Laura Graham (Mourne Runners) and Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) will bid to defend their national titles at the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon this Sunday (October 29) but they won’t have it all their own way.
Some 20,000 runners will stride out on Merrion Square South at 9am full of hope with club runners from Acorn AC right through to Youghal in search of that runner’s high and a coveted finishing medal.
For Ireland’s leading runners it won’t just be about the finishers’ medals but also national medals for individual and teams for seniors and masters.
Laura Graham’s (Mourne Runners) free-running spirit and regular racing schedule shows no sign of slowing down just yet and is in contention to retain the national title but will face stiff competition from Caitriona Jennings (Letterkenny) with the likes of Barbara Sanchez (Clonliffe Harriers) and potentially Zola Flynn (Calry) in line for the minor medals.
The classic distance always springs some surprises and some newcomers to the distance running fraternity.
There should be no looking past a formidable Clonliffe Harriers for the men’s team and individual placings with Sergiu Ciobanu, Stephen Scullion, the evergreen Gary O’Hanlon, and David Mansfield in their ranks.
It will likely be a duel between Ciobanu and Scullion for the national title. The pair of both been training at altitude with Scullion, the younger man, making marked improvements the last 12 months. Ciobanu is an experienced campaigner though while O’Hanlon is fresh from a sub 2:20 clocking in Berlin – he will be there to pounce in case of a slip up. Tomas Fitzpatrick (Tallaght) is another likely contender.
The event will be live streamed by the Dublin Marathon: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZgjItq9-Ic61za7HCkKz8g
The national marathon entries are can be found: http://www.athleticsireland.ie/news/national-marathon-championships-entry-list-2017