In dry but cold conditions, Dublin city was alive to the pounding feet of a record-breaking 11,700 athletes on the October Bank Holiday Monday (27).
Andriy Naumov became the second Ukrainian in four years to win the Dublin Marathon, following in the footsteps of 2005 winner Dmytro Osadchyy, as he crossed the line in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 6 seconds.
Meanwhile, Russia's Larisa Zyusko took to the winners podium after the women's race. She clocked 2 hours, 29 minutes and 55 seconds for a hard-fought victory.
Russia's Aleksey Sokolov, the champion from 2006 and 2007, did not race in the Irish capital after his exertions at the Beijing Olympics.
Naumov's first outing in Dublin saw him bide his time before hitting the front at the 19-mile mark, outpacing a lead group largely made up of Kenyans.
Thomas Omwenga, Joseph Nguran and Elijah Mutai had taken the field through 10 kilometres and Omwenga still led after 30 kilometres.
But Naumov got his tactics just right and surging clear, he was able to stave off a challenge from Britain's Tomas Abyu to take top spot and the winner's cheque of 15,000 euro.
Abyu faded to third place (2:13:06) with Omwenga coming through to take second in a time of 2:12:29, a full 83 seconds behind the 35-year-old winner.
Hailing it as 'the best win of his career', Naumov said: "I'm very happy. It's a personal best. I really ran a good race. It's a great feeling to win here in Dublin.
"It's a very fast run for me. Every kilmetre I looked at my condition and I set a target for every kilometre."
For the second year running, Michael O'Connor from the Galway City Harriers club was the first Irishman home.
Successfully defending his national title with a new PB of 2:20:49, O'Connor said: "I thought I was going to come home a lot quicker but I'm delighted to be the first Irishman home.
"A national title is a great thing, someone of my ability shouldn't be getting it that handy but to be honest it was a great feeling."
O'Connor held almost a seven-minute lead over the next Irishman home, Brian MacMahon (2:27:26), while Patrick Cassidy finished third in the national standings with a time of 2:27:55.
Zyusko takes command over final mile
In the women's event, Zyusko had eight seconds to spare over the second-placed Haile Kebebush of Ethiopia after a dramatic finish.
Kebebush, the long-time leader, was passed in the final mile by the 39-year-old Zyusko, who had finished second to her Russian compatriot Alina Ivanova here last year.
Overall, the Ethiopians had a strong race with Hadish Letay Negash finishing third in 2:31:13.
Zyusko cherished the win but still lamented a poor start which left her concerned that she would finish outside the podium places.
"I am very happy to win the race. It was more difficult than usual," she admitted.
"I didn't expect to be in nearly fifth position for most of the race."
More used to the track action than road races, Maria McCambridge could not contain her delight at being the first Irish woman home, with her time of 2:36:33 netting her eighth place overall.
"It was brilliant and I really enjoyed it, but my feet are on fire and that was really the only problem I had," she said.
In what was the Dundrum athlete's marathon debut, she now has her sights set on further races at the distance.
"I'll definitely go for another one and do a lot more planning. My main goal (today) was to come up as the national winner."
McCambridge held a 13-minute lead over her closest Irish rival, Annette Kealy (2:49:50), while Barbara Sanchez was a further four seconds back (2:49:54).
Mary Hickey Nolan, the only woman to have completed all of the Dublin marathons to date, is on course to make the 30th anniversary marathon next year, having completed this year's in 4:10:39 despite carrying an injury.
Commenting on another successful Dublin marathon, race director Jim Aughney said: "You couldn't ask for more - a record field, no rain, good running weather.
"I'm delighted for all our finishers today, it's a great achievement.
"I hope that others out there are inspired by today to take part in next year's 30th anniversary marathon, and really help us put Dublin firmly on the map as the 'must do' marathon in 2009."
Dave Mervyn for the IAAF
Leading Results -
1. Andriy Naumov (Ukraine) 2 hours, 11 minutes and 6 seconds
2. Thomas Omwenga (Kenya) 2:12:29
3. Tomas Abyu (Great Britain) 2:13:06
4. Joseph Nguran (Kenya) 2:13:59
5. Mykola Antonenko (Ukraine) 2:14:40
6. Elijah Mutai (Kenya) 2:15:54
7. Leonid Shvetsov (Russia) 2:16:17
8. Lezan Kimutai (Kenya) 2:17:50
9. Simpson Limareng (Kenya) 2:17:57
10. Festus Langat (Kenya) 2:18:40
1. Larisa Zyusko (Russia) 2 hours, 29 minutes and 55 seconds
2. Haile Kebebush (Ethiopia) 2:30:03
3. Hadish Letay Negash (Ethiopia) 2:31:13
4. Katerina Stetsenko (Ukraine) 2:31:21
5. Helalia Johannes (Namibia) 2:32:30
6. Tabitha Tsatsa (Zimbabwe) 2:33:21
7. Alena Samokhvalova (Russia) 2:35:43
8. Maria McCambridge (Ireland) 2:36:33
9. Susan Teimet (Kenya) 2:40:26
10. Annette Kealy (Ireland) 2:49:50