Sunday the 27th of October saw the 40th edition of the Dublin City Marathon. The race, which was first run in 1980, is the fourth biggest marathon in Europe and is widely reputed to be the friendliest. The marathon is a long-distance running event with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles, or 26 miles 385 yards). The marathon race was originally named in commemoration of the fabled run of the Greek soldier Philippides, who carried a message of the Greeks’ victory over the Persians at the Battle of Marathon to Athens. Legend has it that having delivered the message Philippides then dropped down dead. Obviously his training plan needed a little work. The Dublin City marathon was first run in 1980, with just 2,000 runners taking to the roads that day. Only 70 of those 2,000 in 1980 were female, a marked difference from this year’s race which had over 8000 female runners lining up at the start line. Record numbers took part in this year’s marathon, with 22,500 runners taking part. Amongst them were five members of The Blackwater Triathlon Club; Peter O’Brien, Jonathon Kenneally, Gina Lyons, Dave Bartley and Conor Bartley. They were supported by various family members and club members who travelled up to cheer them on from the sidelines. Most competitors make a weekend of it, enjoying the buzz around the marathon expo at the RDS on the Saturday before the race, and then going out for some serious carb loading that night. Running a marathon at any time is a challenge but running a marathon in October in Ireland can be a risky proposition, depending on the weather conditions on the day. Fortunately, this year the weather gods were smiling and the morning of the race dawned bright and clear with very little wind and temperatures in single figures. Due to the large numbers competing on the day the race was started in waves with the elite athletes setting off at 9.00 am. The BTC contingent were all in wave 1 for the start this year and set of with over 5500 other runners to make their way through Dublin City. The route took the runners from the city centre, through the Phoenix Park, and around to University College Dublin, before finishing back at Merrion Square. After the first few kilometres the temperatures increased a little and it turned in to a perfect day to run a marathon. As is usual in Dublin the race was very well organised with water and feeding stations scattered every 2 to 3 miles through the course. The runners were also helped along on the day by the support of the spectators with large crowds shouting encouragement to the runners along virtually every metre of the course. The men’s race was won by Moroccan runner Othmane El Goumri in a record time of 2:08:05 with Motu Gedefa of Ethiopia taking the Women’s title with a time of 2:27:48. All of the BTC crew did really well on the day. Conor Bartley was first of them home, crossing the line in an excellent 2:55:24, a personal best and nearly 7 minutes faster than his 2018 time. Next was his brother Dave, who also cut 7 minutes off his previous year’s result, finishing in a personal best time of 3:18:59. Peter O’Brien also did a personal best time for the marathon on the day, finishing 6 minutes better than the previous year in 3:21:08. Jonathan Kenneally, who was carrying an injury, crossed the finish line in 3:26:03 and Gina Lyons completed the group just 55 seconds later, coming home in 3:26:58, also a personal best. Gina and the guys were given great support on the day by her husband Frank and youngest son Ollie, who were present to shout them on at the 12, 18 and 25 mile marks, and Niamh Fleming and Julian Boeg, who were at the 8 mile and 26 mile marks. Excellent performances all round. Well done to everyone who took part on the day. Time to put the feet up for a little while now.