Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: May 2013

Friday, May 31, 2013

Weather Forecast for Munster...Fri 31st to Mon 3rd June 2013

Overview.....A high press system will slowly move over the country over the weekend. Weather is likely to be settled, dry and any winds will be light. The only possible exception might be some low clouds near the coast.

Friday....Continuing bright with some sunshine. Temp 15 to 17 deg C.

Saturday...Remaining much the same. Maybe some light rain at times in the west but overall, should be a nice day. Temp 14-17 deg C.

Sunday...Another dry day. 15-17 deg.

Monday...Best day of the Marathon weekend, possible reaching 20 deg C further inland.

From Met Eireann..."Bank Holiday Monday will be even warmer, with highest temperatures of 17 to 21 degrees. There will be a good deal of dry weather with a mix of sunny spells and cloudier intervals. A little drizzle will affect parts of the northwest while there will be very light breezes."

Outlook....Dry conditions to continue into next week.

Final post before the 2013 Cork City Marathon...

So this is it, the last post before the 2013 Cork City Marathon. I will update this post and add to it if I have any additional info.

Just to recap...
Preview of Relay Leg 1 HERE
Preview of Relay Leg 2 HERE
Preview of Relay Leg 3 HERE
Preview of Relay Leg 4 HERE
Preview of Relay Leg 5 HERE
Preview of Half-Marathon HERE


Marathon Pace Bands......One of the keys to a good Marathon time is to run at an even and steady pace for the distance. If you have a target in mind, then you'll need to know what your mile splits are.

Click on this LINK and you can create a pace band for your time. Ideally, you should cut out the strip and laminate it. Put it around you wrist and use a piece of tape to keep it in place. If you can't laminate it, then cover it in clear sellotape. Otherwise the paper will just absorb the sweat from your wrist and break.

Final Tips & Thoughts for the 2013 Cork City Marathon and Relay...
Some final thoughts...

1) What to wear...If you are doing the full Marathon, you should wear whatever gear you are used to and trained in. This is not the time to try out that new running top! For half and relay runners, it's not so important.

For men, nipple burn is a very real issue over the longer distances. Use good quality waterproof plasters to protest exposed areas and use loads of vaseline or bodyglide to protect any area that might rub...i.e. thighs, underarm, toes, etc.

Don't wear anything made from cotton. Wear as little as possible!!  Leave the sweatshirts, hoodies, tracksuit bottoms and so on at home. Consider wearing a hat/cap to stop the salt from your sweat going from your forehead into your eyes.

2) Drink...This year, they will be giving out Lucozade Sports as well as loads of water. If you haven't used this before in your long training runs then be careful. It may end up not agreeing with you or giving you cramps. Take on plenty of water especially if you are taking gels.

3) Using the racing line...Please note that the course is accurately measured by a Jones Counter over the shortest possible route. See the example below...

You should be running from corner to corner on the 'race line' taking the shortest possible route. The Marathon is 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 kms), there are no medals for running 27 miles! All of those long sweeping bends add up and will lose you time. Every year, runners are stuck to the right hand side going through the Jack Lynch tunnel even though the racing line is on the left! Why?!?! Use your head....follow the racing line.

4) Relay Changeover.......Every year there are problems here. Imagine the are running the 1st leg and you get to the Relay changeover. You are confronted with a mass of several hundred runners. Where is your running partner? He said 'he was wearing white' .....unfortunately, half the relay changeover are wearing white! Imagine the 2nd stage runner looking out for the 1st person coming in. The first batch of relay runners arrive in dribs and drabs and he's watching everyone. Now 20 minutes later, there is a wall of runners arriving....some relay runners, some Marathon runners. Trying to spot the 1st stage runner is not as easy as they first thought.
Every year, you hear stories of relay changeovers where minutes have been lost as people wander around looking for their team member. Plan ahead to make the changeover easier. Maybe wear a distinctive colour? Be at a certain position....back or front? Some people use balloons! Discuss it with your team members and plan ahead.

5) Relay Strategy ...Consider letting the slower people go first. Otherwise, once they start, everyone around them will be going faster than them and overtaking. It's an awful lot easier to run when you are passing people rather than to have everyone passing you. If you are a beginner, start slow. It will take about 2 miles before you get warmed up properly. It's so easy just to start too fast, for oxygen debt to kick in around the 1 mile mark and then you spend the rest of the time trying to recover. Start slow, find your pace and give it everything in the last mile.

