Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Results of the Charleville Half-Marathon...Sun 21st Sept 2014

Conditions were perfect for this years Charleville 9 deg C at the start and hardly any wind....a big contrast from the heat of 2013. The sun didn't really appear until about the 2 hour mark and most runners were nearly home at that stage.

This was only my second time doing this race as I had done it previously in 2012. The big difference for me was the road closure this time round. In 2012, we had a stream of cars trying to pass hundreds of runners which really didn't work well. It was so much better this year with nothing but runners taking up the whole road. Without the hassle of traffic, it made it a very nice course to run on.

The whole event seemed to be very well organised and it had the look and fell of a well run club race which of course is exactly what it was. Full credit to the host club North Cork AC for putting on a fine event.

Martin Fagan & Maria of the 2014 Charleville Half-Marathon

1 Martin FAGAN  1:03:58 Ages 18-39  (1) Male  (1)
2 Ismail SSENYANGE 1:06:06 Ages 18-39  (2)    Male  (2)
3 Sergiu CIOBANU 1:06:19 Ages 18-39  (3)    Male  (3)
4 Paddy HAMILTON 1:06:29 Ages 18-39  (4)    Male  (4)
5 Brian MAHER 1:07:41 Ages 18-39  (5)    Male  (5)
6 Geert MAES 1:08:27 Ages 18-39  (6)    Male  (6)
7 Greg ROBERTS 1:09:16 Ages 18-39  (7)    Male  (7)
8 Tim STESSENS 1:09:30  Ages 18-39  (8)    Male  (8)
9 Simon RYAN 1:10:13 Ages 18-39  (9)    Male  (9)
10 Colm SHEEHAN 1:10:51 Ages 18-39  (10)    Male  (10)

21    Maria MCCAMBRIDGE 01:12:26 Ages 18-39  (1)    Female  (1)
29    Siobhan O'DOHERTY 01:16:24 Ages 18-39  (2)    Female  (2)
39    Barbara SANCHEZ 01:17:37 Ages 18-39  (3)    Female  (3)
53    Ailish MALONE (29)    01:19:08    01:19:06    Ages 18-39  (4)    Female  (4)
79    Ann-Marie HOLLAND (32)    01:23:19    01:23:13    Ages 18-39  (5)    Female  (5)
89    Anna-Meria COSTELLOE (33)    01:24:41    01:24:36    Ages 18-39  (6)    Female  (6)
112    Mags DEMPSEY (410)    01:27:06    01:26:58    Ages 18-39  (7)    Female  (7)
122    Patricia MC COSKER (737)    01:27:32    01:27:22    Ages 18-39  (8)    Female  (8)
125    Niamh CRONIN (240)    01:27:34    01:27:26    Ages 18-39  (9)    Female  (9)
130    Margo DINAN (491)    01:27:45    01:27:38    Ages 45 - 49  (1)    Female  (10)

The full results can be seen HERE

Photos.....(Updated Mon 8:45am)
1) Paudie Birmingham of Mallow AC has a gallery of photos HERE 
2) The organisers have loads of pre-race and start line photos HERE
 .....and finish line photos HERE (Facebook account required to view)
3) Doug Minihane has 400+ photos HERE
4) An BrĂș AC (Bruff) have loads near the finish line HERE
5) A number of photos from Kevin O'Connor of the start HERE
6) Mick Dooley of Eagle AC has a number of photos HERE

Some stats from Paudie Birmingham of Mallow AC.....
 A quick look at the results today in Charleville compared to the Dublin Half yesterday. 
Total to run Charleville.  667. Total to run Dublin.  6128...9 times the size
Sub 70min...Charleville had 8. That’s 1.2% of the total field....Dublin had 1 sub 70.  0.02% of its total field. 
Sub 80min...Charleville had 59. That’s 8.9% of the total field...Dublin had 58.  That’s 1% of the total field.
Sub 90 min...Charleville had 161. That’s 24% of its total field...Dublin had 441.  That’s 7.2% of the total field.
Women under 1:30...Charleville had 16...Dublin had 18.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Results of the Rebel Run4Fun 5k, Ballincollig...Sat 20th Sept 2014

A total of 173 people turned out for the third and final race in the Rebel Run4Fun 5k series in Ballincollig on Saturday 20th Sept 2014. This series was organised by the Cork Sports Partnership with the aim of highlighting the Ballincollig Regional Park as an area for recreational use for runners and walkers.

