This Sunday will see a record number taking part in the 40th running of the KBC Dublin City Marathon. There will be plenty of Roscommon representation among the expected 22,500 participants and members of local club, Roscommon Harriers, have also been busy preparing for the event.
The club trains on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and caters for all levels. While experienced members such as Glen Campbell, Jimmy Maloney and Adrian Smith have completed seven of the previous thirty-nine events, this Sunday will see new faces among the Harriers’ contingent.
Local auctioneer Loretta Dowd is one member who’s set to raise the stakes this Sunday as she bids to complete her very first marathon.
Loretta, who hails from Kinvarra in Co. Galway, started by taking part in 5k events before attempting half marathons and says the support she has had from the Roscommon Harriers has been invaluable ahead of her Dublin City Marathon debut. “Something came over me at the start of this year and I said I’d do it even though I swore I would never do a full marathon!
“I found the training very tough because with work and everything there’s a lot of time and dedication involved but I have to say the support from the club is brilliant, without them there was no way I would have run. Someone might have a great run one day while someone else might be having a poor day but everyone knows how that feels so we all support each other. It’s lovely, it’s like you’re being cushioned in and brought along.
“The support from the club is phenomenal and for me who swore I’d never run a half marathon first of all to never running a full marathon, well here I am and hopefully I’ll be ready for Sunday!”
Loretta won’t be alone as she awaits starter’s orders this Sunday as Roscommon Harriers PRO Scott Bennett will also be appearing in his first marathon.
Mary Tarpey from Ballyhaunis, on the other hand, is no stranger to the Dublin City Marathon. Mary is a member of An Garda Síochána, based in Roscommon town. Sunday will be her fourth race and she has also completed a marathon in Derry.
She explained how she came to sign up with Roscommon Harriers and the motivation behind running over 26 miles through Dublin’s streets.
“I joined in March 2016 and ran my first marathon in October 2016. It was always something I admired when the marathon was on TV. I would also watch New York and Chicago and it was always something I wanted to do.
“I found out there was a club here in town that actually trained people to run short distance and long distance I said ‘Right, I’ll join it!’ I met friends with similar interests and we trained together and we achieved our first marathon and from there we went for more!
“It’s an escape from the house and a release from work and you’re meeting friends with common interests – it’s brilliant!”
From international elite distance runners to weekend warriors, fundraisers and first-timers, athletes at the starting line in Dublin at 8.45 am this Sunday will have put in the hard miles over the previous weeks, months and years and there will be scenes of joy and relief when they make it across the finish line at Merrion Square later in the day.