6) Pacers for the Full and Half-Marathon...The pacers for the Full Marathon will have an estimated finish times on their back. They will also have small helium balloons as well so that they can be easily spotted. There will be pacers for the following times...3:00, 3:15, 3:30, 3:45, 4:00, 4:30 and 5:00

The pacers for the Half-Marahton are...1:30, 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:15 and 2:30.

If you have a particular target in mind then pacers can be very useful. For example, if you are trying to break say 4 hours then you have a choice of going with the 4 hour pacer and trying to stay with them. Or maybe you would prefer to stay with the 3:45 pacer for a while and build up a cushion and try and hang in there at a slower pace for the last few miles?

You can also use the pacers to stop your self going too fast. This is the BIGGEST MISTAKE that new runners make. They run too fast early on. If for example your target is to break 4 hours then you should never be ahead of the 3:45 pacers. An even and reasonable consistent pace will produce the best times.

Word of caution! Pacers go on chip times, not gun times. If you start way ahead of time then you need to take this into account.

7) Acknowledgements...An event like this just doesn't happen overnight. Months of work have gone into organising the Cork City Marathon to make it the success that it is. Some might consider the event to be expensive but there is a huge expense in organising an event of this size in a city. An event like this causes a major disruption for a lot of non-running people in Cork so full credit to the Cork City Council who are the driving force behind the event.

.......and of course, we have to acknowledge the many volunteers who will turn up on Monday to steward the course, hand out water and do a variety of other jobs. When a lot of runners have finished and gone home, they will be there whatever the weather is like.

With roughly 1600 runners in the full Marathon, 2000 in the Half-Marathon and hundreds of relay teams, it really is one of the major races in the country.

Cork Marathon...Locations, Expo, buses, info...

Here is some additional info with regards to the Cork City Marathon.......we'll start off with details for those of you not from Cork and just show you where everything is.....

Getting to the City Centre...There will be major traffic restrictions throughout the city on Bank Holiday Monday, but the general advice is to use the city’s Ring and Link roads when possible. You can drive into the city centre but allow plenty of time. Contra-flows will operate in the Jack Lynch Tunnel, on the South Ring Road to Mahon and on the South City Link.

Parking........As you might expect, a major event like a Marathon will result in a lot of road closures. There is plenty of parking areas within the city but if you are coming from outside Cork then using the Black Ash Park & Ride might be the easiest option.

When you arrive in Cork from say Kerry or from Waterford / Dublin, you will end up on the South Link Road. At the Kinsale Road roundabout......which has a will see signposts for the city centre. The Black Ash Park & Ride facility is just off this and is well signposted.

The Park & Ride service from the Black Ash centre, on the South City Link (N27), into the city centre will operate every 10 minutes from 07.30 to 19.15. The service costs €5 for the day. Participants and spectators are urged to use this facility and leave your car outside the city centre. The bus will bring you into the centre, a minute’s walk from the City Hall and a few minute’s walk from the marathon start and finish line.

This is a map showing the city centre. As you can see, the Park & Ride bus stops on Lapp's Quay....just across the river from the City Hall. It only takes a few minutes to walk from the City Hall to the start / finish line on Patricks Street (Maylor St is the most direct route....narrow rd).

Registration......Registration is at Cork City Hall on Saturday 1st (11am-6pm) and Sunday 2nd (2-6pm) June.

Race Day – Monday 4th June.......Changing Facilities......On race day, the City Hall and the Millennium Hall (same area) will be available for changing and leaving your bag for later collection. All bags must have a label (available in the halls) with your race number clearly written on it. Please do not leave valuables in the halls. The halls are open from c. 7.30am to 5pm.

Buses......Buses will go to the three outlying relay changeover points.
Relay Changeover Point  FIRST Bus       LAST Bus
Silversprings                            08.00   08.30
Ringmahon Road                      09.45   11.00
Model Farm Road                     10.30   13.30

The Half Marathon starts on the Ringmahon Road at 10.30am. Access to the start area is from Skehard Road only. Parking is very restricted and there are extensive road closures in the area, so buses will be provided from City Hall to the Skehard Road. You can also use the relay buses for Ringmahon but priority will be given to relay participants.

The bus journey is approx. 20mins and will drop you opposite the CSO on Skehard Road, five minutes walk from the starting area at the east end of Skehard Road.

Timing Chips........Each full and half-marathon participant will wear a timing chip. Don't forget it!!

Start Line.......The marathon and team relay start in the city centre at 9am on St Patrick’s Street. The wheelchair marathon sets out a few minutes before that. The start area will be zoned into your predicted time for the race – please respect these zones. For safety and comfort, walkers in particular are advised to start towards the back of the field.

Medals..........Everyone who finishes gets a medal. The marathon and half-marathon medals will be given immediately after the finish line. The finishing relay member must go to City Hall to collect their team’s medals.

Course Time Limit & Roads......The course time limit is 6 hours for the marathon and relay. After that, the Gardaí may ask you to move onto the footpaths but the finish line will stay in place for 7 hours.

The Jack Lynch Tunnel is a critical link in the city’s traffic network. If you haven’t reached the tunnel by 11.30am, you will not be permitted through it.

Toilets...........There will be portable toilets at the start area, on St Patrick’s Street, at the start of the half marathon and just before each of the Relay Changeover points.

L'Atitude 51...Post Marathon treats and Facebook Competition...

From L'Atitude 51 Wine Café...... "For the second year in a row L’Atitude 51 will be welcoming all participants in the Cork City Marathon and their supporters for some free canapés and pizza from 11 am till 3 pm on Monday 3rd June.

Avail of our Special Offer running (excuse the pun on Saturday and Monday: 

- a glass of our house white or red wine with a platter of 3 cheeses or 3 charcuterie for €10.50 from 12 to 4 pm
- Coffee or tea and a brioche or croissant (with jam and butter) for €3.50 from opening time...

We will open early to accommodate supporters and runners. Remember we are right next to the City Hall, so come and say hello when you pick up your registration pack or after the race on Monday.

We hope you all are ready for the BIG DAY and we wish you a great race and obviously the perfect weather!!!"

As a prize for a competition on the Running in Cork Facebook Page, they are offering a prize of a  €50 voucher.

The question is...What will be the winning time for the first woman in the 2013 Cork City Marathon?

1) The first woman in the Cork City Marathon cannot win the free entry.
2) One guess per person. In the case that two people guess the same time, the person who guessed first wins. The closest guess wins. If two people are the same distance away, the person with the lower guess wins.
3) Entries close at 10pm on Sunday, the 2nd of June.

Looking ahead to the Cork City Half-Marathon...

This will be the third year that a Half-Marathon event has been included in the Cork City Marathon. In 2011, they had an entry limit of 1,000 runners. Last year, it was 1,800 and this year, it's 2,000.

While the full Marathon and Relay event will start at 9am on Patrick's Street in the centre of Cork City, the Half-Marathon will start about 6 kms to the east in Mahon at 10:30am. This is 30 minutes earlier than the 11:00am start of last year (2011 was 11:30am).

The map above shows the route of the Half-Marathon. From mile 2 onwards, it joins the Marathon route so we'll have a look at those sections in later posts.

From the City Hall, there will be a free bus service taking relay and Half-Marathon runners to the CSO office in Mahon. See map below...(Half in Pink, Full in Green)
From here, it is a short walk to the holding area which is likely to be at the end of the Skehard Road. This will keep the Marathon route free until the runners are moved out to the start of the Half which is just around the corner.

The start of the Half is roughly at the 10.5 mile mark in the Marathon. IF everything starts on time then the Half should start 90 minutes after the full Marathon.

What that means is that the Half should be starting around the time the 3:45 Marathon pace group will be going through. The Marathon field will be pretty crowded at this stage and then consider another another 2,000 runners joining them on the road....with a relay changeover up ahead!

For Marathon runners, it will mean that for those running with the 3:45 pace group or maybe a few minutes slower are going to have to run through a lot of slower Half-Marathon runners as the road will be nearly full.

For relay runners near the 3:45 pacers or just after, you are going to have to try and find your team mates in those crowded conditions. The average pace here is about 8:34 so there are going to be plenty of relay runners waiting.

For Half-Marathon runners, the road ahead for about 1km is going to be very busy, regardless of what time the Half starts.

This is the start of the Half-Marathon.....nice wide road. Except...they will have to partition part of the road to leave the Marathon and Relay runners pass. Eventually though, the partition will end and the fields will merge.

After passing the relay changeover, the course turns right and heads towards Blackrock Castle.

Just before the Castle (~1km in the Half), the course splits. The Full Marathon and Relay runners turn off right onto the walkway and runs alongside the river. The Half-Marathon runners stay on the road and run up a short hill past the Castle.

If you are a relay or Marathon runner and you run past Blackrock Castle then you are on the wrong course!

From what I understand, the split will be well signposted. This however is the one area where the earlier Half-Marathon start may cause problems. There will be a lot more Marathon and Relay runners this year at the split once the Half-Marathon field arrives. Will some runners go the wrong way??? If you were to watch the Half-Marathon race just around the corner from Blackrock, would you see a trickle of runners with different colour race bib's coming through?

For the Half-Marathon runners, once they pass Blackrock Castle they run downhill slightly before tackling this short climb which is about 300 metres long. After that, it's down into Blackrock village, right onto the Marina.....

....and then dead flat for the next mile.

Near the 2 mile mark in the Half-Marathon, the two courses merge again. The Marathon and Relay runners will appear from the left at what is near the 15 mile mark for them.

Assuming that both the Full and Half start on time, then this is the relative pace for both groups...

a) For Half-Marathon runners doing 6 mins/mile pace (~1:19 Half)....the Marathon runners will be doing an average of 6:48 per mile....i.e. those trying to run under 3 hours. For half runners, the course ahead till the finish line is relatively empty. For full  Marathon runners, the faster half runners should be passing them initially but in the later stages, they will end up running with half runners going roughly the same pace.

b) For Half runners doing 7 mins/mile pace (~1:32 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 6:56 per mile). Essentially both fields are going at the same pace. The numbers from both races will still be thin enough at this stage so there should be no real congestion for the rest of the course.

c) For Half runners doing 8 mins/mile pace (~1:45 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 7:04 per mile (3:05 Marathon). The Marathon runners are likely to join a very congested road full of Half-Marathon runners. They will have to work their way through although the relative speed difference isn't too great. Should be busy until the finish.

d) For Half runners doing 9 mins/mile pace (~1:58 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 7:12 per mile (3:08 Marathon). The full Marathon runners will join a congested field of half-marathon runners who will be running 2 mins per mile slower. Could be lots of weaving, especially early on with the field thinning out later.

e) For Half runners doing 10 mins/mile pace (~2:11 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 7:20 per mile (3:13 Marathon). The Marathon runners are likely to run into the back of a field of Half-Marathon runners. Possibly slow going, lots of weaving again.

As you can see from the times above, the trend will continue with Marathon runners doing 7:30 per mile or slower having to contend with a field of slower half-marathon runners to run through. The slower the Marathon pace then it just means that they will meet the half runners later along the course. For example, the full runners doing 3:45 probably won't see any half runners when the courses join but they will see them later.

Start of the Mardyke walk

To get an overall feel for the half-marathon course, you can see it in this video clip from 5:17 onwards...

Overall.........that's a quick guide to what the Half-Marathon might be like. In previous years, the problem was for the faster half-marathon having to work their way through a field of slower Marathon runners, especially on the Mardyke walk around the 25 mile mark.

This year, the congestion should be further out the course. The faster runners of both races should have plenty of free road while this time, it's the Marathon runners doing say 3:10 to 3:30 may see the congestion.

The slower Marathon runners doing say 4 hours may not see much until the later stages while those doing say 4:15 plus may never see any Half runners.

No matter what way it is organised, there is always going to be some congestion somewhere. How bad will it be this year? Will a 3:15 Marathon runner join the route at 15 miles only to find a road full of slower runners? A lot of the assumptions above are based on the races starting at their correct times but almost matter what the start times are...a segment of Marathon runners are going to hit heavy traffic ahead.


