Roads will be pounded, endless supplies of water and energy drinks consumed and plenty of sweat forfeited as the 12th annual Pat the Baker Longford Marathon makes its long awaited return on Sunday.
In what has readily become undeniably the premier sporting experience of the summer, close on 1,000 runners are expected to take their places at the start line this weekend.
Entrants from the UK, United States, central Europe and India are just some of the athletes to have already submitted entries, reflecting the marathon’s growing cosmpolitan appeal.
“This year of the Gathering we have made an extra effort to draw on overseas participants through advertising, social media and marathon exhibitions,” said committee member Fiona Fenelon.
A large entry, 140 to be precise, has likewise come from mobile phone specialists Telephonica 02 following careful tutelage from leading personal trainer, Karl Henry.
The star of RTE’s Operation Transformation, will also be on stage on Sunday to give some last minute advice to the group.
Guidance is a word Defence Forces Sgt Gerard Duff needs no introduction to as completes his fourth and final marathon for children’s charity Aoibheann’s Pink Tie.
If spectators are looking forward to some of those sideshows, the same could possibly be directed at the huge local contingent that are expected to take part.
Veteran athlete Liam Fenelon, and one of the founders of the Longford Marathon will be taking on his 257th attempt at completing 26 miles.
If you thought that was taxing, try contemplating the 39 miles Longford Athletic Club’s Sinead Phelan will encounter as she becomes the first Longford woman to contest the Ultra Marathon.
Other recognisable with their applications already submitted include: Lorcan Geraghty, Sean Crossan, Mick Maguire, Michael Pilkinton, Michael O’Hara, Marie Dolan, Enda Flynn, John & Betty Martin, Joanne O’Brien and Laura Brady.
That’s just for starters and with time to enter not expected to close until Saturday evening, it’s perhaps no wonder why this year’s marathon is already being billed as being its best to date.
*If you haven’t enetered but want to, entries remain open until Saturday evening. For more details check out www.longfordmarathon.com or call 043 3349682. Keep up to date on www.longfordleader.ie