As far as I know, outside of the Marathon, this is one of the longest road races in the country. At 15 miles (24 kms), this is a tough race and a good challenge for many runners. It is often used by people in Cork and Munster as preparation for the Dublin City Marathon at the end of October.
Course...The start is next to York Hill on Summerhill North. We will run down the hill and then left past Patrick's church and then past the railway station and towards the Dunkettle roundabout. We stay on the N25, we run over the Jack Lynch roundabout underneath. (Please note that we will have to run in front of 2 slip roads here....one going down to the roundabout and the other one when it comes back up. Watch the traffic). Then we carry on and run on the hard shoulder for about another mile until we take the turn off left for Glounthaune, just before the bridge. (It was here last year where the nutter in the car was causing a bit of hassle!) Down towwards the main roundabout before Carrigtwohill and then take the bridge over the main road and head towards Fota, Belvelly bridge and on into Cobh. The finish is close to the main square in the centre of Cobh. Overall, there are a few small hills but nothing major. A big factor on this course can be the wind. You are basically running East for 8 miles and then South for another 6 miles before turning East again for the last mile. I remember running this many years ago when it was wet and there was a very strong Southerly wind. Miles 1 to 8 were fine but as soon as we turned South, the very wet t-shirt that I was wearing was pressed against my chest and I could really begin to feel the body temperature dropping (...by the way, you should never wear a cotton t-shirt in a race! Wear a singlet and/or a thermal vest). So, watch the weather forecast closer to next weekend and keep an eye on the wind direction.
Entries.......You can still enter this race on the day at the Montenotte Hotel. Cost is €25 and there is a free t-shirt included in this price. Note the start time is 9:30am so get there early! They will take entries up until 9:00am sharp. Last year, they got 673 for this event after getting 600 the previous year. If the weather is fine, surely they will break the 700 mark this year? That's a lot of runners....give yourself plenty of time if you are entering on the day. Note that you can still enter beforehand by phone and then pay on the day. See the previous post.
For directions on how to get to the Hotel, follow this LINK.
No MP3 players allowed!!!.........Now this is important. This is one busy road and it will NOT be closed for the race. It's not so bad for the first few miles when we are all bunched together and there is a hard shoulder to run in. But, it's a different story when you are passing Fota and get onto Great Island itself. There is no hard shoulder, the road is narrow enough and the field will have thinned out by then. You really need to be able to hear what's going on around you for this race. If you are thinking about wearing them, do everyone a favour....leave them at home.
Gear.......They will have a van/truck AT THE HOTEL to take all of the bags to Cobh. You can re-collect your bag in Cobh in the scout hall which is up behind the car park behind St.Coleman's Catheral. This is also where the refreshments and prizegiving will be.
Transport......Options - You probably have a few options in terms of transport...
1) Two cars...take 2 cars to Cobh, leave one in Cobh and drive up to Cork
2) Train...The train will leave the train station in Cobh for Cork City at 12:25, 1:35, 2:50, 4:25 and 5:30pm depending on long you want to stay around after the race. The fee is approx €5. Note that the first train in the morning from Cobh back up to Cork is at 9:15am so this is not an option if you were thinking of leaving your car in Cobh.
Distance...If this is your first time trying 15 miles, then be careful to pace it properly. It's very easy to go off too fast and get to the 10 mile mark near Belvelly bridge / Fota and find that you have run out of steam. Keep something in reserve until you hit the bridge. If you feel fine, then push on. If you are tired, then at least you have kept something to get you through the last 5 miles.
Race Options...For those of you doing the Dublin Marathon, your choice is...do you treat Cork to Cobh as a training run or do you race it like you would a half marathon??? Some have told me that it is too close to the Marathon to race (3 weeks)....other have said it's not. What to do??? My opinion is that the Cork to Cobh race is an ideal opportunity to test out your Marathon pace. If you have a target in the Marathon, you should have a pace in mind. Say your target is 3:30 in the Marathon. That's 8 minute miling. Maybe you would like a little bit of cushion to fall back on so say 7:50 per mile...that's your Marathon pace. Do a 2 mile warm up on Sunday and then run to Cobh at your Marathon pace. If you get to Cobh exhausted, then you need to revise your Marathon pace. If you can run the 15 miles to Cobh and you feel like you could carry on ok, then surely that's a good sign for the Marathon. Only another 11 miles to go!! ;o)
Water Stations....They will have a number of water stations spaced out along the course.
Weather....Met Eireann say..."Sunday will be largely dry with bright or sunny spells, though a few showers are possible."...so it is looking good for Sunday.
...and finally - If you want to have a closer look at the course, click on this LINK
There is a flyer for the race HERE.
If you are not running on Sunday, perhaps you might consider helping out?? See this message from the Cork BHAA...
Appeal for Stewards: Cork BHAA urgently require volunteers to assist with stewarding the race. If you or your family (over 18s) are available to help out on Sunday nextplease contact Chief Steward Timmy Murray at 086 1091782 as soon aspossible.