Results of the Streets of Fermoy 5 km road race...Thurs 30th May 2013

1    16:25    WAUGH, George    Bandon AC    M   5:16.9
2    16:46    WHITAKER, Allen    St. Finbarrs AC    M40   5:23.7
3    18:05    O'SULLIVAN, Johnny    Galtee Runners AC    M40   5:49.1
22   20:41    HAYES, Ann-Marie    St. Catherines AC    F   6:39.3
25   21:01    FITZGIBBON, Clotilde    Grange-Fermoy AC    F40  6:45.7
26   21:13    KENNY, Karen    Grange-Fermoy AC    F  6:49.6 

The full results can be seen HERE

Thursday, May 30, 2013

5th leg of the Relay in the 2013 Cork City Marathon

5th Leg of the 2013 Cork City Marathon Relay...

Course...Leg 5...So this is it...the 5th and final leg of the Cork City Marathon Relay and also the easiest at 4.5 miles. It starts at the relay changeover point at around 21.7 miles on the Model Farm Road. There is a very slight pull from here to the 22 mile mark by the County Library.

Mile 22......Carry on past the County Council Library on the left and then soon, you will begin the steep descent by the Tennis Village. Around the left bend, along the flat and onto Inchagaggin Bridge.

In previous years (2007-9), you had to run up the steep hill on the other side followed by a long drag. With the introduction of the long riverside section in Mahon in 2010, this hard section is now gone. So you turn right just after the bridge and along a flat section until you join the Straight Road. You'll see the County Hall way off in the distance but not as far as in previous years. Soon, you'll come to the 23 mile mark.........(~mile 10 in the Half-Mara). An easy mile.

Mile 23......This is an easy mile. Dead flat. The county hall starts off in the distance but you are right alongside it at the 24 mile mark.....(~mile 11 in the Half-Mara)

This is where there was substantial flooding back in late 2009 when this area was under water. On the left is the Kingsley Hotel which was very badly effected.

Mile 24..........It starts near the County Hall and proceeds to Victoria Cross. A slight pull over the bridge and then left at the traffic lights and then right onto the Mardyke....past the sports ground.....past Fitgeralds Park....and at the end, you turn left onto the public walkway and on to the distinctive pedestrian bridge.

The 25 mile mark is here......A flat and easy mile. (The 12 mile mark for the Half-Marathon is on the other side of the bridge on the walkway)

Mile 25......Now you are onto a public walkway. Across the new Mardyke bridge and then a sharp right onto the riverside walkway. Here things can get a bit congested. Runners running 3 or 4 abreast can completely block your path. The whole area is wooded so it makes a change from the open roads. After a few hundred metres, you're back out on the North Mall and the wide public road again. Along the North Mall until you get to the junction with Shandon Bridge.

Be careful here. The should be a Garda and /or stewards here stopping traffic to let the runners cross. Just be's a dangerous junction. Now, onto Popes Quay with the Marathon runners re-tracing their steps of their 2nd mile.

On past St.Mary's church and down the quays to the 26 mile mark. A flat easy mile although a bit narrow in places.

Grand Finale...Starting on the 26 mile mark, you now have 352 metres to go to the finish....

This is the sight that everyone wants to see.....Patrick's Bridge.....the last bridge....with Patrick's Street with the finish line on the other side. It's about here that you begin to hear the noise coming from the finish.  You cross over the bridge and onto Patrick's Street with the crowds on both sides. It's about here that the Half-Marathon runners will pass their 13 mile mark. Up the main street and the finish is just around a slight bend.

That's it, all done. For Marathon runners, you've just completed 26.22 miles and a full marathon. Well done!!

That's it. All 5 stages. All 26.2 miles of the Cork City Marathon. If you've read through all 5 previews, you'll probably feel tired already ;o)

 Now, it's time to run it.

4th leg of the Relay in the 2013 Cork City Marathon

This is the 4th stage of 5 and is 5.2 miles in length. Of the five, it is one of the hardest legs even though it isn't the longest. For Marathon runners, this stage starts at roughly 16.5 miles on Victoria Road.

Course...Leg 4.....Mile 16.5......Just after the Relay changeover point on Victoria Road, it's left onto the quays, past Carey's Tools and left again onto Albert Street. Now the road really opens out as you go past the next 2 bends, past Brownlows and onto the South Link Road. From here, there is a slight climb up to the next junction as shown below.

After running on the flat for so long, this will test the Marathon runners to see if they can maintain the pace. You hit the 17 mile mark around here....(Approx mile 4 for the Half-Mara runners). An easy mile with plenty of commotion in the middle!

Mile 17......Then it flattens out as you run out the link road. Again, there is another railway connection here as you are running along the route of the old Cork to Bandon railway line. Soon, you'll see the 2nd overhead bridge. So, it's under it and then take a left for a very steep short climb. A steep part of the course but it's only 50 metres or so long. Then left, over the bridge, through the next junction and a short steep downhill section to Turners Cross. Left at the junction here and onto the Curragh Road. Out along here is the 18 mile mark. An easy enough mile but that short sharp climb can be difficult on tired legs.

Mile 18......Now, the road is pretty flat as you head for the Kinsale Road and pass the turn off for Ballyphehane. Just after this is another water station. As well as offering plain water, they may have sports drinks here as well. If you are doing the relay, you don't need to take them. If you are doing the full marathon, you should consider taking one as the glucose from the drink will help you to conserve your bodies own supply. Note that sometimes Sports drinks don't agree with everyone, especially when they are running. The glucose will also take a while to get into your system.....perhaps 2 to 3 miles later.
On to the junction by Woodies, right onto the Tramore Road and past the back of the Musgrave Park rugby grounds. A  slight downhill and then a long flat secton. Right at the next turn off and a slight pull uphill......keep straight ahead until you hit the 19 mile mark at the distinctive red brick church in Ballyphehane.....(Mile 6 for the Half-Mara runners)

A reasonable mile but some small little pulls in it.

Mile 19.........Left at the church and the road goes slightly downhill towards the Lough. Now onto Hartlands Avenue and there is a slight uphill section from here until the next set of traffic lights and the 20 mile mark. A reasonable mile but the uphill section at the end is a bit tough on tired legs.

Mile 20.........After the left at the traffic lights, the next half mile or so is downhill. It starts pretty gradual until there is a steeper downhill section at the end near the junction near Clashduv road. Almost immediately after the junction (...shown below), the road climbs again past St.Finbarr's Cemetary.

It's a fair climb and will certainly slow you down. Then it's right into Liam Lynch park and there is a short steep climb as seen below as you exit by Bishopstown Credit Union onto the Wilton Road.

Right here and a gradual downhill section to the 21 mile mark.......(~Mile 8 for the Half-Mara). Not an easy mile, plenty of extra effort required.

 Mile 20......Left at Dennehy's Cross  by the church and onto Model Farm Road. Now, there is a gradual uphill section for about 600 metres......

Nothing steep but enough to make you work that bit harder. Coming where it does in the Marathon, this is possibly the hardest hill in the entire route.

After the 2nd set of traffic lights, the road falls rapidly and then flattens out as you approach the final Relay changeover point. The 21 mile mark is about 500 metres beyond it.....(~mile 9 in the Half-Mara).

So, that's the 4th leg. It was 5.3 miles in length and it probably is the hardest leg. Loads of small pulls which will have an impact on tired legs.

3rd leg of the Relay in the 2013 Cork City Marathon...

3rd Leg of the 2013 Cork City Marathon Relay...

The 3rd leg starts at the Relay changeover point in Ringmahon and as in previous years, you head towards Blackrock castle. Just before the castle however note that the course splits!

Marathon and Relay runners turn off right into a car park and on to a walkway. Half-Marathon runners will go straight ahead. Make sure you know which way to go.

The walkway follows the waters edge for about 2 kms and you have a great view out over the inner harbour. For those of you not familiar with it, it may seem a bit narrow but the Marathon and Relay runners will be well spaced out at this stage so it shouldn't be a problem.

This is a really nice part of the Marathon route and is very popular with runners in Cork. Towards the end of it, you'll notice a very large radio mast which is no longer in use. The Half-Marathon mark is very close to this point. Just after that, the walkway ends in a slight ramp as you run up onto another pathway which heads back in towards the city. First of all, theres a little matter of a bridge to cross over.

This is the narrowest part of the course and without doubt, the steepest. It is however pretty short and very soon you'll be running down the other side and onto a dead straight walkway.

Pretty soon, you'll begin to see clues as to the origin of this walkway with a series of bridges. It was in fact an old railway line that went from Cork City to Rochestown, Passage, Monkstown, Carrigaline and Crosshaven.

After a while, you come to what was the old railway station in Blackrock until you reach the end of the walkway and you turn right on to the Marina.

Note......There is where the Half-Marathon route and Marathon route join again and it stays the same until the finish line.

From here, you run along a tree lined route all  of the ways to the changeover point just after the end of the Centre Park Road.

Overall, one of the longest relay sections at roughly 5.8 miles but also one of the flattest. Most of it is on walkways and quiet roads and is also probably the nicest section of the whole Marathon route.

2nd leg of the Relay in the 2013 Cork City Marathon

This is the 2nd stage of 5 and is 5.5 miles in length. Of the 5, it is probably one of the two toughest Relay legs. For Marathon runners, this stage starts just after the 5 mile mark at about 5.3 miles between the skew bridge and Silversprings hotel on the Lower Glanmire road. For Relay runners, the mile markers for this stage will be for the Marathon. Since you are starting at 5.3 miles, the 6, 7 and 8 mile markers will be 0.7, 1.7, 2.7 miles and so on.

Course...Leg 2 of the Relay / Mile 6 of the Marathon......It starts just before the skew bridge with a slight pull over the bridge, down the other side and then join the new Relay runners. Past the Silversprings Hotel and you head East towards the tunnel on the right hand side of the road. About half way along the road between the Hotel and the Dunkettle roundabout, you'll come to the 6 mile mark. Another pretty easy and flat mile. Near the 6 mile mark, there should be a water station with bottles of water.

Mile 7......Carry on to the roundabout, through it and now there is a gradual climb up the slip road before it flattens out and then falls towards the tunnel entrance. The 7 mile mark is near here. A reasonable mile although you will have encountered your first real pull and effort. Overall, the first 7 miles of the Marathon are pretty flat and easy. Things get 'interesting' from here on.

Mile 8........... Round the corner and down into the Jack Lynch tunnel under the River Lee. Now is not a good time to start thinking about the few hundred metric tons of water above your head and start looking for leaks ;o)

Two things here.....
 1) The tunnel slowly curves away to the left. You SHOULD follow the racing line..i.e. stay on the left and take the shortest possible route. For example, in the photo above, you should stick as close to the traffic cones as possible. Every year, people are stuck to the right wall taking the long option. The course is measured over the shortest possible route. There are no medals for running longer than you have to.
 2) The mile starts with a long downhill but as soon as you hit the middle, you have to start the long climb out again. It's not steep but it is long. See the photo below....this is the pull coming back out of the tunnel.

Mile 9............The first half mile along the South Ring Road is flat and easy. Then you take the right up the steep slip road for Mahon Point.

This is the steepest section so far in the race. Then it flattens out and falls slowly towards the entrance to Mahon Point and the 9 mile mark. So, a reasonable mile with a steep climb in the middle.

Mile 10......Starts near Mahon Point but soon you have to begin climbing. See below.......this is the slight downhill to Mahon Point followed by the climb on the other side all the ways to the CSO office. Nothing serious but uphill all the same.

Then right around the corner by the CSO office and on to the Skehard Road. Along this section, you come to the next water station. Then the road falls slowly downhill and take the next right into a housing estate and the 10 mile mark. A reasonable mile with a moderate pull initially.

Mile 11........Out of the estate....then left....a flat section and then left again on to Ringmahon Road. This section is dead flat and just ahead, you'll see the mass of runners eagerly waiting at the 2nd Relay changeover point at about 10.8 miles (..or 5.5 miles for Relay runners doing only the 2nd leg).

For Marathon runners and Relay runners just starting, it's right at the next junction and head towards Blackrock Castle. The 11 mile mark is about 500 metres after the Relay changeover point. A flat and easy mile.

So that's the 2nd leg. It was roughly 5.5 miles in length and there were plenty of sections where you had to put in a bit of extra effort. While it has the novelty of running through the Jack Lynch tunnel, it is still one of the harder relay legs when you consider the amount of climbing from the centre of the tunnel to the high point near the CSO office.

1st leg of the Relay in the 2013 Cork City Marathon...

Just to put this leg into perspective, there are 5 stages in the Cork City Marathon Relay event. The course is the exact same as last year.

Each leg of the Relay event is more or less the same length....roughly 4.5 to 5.8 miles in length.

The Relay runners will start at 9AM on Patrick's Street along with all of the Marathon runners.

