The Irish Life Dublin Marathon must adapt to a city which has changed since it was last run in 2019. The intervening years, which twice saw the cancellation of the race due to Covid-19 pandemic, have seen the introduction and expansion of cycling lanes and bus lanes. This year's race takes place on October 30th.
"It will be a big challenge this year," explained Jim Aughney, race director of the Irish Life Dublin Marathon.
"The city has changed hugely since 2019 with bus lanes, and so on.
"You look at our start line, we had a 16m wide gantry. If you look at Fitzwilliam St now, the lane down the middle is 6.5m wide. That's a big change, and that's only one of the small changes around the route. When you have 26.2 miles, we're hitting that in a lot of places.
"We're sticking with the route we had in 2019. We have that officially measured, and sent in to [World Athletics]. That's been approved.
'We've had good conversations with Dublin City Council'
"We'll have to look at different corners where there may be a bus lane in. We'll have to cone it out. The remeasure has taken those [into consideration].
"We've gone out, photographed every single one of them to have a plan for each one, and presented it to Dublin City Council, and plead our case that 'Can we get this removed?' Certainly the start line is one area we'll be concentrating on, and see what hardware can be removed. [In some places] it is more dangerous if it is removed with holes in the ground. The start line and finish line might move slightly.
"DCC are helpful partners. There's a limit to what they can do. We've had good conversations with Dublin City Council already, and the Gardaí."
Another challenge will be a budget based on the entry fees from 2019 but with costs from 2022.
"Costs have risen considerably since 2019," said Aughney.
"We're honouring all the entries that were in from 2019 on that entry fee. We expect, and we're seeing from the quotes coming in, that everything has gone up 15 to 20 per cent.
"The other big challenge is personnel. You have companies that would have been able to provide X number of people to build marquees, and they're saying they only have half the staff that they had.
"Insurance, that's certainly one that's gone up considerably post-Covid. Public liability insurance, vehicle insurance, personnel insurance are going up. The same for getting material for t-shirts and medals."
Aughney added that there was a period between previous sponsors KBC bowing out, and Irish Life coming on board, which was worrisome.
"There was obviously a period where we were very, very worried that we might not have a sponsor," he said.
"That would have put a lot of things in jeopardy for the event. The event would have gone ahead, but there would have been a lot of things that you would have been unable to do.
"We will have an elite field. But, if you look at the history of our elite field, we've had Russian, Ukrainians quite a lot in the past that won't be there this year, obviously. The field will be concentrated with Kenyans and Ethiopians. It will probably be a smaller elite field than we had normally."
Featured image: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Jim Aughney, Race Director was speaking at the launch of the Irish Life Marathon and Race Series, Runners’ Support Squad. This initiative will provide expert advice to runners including coaching guidance from Mick and Catherina to help runners to harness the power of support to achieve their goals. Entry is open for the Irish Life Dublin Race Series; 5 Mile, Fingal 10km, Frank Duffy 10-Mile and Half Marathon at IrishLifeDublinMarathon.ie. The Irish Life Dublin Marathon on Sunday 30th October is sold out.