This time, I'll look at the area around the community hall and the start / finish area. First of all, if you want to have a closer look at the map above, just click on it.
So, working from left to right or West to East...
1) The closest car parks are shown. As I said in a previous post, you need to be there early to get into these.
2) The road junction where the old church is. There is a road block here and no traffic is allowed beyond this point. At this spot, you are about 1,000 metres from the start line.
3) About 200 metres after the road block, you will see the school on the right. This is the headquarters for the race and is the hub of all activity. In here, you have the school, community hall and squash courts.
In this area, you have....
Parking area for bicycles.....Marquee for mens changing area....Toilets.....Squash courts for womens changing area. In the main building, you have the community hall. This will be the area where the prizegiving and some refreshments (tea & biscuits) will be after the race.
Also in the hall, you will have...a desk where you can get a new number if you lost/forgot the one that was posted to you.....some traders selling Sports gear....and Ballycotton Running Promotion's own shop! In this shop, they will be selling the special Ballycotton 10 t-shirts along with some polo shirts as well.
By the way, you don't have to go into the hall. You got your race number in the post and that is all you need for the race. There is no requirement to go in and register or anything like that.
4) So, back out, turn right and continue for about 700 metres until you can see the start / finish area. Here, the road is blocked and they are only letting elite runners past so that can start at the front of the race. The rest of us mere mortals ;o) must go up the road to the right (see the arrows on the map) and go around to the rear.
5) Up here, just before you drop back down, is the baggage area. They will supply you with a plastic bag and a name tag and you can leave all of your gear here in a supervised area.
6) Down the steps here and you are back out onto the road, now behind the start line.
7) When you finish the race, you will go back the same route. Back up the steps to collect your gear and just as you leave the baggage area, they will be giving out bananas and Mars bars here. You now return towards the Community Hall staying well in on the left so that you don't impede the slower runners coming in.
So, lets have a closer look at the start...This is the start of the Ballycotton 10...narrow and packed! Once you get to the start area, you will see that they have it split up into the various estimated finishing times. You should go to your zone early and stay there. If everyone did this, it would be ideal as the faster runners would get away first leaving plenty of space for the runners behind. In reality however, some slow runners go up near the front and it creates havoc as faster runners are trying to get past. The big worry here is that some slow runners will get tripped as people try and pass them out. Imagine tripping and having that lot in the photo above behind you!
All you have to decide next is what time do you get to your start time zone? Get there too late and you could be way back and unable to move forward. Get there too early and you'll be cold and stiff by the time the race starts.
By the way, if your objective is just to finish the race and you don't care about your time, my advice is to start at the very back and let them all run off. This is an excellent place to start for first timers. I'll explain that tomorrow with some race strategies..........Until then
"Hi John. Yet again another great post. Who would have thought that there was that much to write about a single race! It's good stuff though. Very thorough and gives a good build up to Sundays run. The only thing you need to sort out is the weather. As usual the weather forecast for Ballycotton is "fresh and gusty westerly winds" with possibility of showers. I would suggest that people double bag their clothes while the race is on, as getting into cold wet clothes after the race is not a pleasant experience. Good luck on Sunday.....Rich"
"Excellent work. I am still hoping to run on Sunday despite an injury - first time too, so hope to be there !.........Anonymous"
"I had a bad flu just last week and as a result I did no trainng. When I got back on the road this Monday, I felt tired and lacked any serious go. It has continued all week. Small distances such as 3/4 miles have become difficult. I usually do 25 miles/week so fitness was not a problem. I finished Dungarvan in 79min recently. Was the lack of a weeks training to blame? What training should I do this week to get back to where I was? I'm doing Cork city in June. Worried........Anonymous"
"There is nothng you can do training wise at this stage for Ballycotton. Whatever your fitness level is at now then that's it. It won't improve by Sunday. Possibly you tried to do too much when you were still sick and you may have only delayed the recovery. I would suggest that you do not run between now and Sunday. Eat plenty of fruit (or smoothies) for Vitamin C and drink plenty of fluids. Give your body a chance to recover from the flu/cold. See how you feel on Sunday morning and if you're ok, then run at an slower pace than normal. It's pointless trying for a fast time just after a bad cold. Wrap up well and take your time. If you still feel weak on Sunday morning, then don't be afraid to give the race a skip. As for the Cork Marathon, once you have the flu/cold out of your system (2-3 weeks?), you'll be back on track again. I know that every time I get a bad cold, I stop completely for about 10 days regardless of what is on so that I can recover in the shortest possible time...John Desmond"
"John, just to say thanks for posting all of this information. It's interesting and informative. I've ran Ballycotton seven times now and I'm still learning stuff from your postings. Take a bow....Peter Delmer, Athenry AC "
"Well, I won't make it Sunday - torn muscle last weekend. But I hope to make the entry next year already ! Good luck to all running on Sunday......Anonymous"