Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: October 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Preview of the Cork BHAA 'HSE' 4 mile Road Race - Sun 2nd Nov (11:00am)
Now that the Dublin Marathon is behind us, it's time to take a look at what is happening locally. There are now only 3 BHAA races left in the 2008 calendar, all of them 4 milers. The 3rd last one takes place next Sunday, the 2nd of November on the Marina in Cork City. The registration is at the Lee Rowing Club clubhouse which is located just next to the Pairc Ui Chaoimh GAA stadium. There are plenty of parking spaces available here at the stadium, outside the rowing club and down along the cul-de-sac by the waterfront (Just where the 4 is marked on the map).
They got about 270 at this last year so I would expect something similiar if not closer to 300 this year. The race starts at 11am so it is worth getting there a bit early to avoid the backlog at the sign-on.

Course...They hold a number of 5km and 4m races in this area using different routes. The route shown above is the usual one for the HSE race. You can get a better look at the course at this LINK
So, on to the description. The course is almost dead flat and there are no climbs. The race basically starts on the Marina near the clubhouse, takes in 2 laps of the Centre Park Road and Monaghan Road, and then finishes near the Marina again. You can expect your times to be pretty fast on this course. They only thing that you have to be careful about is the road surface. There are a lot of heavy goods vehicles using these roads and the road surface can be uneven in spots. It is not a big issue but just keep it in mind if you are running close behind someone and your view forward is obstructed.

Overall, this is a nice fast course. The roads are quiet at this time on a Sunday morning and it is one of the few places where you can hold a road race in Cork City without traffic being an issue. There are refreshments available after the race in the clubhouse.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Marathons.....Cork v Dublin
One of the features of the Dublin Marathon that struck me was the amount of hills in it. Now, there really wasn't anything bad about the hills on the course. After all, it would be almost impossible to have a Dublin Marathon without passing through the Phoenix Park and that was without doubt, the nicest part of the course. But before I ran the Dublin Marathon, people were saying that Cork was worse, that it was hillier. That the hill on the Model Farm Road was a killer.

So, lets dispell the myth...

Both the Cork and Dublin Marathons start nearly at sea level so keep that that in mind when you are looking at the graph above.
Dublin...there are 2 sections around 6 miles in the Phoenix Park and 15/16 miles near Terenure where the course is around 50 metres above sea level.
Cork...the highest section of the course is only 30 metres above sea level. Near Mahon, the maximum elevation is only 20 metres and even the lowest point of the Jack Lynch tunnel is only a maximum of 15 metres below sea level.

Conclusion........You just have to look at the graph. It's pretty obvious that in fact, the Cork Marathon is actually flatter than the Dublin Marathon. It's just that the hilly sections appear in the 2nd half of the race and that is what people remember when they were getting tired.
"Hello, Very interesting analysis of Cork v Dublin. Now how about the lenght of each! I ran Dublin with a forerunner and clocked 26.6 miles. Did anybody else find something similar? I know I didn't cut every coner but still .4 of a mile seems a lot......Billo"
"Not many people seem to know this but the Dublin course was actually short last year - it was officialy re-measured and as a result Thomas Abdu of GB was not allowed to run in the Olympics because his time of 2-10 could not be ratified. HughJones the International Measurement Administrator was sent to measure the Dublin course this July so it is certain to be accurate now as he had previously measured the Olympic Marathon route in Beijing. Interestingly the Dublin crowd kept very quiet about their course being short and I only heard of it over in England. At least Cork runners can be proud of the fact that all the courses they run on are completely accurate thanks to the sterling work done by Cork BHAA and John Walshe in particular........Anonymous"
"I did some checking on what was said in the anonymous comment above....about Thomas Abyu, if the course was short and so on. From what I found out, the only reason Thomas Abyu's time from 2007 was not accepted for the Olympics was because the course hadn't been measured by an AIMS official, that's why they brought in Hugh Jones this year. There was no question about whether the course was actually too short prior to this.
Billo....about whether the course was 26.6 miles....every course that has been accurately measured is slightly longer than it should be. A course can be too long but it can't be too short. If you read the comments in this old post about the 2008 Eagle 5 Mile race, you can get more info on it.
As good as GPS is, it has it's limitations. As a hillwalker, I often use a GPS unit and the accuracy when you have a limited view of the sky....i.e. city about10 to 20 metres. Just because your Garmin GPS watch beeps and says that you are at 15 miles, it doesn't actually mean that you are at 15 miles!! You have to appreciate that the current GPS system has it's limitations. The GPS watches are fine for training or for giving a reasonable indication of pace. They are not good enough for accurate measurement.
Add up all the sections of road where you went wide, the limited accuracy of the watch and the fact that the course will be slightly long and maybe 26.6 doesn't sound so wild after all........John Desmond"
"Same here, I used a Garmin 305 forerunner in Dublin and it measured 42.82K!! It's was generally spot on with other races I did.......Rex"

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dublin Marathon 2008......Putting ghosts to Rest
For anyone who has been reading this website on a regular basis will have noticed, this blog is about 'the' road races, not about 'my' races. I usually avoid mentioning what I do myself but the 2008 Dublin City Marathon was a special race for me.

My Marathon history.....My first 3 Marathons were in Dublin...1994 (3:37), 1995 (3:15) and 1996 (3:10). That last race was a real nightmare for me. 1996 was a year in which I set all of my PB's for the shorter races and I went to Dublin to try and break 3 hours. I got to 22 miles, hit the wall big time and struggled to the finish line. It was really really awful and I can remember that when I crossed the finish line, I swore Never again.

And I kept that promise, never running a race longer than 10 miles for another 11 years. Then the Cork Marathon started in 2007. With everyone talking about it and training for it, I ended up on the start line on Patrick Street in Cork in June 2007. I was back running Marathons again.

Yesterday in Dublin, it really was a special race for me. At last I broke the 3 hour mark with a time of 2:58:26. At last, 12 years later, I finally had the satisfaction of putting that ghost of 1996 to rest.

Rest in Peace...
Results and review of the 2008 Dublin City Marathon...
It was a long time since I last ran the Dublin City Marathon and I can see now what makes it so special. It's just the sheer number of people running it, something like 10,000. It was great to see so many Cork runners up there as well. It was almost like a local race;o) So some points...

Weather....The weather conditions for this Marathon were more or less ideal. The day was bright and sunny although a little cold. Perfect for running as it meant that overheating was never going to be an issue. It really wasn't until the race was over that I realised how cold it really was.

(Two Cork runners in the background....Fergus Wall and Liam Cotter near the 25 mile mark. Both went on to record PB's and break the 3 hour barrier)

Organisation.....Very impressive. Obviously the organisers have the experience of dealing with these large crowds year after year. The water stations were very well done with lots of those small 250ml water bottles and plenty of Lucozade Sport as well. No silly cups. You got a bottle into your hand and you could keep running and sip away from it. Out around 15 miles they were giving out some sort of gel. Can't remember the name but it tasted vile!! I thought at the time that anything that tastes that bad must be good for you ;o)

Route...I thought it was a hilly enough course. I was kind of suprised with all of the hills....nothing serious but I thought it was going to be flatter somehow. Best part of the course was without doubt the Phoenix Park, really nice place for a race.

Results......If anyone wants to check their times with splits, they can look for them HERE.

Photos......(Updated Mon 02/11/08)
1) 80 Photos are the 25 mile mark HERE.
2) 411 Photos somewhere in the 2nd half of the race HERE.
3) 437 Photos somewhere near the start HERE.
4) 22 Photos HERE.
5) 41 Photos HERE.
6) 17 Photos HERE.
7) 19 Photos HERE.
8) 29 Photos HERE.
9) 19 Photos near Mile 7 HERE.
10) 29 Photos HERE.
11) 399 Photos of runners further back the field HERE.
12) 189 Photos HERE.
13) 452 Photos HERE.
14) 325 Photos taken by John Quigley of Eagle AC mainly of Cork runners. Click HERE.
15) 146 Photos on the Athenry AC website HERE.
16) 1 Photo showing the mass field attempting a sharp left on Holles Street HERE.
17) 1 Photo showing a runner on his last legs but giving it everything to get to the finish. Click HERE.
18) 55 Photos showing someones personal account of the big day. A few other runners in there as well. Click HERE.
19) 17 Photos HERE.
20) 33 Photos HERE.
21) 28 Photos HERE.

22) 253 Photos have been put up on on the net by Paudie Birmingham. Some are of the start but most of them are of finishers (3:22 & under) near the finish. Click HERE.

23) The first 45 finishers HERE.

24) Another 51 photos HERE.

If anyone comes accross any more galleries, let me know and I'll update this list.

Video Clips.......
A short clip taken by someone running IN the marathon! It shows a section in the Phoenix Park...

A clip towards the end of the race...

"John, Well done on breaking the magic 3 hr barrier. I agree with most of what you said about the organisation of the marathon but I would consider that they should introduce a better corralling system at the start - A sub-4hr and greater than 4 hr corral makes for a bumpy start which leads to pretty irregular splits for the first 4 miles to the phoenix park. It was my 3rd marathon (first Dublin) and I knocked 15:30 off my Cork 2008 PB time to come in at 3:20:08. So the Blarney half and cork to cobh races paid off for me. I agree with you on the hills. I thought Cork was a bit hilly (the drag out the model farm road) but the constant up and down in Dublin until mile 18 meant that the climb at 19 - 20 was disproportionately hard on the legs. This left miles 21 - 26 as being a battle with the little fella in your head telling you to stop for a leak or a walk because you deserved it! I felt that the gap between the 25 mile mark and the '1 mile to go' markers were a bit hard as well....Richard"
"I think they need to look at the start. Having such a large volume of runners go from a wide road on Fitzwilliam Sq. to an alleyway (Holles St.) isn't ideal. It increases the likelihood of accidents and delays, was held up there for a good minute myself by the crowds. Other than that though it was a highly enjoyable day, perfect conditions and great support from spectators, much better than last year. Well done on the sub 3hrs!........Ronan"
"In an e-mail to me, someone mentioned that there was a bottleneck due to the number of walkers not starting at the back. They wrote............"Those of us wearing the green race numbers were not distinguised from the walkers, now I have nothing against walkers they should be given all the credit due, but it did cause a huge bottle neck at the corner of Holles St. Hospital, which stopped us in our tracks (I mean litterally a complete standstill then slow walk) that added at least 3mins to our first mile split."..........John Desmond"
"Hi there, if you're anything like me you've probably thrawled through every website possible looking for race photos of Dublin Marathon (maybe as proof to myself that I've actually done it). Well, I have found a great site You can put in your bib number and hopefully get a result. The site is free and set up by a runner who asks anyone with race photos to upload them onto the site for all to enjoy. Happy hunting.
PS, those gels were High5, one word, GANK!!! ..............Anonymous"

"Hi! You've got a link into my Flickr photo set from Mile 7! I'm CatticusD... Just to let you know, I've added a few more photos to the set, added the tags for the site, and tagged with bib numbers as best I could. Congratulations to all those who completed the course! I have nothing but respect for you. My own friend finished in 3 hours 31, a whole 29 minutes faster than she expected, which meant I missed her at the finish line :( Aw well...........Cat"

"Hey, You'd probably think the plug to my racepix365 site above was by me... but I swear it wasn't! Thanks to anonymous for mentioning it. It's summed up quite nicely there. Hopefully over the next few months there'll be many more races around Ireland on it. Congrats to all who took part in Dublin and happy training.......Darren "

Monday, October 27, 2008

Dublin Marathon 2008.....
Well done to everyone who made the trip to Dublin and completed the Marathon. I might put up a post about it tomorrow but in the meantime, a little video that I found when I was looking for info on the London Marathon a few months ago. I'm sure some parts of it may look familiar...

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's that time of year again.......the Ballycotton 10 Mile Road Race Entry Derby!!
Here we go's Ballycotton 10 entry time and it has been revealed that the entry conditions are the same again as last year! So, here's the low down.......

Entry is how you get them.
a) You can send the organisers an SAE during the month of November and they will post an entry form back to you on the weekend of Friday Nov 28th/Sunday Nov 30th
b) The entry form will be put up on website on Monday evening, the 1st of December, also in John Buckley Sports (Cork), Ger Wyley Sports (Dungarvan) and local shops (Ballycotton and Shanagarry) that same afternoon.

Type of entrant...
a) Elite runners.......that is, very fast. Doesn't concern us mere mortals.
b) Members of AAI registered athletic clubs OR any person who did one of the 4 Ballycotton Summer Series races.......Ballyandreen 5m (May), Shanagarry 5m (June), Churchtown South 5m (July) or the Ballycotton 5m (Aug). They have until Tuesday the 16th of December to get their entries in.
c) Genuine Overseas Runners........They have until Thursday, the 8th of Jan 2009 to get their entries (No Icelandic bank drafts please!! ;o)
d) Anyone who does not qualify under any of the above. For them, it will be a mad scamble to get their entries in on time. The organisers will set a limit of 2,500 entries. Once that limit is reached, it is only open to a), b) and c) above.
If you are in the d) camp above, you really need to be on the ball for this one. Last year, they reached the quota of 2,500 in just 5 days!!! That's right....the forms came out on the Monday and it was closed by the Friday. You really need to post that entry as soon as you can.....i.e. on Monday evening or on Tuesday morning. Considering the increase in the numbers of people running, it is very likely that the 2,500 limit will be reached earlier this year.

Last year at this time when this website was getting 2,000 hits per month, I could be pretty confident in saying that if you followed the guidelines that I had set out about posting early, you would be ahead of the pack and get in 100%. This year?? ..with 8,000 hits, a lot more people are going to see this. All I would say is that this year, if you post on Monday or Tuesday, you are LIKELY to get in, no guarantees. Certainly, if you wait until Wednesday or Thursday, it's less likely and if it's Friday, forget it!

Suggestion.........what about joining an athletic club?? Maybe you have been thinking about it and putting it off. I know if you are a beginner, you might think that clubs are only for 'serious' runners' but it's not like that at all. Most clubs have a wide mix of runners, men and women, fast and not so fast ;o) I'm sure most of them would be delighted to hear from you. Why not go to the Cork AAI website and see if there is a club in your area. If you join a club in November, the closing date for you will be the 16th of December.

Other than that, there is no panic for the moment. You just need to decide if you are going to send off a SAE or will you wait for the forms to come out. Over the next month, I'll be putting reminders up here anyway so keep checking.

Here is the official entry procedure from the Ballycotton Running Promotions Website......
The following is the entry procedure (similar to 2008) for next year’s race:

1) People apply for forms anytime during November (up to Friday 28th) by sending a SAE to: Ballycotton Running Promotions, Ballycotton, Co Cork (see note below).
2) All forms will then be posted out on the weekend of Friday Nov 28th/Sunday Nov 30th - ideally to arrive with applicants by Mon/Tue, Dec 1st/2nd.
3) Entry form will be put up on website on Monday evening (Dec 1st), also in John Buckley Sports (Cork), Ger Wyley Sports (Dungarvan) and local shops (Ballycotton and Shanagarry) that same afternoon.
4) The first 2,500 postal entries opened will be accepted.
5) All bona fide AAI (Athletics Ireland) registered club members will be accepted (by post) up to Tuesday December 16th along with any runner who has competed in one of the four 2008 Ballycotton Summer Series 5-mile races.
6) All bona fide overseas entrants (by post) accepted up to Thursday January 8th.
7) As usual, a limited number of elite athletes will be accepted up to near race day.

PLEASE NOTE: When applying for forms, please enclose a large (A4) SAE with the correct postage, stating the number of forms required (if more than one form is going to the same address, one envelope is sufficient). However, if the correct postage is not on the envelope we cannot be held responsible for postal delays. Also, we prefer people to enter on the official form, so ask for enough – there is no need to photo-copy!
"Hi John, just to say thanks for this information on Ballycotton race 2009. I entered last year but did not get in so I found your information really helpful. Many thanks .........Chrissie Gaffney"
"Hi John, have you any idea what the entrance fee will be this year for ballycottton 10??.......Anonymous"
"On the guide to entries for next years race, Ballycotton Running Promotions make no mention of the actual entry fee for next years race. I presume they may not make it public until the forms are actually released.....John Desmond"
Final post for the Dublin City Marathon.....
The is the final post before the Dublin Marathon. I'll update the weather forecast below as close to the day as I can.

Good luck to everyone making the trip to Dublin. I know there is is a big group from Cork going but this blog gets visits from all over Munster and Ireland and I'm sure there are people travelling from every corner of the country. I guess we all have certain target times in mind but the main thing is to just finish the Marathon. You'll see I have a quote at the bottom of this page from the great
Emil Zatopek who said... "If you want to win something, run the 100 metres. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

It really is the ultimate distance regardless of what time you do...

This is a video I found some time back of John Stephen Akhwari in Mexico, 1968.

Weather Forecast for the Dublin City Marathon...Mon 27th Oct (Updated Sun 26th 7am)
Now with 24 hours or so to go, this is the last weather forecast...
The forecast has improved since yesterday with low pressure system to the East moving away slightly. This has had the effect that the winds now over the East of Ireland have dropped off a fair bit. They still originate in the Artic so they are likely to be pretty cold, especially in open spots along the course. However, the winds will get slower as they cross the country and should be from the North West by the time it hits Dublin. Looking at the course, it might be a factor for the first few miles of the race and perhaps near the end.

Those 'blobs' on the map above signify passing showers which are typical after a cold front has passed through. It looks as if they will be worse up on the North coast and the West rather than in Dublin. At this stage if I had to make a guess, I'd say it will be a bright cold morning with a slight possibility of showers. Temp around 6 to 8 degrees. Winds - light North Westerly but it will feel cold where it is open along the course.

Met Eireann say "Monday will be cold and blustery, with a mixture of sunshine and showers. The showers will be heaviest and most frequent in the west and north, while parts of the east and south will remain dry."

So fingers crossed, it looks as if it might be a good one.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Video........Ironman Finish - 1997
Now that we are getting closer to Monday and the Dublin City Marathon, I think it might be time for a few posts as I know that a big contingent from Cork are making the trip up.

As anyone who has done a Marathon will know, the 20 mile mark is often called the Half Way Point! It can seem as hard to finish the last 10k as it did to run the first 20 miles. So, for those of you going to Dublin, just remember this video when you are out around the 23 mile mark and feeling exhausted. It show 2 finishers in the 1997 Ironman Triathlon. They had just swam 2.4 miles, cycled 112 miles and then ran a full Marathon of 26.2 miles.

This is one incredible video...

(...with thanks to Paul Hickey of Eagle AC for the tip off on this video)

Hooraay......the Running in Cork blog is 2 today!!
So here we are 270 posts later and it is the 2nd anniversary of my very first post back on the 23rd of October 2006. It's strange how it has got so big so fast. At first, I started the website just to mess about with blogs without any real purpose for starting one. I put up a few posts, the questions came in and a few more posts went up. Pretty soon, it was up to around 200 to 300 hits per month.....a pretty typical figure for most blogs.

This time last year, it had grown to around 2,000 hits per month. Wow....surely that was it, that was saturation point. 2,000 hits per month is a pretty decent figure for any website. However since then, it has taken off again and now gets around 8,000 hits per month. That's an average of almost 100,000 hits per year!! In fact, the site usually gets more hits now in 1 day as it got in a whole month 2 years ago.

Why so many? I reckon that it is a reflection on the power of the Internet. The hype of the Dot Com bubble may have come and gone back in the late 90's but the Internet has just kept growing. With more and more people getting broadband, the possibilties have opened up and now an awful lot of people source information online rather than through the traditional sources like newspapers, TV and radio.

In effect, the Running in Cork website has almost become like an online magazine. The beauty of a website though is that it is fluid, it can change depending on what's happening. If new photos become available, the links go up.....if a new race appears, the info goes up....people want to comment, they go up.....and of course, it's FREE!! Traditional sources like newspapers and magazines cannot do this. That's not to say that they don't have their place but I think as time goes on, the importance of traditional print media will diminish. Really, this whole Internet thing is only just beginning.

Over the last 2 years, a number of new runners have mentioned to me that they had no idea that there were so many races locally. They had heard of the Cork Marathon, the Mini-Marathon.....some had heard about some race down in Ballycotton and that was it. We really do have a very good local running scene and we really need to keep promoting it and keep getting the message out there that it exists. Remember, if we don't get the numbers, the races will just die away like they did back in the late 80's, early 90's.

So on that thought, I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who has contributed to this website in any way over the last 2 years. Be it your comments, your photos, your video clips or just passing on information. Thanks........John Desmond.

Roll on year 3...
"Happy Birthday Corkrunning Blog - Congrats and thank you John. I am a guy who started running less than 12 months ago just to get fit and before I knew it I was visiting and using your blog to plan and prepare for my next race (run/jog in my case!). I wouldn't have taken part in half the events without the information you provide and for that - Thank You. It is a big factor in the very successful Cork Running scene that currently exists. Keep up the good work!.....Anonymous"
"Hi John, Congratulations on such a successful website. I read it twice a day at work so I’m one of the addicted ones. I’ve been participating in road races for over a year now but still don’t know what you look like? Often see your name on result lists etc, how about a big smiley pic of yourself on the next bog :-) ...........Anonymous"
"Photo??....Not a hope in hell!! :o))........As you will know by now, the website is about the races, not about me.........John Desmond"
"Well done John, its a fab site, only discovered it this year but use it all the time now, like the fact you also look up old results in the archive section. Thanks John and all the best for another great year.....Brigid"
"Congratulations John on a successful 2 years - I too am an addicted one, checking the blog daily at the start of my working day. While having my morning coffee, I catch up on the latest from the running scene. I enjoy the preview and review of races - the previews sets the scene (course, weather etc) and the reviews tells the story. The photographs are great as post the event, one can see what was going on in front and behind them in a race and how bad or good they looked at the various stages!! Keep up the great work......Rhona "

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Nooo!!! Surely it's way too early to even start thinking about the 'B' word let alone start talking about it???

All I'll say is Sunday, 8th of March 2009.

"When is Ballycotton 10 on?........Anonymous"
"I heard entries are already full and closed. Start preparing for 2010 :-) .......Derek"
"Derek, don't be're like Joe Duffy who nearly caused a run on the Banks a few weeks ago....Entry forms are not even released yet so there's no need to panic. Not just yet anyway..Anonymous"
"Did anyone notice on the ballycotton site that the link for the info on the BC10 is mistyped and leads to a dead end .. They left out an 'L' .. Is there something at odds ??? ....Anonymous"
"Entries are not already full and closed, everyone will have the oppurtunity to enter as soon as the details for entry are released.......John Dunphy "
"Ha Ha. Such is the appeal for this race, that people are stressing in October for a March 2009 race. There is about 20 weeks to go, so get training NOW!!! Normally the application forms come out in early December (usually Monday afternoon).If you send your form in on the Monday or Tuesday, then you should get in. If you print off the form and leave it on the kitchen table and hum and haw about it, and then post it on Friday you will NOT get in (unless you have done the ballycotton 5 series) Last year I think they had filled up on Wednesday morning. The entry instructions will be posted on this site, as well as the ballycotton one......Rich"
"Rich...that is assuming that the entry conditions are the same as last year! All will be revealed soon........John Desmond"
"Mmmm ........John - what do you know??? WHO do you know???? I do beleive that the method used in previous years worked well enough. It definitely focused the minds on the race. Getting in seemed to have some sort of prestige. The one thing I cannot figure out about Ballycotton, is why Nike dropped the sponsorship a few years ago. For them to provide 2000 finishers t-shirts and merchandise would not cost them very much. There was a captive audience of 2000 runners. I would have thought it was an advertisers dream. Maybe (and probably is) there is more to the story than them just dropping out cause they felt like it......Rich"

Monday, October 20, 2008

Reviews of Marathons and other races overseas....???
A visitor to this website left a comment recently suggesting if it might be a good idea to have a section here where people can post their reviews of Marathons that they might do overseas.

John, As more and more of us are considering running a foreign marathon, I think I have a good idea for you. Could you invite any runner who has ran a foreign marathon to write a report on your blog on the week after they run the race. You then might be able to organise the reports by marathon. This could then be developed so that the reader could click on say "the Amsterdam Marathon" and they could read the reviews of the subcribers. What would you think?.........Anonymous

I guess most people here start out doing the Cork or Dublin Marathon and then some might start thinking about doing one overseas. In fact, a lot of clubs organise their own trips and city marathons are a big tourist attraction for many European cities.

So why not, it's not as if the site is going to be flooded by reports and I'm sure that there are plenty of people who would be interested in hearing what they are like. We have all heard about the big ones like London, Paris, Berlin, New York, etc. It would be nice to hear what it is like from a local runners point of view. I can keep an index of the reports near the bottom of the menu bar on the right and we'll see how it goes.

So if you have just completed a race overseas recently (lets say Half Marathon & Marathons), then why not submit a short race review. Say 300 to 400 words covering issues like course...hilly or flat / entry fees / restricted entry? / cost / weather / organisation / atmosphere / etc. Send it to my e-mail address which is shown at the bottom of the menu bar on the right.
And just to emphasise the point on how popular overseas race have become, a good number of runners from Cork and Munster took part in the Amsterdam Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, the 19th of October. I have put a list of the finishers from Munster up on the Running in Munster website.
"Has anyone ever ran a marathon in either Lisbon (dec 7) or Florence (nov 30)? If yes- which one is more difficult , has more hill climbs etc...Ran the Cork City one last June and am hoping to complete one more in either of above cities before year end.......Barry Coleman"

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Video Clip......Finish of the Ladies Marathon Race in Chicago, 2007......
No doubt there are a good few of you tapering down at the moment getting ready for the Dublin Marathon on the 27th. With this in mind, it seemed a good time to put up this video clip from the finish of the Ladies race in the 2007 Chicago Marathon. This however is no ordinary finish as you will see. As long as the race isn't over, there is always hope ;o)


(....with thanks to Tadhg Lynch and Siobhan Murphy of Eagle AC for the tip off on this one)

"Don't think it is on youtube, but there was an even closer finish to the 2006 Dublin City Marathon for first Irish woman. Pauline Curley was clearly ahead, but picked up a bad injury with about a mile to go. She hobbled [literally] on but was reeled in about 10 yards from the line by Belfast's Jill Shannon.............AlanJoesphBurke"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Issues with the Cork Womens Mini-Marathon...
I got this e-mail some time back from Sally Drennan of Midleton outlining her concerns with regard to this years Cork Women's Mini-Marathon. I held off posting it here until the East Cork 3k results were out of the way as I wanted to keep it prominent near the top of the page for a while.

I just thought it would be interesting to use this great blog as a forum to air my opinion on a few issues relating to the Cork Women’s Mini Marathon. My main problem is the annual chaos at the start with regard to the elite runners. For all of the mini marathons in which I have taken part (the last four years), there has been confusion about where elite runners should start. In my ignorance the first time I ran it, I did as everyone was being told over the loudspeaker to do and lined up behind the starting line with the rest of the field and then realised that I had lost at least 50 metres as dozens of runners had started before the gun went off. I have become wiser and for the past couple of years it has been possible to legitimately squeeze past a barrier and get straight to the front with the other club runners and runners hoping for a good time.
However this year, about half an hour before the start I was told by several different officials that there would not be a separate area for elite runners this year. So, I cut my warm up short (in fact I didn’t really warm up at all). Instead I struggled and pushed my way through the crowds of women, children (and men!) lining up behind the start. Needless to say my pushiness wasn’t welcomed by all the other runners/walkers who didn’t see why they should let me through. Eventually I made it to the front only to discover that plenty of runners (with thicker necks than me?) had managed to avoid the crowds and were happily warming up in front of us. There were other good runners penned in with me and eventually against the will of the stewards guarding the barrier we climbed over and managed to join the other runners, but at this stage it was too late for a warm up. Shortly before the start they let everyone out into the starting area.

What I can’t understand is why in Cork (as in Dublin and I believe Limerick), we cannot have a limited number of serious runners allowed to start safely at the front out of the way of the crowds. I am concerned primarily about the safety of having walkers, children and even dogs allowed to start with the fastest runners in the race. Also, the unfairness of runners being treated differently according to which steward they ask or how much they beg is really not acceptable. I think it is time that this race was treated like what it is advertised to be “The premier 4 mile road race in Munster”, although, one more thing, it is actually a good bit short of 4 miles!........Sally Drennan, Midleton AC.

Since Sally sent me her article, I have found out that the course is almost certainly not 4.0 miles in lenght. In fact, it probably is closer to 3.9 miles, about 170 metres short. Considering that crowd safety is a major issue, I really can't see the organisers changing that as I presume they have selected the start/finish points to keep people away from the public roads that are open.
However, the start seems to be a major issue and others have mentioned it to me as well. I know it is a fun event for 95% of those taking part but some are there to race. It really is not acceptable for elite runners to have to push & shove and climb over safety barriers to get to the front of the race.........John Desmond

"I agree with Sally, it was absolute chaos at the start. I do a lot of running and was hoping to get out quick and get a fast time, but instead of warming up I spent half an hour before the race being pushed and elbowed by many frustrated runners............Anonymous"
"I would like to comment on the women’s mini marathon. It is a WOMENs minimarathon – why have a MAN djing, a MAN from the city council and a MAN from the echo. I found it completely patriarchal and condescending. As for the start line – surely they could make the first 1000 numbers available to club members/ people who have completed races during the summer or some other factors. .........Anonymous"
"My comment in relation to the confusion at the start is that next year on the application form, there should be a section for recording your club name, if applicable. I think then that all club runners should get a band with their number or be allocated numbers (1-50) and be allowed enter the elite start. I think that would be the fairest.......Rhona Lynch, Eagle AC"
"I agree with Sally, there was alot of confusion at the start of the race. I got a call from my sister to say that there was no elite start this year so to make my way to the start immediately. My car was parked at the the atlantic pond so I ran in a panic to the start at 12.25. I accessed the start from central park road and on my way saw some of the elite runners only starting a warm up with full tracksuits on. I was in my shorts at this stage so felt that this was unfair - was there an elite start or not. As I approached the starting line I met a number of club runners very stressed and angry regarding the start. There were close on 10000 people at the start of the race behind a barrier - if you are going to race the 4 miles (3.9), you need to warm up and keep warm until as close as possible to the race start time. I don't want to be taking from the fantastic job that all the volunteers did to make this a great event but something needs to be done about the start for next year. I have already posted my suggestion. - Rhona Lynch (Eagle AC)"
"I am wondering how one would categorise themselves as "elite"? Was there a space on the form for club name , or a check box for "Elite"? If there was, then the organisers should have done something about it, if not, then you have to take it on the chin I'm afraid. The Mini marathon is a HUGE fundraising event, and (my opinion here) probably over 90% of people there are fun runners, walkers, men dressed as wimmen etc. There is only a few people (200-300) there to actually race. In the grand scheme of things they probably don't really care about the racers, only about the numbers and the logistics of getting 10,000 people around the course safely.
Was there any running club involvement with the mini-marathon? If there was, then they could suggest, as other posters have, of a pen for the "serious" racers, which they enter via a wrist band or similar. Maybe one way of disuading "non serious" runners from the serious runners, is to have a higher entry fee (say 15 ) for the racers and the 12 for the fun runners. Would you pay the premium to be in the front pen? Just a thought......Rich"
"For the past few years, I have been trying to persuade the Co. Board to facilitate the runners but, to date, have been unsuccessful. The Board has a mammoth task in organising the event, on a totally voluntary basis, with many giving an absolutely HUGE amont of their time to the event, over weeks and even months.
Nevertheless the event has lost its attraction for very many club runners. Year on year, it attracts less and less club runners. This year was the worst to date for facilitating runners.
In advance of the event, pleas to the Co Board to have an elite start or a runners start went unheard. "They'll just have to get there early! At least one hour before the start!" was the response.
If the event is to be just a charity walk, then so be it. If it is to remain as a race, then the runners MUST be facilitated. I have stewarded the event for about 10 years and have noticed a change in numbers running (as opposed to walking) in the past 4 years. In the last 5 mile event, I reckon about 120 ran. When it changed to the Marina, numbers started to go up and last year saw a big jump in runners, I reckon about 500 ran. this year the change was massive - something like 2,000 ran. Only 100 of them had their times recorded!
Two changes MUST be made to make the event attractive to club runners: 1 A separate start area, or corral, for runners, with an elite warm-up area. 2. Finish times be taken for at least anyone under 45 to 50 minutes.
Whats the point of having a race where runners aren't permitted to warm-up before the race, run (impeded by walkers, including organised groups-en masse, buggies, dogs (some walkers had several dogs on leads) (BTW, no race anywhere permits (on safety grounds) dogs)
Rich raises the question of club involvement. The event is organised by the Cork AAI County Board, it follows that clubs are involved through the Board. In any case the event is stewarded by club volunteers. As regards charging runners extra to run in a road race as opposed to walking?????
There is a very strong undercurrent of discontent with the event among club runners. This will have to be addressed by the Co Board. It is a shame that the event is now such that, even though the numbers taking part are at an all time high, the number of AAI registered runners continues to fall...........John Quigley, Eagle AC"
"I couldn’t have put it better myself Sally, I whole hearty agree with everything you said. A cattle mart with people pushing and shoving would describe it mildly!!! I was in the exact same situation as you last year, but this year I was as cute as a fox and knew exactly what to do.
Also could I take this opportunity to say the Limerick LADIES mini-marathon was a joke! Let me stress the word LADIES again! There was so many men in this race, us girls didn’t have a chance! Myself and my friends trained hard all Summer to reach the top 100, but the results list complied of so many guys names who had registered as girls (eg. Paul to a Pauline) we didn’t have a hope in hell. I fully understand this is a charity run and the drags provided great entertainment for spectators, but for us it was a girls race and we wanted to do well. There are plenty of other races for guys to participate in, give us poor girls a chance!!!
Simple solution for the organisers: Hold a MENS mini-marathon next year, especially if the guys feel so passionate about running with the ladies and dressing up as drags!!!! I can guarantee you there would be no shoving and acres of space for elite runners.
If I’m fit and strong enough next year I’ll be heading down to Cork to do Cork-Cobh 15 miles which was held on the same day.
By the way Sally, if you thought things were bad in Cork, the Limerick race was ten times worse with roughly only a third of the crowd............Anonymous"
"I think it a a health hazard for a club runner to run the mini marathon. I know of a serious and well known club runner who is out of action for some time to come due to being bumped just as the gun went off. Nobody has given a reason as to why they can't have an elite start for the racers.......Why can't we get a statement from the organisers? Its my opinion that if they take away the elite start, it's the beginning of the end for the mini marathon........Anonymous"
Entries for the 2009 London Marathon....???
Someone left a comment under a previous post about the 2009 London so I have put it up here as a seperate post...
"Just wondering has anyone who applied for the London Marathon, through the overseas ballot system, got an acceptence yet. Myself and my wife both applied, unfortunately she got a refusal email but I've heard nothing good or bad yet. Still hopeful!..........Anonymous"

I have heard of another person who got a refusal. Anyone got an acceptance yet?
Website notices.....Record traffic, Upcoming Races & New Photos....
1) Website Traffic...........Last week was a busy one on the blog with 2,930 hits, a new weekly record!! Usually, this site gets around 2,000 hits per week but with the Cork to Cobh race, it increased by almost 50% to nearly 3,000 hits. The previous weekly record was set during the Cork City Marathon.

2) Upcoming Races......Next weekend is a quiet one in Cork but there is plenty happening elsewhere in Munster. On Saturday, there is a 10k race in the Killarney National Park in Kerry which sounds like it would be a stunning location for a race. On Sunday, there is a cross country race near Thurles in Tipperary and there is a 10 mile fun run in Waterford City. So, if you are prepared to travel, there is plenty happening. More details can be found on the Running in Munster website.

3) New Photos......Irene Hartigan has very kindly put some photo's of the mens Cross Country race in Carrignavar last Sunday up on a photo gallery website. Scroll down the page to see them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Results of the East Cork AC 'Winter Series 3k' Road Race (No.1 of 7) - Tues 14th Oct 2008
After a very wet and miserable day, it looks like the weather eased off just in time for this race, the first of the 7 East Cork 'Winter 3k series's races. This was the first race and already the numbers are very high with 132 finishers. This compares with 102 for the first race this time last year. Perhaps I was a little bit optimistic in thinking that if I mentioned the race one week ago and didn't preview it on Monday, most of you would have forgotten about it by now ;o) Anyway, on to the results......

(If anyone wants to compare their times to the last 2 years, have a look at East Cork Winter Series webpage.)

East Cork AC 3Km Winter Series Race 1 14/10/08
1 James McCarthy,East Cork AC 9.14
2 Tim Murphy,Togher AC 9.34
3 Brian Hegarty,East Cork AC 9.52
4 Padraig Healy,CIT 9.55
5 James O'Driscoll,CIT 9.56
6 Frank Hayes,East Cork AC 9.58
7 Dave Muldowney,Eagle AC 10.00
8 Frank Carroll,East Cork AC 10.05
9 Eric Meade,East Cork AC 10.10
10 Kevin Smyth, East Cork AC 10.14
11 Marty O'Keeffe,Youghal AC 10.14
12 Kevin O'Leary,East Cork AC 10.17
13 Mark O'Donovan,CIT 10.21
14 Robert Patterson,Dunmanway 10.26
15 Alan O'Reilly,CIT 10.32
16 Brian O'Connor,Fermoy 10.35
17 Conor Tierney,East Cork AC 10.52
18 Denis McCarthy,East Cork AC 10.52
19 John Collins,CIT 10.58
20 Billy O'Sullivan,Midleton AC 11.01
21 Frank Cashman,East Cork AC 11.03
22 Emmet Hennessy,Midleton AC 11.04
23 David O'Mahony,Ballincollig 11.06
24 Cathal McCarthy,Midleton AC 11.07
25 Tom Cody,Midleton AC 11.10
26 Steven Lynch,CIT 11.29
27 John O'Callaghan,Rising Sun AC 11.32
28 Shane Cooney,Midleton AC 11.34
29 Coran Swayne,Midleton CBS 11.36
30 Daniel Walsh,Glenbower AC 11.39
31 Pat Fogarty,ESB 11.41
32 Shane Ryan,Midleton GAA 11.43
33 Terri Hennessy,Grange Fermoy AC 11.44
34 Alan Kelly,Midleton AC 11.44
35 Paul Cleary,Whitegate 11.45
36 Patrick Dunlea,Midleton GAA 11.46
37 Leslie Coughlan,Midleton CBS 11.48
38 Maurice Tobin,Grange Fermoy AC 11.49
39 Rick Prendergast,Castlemartyr1 1.51
40 Brian Healy,Midleton AC 11.53
41 Niamh Walsh,Youghal AC 11.54
42 Eoghan Cotter,Whitegate 11.55
43 John Dunphy,Midleton AC 11.58
44 Dermot Murphy,Midleton 11.58
45 Sally Drennan, Midleton AC 11.59
46 Paddy Hegarty,Cork 12.02
47 Ciaran O'Donovan,CIT 12.06
48 Trevor Mahoney,Midleton AC 12.07
49 Ken Owens,Togher AC 12.08
50 Michelle Nolan,Midleton AC 12.09
51 Simon Thompson,Midleton AC 12.12
52 Alan Healy,CIT 12.15
53 Sean Hennessy,Midleton GAA 12.23
54 Billy Woods,Midleton 12.25
55 Kevin Dunne,Ballinacurra 12.29
56 Mick Murphy,Midleton AC 12.30
57 Kevin Maybury,CIT 12.30
58 Darragh Flynn,Grange Fermoy AC 12.36
59 Irene Hartigan,Kerry 12.38
60 Mary O'Keeffe,Youghal AC 12.40
61 Sean O'Farrell,Midleton CBS 12.45
62 Ann Geary,Lisgoold 12.48
63 Trevor Collins,Nass 12.50
64 Liam Walsh,Midleton GAA 12.53
65 Michael Hanrahan,Midleton AC 12.55
66 Mark Walsh,Midleton AC 13.02
67 Don O'Hanlon,Cork 13.05
68 Pat Walsh,Midleton GAA 13.07
69 Peter Stanley,Carrigaline 13.08
70 Peter Blissett,Cork 13.10
71 Padraig O'Regan,Ladysbridge 13.11
72 Karen Kenny,Grange Fermoy AC 13.13
73 Roy Collins,Tipperary 13.17
74 John Cotter,Cobh 13.18
75 John O'Riordan,Rising Sun AC 13.21
76 Dean Wilson,Midleton 13.27
77 Mark O'Keeffe,Youghal AC 13.29
78Mark Ryan,Midleton 13.30
79 Mary Histon de Barra,Rising Sun AC 13.31
80 Padraig Nagle,Midleton GAA 13.33
81 Kevin Cronin,UCC 13.35
82 Linda O'Connor,East Cork AC 13.40
83 Finbarr Lyons,Midleton 13.43
84 Christine Murphy,Midleton AC 13.45
85 Danny McCarthy,Midleton AC 13.50
86 John Walshe,East Cork AC 13.54
87 Jimmy Murray,Rising Sun AC 13.55
88 David Healy,UCC 14.05
89 Catherine Sheridan,Midleton 14.07
90 Mick McCarthy,West Waterford AC 14.09
91 Austin Murphy,St Finbarrs AC 14.12
92 Rowan la Mere,Ballinacurra 14.14
93 Donie O'Connell,Midleton AC 14.20
94 Marie Murphy,Youghal 14.28
95 Donal O'Donoghue,Little Island 14.30
96 Helen O'Shea,CIT 14.32
97 Gavin Hurley,Midleton CBS 14.33
98 Eibhlin Cleary,East Cork AC 14.35
99 Vincent O'Neill,Midleton AC 14.39
100 Deirdre Ahern,Midleton AC 14.40
101 Kathleen Madigan,CIT 14.44
102 Maura O'Doherty,Midleton AC 14.45
103 Diane Lille,yCIT 14.56
104 Carrie Higgins,Carrigtwohill AC 14.58
105 Barry Drennan,Carrigtwohill 14.59
106 Bridget Cleary,East Cork AC 15.01
107 Elaine Hennessy,Midleton AC 15.01
108 Tim Geary,Lisgoold 15.04
109 Margaret Beausang,Midleton AC 15.10
110 Mary O'Keeffe,Midleton 15.18
111 Rose Barrett,Midleton AC 15.30
112 Catriona Reilly,Ballymacoda 15.33
113 Pat Meaney,Cork 15.49
114 Eimer McCarthy,Whitegate 16.06
115 Olive Hallahan,Leevale AC 16.10
116 Eoin Cashman,Midleton AC 16.13
117 John Cashman,Midleton AC 16.13
118 Hymay Nguyen,Cork 16.19
119 Olan O'Brien,Midleton 16.32
120 Joan McCarthy,Midleton AC 16.34
121 Orla Kelleher,Dungourney 16.36
122 Aishling O'Riordan,Ballymacoda 16.39
123 Aine O'Keeffe,Ballycotton 17.24
124 Liz Browne,Whitegate 17.33
125 Mairead Dunne,Cork 17.53
126 Jim McMurtry,Midleton AC 17.55
127 Ella Curtin,Midleton 17.57
128 Eadaoin Murphy,Midleton 18.06
129 Fionain O'hAodha,Cork 18.12
130 Clare O'Leary,Midleton AC 18.22
131 Conor la Mere, Ballinacurra 25.33
132 Chuck la Mere, Ballinacurra 25.33

(...with thanks to Liam O'Brien for the above results)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guest Article.......'Running for Dear Life' Michael Sexton
"The following piece was written recently by Michael Sexton for a Toastmasters meeting and he has very kindly sent it on to me. Some of you may remember that a few months back, Michael had a piece on this website which outlined his initial introduction to a road race in Cork. In this article, Michael describes what the current running scene in Cork is like. It might be especially useful to anyone just starting out and visiting this website for the first time.....John Desmond"

Title: Running for Dear Life Michael Sexton
Mr Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and most welcome guests,
Hard work never killed anyone…. But why take the risk? So said Ronald Reagan. This evening I am going to talk about road running. My main message is that by the end of this speech you will be able to identify road running as a big activity in Cork city and county. I am going to talk about the various events that occur, the organisations that keep it going before finishing up by discussing jogging in general.
First and foremost is the Cork city Marathon. The original marathon was run by a Greek soldier Pheidippides in 490 BC when he ran from Marathon to Athens to say the Greeks had won a victory over their bitter enemies the Persians. Personally I feel he took the gloss of it myself by dropping dead on the spot but I guess he immortalised the event. The Cork City Marathon last year was resurrected not after 2500 year gap but after a 21 year gap and it has been a great success. Last year 3750 athletes ran and this year 4550 men and women participated with no fatalities I might add.
I believe one of the reasons for the success is that it is held on the bright and sunny June Bank Holiday Monday morning and secondly relay teams of up to five people can run. So it is not that big a struggle – one can train for it and still keep a social life. Last year I ran seven miles this year I ran nine miles.
Along with this the Cork Business Houses Athletics Association arrange around twenty races throughout the year, most of which are 5 KM or 5 mile races. These races can be in Ovens, on the beach in Youghal, the Marina, Glanmire, etc. Shortly in fact there will be a 15 mile Cork to Cobh race if anyone is interested.
Ballycotton host the annual Ballycotton ‘10’ every March where up to 2200 athletes run. This apparently is supposed to be one of the best ten mile races on these islands. Not sure why but presumably it is because of the incline, countryside, road surface and organisation of the event.
Just last Thursday week I ran a 5 mile road race in Ballycotton in their summer series. It was a glorious evening. It was like being on a Greek holiday with blue skies, balmy breeze and the sea nearby. At any rate it was announced that 379 men and women participated which is up from 278 for the same race the previous year. So running is getting bigger and bigger.
Many towns such as Kinsale and Cobh start off their weekend summer festivals with a road race. Last summer I ran in the 5 mile road race around Kinsale. I was expected a lovely balmy evening with yachts and sea and the like. Instead it was like something out of the Onedin Line with the mist and rain. At one stage I was expecting the Marie Celeste or the Flying Dutchman to come out of the fog. I guess you win some you lose some.
To keep all this going of course there has to be some organisation. Since matters are well organised here in Cork road running is on the up. We have the aforementioned Cork Business Houses Athletics association who as volunteers man the roads with stewards, pick decent routes where there is little inconvenience to drivers and the like, have the big clock so we can all get our times and in short take it seriously. These races only cost a fiver and it is made quite clear that participating at all stages is the main thing. At recent races they seem to be looking for more volunteers as the numbers running increase and increase.
Along with this a chap John Desmond updates a blog with the venues and maps and comments of all the races. This would be one of the main reasons I and probably others got involved in these road races. Not only do I know the route but I also know how to get to the route. If you’ve only taken up road running over the last year how to get to the race is a very important thing to know.
There is also the specialist running store of John Buckley Sports. John himself would be a former international runner having won three gold medals at the World Masters Championships at Malmo – met off the plane by the Lord Mayor Falvey with his medals and so would have a certain authority on it all.
To talk a little about jogging, a few years back I read a biography on Nelson Mandela. In it he mentioned how he used to run every morning while he work as a lawyer. At any rate on the TV this summer I saw Nelson Mandela celebrate his ninetieth birthday. Running must be good for you, it was good for him. Actually as I reading the book he mentioned how they had three soccer leagues going when he was imprisoned. There must have been an awful lot of people locked up.
So, more and more people are realising the health benefits of running. The gear is much better now, especially the shoes and more and more people are aware of the importance of warming down and stretched, thereby preventing various ailments and knee problems.
Interestingly in that race where 379 people ran 15 years ago 262 people ran in the same race. That night 92 of them ran the five miles in under thirty minutes. Last Thursday week only 38 did the same. In fact my evaluator tonight Dave Moran used to do a bit of running in his day as a triathlete. Dave even managed 10 miles in 60 minutes. I feel that deserves a medal. So while more people are running yet the times are lower. This indicates to me that more and more people are participating for the health benefits.
I used to get caught up in the times. I ran that race in 44 minutes. I ran the previous one in 40 minutes. I was a bit disappointed and I said it to some people. They said to me:
I can barely run for the bus! 44 minutes, 144 minutes who’s counting?
And so to conclude my main message here tonight is that road running is a growing activity here in Cork. There are a multitude of events such as the Cork city marathon, the Ballycotton 5 series and those organised by the Cork Business Houses Association and they all have an increase in participants. All these events are well promoted and organised along with being great value for money. In general jogging as a pastime is on the way up.
As I mentioned at the beginning about why take the risk about being killed by hard work what has happened is that more and more people are realising that there is no hard work involved and are in fact pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome received while to participating in these very healthy events.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Results of the Cork County Novice & U23 Open Cross Country, Carrignavar - Sun 12th Oct 2008 (Updated 15th Oct)
A wide selection of Cork clubs were represented in Carrignavar today with around 50 runners taking part in the mens race and 32 in the ladies race. Full results are now up on the Cork Athletics website. The winners of the later open races can be found HERE.

The next cross country race is the Munster X-Country Championships on the 19th of October in Tipperary. Contact an official in your club if you want to get entered for this one.

Photos...........A set of 88 photos of the mens race has now been put up on a photo website by Irene Hartigan.

"Hey cross-country boy, aren't you suppossed to be tapering!..............Anonymous"
"I started my taper today ;o)...........John Desmond"
"John, a chap has asked if I know where the cross country event is held this weekend in tipp. I did not know and am wondering if you have any directions for it? He has tried road maps and the internet without success, your help would be appreciated.....John Dunphy"
"John.......As it is a Tipp race, I have details up on the Running in Munster website. Have a look there and see if that makes it clearer. Give me a shout if you need more info.............John Desmond"

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Start of the Cross Country Season.......
For those of you new to the running scene, you may not be aware that around this time of year, the cross country season starts. The events are usually pre-entry only and you have to be a member of an athletic club. In general, the races are usually about 4 to 5 miles long for men and 2 to 2.5 miles long for women. Running on soft ground usually requires more effort and the times are always well down on what you would expect to do on the road. Most people wear special shoes with spikes although you could probably get away with an old pair of runners for your first race if it wasn't too wet. If you are a member of a local club, you should ask your club official about the races coming up. The first race is on tomorrow, Sunday the 12th of October in Carrignabhear although I think the entries for that one may be closed. But there are others coming up so have a look at the race calendar.

There is also a cross country race in Dungarvan tomorr0w and that one is open to everyone. No pre-entry is required. So if you are prepared to make the trip, have a look at the Running in Munster website for more information.


"Good to see you mentioning cross country, a pity you left it a little late but better late than never. This will sort out the men from the boys and the women from the girls. There wont be any headphones there I bet.............Anonymous"

Thursday, October 09, 2008

East Cork AC announce the start of the their 'Winter Series' 3k road races....
This series has been going for a good few years and the numbers have continued to get bigger over the years. Originally, the series was supposed to be for runners in East Cork to help them train over the winter months. In more recent times, it has attracted more runners from further afield and the numbers have now grown to a stage where it is almost getting too big. The space is limited at the start and as the numbers go over 100, it is getting more difficult for the organisers.

What is it???...........Basically, the race itself is 3 loops of a 1km circuit just to the South of Midleton in East Cork. No prizes, no refreshments or anything like that. It's just a 3k run. Entry fee is about €3 I think. The first race is next Tuesday, the 14th of October. The next one is 3 weeks later on the 4th of November and so on until the 7th and final race is on the 17th of February of 2009. The start time for each race is 7:30pm.

Note of Caution....If you are doing this race, remember it is in a residental area. The organisers depend on the goodwill of the local residents so that this race can continue. Please keep this in mind when parking, warming up and so on.

Reflective vest........Part of this race is on the hard shoulder of the Midleton to Whitegate road. The organisers request that you wear a reflective bib or vest for the race.
Publicity.......Considering the numbers that they were getting last year, I'm a little concerned about saying too much about this event! Considering the level of traffic that this website now gets (~1,500 to 2,000 hits per week), I don't want to post something on say Monday and then have 200 people turning up on Tuesday!! So, what I am going to do this year is that a) I will update the 'Race Calendar' in the right hand column here, b) I will leave a link under 'Race Flyers' if someone wants more info and c) I will post the results after each race. I won't preview each event before it happens. So if you are interesting in doing any races in the series, it's up to you to keep track of when they are on.

If you want more info, you will find the flyer for the series HERE and more information about the course HERE.
Food for thought...........While I was writing this post, I wondered if there would be a demand for an event like this in or near Cork city? Maybe a 3k race on the same night as the Midleton event which would the pressure off the numbers there. I know they hold a very successful series of night races every year in Dungarvan so why not Cork? Obviously it would require an area that is quiet, well lit and with plenty of space for parking. Perhaps some industrial estate? What do people there a demand for this kind of event closer to Cork city???
"The marina would be ideal for a 3k as it is quiet and flat and as long as you stayed on centre park road and Monaghans road you would have public lighting. Parking is also straightforward.......Richard"
"Just a point of interest Richard, that loop you describe is approx 2.5 kms in lenght........John Desmond"

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Results of the Cork BHAA 'Cork to Cobh' 15 mile road race - Sun 5th Oct 2008 (Updated Fri 17th Oct 1pm)
What a perfect day for a road race...Blue skies, sun shining and hardly any wind. It really could not have been any better. It may be only the start of October but I can confidently predict that the 5th will be the best day of the month.
Last year they got exactly 600 finishers for this race. For the 2008 event, they got a record number of roughly 670 finishers. In fairness, the Cork BHAA put on a great race today.....plenty of stewards, plenty of water stations and a very good spread afterwards. No doubt the 300 plus pre-entries helped things go a lot smoother on the day.

It really is a very strange race. Most races take the form of a big loop with the start and finish lines closeby. Looking at all the people finishing yesterday in Cobh, the start line back in Cork City seemed such a long way away. Perhaps the fact it is so unusual is the reason it attracts such a big crowd? Certainly, it is the only day in the year that you could actually safely run on the main road to Cobh!

