Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Athletics Ireland to send only three athletes to World Indoor Championships in Turkey

Athletics Ireland have announced that they will be send a “small but quality” team to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey in March. The three Irish athletes are...Ciaran O’ Lionaird (1500m), Derval O’Rourke (60m hurdles) and Ben Reynolds (60m hurdles).

This is the timetable for their events...
Friday, March 9th.........10:55 M 1500 Metres Heats, 15:00 W 60 Metres Hurdles Heats
Saturday, March 10th .........07:40 M 60 Metres Hurdles Heats, 15:10 W 60 Metres Hurdles Semi-Final, 17:00 M 1500 Metres Final, 17:45 W 60 Metres Hurdles Final
Sunday, March 11th ...........12:45 M 60 Metres Hurdles Semi-Final, 15:20 M 60 Metres Hurdles Final

Missing Ballycotton numbers...

The organisers of the Ballycotton '10' issued this on Wednesday, February 29th

We were concerned when a number of people hadn’t received their race packages, until we discovered that a batch of numbers – from 3176 to 3271 – had unfortunately not been posted!

Our sincere apologies for this oversight and just to let the people concerned know they have all been posted out today (Wednesday) so they should arrive Thursday, or Friday at the latest.

If people haven’t received their package before Sunday, don’t worry – just call to the Trouble Desk in the Race Headquarters on Sunday morning from 10am onwards for a new number.

Ballycotton '10' statistics for 2012...

First off, a quick look at the number of entrants. Ignoring the places reserved for elite runners, there is a total of 3582 entrants this year. That's a jump of roughly 300 on the 2011 figure of 3266 (2010...3305, 2009...3315, 2008...3087). As the numbers were restricted to 2,500 for the open entry system, the increase is most likely due to more people joining athletic clubs and availing of the extended window for entries.

In 2011, some 27% of those who had entered did not turn up on the day. Going on the same basis this year, the number of runners in Ballycotton likely to turn up next Sunday may be around 2,600. This is not far off the record of 2813 set in 2006 when the entry system was more open.
Looking at the number of men v women, it works out this year that 37.9% of the total field of entrants are women. That's up from 36.7% last year (36.3% in 2010, 35.1% in 2009 and 33.4% in 2008). Compare that to 30 years ago back in 1982 where just 7% were women. By 1992, it had increased to 16.7%.

As you can see from the figures, the percentage of women has been growing slowly for the last 35 years to where it is today. But what about the future? Will it ever reach 50%?? A quick calculation would suggest that it might in roughly 12-13 years time in 2025! However, recent figures from the USA show that participation in Marathons there by women has been constant at around the 41% mark since about 2005. If the numbers in the Ballycotton '10' followed the same pattern then the 41% mark should be reached in maybe 4 to 5 years time.
Looking at the entries from the various athletic clubs, Midleton AC take pride of place yet again with 144 entries. It's a good example of how the club has grown over the last few years going from just 63 entries in 2008 to 144 in 2012. St.Finbarr's AC based in Cork City has also shown strong growth recently with 123 entries this year. Another city based club,Eagle AC stayed at a steady figure of 97.
The numbers from West Waterford AC were back up again this year to 60. They had declined somewhat in recent years as their own Dungarvan 10 race has grown to be such a success. Looking at the other club entries, there are a whole load of them around the 40 mark but Mallow AC made a jump up to 57 entries this year making it the 5th largest club by entry.

Entries by top 5 clubs....
Midleton AC...144 (2011 = 116, 2010 = 104, 2009 = 79, 2008 = 63)
St. Finbarrs AC...116 (2011 = 108, 2010 = 77, 2009 = 46, 2008 = 47)
Eagle AC...97 (2011 = 95 , 2010 = 93, 2009 = 73, 2008 = 73)
Mallow AC...57 (2011 = 42, 2010 = 38)
West Waterford AC...60 (2011 = 41, 2010 = 71, 2009 = 75, 2008 = 87)

Other Clubs (10+)
Navy AC    44  / Donore Harriers    43  / Galtee Runners AC    40
Waterford AC    40  / Kilkenny City Harriers    38  / Slaney Olympic AC    37
Limerick Country Club AC    30  / Youghal AC    29 / Gneeveguilla AC    24
Bandon AC    23 / Leevale AC    22 / Raheny Shamrock AC    21
Clonmel AC    20 / Donoughmore AC    20 /Limerick AC    20
NorthCork AC    20 / Mullingar Harriers    19 /East Cork AC    18
Rathfarnham-WSAF AC    18 / SliCualann AC    18 / Sportsworld RC    18
Grange-Fermoy AC    15 / West Limerick AC    15 Athenry AC    14
Kenmare AC    14 / CarraignabhFear AC    13 / Ballincollig AC    11
Bilboa AC    10 / CrusadersAC    10 / St.Abbans AC    10

(.........with thanks to John Quigley for generating the above stats)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Competition for two free SKINS tops!

It's time for a competition! This one is open to all of the followers on the Running in Cork Facebook page.

Mahers Sports have kindly offered two FREE A400 LS tops from the SKINS range as shown on their website. These normally retail for €75 each.

The question asked is simple......What will be the winning time for the first woman in the Ballycotton '10' next Sunday?

If you are a follower of the Running in Cork Facebook page then just leave a comment under the competition photo saying "The first woman in the Ballycotton 10 will finish in ??:??"

The person with the closest guess wins a top. The person who gets the most number of 'Likes' on their guess wins a top.

Some simple rules...
1) The first woman in the Ballycotton 10 is obviously excluded!
2) If there are two guesses the same then the person that guessed first wins.
3) If two people are the same amount away from the winning time then the person that guessed first wins.
4) If the number of 'Likes' are the same then the person that guessed first wins.
5) One guess per person.
6) Open only to people in Ireland.
7) Based on the chip time.
8) Entries close at 10pm on Saturday.

Directions and Parking for the Ballycotton '10'

If you are running in this years Ballycotton '10' race for the first time then please note....this race is NOT like other races. You cannot turn up 20 mins before the start, park and just wander over to the start line.

The fishing village of Ballycotton is basically at the end of a cul-de-sac and the approach roads are part of the race course. As a result, the local roads are closed off well before the start of the race and most people have to park in designated car parks.

Getting there.....For anyone not familar with the area, Ballycotton is in East Cork. If you are coming from the direction of Cork City then turn off at the roundabout on the Midleton by-pass and follow the directions for Cloyne. If you are coming from Waterford / Youghal then take the left at the crossroads in Castlemartyr and head south for Ladysbridge / Garryvoe. Expect traffic delays as you get closer to the parking area.

Here are the instructions from the race organisers.......
Directions are very similar to last year, except we will be sending all traffic from the Cork city side to the Churchtown South area.
From Cork city, turn off at Midleton roundabout & take road signposted to Cloyne. From Cloyne all race traffic will be directed to Churchtown South & from there to car park no1 & no2 just outside Ballycotton. Car park no1 & 2 are just walking distance from changing marquee & information centre.
Traffic coming from east side, such as Youghal will take left turn at Castlemartyr and travel to Garryvoe. A shuttle bus service will transfer runners to Ballycotton from here. Last buses leaving car parks at 12 noon.
Please follow Garda & stewards instructions. Our aim is to get all runners to start line in a comfortable & safe manner before the 1.30 start. We also endeavour to get all runners & spectators on the road home in a timely & safe manner too.
Parking....There will be 3 car parks in use...In all circumstances, please follow the stewards / Gardai directions on the day.

Car Parks 1 and 2....These are located on the hill above the old church on the way into Ballycotton. This is by far the largest car park and all of the traffic from the west (incl. Cloyne) will be directed here. Car Park 1 is approx 1.2 miles from the start line so it's only a 25 minute walk. Car Park 2 is just around the corner, an extra 5 mins.

Note that it only takes 10 minutes to walk from Car Park 1 to the local primary school (Marquee/Changing/Trouble Desk/Prizegiving, etc).

Car Park 3....This is located at Garryvoe which is 4 miles from the start. This is the one for people coming from the east.

The shuttle buses will talk you as far as the road junction by the old church on the way into Ballycotton. There will be barricades here to stop all traffic entering the village. From here, it is about 0.8 miles or a 20 min walk to the start. The local primary school is only 3 mins from here.

Times....If you have read the piece above then it's obvious that it's going to take some time to get to the start line. The race starts at 1:30pm. If you get there at 1:28 then you are going to have over 2,000 runners in front of you packed in tight on a narrow road.

I would recommend that you should try and get to the car parks by 11am to 11:30am. Allow time for traffic congestion on the approach roads. Allow time at the car park to wait for the bus and for the bus to travel in. Allow time for the final walk. You should aim to be at the start line roughly 15-20 minutes before the race starts....about 1:10pm.

Car Pooling.....Consider car pooling with your friends and colleagues to reduce the number of cars traveling to the area.

Can you get fit with 3 mins of exercise a week?

According to new research, a few relatively short bursts of intense exercise, amounting to only a few minutes a week, can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise. However, the amount of benefit you get may well depend on your genes.

It would seem that people respond to exercise in very different ways. In one international study 1,000 people were asked to exercise four hours a week for 20 weeks. Their aerobic fitness was measured before and after starting this regime and the results were striking. Although 15% of people made huge strides (so-called "super-responders"), 20% showed no real improvement at all ("non-responders")....i.e. the exercise they were doing was not making them any aerobically fitter.

However even for "non-responders", the high intensity training regime seems to improve insulin sensitivity by an average of 24% and prevent the onset of diabetes.

For more information, see this article on the BBC News website or watch the BBC science programme on BBC 2 tonight...Horizon: The Truth About Exercise on BBC Two at 21:00 GMT on Tuesday 28 February 2012

Ballycotton ‘10’ organisers appeal for help...

The organisers of the Ballycotton '10' race are appealing for volunteers to help out at the race next Sunday. With a race of that size with so many runners and spectators, it takes a lot of help to make sure everything goes ok on the day.

If you are interested in stewarding then contact Tommy at

Monday, February 27, 2012

Tokyo Marathon leaves trail of disappointment...

The Tokyo Marathon last Sunday was a bitter disappointment for at least two runners...

First of all, the great Haile Gebrselassie finished in 4th place in what was for him a disappointing time of 2:08:17. He was leading the race with just three miles to go but got into trouble over the last few kms. Despite the fact that he is well inside the Olympic qualifying time of 2:15, he is only the 14th fastest Ethiopian over the Marathon distance this year while at least three other Ethiopians ran under 2:05 in Dubai recently. With that in mind, it really puts a huge question mark over whether he can qualify for the Olympics now.

The other disappointed athlete was Yuki Kawauchi...........(see Derek O'Keffe's guest article last week). Otherwise known as the 'Citizen Runner' because he actually works for a living and trains in his spare time, he was hoping to run close to 2:07. Instead, he missed his drinks bottles at the 5 km and 10 km mark and got into trouble before half-way. He finished up in 14th-place with a time of 2:12:51. That was still within the A standard to qualify for the London Olympics but there were other Japanese runners who were faster.

In an interview, Kawauchi said..."I'm disappointed in myself that I let my confidence get shaken by not being able to get my drink bottles at 5 km and 10 km. Maybe it was a lack of preparation, or a lack of experience.....It was disgraceful. If you're not good enough to be internationally competitive then you don't need to go to the Olympics. I tried, and it's over.  Selection is based on results, and I do not think I will be picked."

After the race, Kawauchi shaved his head in atonement for his performance.  "I felt that I had to give everyone who supported me a sign of my remorse," he said.  "It's better that my shame be exposed for everyone to see."

Just as well he didn't pull out of the race! ;o)

Still though, when you consider that he works full time, does half the amount of training of a professional athlete and then still has a 'bad run' of 2:12! If someone had run that time 50 years ago, they would have set a world record.

Popular spots for Ballycotton '10' spectators

The map above shows some of the popular spots on the course for people who may want to watch the Ballycotton 10 Mile Road Race.

Note that you will not be able to drive anywhere near the village of Ballycotton itself. You will be stopped a long way out and be directed to one of the car parks.

Ballycotton '10'...Bus from train station...

For anyone coming to Cork on the train from Dublin, the race organisers will provide a bus from the train station ONLY if there is enough interest to justify it.

E-mail ballycottonrunning AT before Wednesday (29th Feb) if you are interested.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Marathon record to go in April???

Consider the following statistic : - The qualifying 'A' standard for the Marathon for the 2012 London Olympics is 2:15. Some 150 Kenyan men have reached this standard. Out of those 150, Kenya can only send three to the Olympic games.

That is the current situation that faces some of the best Marathon runners in the world. So many world class runners yet only three can be picked. The final team will be selected on the 30th of April so it will be a case of posting an incredibly fast time between now and then. The person with the fastest time so far is Patrick Makau who won the Berlin Marathon last September to set a new Marathon record of 2:03:38.

Coming up in April, there are two Marathons with flat and fast courses.....Rotterdam on the 15th of April and London on the 22nd. The problem of course is that anyone who runs in London (Mutai and Makau) will know exactly what is required to qualify so anyone running Rotterdam will have to set a really fast time.

In an interview, the London Marathon race director David Bedford said..."It's a good bet the men's record will go. The Kenyans know only one way to race, and they're all fighting for an Olympic spot. Someone could carve a chunk off that world record. The week before our race, Moses Mosop (the 2011 Chicago Marathon champ and Boston runner-up) runs in Rotterdam. If he breaks the world record, the Kenyans running in London will know they need to break it again just to make the Olympics."

Some of those taking part in London...
Elite Men                     Personal Best
Emmanuel Mutai (Kenya)    2:04:40
Patrick Makau (Kenya)    2:03:38
Wilson Kipsang (Kenya)    2:03:42
Abel Kirui (Kenya)    2:05:04
Vincent Kipruto (Kenya)    2:05:13
Martin Lel (Kenya)    2:05:15

In Rotterdam.......
Moses Mosop finished second in Apr 2011 at the Boston Marathon in 03.02.06. (4 seconds slower than Geoffrey Mutai). His time was not recognised as a world record because the course in Boston does not comply with all the conditions of the IAAF. 

Interesting times ahead.

Guest article...Looking back at the Mallow '10' by John Holland

With just 3 weeks to go to the Mallow 10 mile road race on Monday, the 19th of March 2012, John Holland of Mallow AC looks back on the history of the race...

Mallow Athletic Club have been holding road races for as long as I have been involved in running and that goes back to 1981. In the earlier years i.e. around 1981, '82 etc. they held an interesting race which was called the Mallow Metric Marathon...i.e. 26 km's instead of 26 miles. It was quiet successful as it was usually run around September and at that time, the Dublin Marathon had just started in October 1980. As a results, the 'Metric Marathon' was very popular as a lead up to the Dublin Marathon itself. Unfortunately I don't have an results from those early days!!!!

The first 10 Mile that I have any information about was 1991 when there were 152 finishers Winners : Men...1st James O'Sullivan (Waterford AC ) 50.12 and Ladies 1st.Mary Sheehan, Grange-Fermoy AC 63.05
Here are some of the other results down through the years....
1992...........142 finishers ....Men..1st Mark Bickerdike , Blarney ...51.38   , Ladies 1st Liz Bullen, Villierstown ( sister of John Treacy ) 62.27
1994...........143 finishers.....Men .1st Ml. Cotter, Leevale...51.45   , Ladies 1st Mary Murphy , Mallow AC 62.13

After that there seems to have been a break until the re-start of the present day 10 Mile Race in 2000 and for the first 7 years it was sponsored by the local Irish Sugar factory.

2000   ...121 runners ....Winners ...Men ,Jamie Lewis , Finn Valley, 49.17,(.10 mile Mens Record for Mallow ), Ladies , Mary Sheehan, Gr-Fermoy,59.52
2001...157, William Harty, West-W'ford ,52.23...Ladies, Mary Sheehan, Gr-Fermoy, 63.23
2002...180 runners...Winners...Men, Martin McCarthy,Leevale, 50.47....Ladies, mary Sheehan, Gr-Fermoy, 63.04
2003...215runners...Men, Cathal O'Connel, StF'Barrs, 52.08.....Ladies, Mary Sweeney, St. F'Barrs,62.50
2004....283 runners...Men, George Murray, North Cork, 52.50....Ladies, Thresa Tuohy, Nenagh Olympic, 64.54
2005...303 runners.....Men,Gerry Ryan ,GalwayC.Harriers,49.40....Ladies,Orla Tuohy, Gr-Fermoy,62.57
2006...Postponed due to fog in Jan. and was held instead in May.....197 runners....Men, Wm. Reidy, RiochtAC, 56.05.....Ladies, Niamh O'Sullivan, Riocht AC, 58.47
2007...386 runners......Men, Ravis Zakis, West W'ford, 53.34.....Ladies, Lucy Brennan, Sligo, 60.24
2008...521 runners......Men,Ravis Zakis, West W'ford, 553.15.....Ladies, Madeline Dorney, Thurles Crokes, 63.41
2009...559 runners.....Men, Ciobanu Sergio,Clonliffe Hrs,50.51....Ladies, Rhona Lynch, Eagle AC,61.16
2010...postponed due frost etc. and held in Feb.....503 runners....Men,Colin Merrett, Carrignavaar,53.17.....Ladies, Lorraine Manning, Raheny Smrks, 60.53
2011...postponed due snow etc.and held in March....749 runners....Men,Sandis Bralitis,West W'ford,51.16...Ladies,Annette Kealy, Raheny S'rocks,58.40 ( Ladies record )

The Mens Record set in 2005 is 49:40 by Gerry Ryan of Galway City Harriers. The Ladies Record is 58:40 by Annette Kealy........John Holland, Mallow AC

The 2012 Mallow '10' mile road race is on Monday, the 19th of March 2012. More details HERE

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Newspaper recounts Eamonn Coghlan's record indoor mile 31 years ago...

In a recent issue of the San Diego Union Tribune, Nick Canepa looks back 31 years to the 21st of February 1981 when Eamonn Coghlan set a new indoor mile record. He reflects back on a time when indoor track events like this attracted huge crowds and Coghlans performance on that particular night was for him was one of the best.

Article HERE

Robin Hood marathon in England cancelled...

It was recently announced that the Robin Hood Marathon will not go ahead next September, the first time in 30 years. Organisers said the 26.2-mile route was no longer a safe or viable option due to an rise in traffic on the course. Mr Sumner, the race director, said "Up until now we have been able to run on quiet roads around it but we can no longer do that as it has become busier.". A total of 1,424 runners completed in the Robin Hood full marathon last year. The Robin Hood Half-Marathon which attracted 12,000 in 2011 will go ahead as usual.

From a more local point of view, it does show how difficult organising a long distance race can be. The one that springs to mind is the Cork BHAA Cork to Cobh 15 mile race. If the new dual carriageway to Midleton had not been built back in the 90's and had all of that traffic had stayed on the old road, would the race be still going ahead today? I very much doubt it. Races like this take a lot of organising and depend a lot on the goodwill of the local authorities. It is perhaps a reminder that we should take nothing for granted when a race takes place on a public road.

The cancellation of this particular Marathon also shows what is important when it comes to a 'Marathon event'. Like many of the Marathons in Ireland, the Marathon race itself is the minor event while there is often a Half-Marathon associated with it which is the one that will really draw the crowds.....and money. As the saying goes, the Half is the new Marathon!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Races this weekend...Dungarvan 10k - Sun 26th Feb 2012

With just over one week to go to the Ballcotton '10', it's a quite weekend in Cork itself with no races. However, West Waterford AC are holding their annual 10k road race in Dungarvan which might be of interest to runners in the east of Cork and elsewhere in Munster.

The entry fee is €8 and the race hq is the local Sports Centre as used for the Dungarvan 10 mile back in January. The race starts and finishes near the finishing spot for the Dungarvan 10 and uses much of the same route. The only real difference is that there is no loop through the town and it's mostly on quiet country roads. As with the 10 mile version, this 10k course should produce some fast times.

It starts at 11am.

Guest Article...Yuki Kawauchi, the citizen Derek O'Keeffe

Derek is a local runner from Cork and is a regular visitor to Japan. He took part in the 2011 Tokyo Marathon and follows the news from this country where Marathon running is hugely popular. Yuki Kawauchi has become something of a sensation in Japan, he comes from the ranks of amateur runners yet competes with the professionals.

Full time job holding you back? Think again. Amateur, self trained runner Yuki Kawauchi competes with the best in the work while holding down a full time job.
You may or may not have heard of Kawauchi but he has really thrown a spanner in the works in the pro running scene in Japan. He hit the big time in February 2011 in the Tokyo marathon where he ran 2:08:37, coming in 3rd and was the first Japanese runner home. By doing this he was a surprise qualifier for the world championships in Daegu, Korea last summer. The big-bosses of the corporate teams were left scratching their heads. How can a self coached runner, with no sponsors, and a full time job, manage to beat full time corporate-backed athletes?

One thing that stands out from his training is mileage. Kawauchi runs almost half the mileage of the full time athletes. A typical week is about 50 to 80 miles consisting of one speed session, one long run (22+miles), and one trail run in the mountains. The rest of his training is whatever he can fit in before his working day (12:45 - 9:15pm). Genetics and talent must play a part, however Kawauchi’s training proves that quality is more important than quantity.

Last December he came 3rd in the Fukuoka Marathon, again beating all the other Japanese runners using tactics that he learned from the African elite in the world championships. Tactics such as surging and changing pace through water stations and taking wide lines around corners to psyche out other runners. He explained that he used the Fukuoka marathon as a ‘practice race’ to try out these tactics. You can see him doing exactly this in the last 5k including a fierce battle with team-Toyota’s Imai - HERE.

In terms of effort, Kawauchi leaves everything out on the course. If you look at the video clip for the 2011 Tokyo, he has a constant expression of pain etched across his face for the last few kms of the race. In an interview, he said..."This was my sixth marathon, and the fifth time I've ended up in the medical area. Every time I run, it's with the mindset that if I die at this race, it's OK."

Kawauchi’s next race is Tokyo marathon, this weekend the 26th of February. This should be an interesting battle where Kawauchi will be aiming for an Olympic qualifying time. He is on form at the moment having just ran a half-marathon PB on Feb 5th of 1:02:18. The pros and big company runners have had to knuckle down but will it have been enough to take an Olympic place from Kawauchi.

Extract from a recent interview...
"People have been telling me, 'You should do more scientific training, you should do altitude training.' I don't do any of that. I think common sense and true enjoyment are what's needed. Back when people didn't have as much money they thought about their training and worked hard to get better. At some point technology became more important and they started relying more on scientific training and things like supplements and taping, and maybe they forgot what the important things are.
Japanese corporate runners watch their weight to within 0.1 kg. I eat whatever I like. I don't do any taping or take supplements. I don't breathe low-oxygen air. I don't wear magnetic necklaces. I guess in that way I'm old-school. I run, I work hard, and I like it. I read up, thought about what I needed to do, and found what works for me. It's worthwhile spending money on things that will help your training, but spending money itself isn't going to make you better."


Postscript...26th Feb 2012 : Haile Gebreselassie finished 4th in 2:08:17. Yuki Kawauchi fell out of the main pack just past halfway and ended up in 14th-place with 2:12:51 finish. That is within the A standard to qualify for the London Olympics but there were other Japanese runners who were faster.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

David McCarthy wins 3k race in New York in 7:57

Back in late January, I had a post about David McCarthy from Waterford winning a mile race in Boston in an impressive time of 3:55.75

Last Sunday (19th Feb 2012), David was in action at the Armory Indoor track in New York for the Big East meet. He won the 3,000 metre race in a time of 7:57.50

The video clip below is a bit shaky but still ok to watch...(David is in the Black and White singlet)

 Not only did David McCarthy break the 8 minute barrier but he also set a new 3,000 metre record for this particular Big East meet. The previous record was held by Mark Carroll of Leevale AC (8:01.56)

3000m Run
Meet Record: 8:01.56, Mark Carroll, Providence (1995)
Armory Collegiate Record: 7:49.98, Richard Kiplagat, Iona (2006)

  1  1132 David McCarthy      SR Providence             7:57.50M 10  
  2   924 Andrew Springer     SO Georgetown             7:59.55M  8  
  3  1282 Mathew Mildenhall   SO Villanova              8:04.45   6  
  4  1136 Shane Quinn         FR Providence             8:05.22   5  
  5  1292 Ryan Sheridan       SR Villanova              8:05.79   4 

Half-marathon runners in Wrexham sent the wrong way by pranksters

This story has appeared on some of the UK papers in the last few days. In the Wrexham Half-Marathon last Sunday, some 40 half-marathon runners were sent in the wrong direction when pranksters changed the direction signs on the 13.1 mile race.

The organisers issued the following statement...."Wrexham AAC apologies for the disappointing events at the 2012 Wrexham half marathon: Peter Norman, as he always does on race day, was up at first light checking and marking out the course for the event. You can imagine his surprise when driving the lead car he saw one of his signs pointing the wrong way!  Peter at this point corrected the sign. You can further imagine his horror when further around the course he caught up with runners who he knew should be behind him.  It is evident that immediately after Peter had corrected the direction sign someone with malicious intent had for a second time changed it. "

Needless to say, this has caused a bit of a furore on various forums and rightly so. Someone interfering with signs just to spoil an event for others has to be condemned. However, when I saw this story, the first thing that I thought was how was it even possible? In a properly organised race, runners should not need to be dependent on arrows or signs to tell them which way to go. There should be properly informed race stewards at every possible junction to stop people going the wrong way with a lead car / bike at the front. If this wasn't the case then the organisers are partly to blame.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Man on a Mission...Video about the famous Iten training camp in Kenya

Back in January, I had a post up about Irishman Brother Colm O'Connell in Kenya with links to some newspaper articles. He is famous worldwide for training some of the best athletes in the world at the famous Iten training camp in the highlands of Kenya.

This video (approx 55 mins long) shows Eamonn Coghlan at the camp, looking at how the athletes there train and finding out what is the key to their success.

Update on Ballycotton '10' entries...

Over 3,500 race packages were posted on Tuesday so all entrants should have them by the end of this week. The organisers want to offer a special word of thanks to the 30 or so volunteers who assembled in Ballycotton Community Hall on Monday night and got the whole procedure finished in record time.

Chip Timing......An important note regarding the race numbers: This year, there is NO timing chip to attach to your shoe (ignore the mention of the shoe in the FAQs in the programme, this was a copy of last year's version and was included by mistake). The chip is incorporated into the race number that you attach to the front of your singlet (it’s at the top centre, under a little flap). Note that it is IMPORTANT that you attach the number to the FRONT of your vest/T-shirt in the normal way, i.e. chest high held on by four safety pins, one at each corner (holes supplied!). Do NOT cover the number with clothing or belts, etc as this will interfere with the timing.......and the number does NOT go on your back!.......unless you plan on running the course backwards.

The organisers would also like to emphasise the following points......
1) If you are unable to run, you can’t give the number to another person (remember, you signed the form agreeing to this). They operated a name and shame policy before and published the photos and names of those running with wrong numbers up on their website.

2) They don’t have a cancellation policy or waiting list so there is no need to send back the number. Therefore, if you cannot use the number yourself – just destroy it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Flo Track interview with Ciarán O Lionáird...

FloTrack caught up with Ciarán O Lionáird and his coach Alberto Salazar in Albuquerque.

Interview with Ciarán......

Interview with Alberto Salazar, head coach of the Nike Oregon Project.....

Ballycotton '10' numbers on the way...

On Monday night, over 30 volunteers turned up at the Ballycotton Community Centre where 3,600 race programmes, numbers/chip, pins and sponsorship cards were packed and organised for posting. It was a great gathering of athletes, friends and of course race organisers/committee.

Certainly it was a case of many hands making light work as the assembled force even had time to enjoy a cuppa' (not in a Ballycotton mug ;o) . Photos by Denis Kelleher.

The Ballycotton committee wish to thank all those who came along and assisted on the night.

Interview with Derval O'Rourke on Newstalk radio and Irish Times

1) Derval O'Rourke was interviewed on the Newstalk Breakfast on Tuesday 21st Feb 2012 and talks about her preparation for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

If you click on the link below, a pop-up box will appear with part 4 of the programme. The interview starts at 5:30...

2)The Irish Times have their own interview and article HERE

Bay Run ’12 partners with Under Armour for finishers t-shirt

For those of you interested in doing the Bay Run Half-Marathon in west Cork on the 6th of May, here is some info about the type of the technical running top that they will be giving. The actual shirts will have their usual race designs and logos.

Bay Run 2012 has announced they will again partner with Under Armour for the official race t-shirt. The performance apparel brand will supply each runner with one of the best technical running products on the market for a second year. 

The first 500 female runners will receive the Under Armour Catalyst T-shirt. This product is made out of recycled plastic bottles and provides the fastest drying and ultimate performance product for running. It will keep you on track for a new PR on the 13.1 mile run in West Cork. The UA Catalyst T-shirt is sold for 26.00 Euro in store. 

All male runners will receive the new Under Armour Tech Short sleeve T-shirt. This lightweight fabric has a natural feel and is ultimate product for the runner that wants superior comfort. It has stretch fabrication and signature moisture transport system so you will be cooler and drier on race day.   The Tech T is sold for 20.00 Euro in store.

Finishers will also receive a medal and race packs with refreshments and the opportunity of a free massage. Bay Run ’12 will be chipped timed event with a mat at the start and finish line providing accurate times plus the opportunity to receive your time by text on finishing.

The Bay Run Half-Marathon between Glengarriff and Bantry in west Cork takes place on Sunday, the 6th of May 2012. More information in an earlier post.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Jill Hodgins from Cork wins 2012 Seville Marathon

Jill Hodgins from Cork won the Seville Marathon in Spain on Sunday, the 19th of February 2012. In doing so, Jill set a new personal best time of 2 hours 46 minutes 58 seconds to win the €6,000 first prize. (Half split 01:22:44)

Puesto Dorsal T. Maratón T. Media  Nombre
 1  02:46:58 01:22:44 HODGINS, JILL
 3  03:04:13 01:27:34 XHERVELLE, CHANTAL
 4  03:06:58 01:30:38 BERNALD HERNANDEZ, NOELIA
 5  03:09:21 01:30:40 HIDALGO BERUTICH, SILVIA

Her previous best was 2:52.21 set in the New York Marathon in 2009. Previous Marathon times were 3:14.35 in Dublin in 2006 and 3:06.35 in Toronto in 2008. She is the latest athlete to join the Marathon Mission squad with Athletics Ireland.
Just to put that time in perspective, Jill is just a mere 10 minutes outside the qualifying time for the 2012 London Olympics.

Results of the Carrigaline 5 mile road race - Sun 19th Feb 2012

There was a record crowd of 446 runners for this 5 mile road race in Carrigaline on Sunday, 19th Feb 2012. That's a 53% increase on the figure of 291 for 2011.

With the cool temperatures and spring sunshine, conditions were ideal for the race despite the threat of an overnight frost which never really materialised. The winner of the mens race was Sean McGrath of East Cork AC in a time of 25:56....
Place    Time    Name    Club/District    Cat    Bib No
1    0:25:56    MCGRATH, Sean    East Cork AC    M    810
2    0:26:12    WAUGH, George    Bandon AC    M    598
3    0:26:42    SOSNOWSKI, Wieslaw    Eagle AC    M    1105
4    0:26:46    FAHY, Roy    East Cork AC    M    742
5    0:26:57    O'CONNELL, Cathal    St. Finbarrs AC    M45    1057

The womens race was won by Carmel Parnell of Leevale AC...
43    0:30:39    PARNELL, Carmel    Leevale AC    F55    979
70    0:32:02    LEONARD, Helen    Rathfarnham-WSAF AC    F40    1089
80    0:32:22    SWEENEY, Mary    St. Finbarrs AC    F50    752
88    0:32:40    HEALY, Anne Marie    Eagle AC    F40    1150
93    0:32:54    MOORE, Ann    Leevale AC    F45    806

Results......The full results can be seen HERE

1) A very large gallery of photos by Doug Minihane HERE

Video of the start of the race...(from Ruairi O'Mahony)

.....and another video clip of the start HERE

A 10 min video clip near the finsh.......(from Ruairi O'Mahony)

........and a shorter video clip of the first few finishers HERE

........and another short video HERE

Voucher........If you ran in Carrigaline then you should have got a 15% discount voucher for the Edge Sports store. If you go to this old post, you will see the location of their Superstore near the Kinsale Road roundabout. They also have a smaller shop in the North Main Street in Cork City.

Irish Times piece on athletes funding...

A few days ago, I had a post about the funding given to Irish athletes in 2012 from the Irish Sports Council. In Saturday's Irish Times, Ian O'Riordan writes an article arguing that the athletes are more focused on the money that they might get rather than the medals the might win.

To me, the article seems a bit harsh in that many athletes are getting relatively small grants considering the amount of time they spend training and competing. Is it reasonable to expect them to represent their country without any financial assistance from the state? The Irish Times article can be seen HERE

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mallow '10' entries at the Carrigaline race

Please note that Mallow AC will be taking entries at the Carrigaline 5 mile race on Sunday for their own 10 mile race on Monday, the 19th of March. .It costs €15 to pre-enter this race and that includes a Dry-Fit top for the first 1,000 entrants. It will cost €20 to enter on the day. More info in an earlier post.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Preview of the Carrigaline 5 mile road race - Sun 19th Feb 2012

The Carrigaline 5 mile road race on Sunday, 19th of Feb at 11am is the next big race locally. Located just to the south of Cork City, it should be within easy reach for a lot of people. Coming just 2 weeks before the Ballycotton '10' on the 4th of March, it is ideally placed to test your fitness level to see what it's like. The race is organised by Eagle own club...HINT HINT ;o)

The town of Carrigaline is only five miles south of the South Ring Road.

Getting there.....As you approach Carrigaline, take the relief road going left towards Crosshaven. Stay on this until you come to the next major junction. The Community Centre is about 100 metres to the left / East of this junction. However, there is very limited or no parking there. There is plenty of parking if you drive straight ahead. Go through the junction and after 200 metres, there is a large car park on the right. If that gets full, there is another large car park at a local Lidl store just ahead.

Both car parks are a very short walk from the Community Centre. Follow the race stewards instructions on the day.

