Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Looking ahead to the Dingle Half & Full Marathon...Sat 1st Sept 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Looking ahead to the Dingle Half & Full Marathon...Sat 1st Sept 2012

 Following on from an earlier post about the upcoming Dingle Half and Full Marathon, it's time to have a quick look at the course.


Starting in the town of Dingle, both Half and Full Marathon runners run on the road west towards Ventry. While the roads are closed, it can be a little congested for the first mile or so until the field begins to thin out.

While there are no big hills for the initial few miles, there are plenty of small hills like the one below...

This is typical of the roads in the area......narrow with the hedgerows of Fuchsia due to the mild climate. As you head west, you will catch sight of Mount Eagle way off in the distance.

Around 3 miles, Ventry harbour comes into view...

After Ventry, the road heads south-west and begins to climb around the 6 mile mark. By the time you hit 7 miles, you are on a coastal road well above the sea. This is the view around 7 miles looking back over Dingle Bay and the Iveragh peninsula to the south...

This is one of the main attractions of this race, especially for the Half-Marathon. Here with the coastal road so high above the sea, you have more or less uninterrupted views all of the way to the finish of  the Half in Dunquin.

From here, the road rises and falls a bit but there are no serious hills. At around 10 miles, you approach Slea Head...

...and the Blasket Islands beyond come into view. Once you get around the corner, the views are equally spectacular...

For the Half-Marathon runners, the finish awaits them in Dunquin with a bus to transport them back to Dingle.

As Half-Marathons go, it's probably not the fastest but then again, most people don't come to Dingle to try and run a record time. In terms of scenery, it is easily the most scenic route in Ireland.

For the Full Marathon runners, they continue on and start the second half with a long climb out of Dunquin. If you have a target time in mind then you will probably lose some time here.

Pretty soon, you start changing direction as you head back east towards Dingle. Around 17 miles, Mount Brandon and the Three Sisters on the coast are clearly visible as you approach Ballyferriter.

For the next few miles, there are plenty of straight flat sections with the occasional small climb.

As you get near 21 miles, there is an out and back section of road to make up the correct Marathon distance. You run out this road, around a point and return again. As you can see, it is mostly flat.

Once you re-join the main road, you begin the toughest part of the race.....the long hill up to the 23.3 mile mark.

Once you go over the highest point, it's downhill all the ways to Dingle and the finish line...

Overall, it is certainly not a fast Marathon course but in terms of a setting for a Marathon, it's hard to beat. It is a complete contrast to say the usual city Marathon and on a national basis, it is probably the most scenic Marathon in Ireland.

Note that the closing date for entries is the 22nd of August.

More details on the race website

3 comments:

Gearoid said...

Ive done it twice and kinda dont like the up and down section, not least because I started to tire noticably at that point in both marathons. After getting over the hill and going down the other side, there is a long straight narrow section of about 1.5 miles which brings you to the edge of town. It seems to stretch on for ever !

gettingthere said...

John my friend is onto me about doing the half. is it really tough. i found balarney difficult. I have heard mixed reports about it regarding the course and i just said i would ask......its a lot of money so while i am up for the challenge i dont want to hate after driving all the way down there?
Thanks in advance for your help.

John Desmond said...

In comparison to say the Blarney Half-Marathon then the Dingle Half certainly isn't easier. It's pretty ok from Dingle to Ventry but there is a climb after that. If you can run say 10 miles easily enough in training then you should be fine on the day. If 10 miles is near your limit then it might be asking a lot.

At the end of the day, you're the only person who can answer the question if you can do it or not.