The streets of Dublin will be alive with the sound of runners with plenty at stake on the 40th running of the KBC Dublin Marathon this Sunday (October 27th) – a record number of 22,500 runners will toe the line on Fitzwilliam Street Upper at 8:45 am.
The front end of the field will hold offerings of national titles, medals and key ranking points for potential Olympic qualification in Japan next summer.
Official Olympic qualifying times are 2:29:30 for women and 2:11:30 for men but with new IAAF ranking system going fully into place this season, national championships take on a whole new role in providing vital points for making the plane to Japan. The marathon and race walks have been changed from Tokyo to Sapporo – 800km away from the host city due to weather extreme weather conditions expected.
There will be no fear of overheating in Dublin this bank holiday weekend where a host of runners will be vying for glory.
In the women’s race the contenders include Barbara Sanchez (Clonliffe Harriers), Gladys Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Letterkenny AC), Catherine Whoriskey (City of Derry Spartans), Laura Graham (Mourne Runners), Breege Connolly (City of Derry Spartans), Siobhan O’Doherty (Borrisokane AC), Zola Flynn (Calry AC) and Aoife Cooke (Youghal AC).
On form it would look like Ann-Marie McGlynn and Breege Connolly, who ran the marathon in Rio in 2016, will be key contenders with Aoife Cooke a good outside bet.
In the men’s race there is also significant depth headed by last year’s national champion Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock) in a field that includes Sean Hehir (MSB), Eoghan Totten (Newcastle & District AC), Stephen Scullion (Clonliffe Harriers), Gary O’Hanlon (Clonliffe Harriers), Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers), Hugh Armstrong (Ballina AC), Mark Kirwan (Raheny Shamrocks), David Mansfield (Clonmel AC), David Flynn (Clonliffe Harriers) and Mark Kenneally (Clonliffe Harriers).
There’s certainly no doubting Clonliffe Harriers will be red hot favourites to retain the men’s team title with top of the field featuring regulars, debutantes and returnees. Stephen Scullion ran in Doha in the World Championships and will be looking for a strong showing and Mark Kenneally will be looking to turn back the years having made the Olympic marathon team in London 2012.
Hugh Armstrong is one of the interesting ones making their debut while David Flynn looks like a breakthrough is in the offing. And then it will be tough to overturn Mick Clohisey and Sean Hehir – experienced campaigners over the distance.
An interesting point to note for the national title in the marathon and future Olympic selection is regards ranking points for those looking, and eligible, to represent Ireland.
“In Area Championships and National Championships Placing Scores can only be awarded to athletes representing their home Country or Area respectively. Athletes representing a foreign Member Federation or other Areas are regarded as out of competition participants (OC) and only receive Result Scores for their performances, regardless of their original position indicated in the official results of the competition.”
So that means if an athlete wins a national title and isn’t eligible for international selection then the ranking points will go to the person that is.