IT IS five months away, but 1,000 people have already entered the Great Limerick Run next May.
Race director John Cleary said their target of reaching 10,000 participants in their fifth year is now becoming more realistic.
Next year’s event will be the third Great Limerick Run, which is estimated to provide an economic boost of in excess of €2m to the local economy.
But Mr Cleary hopes it may one day be on the same economic standing as a Heineken Cup game - raking in €8m for local businesses.
Nearly 7,000 people entered the three events last year, and it is hoped 8,000 people will enter in the coming year.
“This is all about promoting Limerick. When we started this event two years ago that was the main aim and it still is,” he said.
A booking discount will apply before February 1.
The runs will take place on Sunday, May 6, with the marathon starting at 9am, the half marathon at 11.30am and the six-mile event at 1pm.
“The races are an integral part of the Riverfest weekend, and we aim to have more events scheduled for next year to encourage people to stay in the city for the Sunday night as well,” he explained.
“It has been shown that the shorter the running distance the shorter [distance] people are prepared to travel. But for a marathon people will travel all sorts of distances. Last year we had people from Kenya, South Africa, the US and Australia taking part,” he said.
Mr Cleary, who has run nine marathons in locations as diverse as New York and Longford, wanted to bring the marathon to his native city to boost its profile. Last year, over 4,000 people took part in the 10km event, another 2,000 entered the half marathon and some 750 went the full distance in the marathon event. But the organisers are aiming to improve on the latter figure. Some 12,000 people who have taken part in previous events will be notified by email in the coming weeks.
See Great Limerick Run for more details.