The best Irish marathon races for 2015 – Part 1

With long distance running becoming more and more popular, Robert McNamara brings you some of the best Irish marathons to look forward to in 2015.

Was your New Year’s resolution to get fit? How’s that working out for you?

Let’s hope your sacrifices are making the rewards even sweeter and there’s nothing more rewarding than crossing the line after a gruelling 26.2 mile run.

Marathon running is more popular in Ireland than ever.

No gym memberships or expensive equipment are required. Just buy a pair of trainers, a quick check with your GP and off you go. All you need after that is commitment, stamina and a healthy diet!

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

In some ways it actually is with so many quality races on offer in Ireland to get you motivated.

Just don’t quote us on that when you’re feeling the pain at the 20 mile mark of a race and are about to embark upon another slow climb up a hill!

If you prepare correctly, marathon and other long-distance races can be some of the most memorable and fun experiences of your life.

It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going or which distance you choose, you’re still lapping the person at home on the couch!

Here, we preview some of the best races in the first-half of 2015 and offer a few tips on how to prepare so that medal is glistening around your neck at the finish.

Tralee Marathon – March 15

If you want to participate in this excellently organised race you better get moving. If you haven’t done any training yet than it comes too soon for even the fittest of marathon novices.

For those of you in the shape for it, this is a nice race on a historic route.

Other distances: Half-marathon

Best aspects: Good atmosphere, nice scenery and most of the marathon funds go to local projects and charities.

Watch out for: Hopefully it won’t be too cold but it’s likely to be a bit nippy on the day so be prepared and dress appropriately.

Walkers welcome? Yes

www.traleemarathon.com

Connemara International Marathon – April 12

One great aspect of most races in Ireland is that you are almost guaranteed beautiful scenery to keep your mind occupied during the route and this race is no exception.

While you can’t ever rely on Irish weather, April is usually a lovely time of the year to be at your running peak so this run in Connemara is at a great time; not too cold and not too hot.

Other distances: Half-marathon, Ultra

Best aspects: The location and the time of year.

Watch out for: The route has a few slopes so train accordingly.

Walkers welcome? Yes

www.connemarathon.com

Great Limerick Run – May 3

If it’s atmosphere you’re after, then the Great Limerick Run has no shortage of spectators who line the streets every year to support the runners of all distances.

A relatively flat course, it takes in the city centre, the University of Limerick and the suburbs.

The finish leads you from Sarsfield Bridge onto O’ Connell St where you will feel like a superstar as you cross the line with thousands of people applauding you.

Other distances: 10k, half-marathon

Best aspects: Your name will be on your running bib meaning every time you’re feeling a little down, someone is bound to shout your name and give you a lift. The pacers are great in this race and will offer great motivation to get you through.

Watch out for: There is some slight repetition on the route, you’ll pass Punches Cross three times, but this is a minor critique of a superbly organised race.

Walkers welcome? Yes

www.greatlimerickrun.com

Cork City Marathon – June 1

This race sets the benchmark for other races to follow. Huge numbers take part every year and the route is flatter than you would imagine.

The organisation is excellent for such a largely participated run and crowds line the streets for most of the race.

The weather has been excellent for the last few years and the medal is probably the nicest marathon memento in the country.

The finish on Patrick St. will provide a ‘hairs on the back of your neck’ moment no matter how tired you are.

Other distances: Half-marathon, Relay

Best aspects: The facilities for changing and leaving your bags in City Hall are very handy and the route is very good.

Watch out for: The start of the race can be quite crowded so be careful and try not to trip yourself or anyone else up. Also, the race is on the June Bank Holiday Monday so if you’ve got to go back to work the day after, prepare to be stiff!

Walkers welcome? Yes

http://www.corkcitymarathon.ie/

Waterford Viking Marathon – June 27

Waterford is a lovely city for a run and this race is great fun.

The Waterford people really make you feel welcome and the route is very smooth with sufficient water stops and marshalling.

Other distances: Quarter marathon, half-marathon

Best aspects: A small, tight city, Waterford is beautiful to run around and the route goes through the lovely Eco Park. The parking facilities are also very handy.

Watch out for: The heat. This time of year is tough on runners so take in lots of fluids.

www.waterfordvikingmarathon.com

This is a small selection and there are plenty of other fantastic races in Ireland in the first half of 2015 so check out www.marathonclubireland.asocion.com/2015-marathons for a comprehensive list.

We will preview the second half of 2015 tomorrow.

GETTING STARTED TIPS:

1. Before embarking on any distance running, consult your GP.

2. Get the correct footwear and avail of gait analysis from a specialist sportswear retailer to choose the right shoe.

3. Most marathons provide training schedules on their websites so check them out make sure to stick to them where possible.

4. On your off days, make sure you get enough rest.

5. Check your diet and adjust to make sure you are getting sufficient nourishment to aid your training.

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