1  SHINE  JOHN  16:41     5:23/M
2  COMBER  DAVID 17:19     5:35/M
3  HARTY  BRIAN  17:44     5:43/M
12  O CALLAGHAN  RACHAEL  21:20  6:53/M
13  DUFFY  DOLORES  21:24 6:54/M
16  HOLLAND  SIOBHAN  22:08 7:08/M

The full results can be seen HERE

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rebel Run4Fun 5k in Ballincollig...Sat 20th Sept 2014

Just a reminder that the 3rd and final race in the Rebel Run4Fun 5k series organised by the Cork Sports Partnership is coming up on Saturday morning the 20th of Sept in Ballincollig.

The entry fee is €10 if you enter online until lunch time today Friday 19th.

You can enter on the morning of the race for €15.

Pre-Registered participants can collect their timing chip and event number in Our Lady of Good Council Primary School which will marked on the morning.
Sign in will be open from 8.45am until 9.30am with the event starting at 10am sharp.
Participants that are registering on the morning are asked to arrive in plenty time to register their details and get their timing chip/event number.
Please note when signing in and registering there will be little or no parking by the school, and participants will be directed to main event car park by Lidl which is about a 700m walk.

Refreshments of water, fruit and cereal bars sponsored by Lidl are available afterward.

Directions and course preview at

Big turn out for the Join Ray for 5k in Cork

While this wasn't the usual type of 5k race, a large crowd still turned out for this fun 5k in the Lee Fields in Cork City on Thurs 18th of Sept. From what I understand, it cost just €5 to enter and runners got a tech top for that price.

Today FM have a small number of photos on their Facebook page ....scroll down for the Cork pics.

Video from Tony Kelleher of Togher AC...

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Looking forward to the Charleville Half-Marathon next Sunday 21st Sept

The big race next weekend in Cork is of course the Half-Marathon in Charleville in North Cork. Here is the info for the event from the organisers...

Late entries........Saturday 20th September at the Charleville Park Hotel 12 –6pm. Special late Entry rate of 40 until 6pm. Note that there are no entries on the morning of the race.

Saturday 12 noon – 9pm Race Pack Collection at the hotel (incl. Number, Pins, Race T-shirt, Free “Distance Running” Magazine).

Sunday 21st September @ St Josephs Foundation, Bakers Rd.
8 am to 9:30am – Race Pack Collection only – St. Josephs Foundation Hall, Bakers Rd. Charleville
9:30am – Race Pack Collection Closes
9:45am – Half-Marathon participants assemble at start area (For safety reasons, runners will be asked to start behind the pacemakers for their particular estimated pace)

Pacers.......There will be pacers running at the following paces; 1:20, 1:25, 1:30, 1:35, 1:40, 1:45, 1:50, 1:55, 2:00, 2:05, 2:10, 2:15..........Having pacers every 5 mins is a welcome development as the usual 'every 10 or 15 minutes' is very much hit or miss. The most common mistake people make is that they start too fast and pay for it in the second half of the race. Staying with a pacer is a good way to get the first few miles under the belt before pressing on...JD

10am – Race Start

Water Stations…There will be small bottles of water and/or cups available at each of the water stations at approximately 5.3km intervals along the course and at the finish line.

12pm - Post-race Refreshments and Food…..There will be tea/coffee, and an extensive range of sandwiches, cakes, buns etc. available for runners as they cross the line. (There will also be a special section for Coeliacs who require gluten free food and non-buttered sandwiches for those with a dairy intolerance.)

Course Preview.......A full preview of the course with maps, directions and photos can be seen HERE

Video of the course...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

View from the Back...Pt.1

In all road races, there is usually quite a difference between those at the front end and those at the rear in terms of speed and ability. Sometimes those at the back get a bit of a raw deal despite having paid the same entry fee. These are some of the views of one such local runner...

The back markers of a race always seem to get a raw deal of which I used to be one and in the odd race often still am although running for over a year now.  In a 5 mile race in SE Limerick last year (tough course), the gantry was even taken down before another girl and myself were even in just because there was a gap between us and the rest of the field. My time was 55 mins which was a pb for me at the time.

On another occasion in a 5 mile race in Cork last year I took off too fast and ended up coming in over the hour mark which was one of my worst races ever. Fair enough and I had guys in a jeep driving behind me towards the end but the stewards had all stepped down so I had to keep asking the guys in the jeep where to go as I didn't know the area and the road had reopened which meant I had to run up the footpath into the line asking runners that were coming out to warm down where the finish line was making a complete fool of myself.

Something that organisers of races might take into consideration is that no matter how slow you are everybody pays the same registration fees etc and deserves the same treatment and allowances should be made for slower runners.

Back of the Pack

Monday, September 15, 2014

Some race stats on the John Buckley Sports Cork City 10 Miler...

Some Race Statistics on the John Buckley/St finbarrs 10 mile Road Race by Alex O'Shea...

*494 race participants took part in the inaugural John Buckley/St Finbarrs 10mile Road Race. Information as per precision timing results.
*317 male = 64% of the field
*177 female = 36% of the  field.
*At least 46 clubs (Athletic, Triathlon & Fit 4 Life) took part.
With a wide geographical spread. This accounted for 50% of the overall field but could be higher as some club runners may have failed to enter there club name when registering.
*The course was advertised as one of the flattest fastest 10milers around. Did it live up to the description? Looking at some stats the winner Mark Hanrahan of Leevale AC would not normally compete at the 10 mile distance, so it would be hard to draw a conclusion based solely on his result.
So I looked at the next man home St Finbarr's athlete John Meade. John competed in at least 3 of the well known 10 mile events this year.
53:38 John Buckley 10m
54:20 Mallow 10m
54:21 Dungarvan 10m
& from all accounts on a day with a bit less headwind we could all achieve faster times.

The organisers would like to thank everyone for making it a great race.
*From the countless volunteers
*Precision Timing

Hope to see you all again next year.....Alex O'Shea, St.Finbarr's AC

Garmin Forerunner 10 watch lost at 10 mile race...

Someone contacted me to say that they lost their Garmin Forerunner 10 watch at the John Buckley Sports 10 mile race last Sunday. It is purple in colour and the owner had it at the finish line but lost it sometime after that. If anyone found it then send me an e-mail and I'll put you in contact with the owner. You'll find my address on the right hand side of this page.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Results of the John Buckley Sports Cork City 10 mile road race - Sun 14th Sept 2014

A total of 500 runners turned out for the inaugural John Buckley Sport Cork City 10 Miler on Sunday the 14th of September 2014. Organised by St.Finbarr's Athletic Club, this new 10 mile race replaced the old half-marathon in Blarney.

When it was announced back in July that it would be changing to a half-marathon, there was a mixed reaction. Just looking at the numbers, the record for the Blarney Half was 501 in 2012. The figure for the new 10 mile race almost matched that so there is no real drop.

Race sponsor John Buckley of John Buckley Sports presenting the winners prizes to Orla Drumm and Mark Hanrahan

1 Mark HANRAHAN     Leevale AC    M    MSenior 51:22
2 John Meade        St. Finbarr's    M    MSenior 53:38
3 Colin MERRITT        Carrig Na Bhfear    M    M40+ 54:36
4 Danny Smith        ballynonty ac    M    MSenior 55:49
5 Darren MOLLOY        Naval Service    M    M35+ 56:18
14 Orla Drumm        Crusaders AC    F    FSenior 59:15
33 Carmel CROWLEY     Bandon AC    F    F45+ 1:02:12
42 Ann Marie HOLLAND     St Finbarrs    F    F35+ 1:02:53
73 Laoise NITHUAMA     F    FSenior 1:07:05
77 Anna Doris Midleton AC    F    F40+ 1:07:36

