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On Sunday, October 29, I ran my 43rd marathon, the Irish Life Dublin Marathon. It was a really fun one! Though all the marathons are a ‘story’ and have their highs/lows, this particular marathon was probably in my top 10 of favorites.

This post is my recap of my personal experience.

If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, here is a quick list of the top things I loved about the Dublin Marathon:

The crowd support! Even in the pouring rain, the Dubliners came out, and they even came out with their dogs. I counted nearly 400 dogs cheering for us. The crowd support was close to what you see at the World Majors. Really incredible.

The course! Dublin is a mostly flat course with a few rollers. It starts and ends at the same place and gives you a big loop tour of the city, showing off some fabulous parts.

The weather! I know, who loves the weather when it was downright pouring for parts? Yes, it did rain off and on, but the rain kept us cool. The high temperature was 55F or 13C. I run much better on a chilly day (vs. a hot sunny day like Vienna 2023.)

The logistics: Running an international marathon isn’t exactly easy, particularly for Americans, but Dublin is a relatively easy flight from most parts of the U.S. and a very short flight for me, since I am living in London at this time. We also stayed at the Merrion, which is right by the start and finish lines. It was walkable to the expo as well. The logistics for everything -finding a place to stay, places to eat, etc. were all very easy. I also liked running a race that was just about the full marathon (more like one of the World Majors.)

The celebration! Dublin knows how to celebrate and it seemed like everywhere we went, there were other finishers out celebrating.

Okay, that’s the high level summary, here’s my detailed race report!

We arrived in Dublin from London Friday evening and made our way to our hotel, The Merrion. I highly recommend the Merrion for the marathon as it was in a great location for the start and the finish of the race. The course is a big loop of Dublin, so it starts and ends in the same general vicinity.

Saturday, we did a 3.8 mile shakeout run around the city center.

After the run, a shower, and breakfast, I met an old coworker for coffee before we went to the expo. The expo was held at the Royal Dublin Society, or the “DBS.” There were 20,000 marathoners- and no other distance for this race event, which was rare but kind of nice!

After the expo, we took a tour of Trinity College and saw the Book of Kells and Long Library. That tour was less than an hour, so we weren’t on our feet an exceptional amount.

We met up with my sister and her friend Kris for dinner at Cirillo’s, which was right outside our hotel. I had a margarita pizza and a lemonade. Perfect pre-race carbs.

Race morning:
Since the start line was right outside of our hotel, we didn’t really have to get up early. Plus we gained an hour of sleep with the time change, which was a treat!

Fuel: I set an alarm for 6:30 am; I ate a bagel with peanut butter, a glass of Liquid IV, and some coffee. Throughout the race, I took a GU gel about every 45 minutes, plus the gel they handed out, plus some orange slices from spectators.

The aid stations were at least every 2-3 miles. They handed out small plastic water bottles at each (not cups) and at about 1/3, they handed out cups of orange Lucozade. There were also two official energy gel stations. The spectators handed out tons of candy and oranges.

The start:
The start was pretty organized with 4 waves, each 20 minutes part. Parts of the course were pretty narrow, so it made sense that they spaced us out quite a bit. I never felt alone, but also never felt very crowded.

Dustin was in Wave 1, which started at 8:45 am. I was in Wave 2, which started 20 minutes later at 9:05. We didn’t need gear check bags since our hotel was so close to the start/finish, though I did have to stand around in the rain for about an hour, so I did wish I had brought a throw-away shirt or a garbage bag to wear as a poncho! But I’d much rather be close at the start than hot like I was at Vienna last April!

Wave 2 started right on time; I would say 75% of the other runners were Irish. I wasn’t able to verify that stat, but its just a guess that it seemed like most everyone there was Irish based on their accents.

Mile 1: 8:41
Mile 2: 8:35
Mile 3: 8:45
Mile 4: 8:27
Mile 5: 8:33
Mile 6: 8:31
Mile 7: 8:36
Mile 8: 8:42
Mile 9: 8:24
Mile 10: 8:29
Mile 11: 8:51
Mile 12: 8:39
Mile 13: 8:41
Mile 14: 9:08
Mile 15: 8:30
Mile 16: 8:24
Mile 17: 8:52
Mile 18: 8:24
Mile 19: 8:42
Mile 20: 8:33
Mile 21: 8:54 – Mile 21 and 22 included the biggest hill on the course, Dublin’s “heartbreak hill!”
Mile 22: 9:38 – more hills
Mile 23: 8:58
Mile 24: 8:59
Mile 25: 9:05
Mile 26: 8:36
Final 0.2 (0.44 on my Garmin): 8:01
Official finish: 3:50:08

I was happy with my personal performance; I felt like I paced myself honestly and consistently. The slower miles were on the hills. I didn’t go out too fast or blow-up, but ran a smart-for-me race that felt really good. I smiled the whole way (it really helps, even when its hard to do.)

The Dublin marathon course was a nice big loop; I love a loop course, no repeating sections, no weird out-and-backs, start and finish at the same place (close to our hotel), and you see a grand tour of the Dublin!

After the finish, the runners were shuffled through to get our medals and our bag of snacks/SWAG. I have noticed that most European marathons don’t give out as much food after a marathon as the American marathons do, just a bag with some crisps and a Lucozade. The finish line was a little slow, as it seemed like they were trying to squish a lot of runners through a small corral, so it felt like a lot of really slow walking, but I have definitely experienced worse (NYC has a very slow finish!)

I had my phone on airplane mode in my Flyout sports bra, so I took it out and was able to quickly connect with Dustin. I was smarter this time and kept the phone in a ziplock bag; at Vienna, it wasn’t raining, but I was pouring a lot of water over my head and it temporarily caused my iPhone not to charge! This time it was raining so much, the same issue might have happened, except for the plastic baggy.

Dustin had finished in 3:13- he was pleased with that time, considering his hamstring issue earlier in the training block, his excessive travel leading up to the race, and the inevitable cold that he had (not Covid and it was only just starting when we arrived, of course the marathon effort might have exacerbated it). Anyways, our hotel was so close to the finish, that he had already gone back and showered and come back to the finish to cheer for me by the time I found him. Pretty slick! We went back to the hotel again so I could shower and then came back out to cheer for my sister Erin.

After we saw her finish, we quickly made our way to the other side of town for a Guinness brewery tour at 4 pm.

The Guinness tour was a fun way to celebrate!

Though we enjoyed the Guinness tour, I probably should have had some real food before a beer! Fortunately after the tour, we met up with my sister at Gotham Cafe near Grafton Street for some actual food, which was grand.

Overall, I give the Dublin marathon a 10/10! It’s a marathon I would consider doing again, even though I don’t really want to repeat marathons while we are here, as I want to see as many places through running as I can. But if you’re looking for an international marathon that isn’t that hard to get into (technically it was a lottery, but all four of us got in), with a relatively fast course (some hills, but still pretty fast), easy logistics, and a fun culture, Dublin is the marathon for you!

The post Fits Do Race Reviews: The 2023 Dublin Marathon appeared first on The Right Fits.

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