Huge crowds turn out for marathon

For a relatively small county, Longford sure knows how to put on a show.

For a relatively small county, Longford sure knows how to put on a show.

And for the hundreds of spectators who turned out to take in the delights of the county ‘s 11th annual marathon, the day couldn’t have gone much better.

From early morning, crowds lined the streets of Longford town, as well as large parts of the route’s 26-mile stretch, to cheer on the estimated 800-strong list of competitors.

Liam Fenelon, who juggled running his 242nd marathon alongide his customary organisational duties, said the weekend had surpassed all expectations.

“The whole occasion was brilliant, just brilliant,” he said, while reserving a special mention for the marathon’s main sponsors-Pat the Baker.

“We never had as many people out on the course cheering on the runners. We had the RTE team taking part too, which gave us a great boost.”

His reference to the national broadcaster’s involvement centred largely on the participation of four of its journalists - Fran McNulty, Sinead Hussey, Fintan Duffy and Ciaran Mullooly, all of whom took on the event’s popular town-to-town relay challenge.

Celebrity involvement aside, the marathon likewise attracted an international flavour, with athletes travelling from as far as Boston to take their place on Sunday’s start line.

Praise was similarly heaped on the Longford Arms Hotel and both the local authority and gardai for assisting with traffic diversions and all round health and safety requirements.

As far as his own race-going expolits, Liam brushed all that aside as he instead opted to cast a speculative glance at next year’s corresponding fixture.

“I did it in five hours and 40 minutes. I’m happy enough. I’m more excited about next year because of the crowds, those taking part and the fact we had four olympians there (Colin Griffin, Pauline Curley, Linda Byrne and Laura Reynolds),” he enthusiastically described.

Not the worst advertisement for one of Longford’s most successful charitable and voluntary run events.