Over 10,000 runners and walkers will flood the streets of the capital on Monday as the Dublin Marathon gets underway.
Organisers confirmed this will be the third year that entries have exceeded the 10,000 mark with Irish competitors up by 10% on last year.
“We are still very much a ‘cosmopolitan’ marathon,” Jim Aughney, director of the Adidas Dublin Marathon, said.
“We have entries from 66 different countries worldwide this year – that’s something no other big city marathon achieves. But equally satisfying is the increasing number of Irish people, especially women, who are coming back to marathon running year on year. It’s this growth that we hope will help us achieve our goal of breaking the 15,000 mark by 2012.”
The prize money has been increased to €106,400 with a bonus of €3,000 for a new course record.
Irish National Champions Gary Crossan from Letterkenny AC and Pauline Curley of Tullamore both return to defend their titles.
Crossan, who has been the leading Irish man home for the last number of years, was thirteenth overall last year in a time of 02:23:18. Another competitor who will be vying for the title is Cian McLoughlin from Clonliffe Harriers.
Curley, who only made her marathon debut last year, has won the three Adidas Series races in the Phoenix Park for the last two years.
Ukrainian Dmytro Osadchy will return this year to defend his title, as will the 2004 winner and current record holder, on a time of 2.13.08, Lezan Kimutai of Kenya.
Other competitors expected to take part include Neo Molema of South Africa, who was second last year and Kenyan Wesly Ngetich.
“Last year’s winner Dmytro Osadchy was just six seconds outside the course record established in 2004 – and that was despite the truly awful weather the runners had to contend with for the first half of the race, so we are very hopeful of achieving a new record this year,” Mr Aughney said.
The race will start outside Kilkenny Design on Nassau St at 9am on Monday morning and finish outside the National Gallery on Merrion Square.