Mile Markers.......After the race, someone mentioned to me that thought some of the mile markers in the centre of the race were in the wrong place? Did anyone else find this to be the case? I know that in my own case, I was trying to keep track of how much I was inside 6'40" miling. I was fine until around the 9 mile mark when all my times seemed wrong and I got completely confused ;o)
Note to self.......the middle of race is not a good time to do mental arithmetic!!

Cars.........I hear that there might have been a spot of bother with some car/cars out along the road near Little Island/Fota. Some driver doing the maggot??

Photos........If anyone has any photos of the race, they might let me know and we'll see if we can get them up on the net for people to see. I understand that there might be a batch of photos ready sometime on Tuesday night for viewing.
1st Set..........Thanks to Richard Cuddy for this set of 261 photos taken near the 5.5 mile mark near Glounthaune.
2nd Set.........Paudie Birmingham of Mallow AC came up trumps again with this set of 252 photos just before the finish line in Cobh.
3rd Set........Joe Murphy of Eagle AC took 294 shots near the 5 mile mark and near the finish in Cobh.
4th & 5th Set..........West Waterford AC have a selection of 56 photos on their website. They are mainly of West Waterford runners but there are a few others in there as well. Click HERE and HERE.

'Nutter in an Escort'

'Nutter stopped in his Escort'

Results...The full results are now available HERE.

"First of all John, I found your blog a very helpful source of information before the race. It actually contained everything I needed and I couldn't find anything elsewhere. Thanks for that great job! ........Radek"
"I agree, a great day and a great race - I must particularly praise the junior water station staff - incredible - Could do with them on other runs! The start on summerhill north was a bit bunched and there were plenty of fun runners too far forward. If the event remains this popular it might be a good idea to have a segregated start like the marathons or Ballycotton........Richard"
"Re: segregation, i would say that Ballycotton is one of the worst examples of this around. If you want to be near the front at the start, then get there early. To segregate a crowd of 600 or even 2500 (Ballycotton) would require serious manpower and effort, that unfortunately BHAA/Ballycotton cannot provide due to the voluntary nature of organisations.
Get there early is the answer. Too many people expect to be near the front as they stroll to the start line with 2-3 minute to spare. Don't complain if you are at the back of the crowd if you come late...(end of rant!)
I do agree that some runners make their way to the front even if they are 10 minute milers. This is a race etiquette thing that should be promoted a bit more.....Rich"

"Don't get me wrong about the segregated start, I know where I fit in and I had no problems yesterday. I did witness a mini-pile-up as someone dropped a mobile phone at the start and nearly got wiped out as they tried to pick it up.
I think your last point about race etiquette is the real point that needs to be brought home to people. If you are a 10 minute miler or it's your first time at a race then maybe a bit more use of the tannoy will prevent these people being pushed about at the start. While it is difficult to get past these people at the start, it must be harder for them being pushed and shoved by people getting up to speed............Richard"

"Hi John. Yep I think miles 9 to 11 were a bit mixed up. I was putting in around 7:08-ish miles but mile 9 to 10 took me 7:29 and 10 to 11 took me 6:55. The rest were fine. Nice race and felt like a summer’s morning. Well done to the BHAA for another well run event. P.S. Should have pictures of the finish later this week. ............Paudie"
"Thanks for the info Paudie. Actually, that make's sense because in my case I was running just inside a certain pace and I had a more or less constant cushion. Around Belvelly bridge, I thought I was actually slowing down and picked up the pace to compensate. In reality, I was probably running at the correct speed and then started to accelerate. No wonder I was knackered in Cobh ;o)
Let me know when those photos are ready and I'll stick up the link.....John Desmond"
"The car incident occurred halfways between the Dunkettle and Glounthaune junctions. I myself was running at the leftmost edge of the tarmac, almost onto the grass. A Ford Focus type car drove very close to the runners, and blew the horn loudly. Some minutes later, as we were making the left turn at the top of the slip road, we could see a Garda taking notes from the driver..........Donal O'Donohue"
"John, I have uploaded my photos of the race. These were taken at about 5.5 miles, just as you were coming into Glounthaune. Note that some of the shots were taken by my 5 year old, and others when I had a two year old in my arms, so might be a bit wonky. Please excuse quality. .................Richard Cuddy"

"Excellent shots Richard. Interesting to see who was where ;o) Very hard to judge when you are in the race........John Desmond"
"Hi John, Great event. Well done to all. I've just one issue. Why did they move the start? I think its mad to start a race on a hill and then a sharp left to make it even worse!! I know they wanted to avoid the Dublin road but surely they could have made up the distance somewhere else along the way? Would like to hear if I am alone on this view..........Anonymous"
"Yea I heard about the guy at the start that went back to pick up his phone/walk-man. I heard something went flying off his arm and hit the ground. He ran on for a few seconds then thought better and turned around, ran back to pick it up causing a mini pile up. Sounds crazy.....Anonymous"
"It was only my second race and I thought it was great but Summer Hill was crazy..Perhaps along by the quay would be better and turn right for St.Patricks church and right again for Cobh.Most of the drivers were very courtious but a few were quite rude.Thanks to all who worked on the day......Ian.....(A very stiff 1st time Cork to Cobh entrant.)"
"Not only were a few of the car drivers dangerous (the person in the car with the Littleisland Lunatic was so embarassed she covered her face) but some cyclists dressed as cyclists about to race (not the slow ones supporting runners) were ridiculously dangerous especially on the Cobh road and should be ashamed of themselves.They were a disgrace to their sport.They cycled so close and so quietly that runners were very lucky no to be hit.There are enough roads that they could cycle on that there was no need to be where they were.We as runners do not go out and run in the middle of their races............Anonymous"
"Just to emphasise that the last comment was about cyclists on the Cobh road. Not about the guys near Little Island who were enjoying some good humoured banter with one of their buddies who was in the race. I can't say I noticed anything really on the Cobh road so perhaps it might have been where the road gets narrow. It might be worth pointing out that it is a public road and it was not closed. Any cyclist had as much right to cycle on it as we had to run on it.................John Desmond"
"And the walkers!! Was there a walking race to cobh on the same day? I had to duck and dodge between 4 of them on the bends near belvelly bridge. They were all over the place :-) ............Anonymous"
"One slight criticism, at Belvelly bridge a steward told the group of runners I was in to move to the right hand side of the road, presumably so as to cross the bridge on the footpath? Yet the water station immediately after the bridge was on the left so that either you got no water or had to cross the road again to get it there were a lot of cars passing at the time and it was an extremely dangerous situation.............Anonymous"
"I can't believe you got a photo of the nutter in the car! I was expecting it to be a boy racer though...............Anonymous"

"I was so glad seeing this idiot stopped by Gardi...........Radek"

"Hi JohnGreat race. I enjoyed it immensely. OK the start was a bit rough, it took me until we went around the corner at the bottom of the hill to get up to any kind of speed but i suppose thats what happens when you have such a big crowd. I must say though that the positioning of a water station just at a bad bend at belvelly was a recipe for disaster, people were wandering all over the place on both sides of the road when i passed through. In general it must be hard to race 15 miles on those roads without some incidents with motorists,cyclists,walkers and runners everywhere( still no excuse for the nutter in the escort). Best of luck to you and anyone else doing the Dublin marathon!.......... AJ "
"Did anyone else notice the number of people still wearing headphones in this race? I counted at least six despite all the notices. Even you John had it big and clear on this site. What is it with these people who do not obey the rules of the race organisers? In future their numbers should be taken and they should be banned from BHAA events until they obey the rules...........Anonymous"

"Hi there, I nearly got killed by that looney in the escort. He has done this before, the Gardai should take a closer look. Great event as always and the sponsor was brill..........John"