The full results can be found HERE

Photos...(Updated Tues 9am)
1) Gallery by Doug Minihane HERE
2) Kieran Minihane has 300+ HERE 
3) Joe Murphy of Eagle AC has some presentation photos HERE 
4) Joe has another gallery HERE with 600+ photos. Some of these are also available on the Eagle AC Facebook page if you want to tag anyone.
5) Another album from Joe with 357 photos HERE

Results of the Liscarroll NS 5k fun run/walk...Fri 12th Sept 2014

This 5k fun run/walk was organised by Liscarroll National School and was held in Doneraile Park on Friday the 12th of September.

The results can be seen HERE

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ciara Mageean & Paul Robinson finish 3rd in New York 5th Avenue Mile

The New York 5th Avenue Mile Race was held on Saturday the 13th of Sept 2014. Irish athletes Ciara Mageean and Paul Robinson finished 3rd in their respective races and picked up $2,500 apiece.

For Ciara Mageean, her time of 4:21.2 was a huge improvement on the 4:35.47 which she ran last week at the Great North City Games Mile in Newcastle. I'm not sure if the time will count for official record as it is a dead straight course and doesn't have all the corners that are on a full size track but if it did, it would place her second on the Irish all time list. Only Sonia O'Sullivan has run a faster time.

1. Jenny Simpson 4:19.4...$5,000
2. Brenda Martinez 4:19.6...$3,500
3. Ciara Mageean 4:21.2...$2,500
4. Heather Kampf 4:21.4...$1,500
5. Ingvill Makestad Bovim 4:21.9...$1,000
6. Morgan Uceny 4:22.0...$750
7. Hannah England 4:23.1...$500
8. Jordan Hasay 4:23.9...$250
9. Treniere Moser 4:234.3
10. Mary Cain 4:25.5
11. Laura Weightman 4:26.9
12. Sarah Brown 4:28.3
13. Violah Lagat 4:29.3
14. Sally Kipyego 4:29.4
15. Brie Felnagle 4:31.1
16. Beverly Ramos 4:33.6
17. Gesa Krause 4:35.6
18. Diane Cummins 4:40.2

Womens Race video.......remember, she is just 22 years old, just back from injury and only started training last March! What a talent.

For Paul Robinson, it was a great result to finish 3rd in such a prestigious race. His own personal best on the track is 3:54.77.

1. Jordan McNamara 3:51.0...$5,000
2. Garrett Heath 3:51.0...$3,500
3. Paul Robinson 3:51.1...$2,500
4. Augustine Choge 3:51.2...$1,500
5. Ryan Hill 3:52.3...$1,000
6. Matt Centrowitz 3:52.4...$750
7. Dan Hulin 3:52.9...$500
8. Kyle Merber 3:53.5...$250
9. Lawi Lalang 3:53.9
10. Ciaran O’€™Lionaird 3:54.3
11. David Torrence 3:55.4
12. Will Leer 3:55.9
13. Andy Bayer 3:56.9
14. German Fernandez 3:57.5
15. Ben Blankenship 3:57.8
16. Michael Rutt 4:03.4

Mens race video...What a finish by Paul Robinson. Within a whisker of finishing first.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Preview of the John Buckley Sports Cork City 10 Miler...Sun 14th Sept 2014

The big race this weekend is of course the John Buckley Sports Cork City 10 Miler organised by St.Finbarr's AC. More info in this earlier post.

Course Preview......You can see a preview of the 10 mile course HERE

Remember that you can still enter on the morning of the race at Lee Rowing Club next to Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Entries open at 8am. Entries close around 9:30-40am.

Note that there is a technical top for the first 800 entries. Roughly 400 people have already pre-entered. If you are entering on Sunday then do so as early as possible to make sure you get a top.

