Dream results for best of the Irish as the Dublin Marathon finally gets back running

Martin Hoare and Courtney McGuire both win first Irish marathon titles with times under two hours and 35 minutes

As anyone who has ever run the distance knows the marathon only begins around 20 miles. It’s here the race can be won or lost, when targets stay on or switch off, where any prologue turns into one long monologue.

It proved as much again in the unfolding of the Irish Life Dublin Marathon, which after a three-year absence produced first-time winners almost across the board. Some more unexpected than others, both winners of the Irish national titles being chief among them.

As the leading Irish men approached that 20-mile mark, coming down off leafy Orwell Park towards Milltown, Martin Hoare still had good company in former Irish winners Sean Hehir Gary O’Hanlon and Sergio Ciobanu. The 35 year-old from Celbridge may have been the slowest of them too, only he timed his break to perfection, pulling clear at that point to finish seventh best overall in 2:20.21, a nine-second improvement on his previous best run in Rotterdam back in April.

For the full-time accountant and father of two, it’s also been a long time coming, the once keen footballer only taking to running as company for his brother, the idea of one day being the best man in Ireland at the distance previously unfathomable.


“Yep just started running marathons about 15 years, at the back of the pack, so great to be coming closer to the front, at home too,” he said.

“It’s amazing, a fairy-tale really, I didn’t really think it was possible. I said I’d just go with the pace and see where we ended up. I still didn’t think I was going to be National champion, was hoping for top-five, so this is a dream.

I just love it, love running, started in 2007 when my brother ran the marathon, I was just a football player from Maynooth, and just started jumping in with him

“Running early on with Sean Hehir and Mick Clohisey in there, and Gary O’Hanlon and Sergio (Ciobanu) too, all previous national champions, just be running in that group was amazing, I had to pinch myself few times. Look, today was my day, I got lucky, so delighted.

“I’m very lucky to have a great employer who really supports me, my wife and two young kids, they do everything for me, let me going out the door every day. So I’m completely spoiled, and wouldn’t be here without them.”

Belfast secondary-school teacher Conor Gallagher was second-best of the Irish, in only his second ever marathon, in 2:22:56, and three years after a serious accident, Hehir held on for bronze 2:24:19. Clohisey later dropped out.

The effectively three-year delay did have some impact on the initial entry of 25,000, with only around 18,000 making it to the start: there can typically be an attrition rate of around 20 per cent, heightened here by the fact most of the entries had originally signed up for the 2020 race (though were entitled to a full refund).

One of the first people to congratulate Hoare at the finish was his mother Gay, volunteer in the bag-drop and short distance from the finish, and he also paid special tribute to his coach Brendan Hackett, the former CEO of Athletics Ireland, who in recent years also managed Ballymun Kickhams to the Dublin football title.

“I’ve been working with Brendan five years now, went through a tough time with injuries, he just stuck by me, listening to me complaining about having another stress fracture, another broken bone, but he just kept building me back up. And Covid definitely benefited me by letting me train on my own, without pushing me for racing. He gave me so much strength, and resilience, he’s been huge.”

He jested that Hackett had told him to stop off by the Liffey on the way home and wade in as a form of recovery, though Hoare was more like to head straight for a few beers.

“There’s definitely more in the tank,” he added, “I’ll talk to my wife to make sure I get the pass for the training, but I do want to be back here next year. I also hope this gives more Irish runners the drive to stick to athletics, can see what’s achievable.”

“I just love it, love running, started in 2007 when my brother ran the marathon, I was just a football player from Maynooth, and just started jumping in with him. Then we went from three hours, to 2:38, to 2:35, to 2:30, just kept chipping away.”

Hoare ran near perfectly even splits too, passing halfway in just over 70 minutes, while outright winner Taoufik Allam of Morocco produced an impressive negative split, racing to a clear victory by almost two and a half minutes in 2:11:30, having passed halfway in 67:02, or 2:14-pace.

The 33-year-old collected the top prize of €12,000, also breaking clear just after that 20-mile mark as the race traced southside through Clonskeagh, leaving Ashenafi Boja of Ethiopia, second overall in 2:13:58, his country man Birhanu Teshome third in 2:14:25

Courtney McGuire certainly defied her age and experience to finish best Irish women in 2:32:50, in her first marathon. “About two months ago,” she said, when asked when she first even considered the distance.

Still experience counts, Ann-Marie McGlynn of Letterkenny AC proving that as the 42 year-old held on for silver in 2:33:46, with Gladys Ganiel of North Belfast Harriers, at age 45, third best Irish woman in 2:42:15 winning bronze.

Patrick Monahan won a sixth wheelchair title in 1:37:28, the Kildare man clocking his fastest time in Dublin to boot, winning by some 12 minutes, admittedly using the race in part as preparation for next Sunday marathon in New York. There could be another fairy-tale there all going well.

2022 Irish Life Dublin Marathon


1 T Allam (Morocco) 2:11:30

2 A Boja (Ethiopia) 2:13:58

3 B Teshome (Ethiopia) 2:14:25


1 N Muluneh (Ethiopia) 2:28:31

2 H-A Negeri (Ethiopia) 2:29:33

3 C McGuire (Ireland/Clonmel AC) 2:32:50

National Results


1 M Hoare (Celbridge AC) 2:20:21

2 C Gallagher (St. Malachy’s AC) 2:22:56

3 S Hehir (Croghan AC) 2:24:19


1 C McGuire (Clonmel AC) 2:32:50

2 A-M McGlynn (Letterkenny AC) 2:33:46

3 G Ganiel (North Belfast Harriers) 2:42:15


1 P Monahan (Ireland) 1:37:28

2 Sam Kolek (Great Britain) 1:49:44

3 Mark Millar (Northern Ireland) 1:50:18

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics