A few years ago in a place that is the enemy of fitness – a London pub – discussion turned to running a marathon. Another Guinness later and the computer was online and bookings made. I appointed myself the non-running, bag-carrying tag-along because the marathon they chose to run was in Wales and I wanted to go to Wales. What began that night has ended up being an ongoing excuse for travelling to new places.
The Dublin Marathon, run in October for the last 31 years, seems to have a similar effect on Guinness appreciators the world over. Organisers estimate that over half the 10,000 runners fly in from other countries – and then enjoy Irish hospitality afterwards (pubs and Guinness). Ending in the city center near Trinity College, the course passes through the Georgian center of Dublin, so for those that have the capacity to notice where they are as well as keep running for 26 miles it’s a very pretty experience. And the people lining the streets cheering the runners on certainly get to appreciate their surroundings.
Sometimes it’s really nice to have a reason to travel, not just for a holiday or to have a look around, but to participate in an event, especially something like a marathon which creates such a feeling of community and support; the Dublin Marathon is even known as the Friendly Marathon. I’ll be encouraging my friends to put this one on the list – I’ll enjoy watching them run past in front of the elegant Georgian architecture before I head to the finish line with some bottles of water, and a few shamrocks of congratulations. Though perhaps they should have been given the shamrocks before the race – they’re good luck. Hang on, that’s the four-leaf clover. No problem, shamrocks are known for their healing properties so they’ll definitely be gratefully received.