Update from the organisers St.Finbarr's AC...
1) People will collect the tee shirt after they finish / collection point will be between the finish & the boat club. The first 800 entries are entitled to a shirt . To keep track of this, the first entrant got number 1 and so on – no tee shirt for anybody with number higher than 800.  With the launch of a new race it’s impossible to gauge the expected numbers, hence tee-shirts for the first 800 entries only.
If anybody pre-entered before the deadline last Sunday and didn’t receive their number in the post we will look after them at the registration desk on the morning (they will definitely get a tee shirt). If anybody pre-entered late (online or in John Buckley Sports) after the numbers were posted on Monday, their number can be collected from the registration desk.

2) There will be two timing mat’ at the start and one at the finish.

3) Two water stations – 250 ml bottles sports caps (approx 4.5 ml and 7.5 (near halfway point for marathon opposite Harty’s Quay).

4) There will be some overtaking at the end of the second lap Centre Park Road / Monahan Rd – fastest 10% is lightly to catch the slowest 10% of runners (just like in the John Buckley Sports 5K). Runners  on their first lap stay tight to left hand side as usual, the runners passing will be turning off to the right anyway so should not be an issue.

5) Pacers...There will be 60, 70, 80 and 90 minute pacers

John Buckley (L) and Paul Gallagher of St.Finbarr's AC (R) showing off one of the 800 tech tops

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Q&A with Michael Herlihy, race director of the Charleville Half-Marathon

The Charleville Half-Marathon is coming up on Sunday the 21st of September and the standard entry closes today the 11th. For more information on the race, see this earlier post or to register, go to

The Charleville Half-Marathon at this stage is well established and has earned a reputation as a fast half-marathon course. In this Q&A article, I've asked race director Michael Herlihy about the race itself, how it came about, where the money from it goes and some of the plans for the future.


Q. Ok Michael, most people may know you as the race director of the Charleville Half-Marathon and as a former winner of the Cork City Marathon. Can you tell the readers a bit more about yourself? I think you may have gone to the US on a sports scholarship when you were younger? Your various personal best times for various distances?

MH...I wasn’t in any way a special talent as a juvenile athlete, just basically known for my high mileage training as a juvenile, inspired by some advice by former North Cork AC coach, Fr Liam Kelleher (Coach to numerous Irish International athletes) and by the magazine interviews that he did with top athletes. Under the guidance of my club coach David Doyle I achieved consistent training to get me to a decent level. I went to the North Mon for a year after finishing secondary school in Charleville. I had been developing steadily from a poor juvenile to this point where Br John Dooley helped me for a year. After this year when I finished 3rd in the Irish schools XC, I secured a scholarship through Br Dooley in Loyola University, Chicago. However, I returned home after a semester, not liking the structure and culture of the American System despite the success I had there initially. I was determined to try to make it in Ireland as a runner but was possibly a bit naive about the impact that the lack of support available in Ireland and in the Irish University system would have on my running career. I went through a period of prolonged injury in my early 20’s while in UL but eventually began to find my form again when I spent almost 3 full years in Australia working as a sports science scholar at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra between 2004 and 2008. There was a very good group of distance runners there despite the fact that the distance running programme had been cut from the very medals-orientated AIS. When I came home in 2008/9 I ran some personal bests of 68:21 at the Bantry Half and 50:57 in the Mallow 10 but have struggled to maintain that standard of performance since returning. However training is going well again with the help of the group training sessions of Donie Walsh of Leevale so I am hoping to hit some good times before the end of the year on the road and progress from there. After 23 years in the sport I still just love training hard and racing in good events.

Q. Where did the idea for the Charleville International Half-Marathon come from? What was the inspiration for it and what was it set out to achieve?

MH...The idea for the Charleville Half came from the fact that when I came back from Australia, I was finding it very difficult to get a decent competitive flat long distance road race in Ireland. I was running and winning races like Bantry, Dingle, Blarney half-marathons and Cork Marathon but all of them were not races designed for neither fast, nor competitive running. I ended up flying to Milan and Berlin for half-marathons to run against athletes I didn’t know in fields that were dominated by Kenyans just to try to run fast times.

