Didn't get an entry to the sold-out Dublin Marathon? Here are five alternative races for 2019

Hannah Hillyer is training for her first marathon. Read her weekly running diary at IMAGE.ie where she'll be taking you on her journey. This week, she finally bagged herself an entry to the race. Roll on October 27th...

How did you spend your Monday morning? I spent mine frantically refreshing the website for an entry to the KBC Dublin Marathon.

You may have already heard me banging on about the fact I'm training for it, but I hadn't actually got my hands on my entry yet. Back in December the initial 20,000 limit sold out in 40 days.

Read more: Running and safety: the reality of being a female runner


It was the first time it has ever sold out before Christmas, likely that it was partly due to it being the 40th anniversary of the race in Dublin. With many people wanting to complete a streak - there are some entrants who have completed all 39 so far - people snapped up the initial tickets as soon as they were available, which was as usual just after the October 2018 event concluded.

Organisers released an additional 2,500 tickets for the event this morning. I just managed to snag an entry for myself, but only after waiting online for 55 minutes. Others were not so lucky.

Organisers admitted there were “some technical difficulties” when the additional entries went on sale this morning.

There was bound to be a lot of traffic heading to the site at once, so many were quick to point out they should have been more prepared for this and the site being down for so long was unacceptable.


Unfortunately, the race organisers did not address the issue of the site crashing until 10.56am, despite people calling out for more information over the previous two hours. Many were annoyed at the lack of updates coming from the organisers themselves, with it being left to Twitter users to update others if tickets were still available.

With many posting they had taken the day or morning off work to ensure their place this was highly disappointing as it was not clear if people should keep trying or if they were already sold out.

Apparently, a link was leaked yesterday evening which gave some people access to tickets before the 9am deadline today.

So far the organisers have not commented on this, but it has understandably caused some frustration online.


According to the organisers, there were 8,000 people all trying to get one of the coveted 2,500 spots. There is something amusing about this many people so eager to sign up for something so gruelling, but clearly running has become increasingly popular. Compared to the 2,1oo entrants in the Dublin Marathon's first year in 1979, this year there will be 22,500 runners.

Many have put forward that next year there should be an alternative system. Perhaps a site other than Eventmaster to sell tickets, as clearly they could not support the demand. Or a system like the London or NYC marathon, where you enter a ballot and runners are chosen at random.

Alternative 2019 marathons

With numerous people throwing in the towel at the constant refreshing, many shared that they would be doing their marathon elsewhere this year. So if you didn't secure a place, don't fret, perhaps a change of scenery may result in a new personal best?


Here are some other options that still have entries available;

  • Galway Bay Marathon: October 5th - This is a great flat route for any first-time marathoners, sea breeze is a bonus too.
  • Enniscrone, Sligo Marathon: October 6th - Enjoy the beautiful and wild scenery of Sligo for this race, make sure to pack your waterproofs though.
  • Bath Marathon, UK: August 18th - With 4km of this race in converted underground railway tunnels, this is a truly unique race through the Georgian city.
  • Berlin Marathon: September 29th - Take in the city sights as you pound the pavements and hopefully go for a very large beer afterwards.
  • Lisbon Marathon: October 20th - With a combination of historic scenery and sea views, the 26.2 miles should speed by.

For me, now my training needs to be revved up a notch. With an impending date I can now firmly mark in my calendar it all suddenly feels very real. After spending the guts of an hour sweating with anxiety over the website crashing this morning, the marathon itself should be easy, right?

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