Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Lack of sponsorship forces more cutbacks for the Dublin City Marathon...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lack of sponsorship forces more cutbacks for the Dublin City Marathon...

In a recent Irish Times article written by Ian O'Riodan, it was reported that the Dublin City Marathon were unable to find sponsorship for their 2013 event at the end of October. In a statement, the race director Jim Aughney said........"Things are pretty bleak. It just happened that most of our contracts expired around the same time. We lost a title sponsor last year when the National Lottery withdrew, and while we have talked with a large number of companies and feel we have a very strong package to offer, unfortunately everyone we’ve spoken to so far has opted for nothing. We certainly haven’t thrown in the towel just yet, but right now we’ve had to cut our elite athlete budget completely. For the past number of years we’ve invited up to 30 runners, many Kenyans and Ethiopians, paid their way here, and put them up for a couple of days. That’s gone. We’ve had to reduce our prize fund quite considerably too, the top prize of €15,000 down to €10,000. And we have had to increase our marathon entry, from €70 to €75".

The full article can be seen HERE

The Dublin City Marathon in 2012 attracted a field of over 14,000 runners, many of them from overseas. It is by far the largest Marathon in the country and obviously brings in a lot of money to the local economy every October Bank Holiday weekend.

Back in May of last year, I had a post up about how they had lost their main sponsor and how they could no longer afford TV coverage.

Putting on a Marathon in any city in Ireland is an expensive business and the costs associated with staging the Dublin event must be huge. Yet for all that, there are some things that I honestly don't understand about it.

Q 1. What was the point in having an elite field of 30 Kenyans and Ethiopians anyway? Honestly, does anyone really care that there is an elite field in the race? The vast majority of people who take part are doing so for themselves. They are interested in their own times and the times of their friends.

Q 2. Why was the top prize at €15,000 anyway? Who actually wins the race is of little concern to most people. Ask yourself this.....who won the mens and womens race in the 2012 Dublin City Marathon? Off the top of my head, I haven't a clue, I'd have to look it up. What was the value of paying so much to just one individual?

I've seen the argument that you have to give large prizes if you want elite athletes to posts times around the 2:10 mark. This then looks good in press and news reports and it's supposed to attract more people as they think it's a fast course. I really don't buy this argument. If runners are from Ireland then they are taking part because Dublin is the national Marathon, it's size makes it unique and gives it a great atmosphere. It's as close to people will get to a big city Marathon without traveling overseas. For those coming from abroad, are they coming because they think it's a flat fast course or is it because they want to visit Ireland and experience all that they associate with that?

Would it not be better if there was a much flatter prize structure where smaller amounts of money were given out to more people? Would it not benefit the Marathon Mission and the top Irish runners if they were able to compete for more modest prizes rather than just a few individuals taking the lions share?

When I look at that €15,000 prize money, I can't help thinking of Tatyana Aryasova of Russia who won the Dublin Marathon in 2010 and tested positive for a banned substance just a few months later. Does it really benefit paying individuals so much when they are often on the plane home while there are runners still out on the course?

So what's your opinion? Am I wrong? Should there be an elite field and big prize money? If so, then why? I'd be curious to know.

Click on the comment link below.


Anonymous said...

I dont know if i read it on this site or else where, but it was about a marathon in the netherlands where the winner got €1 and the first non african got €10k..... i would agree with larger prize fund for home grown athletes. i think DCM may have been looking for two much money in sponsorship from companies €200k... whats wrong with getting €50k or less from a larger pool of companies .. they will really have to start thinking outside the box or maybe reinvent the race somewhat ... saying that it is a great event.

rom said...

A lot of mid pack runners look at times of elites to see if a course is fast or not. If the winning time is similar to a course that doesn't attract fast times then people will think it is a course is slow. Berlin sold out in like 3 hours simply for being a fast course. To attract more entrants then the sharp end of the race needs such times.

Anonymous said...

Dublin will never be as flat as Berlin or Amsterdam. We compete in Dublin because our buddies are running. Post race a few beers and a curry with friends always help recovery. Ireland is always being sold as fun with friendly people this marketing strategy seems to work. I never see how fast the winner of the dublin marathon is in foreign media.

Anonymous said...

Many marathons in the country take their lead on pricing from that charged by is hard to find a Marathon here for less than 55 or 60 euro - big city's charging 70+ euro. Yet across the water in the UK - prices are pretty much half that and lower - often with a lower level participation. There is little need for elitism (when the majority participating are in it for fitness and setting own targets) forcing up the cost of entries for the average punter. There should be an overall review of prize funds and save those races for the elitists to the elite and leave the majority participate at a reasonable cost Marathon - whereby money is raised for the cause (be it charity or private) but not on a super-normal profit basis being made by some of the main races on the calendar.

Anonymous said...

If there are so many foreign runners and visitors to the city why don't failte Ireland come on board. Or what about the gathering festival involved ?. I think smaller prizes would also be an excellent idea. With top home grown athletes getting larger prizes.

Anonymous said...

The race is about the elite athletes not the whole field of fun runners. If you want a fun run then organize a charity thing, if you want a quality prestigious event you need world class athletes.

I can't believe you said you don't care who won the race, we'll I don't care about the thousands who can't even run properly. Go way boy

Anonymous said...

I think they're in limbo with the standard of elite runner they're attracting in the first place. There's marathons all over the world every weekend that are being won by an east Africans running 2.09-2.11 and personally I take no notice of them. Granted 2.09-2.11 is fast to the average runner but there's a few hundred east africans doing this each year. In football terms they're getting a division 1 elite field. Instead of bringing in 30 elites that are running 2.09-2.11 why not bring in one or two guys that will run 2.05-2.06 that will genuinely attracted an audience.
On the attracting foreign runners I know in the past I've traveled abroad more than once to run a fast course, so a fast winner is needed to attract this audience I rekcon

John Hogan said...

If we had competition between Irish based runners we would see the standard rise back to 1980 levels where we had 4 Irish runners winning 7 times. It would be better if the Irish based runner's won the prize money and it stayed here. It would also help fund elite athletes here.The money saved from flights and accomadation for 30 athletes would go a long way to covering the prize money for the winners.

Anonymous said...


You are correct as usual. Thankfully Cork has never gone for the elites, meaning it's a level playing field. The winner may have ran a business houses race on the marina a few weeks earlier! I believe a marathon should be for all runners, not just the elite.

Anonymous said...

The above comments bring in many interesting view points.
Failte ireland would be a great addition and even promote the race as an international race to tourists too.
The elite field in future will not obviously have as many international athletes. The prizes should be concentrated on home athletes as well , maybe to a larger extent and get home competition going. After all, that is what will raise national marathoning standards.
Irish marathon mission athletes need support and funding now more than ever. We saw what it already achieved in Olympics 2012, with 4 women vying to get 3 places. We need the same in the mens and hopefully by 2016 , have10 women and 10 men athletes vying for olympic places! The Dublin marathon and marathon mission is the platform which is beginning to achieve this.
Lets support both as much as we can!

Anonymous said...

DCM was told by Failte Ireland that they'd have no problem sponsoring the race - if it was held outside Dublin!!