Minions and Batman join 15,000 heroes to smash run records at the Dublin Marathon
Batman, minions and leprechauns ran around the streets of the capital yesterday, all adding to a brilliant atmosphere at a record-breaking Dublin Marathon.
They brightened up what was surely one of the darkest days of the year, as a dreary cloud covering, which refused to budge since dawn, intermittently spat sprinklings of rain.
But it failed to extinguish the spirits of a record 15,000-plus runners who turned out for the SSE Airtricity Marathon.
Dublin-based teacher Sean Hehir clinched the national men’s title as he was the first Irish man across the line in a time of 2.19:47.
The Co Clare native participated in the Berlin marathon just one month ago, where he narrowly missed out on the Olympic qualifying standard.
“To be national champion is fantastic. People say you can’t run fast in the Dublin marathon, but that’s not true. The support is incredible. The conditions were challenging, but you don’t get support like that anywhere else,” he told the Herald.
Dotted along the route supporting him was his girlfriend, parents, sister, pupils from his school and colleagues.
“Home town support, it doesn’t get better than that. It felt like all of Clare was up in Dublin,” he added.
The first runner to cross the finish line and claimed the €10,000 prize was Ethiopia’s Alemu Gemachu in a time of two hours and 14 minutes.
Ukraine’s Natalyia Lehonkova was the first woman across the line with a time of just over 2.31.
She was followed shortly after by 46-year-old Pauline Curley.
The Offalywoman was the first Irish woman across the finish line.
The former Olympian, who participated in Beijing, is recovering from knee surgery two months ago. But she broke records with her time of 2.49:29 as she is the oldest-ever winner of the national championships.
“I am astonished,” she said shortly after her win.
“I enjoyed the victory coming in and to be the first Irish woman was amazing. Conditions weren’t too bad, there was a swirling wind. Thankfully the rain held off, there was a little bit of drizzle, which was welcome but I had a good few lads to shelter me.
“My knee is fantastic. I was hungry for today. And I had this good feeling that somebody was telling me to do this. Thankfully it all worked out,” she added.
A total of 15,216 runners signed up to participate in this year’s marathon, the 36th annual event.
The 26.2-mile-long route started in Fitzwilliam Square and weaved through the city and across the River Liffey before returning across to finish in Merrion Square.
There were 4,500 participants from 62 different countries and Co Kildare’s Patrick Monahan retained his title as the winner of the wheelchair race.
Olympic medallist Sonia O’Sullivan also pounded the capital’s streets yesterday – the last time she participated in the race was 15 years ago.
“That was pretty tough,” she said afterwards. “I was glad to be in before the big storms. I think we were racing the rain. It was absolutely amazing out there.”
Almost 140 members of the Gardai and the PSNI ran the race, with many donning back ribbons in honour of their fallen colleague Garda Tony Golden, who was shot dead while helping a mother-of-two during a domestic row.
Garda David Mansfield, who was third in the national championship, said it was an “emotional” run after a difficult few weeks.
He had also trained with Garda Ciaran Jones, who died after coming to the aid of motorist during torrential floods in Co Wicklow in 2011.
“Garda Jones died this weekend four years ago. So I was thinking of him as well,” the Clonmel native added.