The Kenyans and Ethiopians will be back, the big cash prizes too (€10,000 for the winner) and there’ll be some notable changes to the course. Otherwise it’s business as usual for the 2014
, as the organisers look to build again on last year’s record entry of 14,624.
Details of this year's race – set for the October Bank Holiday Monday – were announced in City Hall yesterday, and with event sponsors Airtricity committed through to 2015, there will be a return of an elite international field, which was withdrawn last year for financial reasons.
Race director Jim Aughney explained the reasons for inviting them back, and while the 2013 race did result in victory for Clare runner Seán Hehir, the first Irish men's winner since John Treacy triumphed in 1993, there was always likely to be a return of the invited East African runners, who have dominated the leading places for the much of the last decade.
“It worked well last year, if only because we didn’t have an Irish winner for so long,” said Aughney. “But if you were to do that, year on year, I think the novelty will wear off.
“We may not invite the 2:08 athlete, or 2:09 athlete. But the Irish athletes wanted to see some elites brought back, because they feel it will help bring them on, too, help them run faster.”
Another reason for inviting back the East Africans is that many of the leading Irish marathon runners have already been selected to run the European Championship marathon in Zurich in August, including last year’s Dublin woman’s winner Maria McCambridge, and there is no guarantee they will have recovered sufficiently in time to run Dublin, too.
Hehir, who won last year’s race in 2:18:19, welcomed the return of an international elite field: “Hopefully it will help bring Irish performances on, again,” he said. “And when you run with the Kenyans or Ethiopians, really it adds to the event, for spectators, I think.”
The course changes are necessary due to the current Luas works in Dublin city centre, and while starting on Fitzwilliam Square and ending at Merrion Square, like recent years, it will follow City Hall and Dublin Castle on run up to the Phoenix Park, and come back via Mount Street, instead of College Green.