Entries......The entry fee for 2012 is €8. One Euro of this will be donated to Carrigaline Meals on Wheels. Once you enter the hall, you will have to fill out a form with your details before you register for the race. If you have pre-registered, go straight to the Pre-Entry desk where your number will be waiting for you.

You will be able to register online on the Eagle AC website until Saturday evening at 8pm if you want to avoid the queue on Sunday. You pay at the pre-reg desk.

Changing and showers for ladies upstairs, changing only for gents in main hall.

Details of prizes, etc on the race flyer shown in an earlier post.

Race Sponsor......The main sponsor for the race is The Edge Sports Shop. They will be giving out discount vouchers.... (details...15% off items in the Running Store, 20% off other selected items) to all race entrants. Obviously the amount saved at the time of purchase may well exceed the cost of the race entry so it makes sense to get your hands on one. For example, if you spend €53 with the discount voucher, you save €8...the race entry fee. The voucher expires on the 30th of April.

From the sponsor.....The Edge Sports shop Specialises in Running, Cycling, Swimming and Triathlon. All sales staff participate in at least one but generally two or more of the sports and are able to give excellent advise to customers. The new Superstore boasts a large Running Department and Swimming Department on the 1st floor; with stacks of bikes, clothing, accessories and electronics on the ground floor. Keen runners for the respective clubs - Robert Patterson (St. Finbarr's AC), Dave Lyons (Mallow AC) and Barry Donovan (Leevale AC) rotate between the two shops depending on the day of the week. Video Running Gait Analysis is available on demand at both shops to help customers select the best shoe for their running needs.

They have two shops in Cork City. One on the North Main Street in the city centre and a much larger superstore out by the Kinsale Road Roundabout. If you look at the preview for the Tramore Vally 5k race last November, you'll find a map showing the exact location.

The Course...It's not the flattest of races with a few drags out along the course but nothing too serious. You start about 500 metres east of the Community Centre in a housing estate. When you come out of the community centre, turn right and follow everyone else.

The road is fairly wide at the start....
...and it's slightly downhill as well so it's very fast. By the time you reach the main road, the field will have begun to thin out.

There is nothing special about the first two miles. It's pretty flat with a few small hills and you can expect your first mile time to be very fast. Note that the road will not closed for the race. It's the most direct route between Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy and there may be some traffic on it. It's usually quiet enough though and there are race stewards at all of the road junctions.

Just before the 2 mile mark, you run down a slight hill to the road junction by Coolmore Lodge.......and left......

........and then uphill past the 2 mile mark. This is probably the hardest part of the course as it's uphill for about 800 metres until you reach the grotto....

Through the two bends and rom here, it gets easier as you run down to Shanbally village, past the church and back out of the village again. Then the road starts downhill near the 3 mile mark...a fast section of the course all inside the hard shoulder of the main road....

At about 3.5 miles, you turn left off the main road and then you have the next climb.....

It's pretty short but enough to get you into trouble if you push too hard. Then you run downhill to the 4 mile mark which is in a slight hollow and then climb back out at the other side....

This is the third real hill in the race and the least serious. At the top, the road flattens out and the last 1km or so of the course is either flat or slightly downhill. Through the next junction and right into the housing estate.....

Downhill through the housing estate and after the last corner which is a sharp left....

....the finish is about 100 metres away so you should see it in plenty of time.

Overall........probably not the fastest of 5 mile courses but not the worst either. In many ways, the profile of the race is similar to that of the Ballycotton '10'.....some parts flat, some parts downhill and some parts uphill. That's why it should give a good indication of what your 10 mile time might be.

Carrigaline...Sun 19th Feb...11am

Altitude Tents...The ultimate training aid

Back in 1968, the Olympic games were held in Mexico City, at an altitude of 7,350 feet or 2240 metres. With less oxygen available to the athletes to breathe at such heights, most of the competitors in the distance running events ran much slower than usual. Some of the best performers were athletes who had been born and raised at high altitude. Although endurance performance is reduced in thin mountain air, living in such an environment stimulates changes in blood chemistry that improve general endurance performance capacity.

Today many competitive endurance athletes practice a philosophy known as “Live High, Train Low” that was indirectly inspired by the Mexico City Games. They sleep and rest in an oxygen-poor environment to thicken their blood, but they work out at low altitude to maximize their training performance and the benefits they derive from it. Some do this the hard way, by making their homes in the mountains and going downhill for important workouts. Others take a technological shortcut by living and training close to sea level and sleeping in special tents that simulate high altitude by reducing the oxygen content of the air inside.

Ciarán Ó Lionáird's coach Alberto Salazar at the Nike Oregon Project uses these altitude-simulating tents for the athletes he trains. He is quoted as saying...“It is proven that altitude training directly impacts an athlete’s performance level and we felt the safety and convenience features were added benefits for Nike athletes.”

If you are considering buying one ;o) then they're not cheap. They range in US prices from $2,500 to more than $5,000. The balance of research on the effects of altitude tents indicates that the user must spend at least 16 hours a day inside them to get a measurable performance benefit. Nevertheless, most athletes who make the investment still consider it a worthwhile investment.