Dublin Marathon


Wilson Hartnell has been working with the Dublin Marathon committee for over a decade and the event has continued to grow in popularity year on year since 1980 with over 35,000 people competing in the 2014 Marathon and Race Series Events. This year will mark the 36th anniversary of the Marathon. WH has devised and implemented PR plans for the Dublin Marathon and Race Series Events over the years and continues to provide a full press office function to the Marathon, as well as managing its Social Media channels. 

The Challenge

WH has focused our efforts on intense media relations with great emphasis on social media platforms in order to secure maximum publicity for the Dublin Marathon and Race Series as well as increasing participation and awareness for the events.The key objective was to extend the reach beyond traditional PR and to focus on social media marketing in order to engage the audience and to help bring the Marathon to life through innovative and emotive content.

The Dublin Marathon has a limited budget and there is currently no live coverage of the events so in order to create awareness around the Race Series and the Marathon itself, there is a heavy reliance on traditional PR while also developing creative social media campaigns in order to secure coverage in the lead up to race day in October.

Our Response

WH took an integrated approach and worked across both traditional PR and social media to tell the stories of those involved in the Dublin Race Series and Marathon. The aim was to bring the Marathon to life by helping the audience to build a connection with the event and to encourage them to sign up for one or more of the races. In the lead up to the event we wanted to provide our runners with information around our events and advice around training and preparation while also making the participants the main emphasis on the social media channels.

We wanted to highlight the fact that our participants love to run Dublin for many reason including to raise money for their local charity, achieve a new personal best and to even prove it to themselves that they can conquer the 26.2miles.

The Results

WH played a key role in driving participation and awareness ahead of the Race Series Events and the Marathon through traditional media and the official Dublin Marathon social media channels. Through the development of the ‘Why Are You Running Dublin’ campaign and the use of emotive storytelling, WH was able to build a strong connection with the audience, drive engagement, and find stand out stories for traditional PR opportunities.

WH created video content around one of the participants of the marathon – Limerick man John Collins who was competing in his 30th consecutive and final Dublin Marathon at the age of 83. This video was seeded out across the social media platforms and featured on,, and, reaching up to 550k while also being shared by 2,000 people across Facebook.

In addition to this, WH also engaged with Elite athletes such as Maria McCambridge in the lead up to the event to provide the audience with advice ahead of the big day and to give them an insight into their Marathon training and preparations. This also encouraged our audience to build a connection with the athletes and sign up for the Marathon.

In 2014, WH helped the Dublin Marathon social media channels to achieve new records with the organic reach hitting up to 190k and the number of followers increasing by 15k from January 2014 to May 2015.

The 2014 Dublin Marathon also received extensive coverage across both print and online with an opportunity to see and hear totalling 43 million and the PR Value almost reaching €9 million.

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