John Banner’s Dublin Marathon Report

Monday, October 28, 2013

If you only ever do one marathon overseas, I’d recommend Dublin, and I think so would most of the other 25 runners who traveled together from Boston to run this year’s Dublin Marathon.

About 14,500 runners registered and I believe 13,000 started and finished. In our group, all 24 that started, finished the race, including 3 first time marathoners. Another runner was recovering from an injury 6 weeks earlier at a tri, so he joined at mile 13 and ran a half.

The race started at Merrion Square in the heart of Dublin, and wound its way around the city and then about 8 miles through Phoenix Park, one of the largest city parks in the world (1750 acres) and dating back to the 12th century.

Despite earlier threats of a major Atlantic storm hitting on race day, the rain had stopped by the time we were assembling for the start of the race at 8 am. It turned into perfect race day weather:- partly cloudy and mid to high 50’s °F.

Like Boston, the race is hugely supported along the way, and the good weather apparently brought out even more than the normal crowd to cheer us on.

Winding through the city, the course is relatively flat with some rolling hills.

Organization was perfect – there was a bag drop at the start and as you finished you were directed back to the bag drop. There was also plenty of water and Europe’s version of Gatorade known as Lucozade, plus being just before Halloween (apparently derived from Irish folklore), many onlookers were passing out candy to the runners.

The pre-race expo was large and well attended. In addition, for all the international runners participating, the organizers put on a free 4k Breakfast Run at Dublin’s Conference Center on Sunday morning. There was post race coffee and refreshments, and an exhibition of traditional Irish dancing on stage. Plus, the idea is to bring one or more of your old race shirts for a ‘shirt swap’ with runners from other countries.

There is plenty of accommodations in the city and we stayed at a hotel that was about a 15 minute walk from the start/finish.

Overall, a great marathon race experience, in our case followed by a five day bus tour of Ireland, stopping at Killkenny, Cork, Cobh, Blarney Castle, Killarney, Limerick, and of course a few pubs along the way.