The 'Joe Hourigan' 5 Mile road race takes place in Midleton in East Cork, on Thursday night at 8pm. Due to the re-introduction of the railway to Midleton and a new major road junction, the race will be run over a completely new course this year. With the old route, the first and last miles were mainly on busy roads. The new route promises to be a lot more rural and should be interesting.
Entries......The sign-on point for this race is still in the GAA clubhouse which is just off the Mill road. To get there from Cork, you need to take the turn-off from the Midleton bypass and enter Midleton itself. Near the centre of the town, you cross over a bridge and come to a major roundabout and junction. You need to stay left and take the 2nd left exit (R626 Fermoy) and onto the road with the petrol station. About 400 metres up this road, keep a look-out for a small road to the right just after the traffic lights (between the Session Bar and the Railway Inn). This narrow little road will bring you up to the Midleton GAA grounds on the right (see the X on the map above). In this general area, there is a limited amount of parking. Note that the start point for the race is almost a mile away so make sure you arrive early to give yourself plenty of time to get there. The entry fee is €10 with €2 of this going to the local hospital fund.
The start.......The start line is on Dwyer's Road and is about as far from the GAA grounds as the old start line was. From the GAA hall, just follow the road back towards Cork. When you get to the spot where there is a small roundabout painted on the road, take the left here. Note that the start line is at least 1 km from the GAA grounds so you can use this as part of your warm-up.
The course......From the start, the course goes south from this residential area and underneath the Midleton Bypass along a narrow road. Just after the bridge, the race route takes a sharp right onto a private road which will be opened especially for the race. Then back on public roads again, through a road junction and west towards the 1 mile mark....overall, a pretty flat and fast first mile.
From here, the route heads into the countryside to the south-west of Midleton. Looking at the contours, it would seem as if there are a few hills but nothing too serious. The worst one would seem to be between the 3 and 4 mile mark.
Eventually, the race loops back towards the north and back onto that private road again. The finish line is near the end of this road, just before you get back to the bridge. Note that the finish line is just over a mile from the GAA grounds so you can use this as part of your warm-down.
Overall........I'd suspect that this new course may well be better than the old route. A lot of it would seem to be along quiet country roads and a lot less is in the town itself. The new route can now be seen on the MapMyRun website if you want to have a closer look.
No Headphones!!..........Note that there is a ban on headphones and MP3 players in this race. Anyone wearing them will be disqualified.
Flyer........a race flyer for the race is available HERE.