Joe Sweeney could mark marathon debut as first domestic winner since 1993
No elite international runners have been invited to this year’s race
In the meantime Renault also came on board as one of Dublin’s associate race sponsors, and will present a new Fluence ZE (valued at €30,000) to both the men’s and women’s winner.
Last year, the first man and first woman each got €15,000, so whoever does win on Monday will still walk away a happy man and woman.
Dublin has also doubled as the Irish marathon championship for the last number of years, those titles won last year by Paul Pollock (who finished ninth overall, in 2:16.30), and Maria McCambridge (who ran a lifetime best of 2:35.28).
McCambridge, although now aged 38, is back to defend her title and with that chase an outright women’s victory, with Cork’s Claire McCarthy likely to be her closest challenger – although the men’s race is a lot more open, especially given Pollock’s absence due to his participation in the World Championship marathon in Moscow, in August, where he finished 21st overall, and second best European.
There are several contenders, including Sean Hehir, Tomas Frazier, Gary O’Hanlon, and the Moldovan-born Sergiu Ciobana, with Alun Evans from Wales, who has entered individually, also capable of outright victory.
However, pre-race favourite is Joe Sweeney, even though Monday marks the marathon debut for the 28-year-old Dubliner, coached by former two-time Dublin marathon winner, Jerry Kiernan.
“Unless my eyes are deceiving me, Joe looks to be in pretty good shape,” says Kiernan.
“To be quite honest, I’d be disappointed if he didn’t win it. Of course these things can blow up in your fast. No one can be definitive about anything when it comes to your first marathon. It’s a different race entirely.
“But we were training in Italy, about three weeks ago, on the shores of Lake Garda, and he ran 27 miles, maybe 28. I was on the bike, trying to keep up with him, and he was hugely impressive that day.
He’s unusually tall for a marathon runner, and I would be concerned about him carting his big frame around, but he’s tough. Of course, everyone will be tiring over the last three or four miles. My hope is that Joe will be slowing down the least.”
And if Sweeney is the first man home, he’ll end the 20-year wait for an Irish winner that has rested on Treacy’s slender shoulders since he won Dublin in 1993, clocking 2:14.40, and the last ever marathon, as it turned out, for the 1984 Olympic silver medallist.