The largest women’s race of its kind in the world is back on the streets of Dublin this weekend. The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon will take over streets across Dublin 2 and 4 on Sunday, with organisers expecting more than 20,000 participants this year.
With that many women running a 10km-route across the city, there will be road closures. So whether you’re racing yourself, supporting a friend or trying to avoid the sheer chaos of it all, what do you need to know in advance of this weekend?
Where and when is the race?
The race starts this Sunday from Fitzwilliam Place, Dublin 2, at the earlier time of 12:30pm this year. The race will get going in waves, and participants have been asked to begin arriving in the relevant zones (white, pink, blue, green and yellow) from 11:30am. In case you’re bringing a few bits with you on the day, baggage drop will open at 10:30am.
Organisers have said those who arrive late will be directed to the back of the race. Amid the inevitable crowds it might be a bit hectic manoeuvring around, so it’s no harm giving yourself extra time to get where you need to be.
Can you still enter?
Yes. Online entries have been closed since May 28th but you can still purchase tickets for €30 at a number collection point on Friday, June 2nd, where some of those who have already signed up will be collecting their race numbers. The collection point is Intersport Elverys, Dundrum Town Centre, between 11:30am and 7pm.
How can you raise money?
Although it’s not a requirement for participants, many tend to raise funds for a favourite charity or cause. Since the first race in 1983, an estimated €230 million has been raised. The organisers have partnered with GivenGain again this year to make it handy for racers to fundraise. On Friday, more than €340,000 had been raised through the website for charities such as the Irish Cancer Society (€73,000), Breast Cancer Ireland (€43,000) and Temple Street Foundation (€26,000). Participants can fundraise in any way they wish.
What’s the course route?
From Fitzwilliam Place, participants will run, jog or walk south down Leeson Street, Morehampton Road, Donneybrook Road, past RTÉ and UCD, then back north and cut across by Nutley Lane, followed by Merrion Road, past the RDS and through Ballsbridge, then Pembroke Road, back over the Grand Canal and – hopefully! – across the finish line on Baggot Street Lower.
What traffic restrictions are in place?
For obvious reasons, the roads on the mini marathon route will be closed on Sunday. There will be an extensive traffic management plan across the affected areas, and it is advised that people plan their travel accordingly. Some roads will close from 4am on Sunday, some from 8:30am, 10am and 11:30am. For complete information on the road closures, visit the guide on the race website here.
Is this the only race on this weekend?
No. Thousands will take to the streets of Cork on Sunday, with the Cork City Marathon also on. The full marathon gets under way at the early time of 8:15am, the 10km there starts at 8:45am and the half marathon at 10:15am. Baggage drop opens in Cork City Hall from 7am. As in Dublin, roads across the city will shut from around 5am for the race. A detailed list of road closures can be accessed here. For more information, visit corkcitymarathon.ie
What will the weather be like?
While last year’s race was plagued by showers, Met Éireann is forecasting sunshine on Sunday with highs of 17 degrees. So break out the sun cream, find a pair of sunglasses that won’t fall off your face and make sure to stay hydrated – there’ll be water stations throughout the course anyway.
Last-minute advice for racers
A spokesperson for the mini marathon said: “We are advising all participants to be prepared for the warm weather – hydrate well, wear factor 50 sun cream, wear a hat and long sleeves and stay in shade pre-race where possible. We will also providing extra water in all our water stations at the start, finish and on the course. We’ve also organised for pagodas to be positioned at our two main water stations in case some women like to have a rest along the way. The pagodas will also have medics there.”
What else can racers do? Eat a nutritious breakfast – but don’t stray too far from your usual morning meal, you might throw off your body a little. Plenty of sleep is no doubt what the doctor ordered. And if you’ve never run 10km before, make sure to pace yourself. There’s no need to try to keep up with the fastest runners. Above all, enjoy the day. Although the medal on the shelf is worth something, there’s nothing better than that buzz of crossing the finish line. Best of luck!