After initial demand fast out-paced supply, organisers of the KBC Dublin Marathon have added an extra 2,500 places for the 2019 event, set for Sunday October 27, increasing the overall entry to another record high of 22,500.
There will also be a short window for entry returns, given the initial 20,000-limit sold out in just 40 days in early December, partly spurred by 2019 being the 40th anniversary of the event. First staged in 1980 with an entry of 2,100, Dublin is now the fifth largest big-city marathon in Europe.
For Jim Aughney, in his 22nd year as Dublin Marathon race director, the high demand for 2019 was both surprising and satisfying, but the additional places were given careful consideration: the four ‘wave’ or staggered starts will extend from 15 to 20 minutes apart, as the emphasis is still on quality over quantity.
“The extra 2,500 entries will open on the morning of Monday, July 1, and we expect they might be gone within 24 hours,” said Aughney, who took over as race director in 1997, when numbers had dropped back to just under 3,000.
“But we didn’t just rock up to Dublin City Council and the Garda and say we need another 2,500 entries. We had to show them how exactly we would cope, and would cope safely, and the main way of doing that was to increase the break in the wave starts from 15 minutes to 20 minutes, spreading the 2,500 across the four waves, which won’t actually impact much on our peak at the start on Merrion Square, which is crucial for us.
“I’ve no doubt we could sell 25,000 entries, maybe more, but that would start to impact on quality, beginning with the race Expo, getting through the finish, all that. So, we still have to control the numbers, and we’re happy with the 22,500.”
For a two-week period, from June 3 to June 16, anyone already entered can request a refund (subject to 25 per cent service charge). “For the first time we’re also opening that window for a return entry, given the demand, and the fact some people may have entered back in November, and for whatever reason won’t be able to run,” added Aughney. Those returned entries then go back on sale, the limit still set at 22,500.
In 2016, the event was moved from its traditional Bank Holiday Monday date to the Sunday, which Aughney said directly contributed to the first sell-out of runners of 19,500, a 30 per cent increase on 2015. “We’d a few lucky breaks along the way since 1997, and thankfully numbers have been on the increase ever since,” said Aughney. By 1982, the third Dublin marathon drew 11,076 entries. This year’s race will also mark the first of the new three-year sponsorship with KBC Bank.
All entries can be made via www.kbcdublinmarathon.ie