Thousands of runners who have entered a lottery to enter next year’s KBC Dublin City Marathon face an anxious wait to see if they have secured a place for the event.
This follows marathon organisers confirming that around 16,100 places have already been snapped up for next October’s event by runners who were granted priority access.
The marathon for this year was expanded to the largest ever at 22,500 and if organisers maintain the same level for next year’s event, it will mean that there will be only 6,400 places for the lottery entrants.
Marathon organisers say it is too early to say if they will be expanding beyond the 22,500 for next year.
Last month, marathon organisers announced that entrance to Dublin City Marathon 2020 would be via a lottery as a measure of dealing with the soaring demand for what is the country’s largest participatory sporting event.
However, organisers performed a climbdown within days after a massive backlash from past participants who hit out at the lack of loyalty shown by the event.
The lottery proposal resulted in 3,200 comments on the marathon’s Facebook page with many critical of the decision.
Runners variously described the lottery plan as ‘a disgrace’ ‘dreadful stuff’, ‘a terrible idea’, ‘absolutely shocking’ and 'a shambles’ with another running saying “I’m so, so angry this morning’ and another saying that she was ‘absolutely devastated’ over the proposed lottery.
The marathon pointed out to runners that the lottery was the fairest system to offer all runners an opportunity to take part, stating that the marathon couldn’t cater for the thousands who applied for the additional 2,500 places made available last July for October’s event.
However, on October 31 marathon organisers announced that due to concern caused by the changes, runners who have competed in this year’s event, last year's and in 2017 would be guaranteed entry.
The DCM opened entry on Friday November 1 for entries to next year's marathon and by November 5, 16,100 places had been snapped up.
Race Director, Jim Aughney admitted yesterday that the 16,100 is “higher than we expected”.
He said: “It goes to show how valued an entry into the KBC Dublin Marathon has become and it's heartwarming to us as organisers to see the demand continue to grow.
Mr Aughney said: “The lottery closes at the end of the month and we also need to discuss with Gardai and the city about what number we can take next year. Until all that happens then we don’t know exact numbers.”
Asked if organiser will be expanding the marathon beyond the 22,500, Mr Aughney said: “We have not had the review meeting with Gardai and city as yet so it's too early to say.”
Mr Aughney was unable to say at this time how many have entered the lottery to date.
The marathon has been selling out at a faster rate each year over the past number of years - last year, the event sold out in December while the 2018 marathon sold out in May; the 2017 race sold out that July and in 2016 the event sold out in August of that year.
The growing popularity of running is underlined with figures from the first Dublin City Marathon in 1980 which show that there were 1,421 runners competed made up of 1,377 male and 44 female.
Before allowing guaranteed entry for runners of the last three marathons, the DCM stated earlier this month that a significant factor in the move to the lottery system for the 2020 KBC Dublin Marathon was to gauge the total level of interest in participation in the marathon.