There are now less than seven days to go until Fitzwilliam Street Upper hears a starting gun echo along its walls for the first time since 2019, as the Irish Life Dublin Marathon returns following a three-year hiatus. A much-anticipated resumption of ‘Normal order’ on the traditional October bank holiday marathon weekend in Dublin.
Long awaited return
There are few events in Ireland which capture the imagination quite as much as the Dublin Marathon both within the athletics community and beyond. With around 25,000 participants from Ireland and abroad set to take part in this year's edition, the sorely missed chatter of training, injuries and general readiness for the marathon has made a welcome return among friends, club mates, training partners and work colleagues alike.
The final build-up
As the week rolls on, households will begin to become a little quieter as minds switch to the 26.2 miles ahead. Water bottles will lay strewn on every table while pasta will be a staple on the dinner menu. For some, a waft of deep heat will linger in the air as desperate attempts are made to fend off last minute niggles. There will be the familiar feeling of that final midweek run, a short run slower than prescribed marathon pace in which you feel so sluggish you’ll wonder if you have done any training at all, before returning home doubting everything that's gone before in the last number of months.
Unmatched roadside support
You will be hard pressed to find a sport where a professional athlete takes to the line alongside a runner fully equipped for a day of scuba diving to tackle the 42-kilometre distance, a true testament to the beauty of marathon running. The Dublin Marathon is characterised by the unconditional support duly delivered by the thousands who will line the streets from the early hours to urge participants on their journey to the finish line at Merrion Square. Every athlete on the course a warrior in their own right, each carrying their own hopes and aspirations off the back of months of preparation. Whether you are one of the first to cross the line before noon on Sunday or one of those out until the autumn sun begins to set on the city centre, you will have worn the same road and bear the same medal.
Personal marathon journeys
An event which has captured the hearts of many, there is an unmatched camaraderie among those who take to the line on marathon morning in Dublin. Each person arriving to the line carrying their own personal stories of success, redemption and loss. Many will take on the Dublin Marathon for charities close to their own hearts, in memory of loved ones or due to a personal contract signed with themselves many months ago that they would make it to the line in October in the best shape possible.
There will no doubt be a poignant tinge to the Autumn air on Sunday, with this Dublin Marathon coming after a particularly hard few years on various scales for many. 3 difficult years where running took on more importance than ever, providing a window of normality in the most abnormal of times. This Sunday, the running community in Ireland will come together en-masse for the first time since the world was turned upside down in early 2020, in a celebration of marathon running which has been sorely missed.
National Champions to be decided
There will of course be focus on the business end of proceedings on the day with the Irish National Marathon titles on the line. In 2019 it was Stephen Scullion and Aoife Cooke who claimed the respective titles. With neither set to defend their titles this year, there will be two new, but perhaps not unfamiliar names, on the 2022 roll of honour. The Noel Carroll memorial trophy will go to the overall winner on the day, Moroccan Othmane El Goumri the man who collected that trophy in 2019. The first wave is due to get underway at 8.45am on Sunday.