Therefore, with the support of the rest of North Cork AC, we went ahead and put the Charleville Half on to the end of the Ballyhoura Series which I was co-ordinating at the time and made it the grand finale event of the series, in the same way that the old Charleville 10 mile road race used to be the grand finale of the old Ballyhoura 5 mile series. Our club, needed a fundraiser for the growing membership it had also, especially with the growing size of our juvenile membership. It also responded to the need for a race which would be flat and allow all runners of all ability levels set a personal best which was true to their current level of fitness (especially those preparing for Autumn Marathons). So we saw a niche and capitalised on it. It wasn’t a massive success at the start but it is beginning to show benefit for our clubs hard work now as we have learned about organising an event over the past number of years.

The other inspiration for me personally as a race organiser for this race was that there was and still is a lot of people bemoaning the fact that standards in distance running are falling but very few race organisers seem to want to adapt to the current social and sporting environment in which our top distance runners have to operate. Obviously prize money is a factor but the most obvious factor for me is that there is very few if any race organisers trying to put together a race for the top runners which can be done with a few emails and phone calls to athletes and their coaches just to highlight their race. There are a lot of races being put on for participation which is great and it is a large goal of the Ballyhoura series since I first set it up overall. However a lot of people forget that the top runners don’t ring each other up and organise to race each other at a specific event on a specific date. Therefore because there are so many events these days, there is a big need for race organisers, especially those from athletics clubs to put together a decent field of athletes and help them to race each other.

Our elite field this year is a testament to the kind of race which can be put together with a bit of effort. The extra accommodation and meals are sponsored by the local Charleville Park Hotel so the cost of these does not come from race funds. I believe that it is the responsibility of athletics clubs who organise road races, to try to promote the sport through organising a competitive event rather than just expecting a competitive race to happen when they organise an event. That isn’t a specific dig at any particular club or event but rather it is just pointing out an opportunity for clubs to promote their race in another way and help the sport at the same time. Not all races can offer fast courses or have the revenue or sponsorship for good prize money but where possible, I think there is some responsibility to promote the sport in this way where an event is generating a lot of revenue from the sport. It is the basic principle of giving back something to the sport that you receive from.

Commercial events obviously are in it to make money primarily but athletics clubs with profitable events need to reflect on what they are about when organising a road race event. If clubs don’t attempt to promote and organise competitive events for athletes then who will??? It’s debatable whether most runners in an event notice the runners at the front end of the race and add value in other ways in terms of prestige but I would hope that some enjoy being able to be part of the same race as some top athletes like we have in our event. Some don’t like the idea of big prize money being given to the winning athletes but usually these people are unaware of the link between the inspiration that our top runners provide to young athletes in clubs around the country and the need to provide this inspiration to ensure that young athletes stay in the sport. One of the main reasons for falling standards is because there is less excitement among young athletes about achieving as a senior athlete, so often the most talented athletes are drawn away from our sport or struggle to justify the sacrifices relative to the kind of lifestyle that they could have outside it. Every runner can give back to the sport they participate in by supporting our event and events like it which help all levels of participation and not just the ones that make them money.

Q. Can you tell us a bit more about St.Josephs Foundation? What do they do and how much has the Charleville Half-Marathon contributed to them? What difference does that money make?

MH...St Josephs Foundation provides services for people with special needs and disabilities. They help people from a large geographical area in North Cork and South Limerick. There have been significant cuts in their funding and staff due to the recession. This has put a lot of pressure on the families of the children and adults who use the daily services of the centre. Many of our athletics club members have close or distant family members or neighbours who use the services provided by the charity. Their services are wide ranging for the hundreds of clients that they service. Their mission statement is to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to live the life of their choice to their fullest potential. They are in the finishing stages of developing a horse-riding centre which has been shown to be very beneficial for therapeutic purposes for many of their clients. Our donation of 2000 euro per year is relatively small compared to their overall operating costs but it all adds up for charities like this. They rely on community support and charitable donations like ours. They have their own non-competitive Cycle-Walk-Run event this Sunday 14th September. There is a 10k run/walk event which all runners can participate in.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about North Cork AC and your role in it? I know they were a very small club in the past but seem to have a much higher profile in the last few years. 

