The 40th running of the KBC Dublin Marathon takes place on Sunday, October 27 with a record number of 22,500 runners set to hit the streets of Dublin. Many international elite distance runners are set to compete against Ireland’s top endurance athletes. Irish athletes will also be battling it out for national titles, as the race serves as the Athletics Ireland’s National Championships.
For many others taking part, their achievement will be crossing the line. None more so than the 13 inspirational runners who have taken part in all 39 Dublin Marathons since the race began in 1979 and are set to complete their 40th in 2019. This unique group includes Mary Nolan Hickey (Wicklow), the only woman to have finished all 39 marathons. Dublin is well represented with John McElhinney, Michael Carolan, Donal de Buitleir, Dominic Gallagher, Martin Kelly, Patrick Gowan and the eldest of the group, Frank Behan who turns 79 next month. Five other counties are represented by Seamus Cawley (Limerick), Seamus Dunne (Meath), Billy Harpur (Wexford), Peadar Nugent (Galway) and Donal Ward (Donegal).
In the elite fields, the 2018 Dublin Marathon winners Asefa Bekele and Mesera Dubiso from Ethiopia are both set to race. Bekele crossed the line in 2018 in a time 2:13:23. He will face opposition from Othmane El Goumri of Morocco who ran a personal best of 2:08:20 at the 2019 Rabat Marathon, to finish second. Shambel Jimma of Ethiopia also ran a personal best of 2.10.28 in March to win the Chongqing International Marathon.
Irish reigning National Marathon Champion, Mick Clohisey will be looking for a top overall spot and to defend his national title. The Raheny man will have to content with previous national champions Sergiu Ciobanu (2009, 2010, 2019) and Sean Hehir (2013). Other key contenders will be Stephen Scullion who recently competed in the World Athletics Championships and has the fastest marathon time by an Irish man this year with 2:14:34 (Houston). David Flynn placed 13th last year in a time of 2:19:04 and will be looking to improve on this placing as he currently has the second fastest half marathon time in the Irish top performances of 2019.
In the international women’s field last year’s winner, Dubiso will be race favourite. Natasha Cockram of Wales who placed fourth last year has run a personal best this year of 2:34:18 set in the Houston Marathon. Also, in contention will be Caroline Jepchirchir of Kenya who finished fifth in Dublin last year and won Belfast City marathon in a time of 2:36:39. Irish Olympian, Lizzie Lee who finished third overall last year and is reigning national champion will not be lining up this year but will make a return in 2020. Double National Champion (2016 and 2017) Laura Graham will go head to head with number-one ranked marathon runner this year, Breege Connolly who ran 2:37:50 in April, Rotterdam. Also, in contention will be Ann Marie McGlynn who ran a personal best of 2:39:22 also in Rotterdam. Barbara Sanchez will compete in her first marathon of the year and has a personal best of 2:37:14 set in 2013. In the Wheelchair race Sam Kolek of Poland and GB’s Callum Hall will also be in contention.
Race director, Jim Aughney said: “It is with great excitement that we look to this year’s Dublin Marathon in the 40th running of this iconic event, known to many around the world as the ‘friendly marathon’. The Dublin Marathon organising committee are delighted to have the strong support of KBC as our sponsors who will welcome their first Dublin Marathon this weekend and the continuous and dedicated commitment from the 1,500 volunteers that ensure a smooth running of the event on the day. Wishing all runners taking part every success in their endeavours on the day, it is certainly a wonderful day to be experienced by supporters and runners alike.”