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Marathon runners urged to 'keep up the fight'

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Still smiling: The cancellation has derailed plans for Dave Brady to complete his 1,000th marathon. He has notched up 928 marathons. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Still smiling: The cancellation has derailed plans for Dave Brady to complete his 1,000th marathon. He has notched up 928 marathons. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Still smiling: The cancellation has derailed plans for Dave Brady to complete his 1,000th marathon. He has notched up 928 marathons. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The head of the national governing body for athletics is urging runners to "keep up the fight" despite the cancellation of this year's Dublin City Marathon.

Organisers of the race confirmed yesterday that the annual KBC Dublin Marathon normally held on the October bank holiday weekend will not go ahead this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Race director Jim Aughney said: "We know this is extremely disappointing for all runners, especially those who secured marathon entries.

"We made the difficult decision in the best interest of the health and well-being of all those involved in making our events such a success from runners, supporters, volunteers, sponsors, to suppliers.

"We explored many alternatives for running the events safely, but ultimately none were viable."

However, runners who secured an entry for the 2020 marathon will be guaranteed a slot for the 2021 race, or they can accept a full refund.

The cancellation of the event will be a further blow to the local economy and charity sector which relies heavily on the race for fundraising.

The marathon generates around €25.6m in spin-off revenue for the Dublin economy alone.

Deirdre Garvey, CEO of The Wheel, an umbrella organisation representing 1,700 charities nationwide, said the cancellation of the Dublin Women's Mini Marathon in June and now the Dublin City Marathon will have a huge impact on charities that are already facing an estimated €400m shortfall in donations this year.

But both she and Hamish Adams, CEO of Athletics Ireland, urged runners to keep training and consider hosting 'virtual' marathons to raise funds for charity.

"We're encouraging people to take on the virtual challenges," Mr Adams told the Irish Independent. "Keep up the fight," he said.

"We're as disappointed as any but I think they made the right decision."

Ms Garvey agreed, adding: "It would be fantastic if those people still donate or run in their local parks."

And Dave Brady from Rathcoole, Co Dublin, said he intended to do just that.

The construction foreman had planned to celebrate his 70th birthday by taking part in the marathon, which he had hoped would have been his 1,000th time to cover the distance.

While the grandfather of five is disappointed he won't be able to mark the special occasion this year, he is undeterred.

"I was expecting it," he said of the cancellation. "It would have been a big thing," he said of reaching the milestone after taking up running 35 years ago.

But he said he now has another year to prepare, including running around 15km a day in his local area.

Irish Independent