Dublin marathon organisers unveil entry details for 2023 event

Hope is that greater percentage of competitors will make the start as just shy of 15,000 listed as finishers for 2022

Organisers of the Dublin marathon have confirmed new entry details for the 2023 event, with another 25,000-race capacity. Only this time the hope is that a greater percentage of them will make the start.

The true impact of the double postponement during the pandemic, first in October 2020, then again in October 2021, was revealed in the actual number which took part in last Sunday’s event: of the original 25,000 sell-out, about 18,000 ended up collecting their race entry, and only 14,773 were listed as official finishers on the event website after the race closed on Sunday evening.

According to a spokesperson for the Dublin marathon, the drop-out rate on or before the day is not unusual, although clearly compounded by the fact the majority of the original 25,000 had signed up to run the 2020 event, at the beginning of that year: “Usually [the] attrition rate is 20 per cent, plus a little more with a two-year gap to be expected.”

There are several reasons for that attrition rate: illness, injury, doubts, fears, second thoughts, reality checks etc.


Of the 22,500 sell-out of entries for the 2019 event, there were 17,724 official finishers; the year before, when the entry capacity was 20,000, there were 16,251 official finishers.

Race capacity of 25,000

After twice being postponed — that decision announced in May 2020, then again in July 2021 — all entrants were given the option of a full refund, within a window of a few weeks, although only a small percentage took that option; any new entries were quickly filled, keeping that 25,000-race capacity.

There were “closer to 18,000″ collecting a race entry, according to a Dublin marathon spokesperson, although that still left more than 7,000 uncollected, including the race goody-bags, which Dublin say “will be de-packed and given to charity and clothing given to clubs”. They also say it was still the largest ever field to start in the capital.

For next year’s event, set for Sunday, October 29th, entries open on Tuesday morning, where all 2022 entries get first preference within a 48-hour window to enter again, if so desired.

They will be provided with a code to enter the race by email. Entries for the rest of the public will then open via a lottery system on Wednesday for a two-week window, until midnight on Tuesday, November 16th (only one entry per person will be accepted).

As also agreed by the race organisers early this year, the basic entry fee for the 2023 event rises from €90 (the cost to enter for 2020, which didn’t change during the postponements) to €110.

There will be a fee of €10 per lottery entry (€7 will be refunded if not successful, to include a €3 administration charge); if successful, the lottery entry fee will be redeemable against the entry fee of €110.

All initial entries will learn of their status by email/text message on Friday, November 18th. They will have until midnight on Thursday, November 24th, to redeem the offer, any places not redeemed offered in round two of the lottery (details of which will be released closer to the date).

Splendid performances

Places will also be reserved for Athletics Ireland club members, as since 2003 the race also doubles as the Athletics Ireland national marathon championships. There were just over 3,200 Athletics Ireland entries for last Sunday’s race, both national titles going to first-time winners, 35-year-old Martin Hoare from Celbridge producing by his own admission a fairy-tale run to take seventh overall in a lifetime best of 2:20:21. Courtney McGuire from Clonmel produced an even bigger breakthrough as best Irish woman, nailing third-place overall, running 2:32:50 in her first marathon having just turned 23 earlier in the month.

Irish Life are also back on board as a headline sponsor, earlier this year announcing a three-year deal with Dublin which will also include the 2024 event. Long-serving race director Jim Aughney, speaking earlier this month to The Irish Times, said the expectation was the 25,000-event capacity for 2023 would again sell out early, likely by the end of November. Even with the usual attrition rate, there is every expectation of a greater percentage of them making the start line next October.

Given entries are now opening, the 2023 event won’t be affected by a decision by the board of Athletics Ireland to push through a new levy on all non-members wishing to participate in their permitted recreational running and race events. From next January 1st, anyone not registered with an Irish athletics club will face an extra €2 on their entry, for each race they enter, under what Athletics Ireland is calling a new one-day licence fee.

It will be a requirement for non-members at all running events in receipt of an Athletics Ireland permit, part of an overhaul in the race entry and result process under a new agreement with Eventmaster. Several prominent clubs have expressed concern at the decision, saying it should have gone before the Athletics Ireland congress.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics