The October bank holiday weekend in Dublin has arrived and the familiar echo of footsteps from an almost 25,000 strong field of participants is set to ring out once more, with the showpiece of Irish distance running set to get underway from 8.40am on Sunday morning. Thirty years on from his famous victory on the streets of Dublin in 1993, John Treacy will get the race underway from Fitzwilliam Street Upper as this year’s honorary starter.
Quality elite field assembled for 2023
At the business end of proceedings, there has been a number of quality entrants assembled for this year’s addition of the Irish Life Dublin Marathon, with both the men’s and women’s winners from 2022 returning to defend their titles. Moroccan Taoufik Allam will hope to leave Dublin once more with the Noel Carroll Memorial trophy on Sunday. After claiming victory in 2022 with a time of 2:11.30, he went on to significantly lower his personal best to 2:07.43 in Rome earlier this year, indicating he is in the form to lead the field home once more.
Allam to face stiff test in title defence
Allam will face stiff competition from Ethiopian Tadesse Mamo who currently holds the fastest personal best in the field. Mamo registered an impressive 2:07.04 on the streets of Rome in 2022, finishing just ahead of 2019 Dublin Marathon winner and course record holder Othmane El Goumri. Mamo has not raced over the marathon distance since then, but if he can replicate close to that sort of form, he will be sure to be in the reckoning for the major honours.
The ever-present Asefa Legese Bekele of Ethiopia will return to the start line in Dublin once more. The 2018 champion is no stranger to the podium in Dublin, having placed third in 2015, 2016 & 2017 before eventually going on to claim ultimate honours in 2018 in which he set a personal best of 2:13.02. With seven of the elite male entrants having run sub 2:10 lifetime bests, it has the makings of an intriguing battle at the front of the field.
Muluneh hoping to defend women’s crown
In the women’s race, defending champion Nigist Muluneh of Ethiopia returns to Dublin off the back of a personal best performance in Riyadh in February, her 2:27.41 seeing her come home in 4th position in Saudi Arabia.
Despite the form she has shown in the early part of 2023, she is unlikely to have it all her own way, with compatriot Sorome Negash likely to provide the greatest challenge to defending her title. Negash currently boasts the fastest time of the season in the field, her 2:26.40 in Dubai in February making her the favourite on paper to claim the women’s crown.
The legendary Florence Kiplagat will also toe the line in Dublin this weekend in what will be a superb opportunity for athletics fans in Ireland to witness the great Kenyan in action. Kiplagat’s C.V boasts an embarrassment of riches. Two Chicago and Berlin marathon victories alongside a World Half Marathon title some of the highlights of a palmares which also includes a World Cross Country gold medal in 2009. Kiplagat’s personal best of 2:19.44 came in 2011 in Berlin.
Irish national titles on the line
The 2023 Irish Life Dublin Marathon will once again incorporate the Irish National Marathon Championship. In the men’s race, defending champion Martin Hoare will not take to the start this year which means there will be a new national champion in 2023. Irish marathon record holder Stephen Scullion returns to Dublin for the first time since his runner-up performance in 2019 which saw him claim his first national title in a time of 2:12.01.
The Clonliffe Harriers man backed up his national title with a breakthrough 2020 season, setting a blistering personal best of 1:01.08 over the half marathon distance in Larne before going on to break the Irish marathon record in London a month later in a time of 2:09.49. Scullion has not tackled the marathon distance since April of 2022 when running 2:14.32 in Rotterdam but arrives in Dublin this weekend off the back of a month-long stint at altitude in France, no doubt hoping to replicate some of the glory of four years ago.
Creech looking to claim first national title
Leevale’s Ryan Creech will hope to continue his stellar form so far this season on Sunday. He currently holds the fastest Irish marathon time since 2020, his 2:13.03 in Seville putting him 11th on the Irish all-time list. Form would suggest Creech will be the man to beat on Sunday and will be looking to add the national marathon title to the half marathon title he claimed in Tullamore in August.
Clonmel A.C’s Courtney Maguire was the surprise package of 2022 on the roads of the capital. The then 23-year-old demonstrating some impressive speed in the closing stages of her first ever marathon to take the national title in a time of 2:32.50 and third overall. Despite being ruled out earlier this week due to injury, she has since passed a late fitness test and will now take her place on the start line on Sunday.
It was Ann Marie McGlynn who was on the receiving end of Maguire’s turn of foot in the closing stages of 2022, the Letterkenny A.C woman ultimately having to settle for the runner up position on the day. She will no doubt take the experience gained from that day into Sunday, coming into this year’s marathon in Dublin off the back of a personal best run in the Belfast Half Marathon last month in a time of 1:14.53 in which she also claimed victory.
Monahan fancied to continue Dublin dominance
In the wheelchair race, which will be the first to get underway on Sunday, Kildare man Patrick Monahan will be looking to make it seven Dublin Marathon wins. Monahan, who boasts a 12th place finish in the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics has won six of the last seven editions of the Dublin Marathon, finishing 2nd to Great Britain’s Johnboy Smith in 2018.