Top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland

Here are the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland

Ireland is a small island surrounded by rugged coastlines, dramatic cliffs, and stunning pastoral landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Add to that the island’s rich culture, and it comes as no surprise that tourism in Ireland is booming.

Along with our renowned traditional music, friendly local people, and penchant for Guinness, one element of Irish culture that has been attracting folks (especially sports enthusiasts) from home and abroad lately is the growing number of annual runs and marathons on the Emerald Isle.

Whether you’re just starting out, raising much-needed money for charity, or challenging your personal best, here are the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland. On your mark…get set…go!

10. Never Give Up, Co. Wexford – the beginners’ run for givers

When: every July | Level: any

The Never Give Up run in Co. Wexford is one of the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland
Credit: Instagram/@probyc

This charitable fun run is for those of any level of experience. Whether you are looking to simply stretch your legs or want to sprint from start to finish, the decision is yours.

Runners have the option of a five- or ten-kilometre looped course, and the funds raised go to the Irish Cancer Society.

9. Sumo Run, Co. Dublin – the funniest “fun run”

When: every April | Level: any

The Sumo Run in County Dublin is one of the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland
Credit: Instagram / @sumorunireland

The Sumo Run, which takes place in County Dublin every April, is the epitome of “fun run.” As the name implies, participants don inflatable sumo wrestling suits and run five kilometres through Marlay Park in the Irish capital.

The suit comes built in as part of the registration fee and is yours to take home. All proceeds go to Purple House Cancer Support. This fun run is for ages seven and up, making it the perfect family day outing.

8. Tony McGowan Run, Co. Leitrim – the boardwalk delight

When: every February | Level: any

The Tony McGowan run in Co. Leitrim is one of the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland
Credit: Instagram / Mark Kelly @thewateredge

This stunning trail is perfect for participants of any level. Located in County Leitrim, the run covers Ireland’s only floating boardwalk in Drumshanbo.

Participants can choose to take part in the half-marathon or tackle five or ten kilometres, respectively.

7. Wicklow Gaol Break, Co. Wicklow – the “garden of Ireland” run

When: every March | Level: any

The Wicklow Gaol break is a fun run in Co. Wicklow in Ireland
Credit: Instagram / @fionamcgonigle

What better place to partake in a run than the “garden of Ireland” (County Wicklow’s local nickname)? The stunning setting is sure to be a sight for sore eyes, and participants can choose either a half-marathon or a ten-kilometre run.

6. Clare Island 10K, Co. Mayo – the island run

When: every April | Level: any

The Clare Island 10K is a fun run in Co. Mayo
Credit: Facebook / @cancercarewest

The Clare Island run covers ten kilometres of terrain and is suitable for any level of experience. Families, sprinters, and marathon runners are all welcome, and all proceeds go towards Cancer Care West.

5. Achill Half-Marathon & 10K Run, Co. Mayo – the Wild Atlantic Way run

When: every July | Level: any

The Achill Half-Marathon & 10K Run in Co. Mayo is one of the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland
Credit: Instagram / @dam___jb

One of the most breath-taking sights to see in all of Ireland has to be the coastline along the Wild Atlantic Way. So, what better way to enjoy it than on foot?

From mountainous terrain to valleys and beaches, the sights on this route will be awe-inspiring without a doubt. Participants can choose to tackle a half-marathon or enjoy a ten-kilometre trail.

4. Dublin Marathon, Co. Dublin – the capital run

When: every October | Level: advanced

The Dublin Marathon is one of the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Co. Dublin
Credit: Pat Murphy / SPORTSFILE

For the more experienced marathon runner, check out the Dublin Marathon, which takes place in the capital every October.

Winding its way through the Dublin capital, this stint is not for the faint of heart. Although the route is almost fully flat, the cityscape makes for an interesting and challenging route—a must-do for those looking for fun runs and marathons in Ireland.

3. Clonakilty Marathon, Co. Cork – the seaside run

When: every December | Level: advanced

The Clonakilty Marathon takes place every December in Co. Cork
Credit: Facebook / @runclon

While the Clonakilty Marathon is a more advanced affair, participants can choose to opt for a more intermediate route on the day, with a half marathon and ten-kilometre run also on offer.

The scenic route stretches past golden sand and the Cork coastline, and the day in question always draws huge numbers.

2. Connemarathon, Co. Galway – the country challenge

When: every April | Level: advanced

The Connemarathon in Co. Galway is one of the top 10 fun runs and marathons in Ireland
Credit: Instagram / @connemarathon

This is a challenging event that takes place every April in County Galway. There are in fact two routes: a half marathon and the full route, which encompasses tough terrain, challenging hills, and some of the most stunning scenery in all of Ireland. The Connemarathon is certainly for the avid runner.

1. Wild Atlantic Ultra, Co. Mayo – the most beautiful run

When: every May | Level: advanced

The Wild Atlantic Ultra marathon takes place every May in Co. Mayo
Credit: Facebook / @WildAtlanticUltra

This is potentially the most beautiful route on our list of best fun runs and marathons in Ireland. Winding and weaving its way around the scenic sites in County Mayo, this marathon is for advanced runners only.