Thursday 22 February 2018

Predicted storm fails to deter Dublin Marathon runners

Independent.ie’s Jason Kennedy among runners to complete the gruellnig course

Jason Kennedy of Independent.ie is proud of his medal at the finish line
Jason Kennedy of Independent.ie is proud of his medal at the finish line
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

THE predicted storm didn’t arrive – meaning that the record 14,500 runners taking to the streets of Dublin from early morning did.

Thousands could be spotted in the city centre warming up, as the runners were let off in waves to run the gruelling 26.2 miles route in the 34th Airtricity Dublin Marathon.

Hopes were high that an Irish runner might be first person past the finishing post at Merrion Square North for the first time in 20-years.

Earlier this year, in the absence of a headline sponsor, Dublin organisers were forced to cut the elite race fund, which meant the usual invitations were not issued to some of the East African runners who have dominated in recent years.

One of the favourites to land the men's race is 6ft 2in Joe Sweeney, of Dundrum South Dublin Athletic Club, who is making his marathon debut.

Sweeney, trained by Jerry Kiernan, has impressed at the 30k distance.

Clareman Sean Hehir has now taken the lead in the event,  making  his move in the 20th mile through Clonskeagh to overtake Sweeney in their dramatic two-man tussle for the title.

With three miles to go Hehir holds a 14-second lead on the tall Dubliner but while Hehir looks smooth and has  a more compact running style Sweeney hasn't given up the chase yet.

There has also been a dramatic change at the front of the women's race, where Cork's Claire McCarthy-Gibbons overtook defending champion Maria McCambridge (DSD) after 18 miles and holds a seven-second lead on her with six miles to go

Among those taking part today is Independent.ie’s Jason Kennedy and he will fill us in on his race when he hopefully reaches the finish this afternoon.

Earlier race organiser Jim Aughney revealed people had still travelled from far and wide to take  part in the race, with runners from 47 countries taking part.

Mr Aughney told how the popular race had attracted around 2,000 from the UK, around 500 from the US and a group of 12 over for the first time from the Philippines.

In addition, he told how hundreds of thousands of euro would be raised for their two chosen charities Temple Street and Focus Ireland, with many other runners picking their own personal worthy causes.

"We were sweating for the last couple of days," he said, adding it had been a "serious" day as they tried to erect the marques and signs.

Key Facts

* The first race in 1980 had a total of 1,420 finishers out of an entry field of 2,100.

* Olympic silver medallist John Treacy won the Airtricity Dublin Marathon in 1993 and is the last Irish man to win in Dublin.

* 1995 saw the first in a series of five Kenyan men's winners in William Musyoki.

* In 2000 Olympic silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan won with a time of 2:35:46, and was the last Irish woman to win.

* There will be 10 water stations on the route, with 140,000 bottles of Tipperary Water on the route and 130,000 at the finish.

* Over 1,000 volunteers on duty

* Some 372 toilets

* Around 2,890 barriers

* And 1,842 traffic cones lining the route

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