Course...Relay Leg 1Mile 1......It starts on Patricks Street, turns into the Grand Parade, then the South Mall, into Parnell Place and then left along the Quay's. Just as you pass Patricks Bridge, you see the 1 mile mark, a very flat and easy first mile.

Mile 2........You stay on the quays until Shandon Bridge, cross the river and turn right onto Popes Quay. Past the church, John Buckley Sports and then left onto Leitrim Street and Murphys Brewery. The road should have barricades in the middle here as you'll be returning back down on the other side shortly. If perhaps you're not running so fast, you might even see some of the faster runners returning.

Soon, just where you turn off for the Watercourse road, you'll see the 2 mile mark, another flat and easy mile.

Mile 3......So, on to the Watercourse Road, left at the next junction followed by an immediate right onto Great William O'Brien Street. Carry on until you need to do a sharp turn just after the church. There was a great band here last year playing African drum music which really added to the occasion. So, past the church again, onto the Watercourse Road and head back towards the City Centre. Now there is a slight kink here just to add the required amount to make sure that the full Marathon is the correct distance. See picture.....runners are approaching from the top of the picture.....the old 2009 route is yellow, the new route (2010/11/12/13) is in blue.....

At the N20/New Mallow Road to Watercourse Road junction, runners will turn left to complete a small loop to add a little extra to the course to make it accurate. After that, it's on towards the 3 mile mark, not too far from the 2 mile mark on the other side of the road. Overall, a pretty flat mile.

Mile 4............Back down to the quays as you see some of the slower runners on the other side head towards the 2 mile mark. Then left onto Patricks Quay and then onto Horgans Quay as you follow the River Lee through the City.

Where the quay is open on the right for ships, you'll soon come to the 4 mile mark. A very flat and easy mile.

Mile 5............ Back to the 5th mile. Continue along Horgans Quay until the end. Then left and then right onto the Lower Glanmire Road. Here as you run alongside the river, you'll see the Marina and Pairc Ui Chaoimh on the other side. A bit before the skew bridge, you'll see the 5 mile mark. Another flat and easy mile.

There is a slight climb up to the skew bridge and a slight fall after it and very soon, you see the mass of Relay runners eagerly looking for the approach of their running partners. If you are doing the full Marathon, this will be the first of 4 Relay changeovers stages that you'll run through and you'll see why the Relay event generates so much excitement!

That's it, roughly 5.2 miles and a pretty flat and easy leg. Now, only 20.8 miles to go....!!

Preview of the Doneraile Park 5 km race...Fri 31st May 2013

This 5k race in Doneraile in North Cork is the first race of 7 in the Ballyhoura Cork Road Race Series. While it's described as a trail race, it is in reality mostly on narrow roads and paths within Doneraile Park. It would be wrong to think that it's some sort of cross country race and that you need to run through mud or long grass.

Doneraile is located just to the north-east of Mallow so access is very easy from the N20 Cork to Limerick road.

If you are coming from say South Tipperary, then it's just off the N73 Mitchelstown to Mallow road.

Sign-on for the race is at the Doneraile Community Centre. This is right alongside the RC church in the south of the town.

Intructions from the organisers..Mallow AC... 
Registration will be in Doneraile community centre from 6.30pm.  Close at 7.50. Race starts at 8pm sharp. Entry fee 5 euro. 

Park gates close at 8pm. Do not park inside the park as your car will be locked in overnight.

No earphones allowed.

Doneraile Park is a beautiful venue for your supporting friends and family to enjoy on the evening. There is a great childrens playground in the park which is open until 7:30pm.

The race starts at 8pm just inside the park.

The 5km course is on small roads and trails with the grounds of the park. You should treat this the same as you would an ordinary road race...i.e. wear your normal running shoes. The only thing you may need to watch out for is exposed roots but again, theses are a minor affair. There are a few pulls out along the course but they're small. Expect to set a reasonably fast time.

Full preview.....A full preview of the course with photos can be seen HERE

As for Doneraile Park itself, it really is a lovely spot. It's basically an old country estate and is now a grassland park with some small forested areas. If you have never been here before then you soon see that Doneraile Park is really an outstanding spot, especially if the sun is shining.

Overall...Doneraile is a stunning spot for a race. If you are taking part in the Cork City Marathon or Half-Marathon next Monday then it would be best to use it as an easy slow run. Great race to kick off the series.