By Dylan Kerrigan
The KBC Dublin Marathon was once again held virtually between the 23rd and 25th of October.
Instead of participating in the traditional trail around Dublin City, runners took their own routes around their local or surrounding areas in order to complete the required distance of the marathon.
In 2019, there were over 22,500 participants in the Dublin Marathon, the most it had seen in its 41-year history. The virtual aspect of the race for the last two years has allowed for unlimited participants to take part.
Stephen Martin, the founder of the recently created Jobstown running club, participated in the virtual run along with his club mates. “We are a relatively new club. There are no coaches, we are a community that just run together. We have been training for the virtual marathon for a few months now. We usually do events like this for charity but seeing as 90% of the group are first-time marathon runners, we decided to make it all about them,” he said.
Prior to the run, Martin revealed that the group “had one 22 km loop and then two 10km loops to look forward to on the day”. These routes would accumulate the required marathon distance of 42km.
Much of the club were running their first marathon and have only recently joined the group after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted earlier this year. “We have definitely seen an increase in people wanting to get out and run, which is great to see. That is why I created the Jobstown running club. I have been running for years around Jobstown and Tallaght on my own, but since starting the club I have got to meet a lot of great people and share a lot of miles with them,” said Martin.
The Jobstown running club took to social media to congratulate those who completed the marathon over the weekend and thanked “everyone who turned up to the finish area to give it that real race feel”.
Those across the country and beyond, who completed the virtual run, were encouraged by the official marathon organisers to “share their race finishing moments on social media” and were also given a race series app which allowed each individual or group to calculate their distance throughout their run.
Many of this year’s virtual marathon runners both in Ireland and across the world raised money for different charities. The Irish Cancer Society hoped to raise funds “to support cancer patients and their families”. Those supports would be used in areas such as counselling services for cancer patients, equipment for night nurses and supports for specialist nurses. The society also prepared marathon running support documents for those who were running for the charity, which contained a five-week training programme for each runner.
The St. James’ hospital foundation, Temple Street Children’s Charity, Croí (fighting heart disease and stroke), Cope Galway, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland and many more were also used as dedicated charities by runners.
After two consecutive years of virtual marathons due to Covid-19, runners will hope the race will return to its original format in 2022.