Largest ever Dublin Marathon will see 19,500 take part
Swell in numbers follows switching of day to Sunday, with traffic restrictions all weekend
Dublin marathon: Some 19,500 entrants will taking part this year, compared to 16,000 in 2015. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
People in the capital on Sunday are warned to prepare for major traffic disruption due to the largest ever SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon.
Organisers have reaped the rewards of the decision to change the traditional date of the race from the October bank holiday Monday to the Sunday – with 19,500 entrants taking part this year, compared to 16,000 in 2015.
Capacity had to be increased from 17,500 in August, such was the level of demand, and with a large event comes organisational challenges as roads are closed and public transport is curtailed around the capital this weekend.
Beginning at Fitzwilliam Street shortly before 9am, the route will wind on to the quays and through Phoenix Park before reaching Terenure and UCD. The finish-line is at Merrion Square, where traffic restrictions began as early as Friday night.
It is expected that most participants will be finished by 5pm on Sunday, but the north section of Merrion Square will remain closed until Monday evening with shorter, rolling closures affecting nearby areas.
Streets close to the starting line including Cumberland Road, Kildare Street, Merrion Row and parts of Fitzwilliam Square will be closed from 4am to 11am on Sunday, and those near the finish line such as Mount Street, Holles Street and Merrion Street will be blocked to traffic until up to 9pm.
Iarnród Éireann is running special services for participants and spectators, with Darts departing from Greystones and Malahide at 6.45am and 7.05am on Sunday morning, and some city centre car parks are offering discounted rates for the bank holiday weekend.
Luas lines will operate as normal. However, route diversions will be commonplace for Dublin Bus users with numbers 13, 16, 25, 46a and 69 among a raft of services affected over the course of Sunday.
Dublin Bikes stands on Merrion Square, Mount Street and Fitzwilliam Square will be inaccessible from 3pm on Friday to 10am on Monday to facilitate preparations for the marathon, which is now in its 37th year.
Conditions are expected to be reasonably pleasant with slack winds and temperatures hovering around 10 degrees. There is a chance of some light rain on Sunday evening.
Runners are also reminded to set their clocks back by an hour on Saturday night for daylight savings.
In particular, race organisers have reported booming interest from the UK, Europe and the US – which can, perhaps, be in part ascribed to the change in date, as many other countries do not observe an October bank holiday.