Your guide to the marathons in Dublin and Cork this weekend

More than 30,000 due to take part in this year’s VHI Women’s Mini Marathon

The start of 2017’s mini marathon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The start of 2017’s mini marathon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

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What is it?

According to organisers, it’s the biggest event of its kind in Europe. For the participants, it’s 10 kilometres of leisure/torture around the streets of Dublin.

When?

The 2018 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon takes place this Sunday (June 3rd), with the walk/jog/race beginning at 2pm.

So who is taking part?

The mini marathon is strictly for women only - though some men may (we have no evidence of this!) have taken part over the years.
The mini marathon is strictly for women only - though some men may (we have no evidence of this!) have taken part over the years.

More than 30,000 pairs of running shoes will be at the start-line. Anyone over 14 was welcome to enter – though you have to be at least 18 to start in the under 60-minute wave.

Wave?

Everyone will begin in (colour-coded) groups depending on their expected finish time – which is fine so long as you have done something similar before and have a finish-time in mind. And can prove it. Women who expect to finish the 10k in under 75 minutes had to submit a qualifying time from an event completed within the past two years.

Too late to enter?

If you haven’t already entered, there is still time – though it is too late to enter online. Late entries will be available at Trinity Sports Centre on Friday, 1pm-8pm, and Saturday, 10am-6pm. You can not register to enter the race on Sunday morning.

Race number

You also can not collect your race number on Sunday. If you haven’t already got it (either by post or at the various collection points), your last option is to collect it at Trinity College Sports Centre on Friday or Saturday. Remember to bring the email containing your barcode to collect your race number.

The weather forecast?

It looks like good 10k weather on Sunday in Dublin. It’ll be warm, with sunny spells and the afternoon temperature around 20 degrees. The skies will be mainly clear, though a little cloud will probably be very welcome every now and then as participants take on the course.

Charity

While there is no obligation to raise money for charity, as fundraising bonanzas go, it doesn’t come any bigger than the June 3rd event. Last year, more than €9 million was raised for Irish charities.

One of the entrants is Aoife Curran, a member of the Irish Defence Forces, who plans to run on Sunday wearing full combat equipment and carrying a weight equivalent to a young child (30lb) on her back. The Tallaght woman is running for CMRF Crumlin, which provides funding for Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital and The National Children’s Research Centre.

Others include Naoimh Tuohy, who ran last year in aid of Crumlin’s Children Hospital’s after her son Arlo was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition; Pamela Treacy, who learned the importance of a healthy body and a healthy mind after her husband became ill; and Catherine Egan, who continued to exercise during treatment for breast cancer and believes it played a key role in her recovery.

Ann-Marie McGlynn won the 2017 Vhi Women's Mini Marathon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Ann-Marie McGlynn won the 2017 Vhi Women's Mini Marathon. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Transport

Getting to Dublin city centre by car is not recommended on Sunday, but then it’s not a great idea on any morning any more. If you are using the Luas, the Stephen’s Green stop is closest on the Green Line. If you are on the Red Line, you can get off at Abbey Street and transfer to the Red Line around the corner at Malborough Street (or you could us the 20-minute walk to Fitzwilliam Street Upper as part of your warm-up for the race). Pearse Street station is best if you are using the Dart.  You can find a list of road closures at the bottom of the page.

Bags

Organisers say only small handbags (A4 size) will be allowed on to the course. Belongings can be left at the bag drop area (at Merrion Square South), but must be in a clear plastic bag (available at Trinity College Sports Centre if needed).

Race start

There are two entrances to the event (due to the waves). If you are part of the white, pink or blue wave, you can gain access at Lower Leeson Street/Pembroke Street. Yellow wave is at Lower Baggot Street/Merrion Row. You should be there before 1.30pm – otherwise, your expected finish-time will surely take a serious blow if you have to start at the back of the field.

Wall

Many runners talk of “hitting a wall” during a race. There is certainly a wall in Sunday’s mini-marathon, but it’s actually quite a neat idea. Just before the 7km mark (at the bottom of Nutley Lane), an electronic billboard will display messages to the participants. If you know someone’s race number you can go to vhiwallofsupport.ie and leave a message for them. As they are approaching the billboard, your message will be displayed. How popular will you be! (presuming you don’t write “stop everyone, you are going the wrong way!”).

The course

The start-line is on Fitzwilliam Street Upper. The 10k route goes Leeson Street, Morehampton Road and Donnybrook Road until it passes the UCD flyover on the Stillorgan Road. Coming back, the participants will turn down Nutley Lane and use the Merrion Road and Pembroke Road before seeing the welcome finish-line on Baggot Street Upper.

Race finish

At the finish you’ll get a goodie bag, which will also contain your medal. For €8 (or €6.50 if you prepay), you can get your name engraved on the medal. You might want to bring cash with you for the food court, and the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists will host a cool-down area, massage tent, and quick assessment centre.

Finally

And if you need some inspiration, either for this weekend, or just to get out the front door next week, Mary Jennings has some advice about how you can build slowly and sensibly to reach goals that may seem impossible right now.

On Saturday (June 2nd), the Kinvaraa Rock and Road (10k, half and full) marathon takes place in Co Galway, while, in Kilkenny, the Tullaroan Marathon covers all the bases with a 5k, 10k, half, full and ultra.

Runners at the starting line of the 2018 Cork City Marathon. Over 8,500 individuals took to the streets of Cork this morning. Photograph: Darragh Kane
Runners at the starting line of the 2018 Cork City Marathon. Over 8,500 individuals took to the streets of Cork this morning. Photograph: Darragh Kane

Cork City Marathon

The Cork City marathon, relay and half marathon also take place on Sunday. The marathon and relay started on St Patrick’s Street at 8.30am. The half marathon started on Albert Road at 10.15am. 

The route for the full marathon takes in much of the city including the Jack Lynch Tunnel. Starting on Patrick’s Street in the city centre, the course does a loop up around Blackpool before heading east to the Dunkettle Roundabout and the tunnel beyond. 

There is due to be major traffic restrictions throughout the city with a full list of road closures and restrictions available at corkcitymarathon.ie. Those travelling in and around Cork city on Sunday have been advised to leave extra time for their journey and plan their route. 

Best of luck to all taking part in any of the events this weekend and don’t forget about our free Get Running programmes.

Sign up for one of The Irish Times' Get Running programmes (it is free!). 
First, pick the programme that suits you.
- Beginner Course: This programme is an eight-week course that will take you from inactivity to being able to run 30 minutes non-stop.
- Stay On Track: The second programme is an eight-week course for those of you who can squeeze in a 30- to 40-minute run three times a week.
- 10km Course: This is an eight-week course designed for those who can comfortably run for 30 minutes and want to move up to the 10km mark.
Best of luck!

Road closures
The following roads will be closed to facilitate the mini-marathon: 

Fitzwilliam Street Upper from 6am to 4pm. 
Fitzwilliam Place from 6am to 4pm. 
Fitzwilliam Square North from 6am to 4pm. 
Fitzwilliam Square South from 6am to 4pm. 
Baggot Street Lower from 7am to 6pm. 
Mount Street Upper from 8am to 6pm. 
Fitzwilliam Street Lower from 8am to 6pm.
Pembroke Street Upper & Lower from 6am to 4pm. 
Merrion Square East from 7am to 6pm.
Merrion Square South from 7am to 7pm. 
Merrion Square West from 11am to 5pm. 
Merrion Street Upper from 11am to 5pm. 
Merrion Row from 11am to 5pm. 
Hume Street from 10.30am to 5pm. 
Ely Place from 10.30am to 5pm. 
Baggot Street Bridge from 2pm to 5pm. 
Baggot Street Upper from 2pm to 5pm. 
Leeson Street Upper from 1.45pm to 3pm. 
Leeson Street Bridge from 1.45pm to 3pm. 
Leeson Street Lower from 1.45pm to 3pm. 
Adelaide Road from 1.45pm to 3pm. 
Pembroke Road from 2pm to 5pm. 
Cumberland Lane from 6am to 4pm. 
Pembroke Row from 6am to 4pm. 
Lad Lane from 6am to 6pm. 
Fitzwilliam Lane from 10.30am to 5pm. 
Herbert Street from 7am to 6pm. 
Herbert Place from 1.45pm to 6pm. 
James’s Street East from 10.30am to 5pm. 
Nutley Lane from 1.45pm to 4.30pm. 
Merrion Road (Ballsbridge to Merrion Gates) from 1.45 to 4.30pm. 
Stillorgan Road (Fosters Avenue to Donnybrook Road) from 1.45pm to 4pm. 
Donnybrook Road from 1.45pm to 4pm. 
Morehampton Road from 1.45pm to 4pm.

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