Hi Kevin - there's a long uphill stretch on the Antrim Road between @11-13 miles. To be honest it's the followging downhill section towards Gideon's Green that I find tougher on the legs! Practice running downhill too and you'll be fine, and enjoy your first marathon!
Interesting points re the start at the Steeley As Paul says, Glen works wonders on behalf of Championchip Ireland at on and off road races throughout the island of Ireland, and particularly at tris where there may be several heats and disciplines taking place simultaneously! My 2p worth to the start/finish debate at the Seeley woud be to explore the possibility of starting in the park and finishing in the car park at the marathon finish. A park start seems to work well at the Bangor 10k, and the layout of paths in the park could allow a start for elites (and users of this forum) and one for the rest. As the field would be spread out by the time they reached the embankment there would be no need for the PSNI to have to hold traffic completely. Good to see lots of forumites at the race on Saturday.
2 more Northern Ireland marathons to add to the "Saturday marathons are hillier, but more scenic than Sunday marathons" theory; the Mourne Way and the Causeway Coast are on 8th June and 29th September respectively next year.
Another marathontalk fan, and IMtalk is worth checking out as well well for all things Ironman related. Podcasts are a great alternative to music on long runs. I missed too much Dublin training through injury so, for once, took the sensible option and withdrew 3 weeks ago rather than try to ramp the mileage back up when everyone else was tapering. I hope all the Dublin marathon runners here survive the last couple of days of taper madness and have a great day on Monday. Looks like it'll be a chilly one!