MH...North Cork AC at one stage was the third largest club in the country and produced a number of international athletes in the 1980’s under the guidance of Fr. Liam Kelleher. They even had their own track in Tullylease near Dromina. However it has gone through the doldrums at various stages like many clubs do. I resurrected the club with the help of a number of other members in 2009 and we now have 220 members which are half adults and half juveniles. We are getting some good success at juvenile and junior level at the moment, especially in the distance running and throws events. The aim was to set up a club which was inclusive and provided for athletics activities for a wide a range of abilities and age groups. Obviously you can only provide programmes such as Little Athletics, Couch to 5k, Fit4Life and competitive athletics where you have both the human and financial resources as well as appropriate facilities to support these. I coach juveniles and adults along with 5 or 6 other coaches. About a quarter of our members are competitive athletes, while others participate in the programmes we run and in participation orientated events like the Doneraile 5k series.

Q. What difference does the proceeds from the Charleville Half make to the club? 

MH...Due to the fact that we are in a rural area where there is currently a lot of unemployment, we have tried to keep the cost of membership of the club as low as possible so that there is not a large cost to low-income families when they join our club and so that athletics at all levels is easily accessible. The Charleville Half helps us to subsidise training trips and travel to All-Ireland championships around the country. We subsidise entry fee’s and other competition costs which all add up over a year in athletics. Obviously, the more successful the athlete is, the more expensive it is to subsidise their activities. This is the case for many clubs in Cork who have competitive athletics programmes and also at the same time try to be inclusive. We also have aspirations of contributing to the development of an athletics track in the North Cork region in collaboration with other clubs in the area so we aim to set aside a certain amount each year so that we can apply for grants in the future to subsidise such a project. The aim is to make our club more sustainable in the long term with more coaches and a wide range of members involved. This can only be done with good financial strength and cohesiveness in the club.

Q. I understand North Cork AC use the current tartan track in St.Josephs. Looking at photos of it, I presume that it is a 200m track? It does look a little non-standard in that it seems to be very elongated? Longer straight sections with very sharp corners? I presume this was likely because of the size of the space available? What impact does this have in terms of training?...for adults? Any issues with running bends? 

MH...Yes, the idea behind developing the 400m track came from the fact that our fastest junior and senior runners were finding it very difficult to train effectively on the 206m track due to the tight bends. However, it’s a great facility for coaching our younger juveniles, the little athletics group and beginner runners because it’s easier to monitor them when they are close by. Without this track, we probably wouldn’t have been able to set the club up again. However if we are to continue to make athletics attractive and sustainable for the new generation of athletes, I believe we have to provide good facilities where they can enjoy training and competing to their full potential. At the moment we are hitting a glass ceiling which isn’t obvious to most. Our junior and senior athletes could achieve a lot more with better facilities and our club could grow significantly. Traveling almost an hour and back to Cork or Limerick athletics tracks to train isn’t sustainable in the long term for our club members. We as a club and the collection of clubs in North Cork, have to be able to grow and develop enough to provide a better standard of facilities.

Q. You mentioned recently that the club would like to see a proper 400m track in the North Cork area with a tartan surface. Can you tell us more?

MH...The membership levels in athletics clubs around Cork county and Ireland are soaring, however, there appears to be stagnation in the reaction to this growth. Some clubs and county boards have been very enterprising in providing for this growth with good facilities. However there seems to be a lack of recognition in general among clubs in Cork/Munster that if we fail to respond to the growth in popularity of our sport in the short term, then our sport will fail to make the most of our potential for growth in the long term.

One of the ways that we as a club are trying to respond to the growth in popularity in our sport is by using whatever income we get from the Half-Marathon to re-invest in the sport and facilities locally. Obviously our entry fee for our event is going to be more than other similar events if we are;
1.    Trying to give something back to the sport by investing in a competitive athletics race.
2.    Trying to fundraise for facilities for current and future generations of athletes.
3.    Fundraise for a charity in the local community.

