Just to put this leg into perspective, there are 5 stages in the Cork City Marathon Relay event...
Leg 1 = 5.2 miles, Leg 2 = 5.5 miles, Leg 3 = 3.2 miles, Leg 4 = 5.9 miles, Leg 5 = 6.4 Miles
So. this is the 1st stage of 5 and is 5.2 miles in lenght. Of the 5, it is probably the 2nd easiest leg. The Relay runners will start at 9AM on Patricks Street along with all of the Marathon runners.
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.
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.
Near the 2 mile mark, there will be a water station. The question is should you drink this early in a Marathon? If you are doing the 1st leg of the relay, you are going to be finished after 3 more miles anyway so what's the point. If you are doing the Marathon, drink too much now and you'll only end up having to take a 'pit stop' later on. Personally, I'd be inclined to give it a skip.
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. Left at the next junction, onto Leitrim Street and soon, you'll see the 3 mile mark, very close to the 2 mile mark on the other side of the road. Overall, a pretty flat mile.
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.
Somewhere around the 4 mile mark, you should see another water station. At this stage, it's still a bit early to be taking on too much water but you should have been running long enough at this stage that you will be starting to sweat and losing liquids. Drink or not drink...your call. Personally, I'd be inclined to hold off until the 6 mile mark and get a bottle there.
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. Just before the skew bridge, you'll see the 5 mile mark. Another flat and easy mile.
So, if you are doing the 1st leg of the relay, you only have about 300 metres to go at this stage. First of all, 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, all of 5.2 miles and a pretty flat and easy leg. The only hill really was just over the skew bridge after the 5 mile mark. Now, only 21 miles to go....!!
If you would like to examine this leg in more detail, I have put it up on the MapMyRun website. Just use the MAP view and the +/- buttons to zoon in and out.
Tomorrow, I'll look at the 2nd leg.