately BLE backed down.
Unfortunately, overcoming the obstacles poised by a worldwide pandemic proved too big a hurdle for the organisers to overcome.
But they're in good company.
Last week the organisers of the longest running and biggest ultra-marathon in the world, the Comrades Marathon in South Africa, bowed to the inevitable and cancelled the race which would have been the 95th consecutive edition of the race.
So the nation's distance runners are set to experience a dose of cold turkey this summer. But they are a resilient bunch and will come to terms with the fact that the October Bank holiday weekend will be different in 2020.
Spare a thought, however, for the 13 runners who have finished the previous 40 Dublin marathons. The most famous Bakers' Dozen in Irish sport will be free for the first time in four decades on the last weekend in October. They would have preferred otherwise.
Even though entries closed for the 2020 edition of the race last year, the majority of those who had secured places would only be contemplating kicking off their training programme about now.
Though they will be disappointed, it is preferable that the organisers have acted now rather than wait in the hope that the pandemic might have cleared by October.
The odds are they might still have to make the same call.
Joe Duffy’s Liveline would experience a meltdown if the organisers waited until the end of September to call off the race.
For a would-be marathoner, there is nothing more frustrating that having endured months of sometimes tortuous training, they are unable to compete.
Usually they have nobody to blame but themselves. Normally the reason they cannot run is they're injured or ill due to over-training.
The cold turkey moment will pass even for the seasoned marathoners, though come next October there will be a glut of virtual marathons in Ireland.
So this summer Ireland's marathon runners can relax, rest their limbs and embark on some 'smell the roses' runs.
Instead of being pre-occupied with all the readings from your Garmin, take in the view for a change.
Running is not just about racing and there is most certainly more to the sport than running 26.2 mile.
And there's always 2021.