We have suffered a lot of criticism from people for our entry fee being slightly more than other similar events but usually it is because individuals don’t have the awareness or take the time to see what we are trying to do. It is a very difficult thing to try to work towards developing an athletics track. However, in our initial stages of development there seems to be a lot of promise in that many recognise the benefit that an athletics track would have for all clubs in the area and all members, no matter what level of ability. When I train on the track in Cork I see lots of groups of runners of various different levels of ability training there. The main hurdle that we face is generating the resources needed to overcome the initial difficulty of securing a site for a facility, but we along with the other clubs in North Cork are working towards overcoming this.

Q. What are the plans for the future of the Charleville Half-Marathon? 

MH...There are a lot of opportunities to develop the race even further but there are also a lot of challenges in doing this. For now we are going through a good phase of steady growth and trying to achieve the right balance in saving for the future and at the same time trying to invest in the race now. A lot depends on whether runners decide to continue to participate in our event. Maybe we can make it an event with the same level of reputation as the Ballycotton 10 or maybe it will fall by the side like the Dromina 10 mile road race did back in the 1980’s. Some people have suggested developing a marathon event on top of the half-marathon with a similar flat course. However the reality is that club races like ours depend on the good will of our members to organise it and the community around us to support it so for now we will concentrate on doing a good job with the event we have.
It also depends on runners, whether they are club runners or not, to support our event not just because we provide as good a quality event as the commercially organised events, but because when they participate in a club event like ours, the money all goes back into the sport.

As a club we try to provide as high a quality a standard event as possible and provide good value for money but it should also be recognised that our event stands for other things that not all other events stand for. I hope that runners will recognise the need to support events that are both participation and competitively orientated. I also hope that they will see that by supporting club events that it is like supporting your local shop and businesses. It will eventually benefit you as a runner to do so. People have the freedom of choice but I believe they should also recognise a certain level of responsibility to put something back into their sport which provides them with such enjoyment. That probably sums up what I as a race-director, athletics coach, administrator and athlete am all about. Thanks for asking the questions and providing the opportunity to demonstrate this through your blog. I don’t pretend to be any expert in this area but my intentions I believe are right in trying to innovate and develop the sport to be inclusive of all people who can both participate and compete. Our sport provides a very good template for the development of young and older people but we as a sport need to be proactive in developing it and putting it out there.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Endorsement of Killarney 10 mile from former Olympian Peter Maher...

The Killarney 10 mile road race is coming up on Saturday the 27th of September. Proceeds from this race will go towards the development of a 200m micro track which will be used by the local college as well as local athletic clubs. More info in this earlier post.

One of those supporting this initiative is Peter Maher who is a former Olympian having represented Canada at the 1998 and 1992 Games.

This is from the organisers.......Peter Maher (former Sem Boy) lends his support to the Killarney 10 Mile. He swapped the shamrock for the maple leaf (country of his birth), and represented Canada in the marathon at the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, and at the 1987, 1991, 1993 and 1995 World Championships, 1991 he set a world record for a 25km road race when he ran 1:14:29 in Indianapolis, USA - his split times at 5 mile was 22:57, 10km was 29:05 and 10 mile was 46:29. He has competed in some 50 marathons worldwide with a total of 19 victories. Peter Maher now runs his own physical therapy business in Carrigaline, Co. Cork – and often writes for the Irish Runner magazine. He has asks anyone training for the Dublin city marathon to use this event.

The race website is...

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Upcoming Womens mini-marathons in Munster...

There are a number of women's mini-marathons coming up in Munster over the next few weeks.

Killarney...20th September
Cork...28th September
Tipperary...28th September
Limerick...26th October

The Irish Cancer Society is asking people to consider raising much needed funds for them.

From the ICS...To enter and join Team Irish Cancer Society, Register for a fundraising pack online now at or CallSave 1850 60 60 60. Money raised will enable the Irish Cancer Society to continue to provide vital cancer care services such as our free National Cancer Helpline Freefone 1800 200 700 and our Counselling Service. We offer face to face advice at Daffodil Centre’s in hospitals throughout the country. Every euro raised will help us to invest in more research resulting in a better understanding of breast cancer and treatments.