Dublin Marathon Hits the Jackpot

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Dublin Marathon Race Director Jim Aughney has good reason to feel like a lottery millionaire with the announcement that the National Lottery is the new Title Sponsor for the big Dublin event which takes place on the Monday of the October Bank Holiday weekend- October 31st.

And there was further good news for Aughney and his dedicated volunteer Dublin Marathon organising team when it was confirmed that the 2011 National Lottery Dublin Marathon will be broadcast live on RTE 2 and streamed worldwide on rte.ie with an additional highlights package broadcast later that week. This is the first time in 20 years that the Dublin Marathon will be afforded live TV coverage- an addition that should greatly enhance the event.

Another big bonus was also announced on the ‘good news day’ with the confirmation that the National Lottery will also be Title Sponsor for the popular marathon build –up Race Series which take place in the Phoenix Park in July, August and September. The three races in the series- the Irish Runner 5 Mile, The Frank Duffy 10 Mile and the Dublin Half Marathon- will this year all be under the National Lottery Title Sponsor umbrella.

A delighted Jim Aughney, who has been at the helm of the Dublin Marathon for the past fifteen years, yesterday spoke about what this new National Lottery sponsorship will mean to the marathon. “I feel a bit like Postman Pat today- the man who this week hit the jackpot in the Lottery, Aughney said. “We are thrilled to have the National Lottery on board as Title Sponsor for the Dublin Marathon. They share our vision and aims for the growth of the event. It is a huge endorsement of what we have achieved to date and strong support for our development plans to have such a prestigious title sponsor as the National Lottery involved in our race.”

Dermot Griffin, Chief Executive of the National Lottery was also present at yesterday’s launch where he too spoke enthusiastically about the new Title Sponsorship with the marathon. “Through our sponsorship of this year’s Dublin Marathon, we’re hoping to bring a little bit of magic to the event,” he said. “For a start, we are delighted that our involvement will make it possible for anyone to watch the race live on RTE We are also pleased to help promote this unique sporting event to as many people as possible in the coming months through the associated Race Series.”

The RTE TV live coverage of this year’s National Lottery Dublin Marathon is a new challenge too for Ryle Nugent, Group Head of Sport at RTE. Speaking at the launch, Nugent said: “As the national public service broadcaster, RTE is delighted to be broadcasting the National Lottery Dublin Marathon to audiences in Ireland and worldwide with our coverage across television, radio, online and news. With thousands of runners and athletes from home and abroad taking part in the event, this year’s marathon will showcase the runners’ achievements on both a personal and elite level.”

Last year, a record 13,500 people took part in the Dublin Marathon and over 20,000 took part over the three events in the Race Series. The economic value of the Dublin Marathon to the City of Dublin over the October Bank Holiday weekend is estimated at being worth 10 million. The marathon is also a fund raising lifeline for hundreds of national and local charities. Two charities- The Children’s Medical & Research Foundation and Chernobyl Children’s Project International, are the Special Designated Charities for this year’s Dublin race.

Former Dublin Marathon race winner Dick Hooper yesterday spoke about his reaction to the new National Lottery sponsorship of the event. “This seems like a perfect marriage- the National Lottery and the Dublin Marathon seems to me like a great fit and as a former winner of the event on three occasions, I am delighted to see this new partnership emerge”, Hooper said. “It reminds me of what it was like back in the early 1980s when RTE TV covered the race live and thousands of people came out of their houses around the course to cheer the runners on. This is a great boost for running in Ireland and I think that in sponsoring the Dublin Marathon, the National Lottery have backed a winner.”

Mary Nolan Hickey from Wicklow, the only woman to have completed all 31 Dublin Marathons to date, also spoke of her delight at hearing about the new National Lottery of the Dublin Marathon. “I have run all the Dublin Marathons to date and I think that this is great news for the small dedicated group of Dublin Marathon organisers who have stayed with the event through thick and thin,” Nolan Hickey said.

This year’s National Lottery Dublin Marathon will again incorporate the Athletics Ireland National Marathon Championships with Olympic qualification places up for grabs. “We are very happy to continue our association with such a terrific event,” Athletics Ireland President Liam Hennessy said. “I want to wish Jim Aughney my heartiest congratulations on this new sponsorship. The National Lottery has already contributed on a big scale to sport in this country and it is great to see this new development with the Dublin Marathon.”

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