Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Monday, June 14, 2021



Karen MacLeod, a Scottish international runner who won both the Ballycotton ‘10’ and Ballycotton ‘5’ races back in the 1990s, died suddenly last week at the age of 63.

Karen MacLeod in the 1996 Olympic marathon in Atlanta

Although born in Tanzania, Karen grew up on the picturesque Isle of Skye off the north coast of Scotland. She didn’t start competitive running until the age of 24, having moved to Bath in England. Most of her best performances came when in the F35 age category, including her Ballycotton ‘10’ victory in 1996 when she set a course record of 55:34. The time would remain as the fourth fastest on the all-time list in the 40-year history of the race.

That same year of 1996 she qualified for the British Olympic team in the marathon where in the heat and humidity of Atlanta she finished 45th in 2:42:08. With a PB of 2:33:16 - which was set when finishing fourth at the Commonwealth Games in Canada in 1994 - Karen won international marathons in Bordeaux, Majorca and Seville. She also recorded personal bests of 33:17.88 (10,000m), 53:42 (10 miles) and 73:07 (half-marathon).

However her career was brought to an end in 1998 when she fell ill at the Boston Marathon. She was diagnosed as having Berger’s disease – a rare kidney problem – and she later had a kidney transplant from her sister Deborah. Just last November, as a act of gratitude to her sister, Karen teamed up with a number of top Scottish folk acts to raise funds for Highlands and Islands renal services through a charity album.

Many tributes have been paid to Karen on social media, including one from fellow international athlete Amanda Wright who wrote: “Devastated to read of the death of my great running friend and travelling partner. Beautiful person inside and out, you will be greatly missed, forever in my memories.”

Her kindness and concern was shown the year after her Ballycotton ‘10’ win and Olympic marathon when she was looking forward to returning to defend her title. When injury ruled her out she sent a two-page hand-written letter describing her disappointment, along with a card of good wishes from the Isle of Skye. 

She also mentioned the possibility of taking in one of the summer races and, true to her word, on an August evening in 1997 she turned up at Ballycotton where she again established another course record of 28:27 for the five miles.

Sadly, Karen MacLeod is the third Ballycotton ‘10’ winner to have died in the past 12 months following the passing of Pat Hooper (1979 winner) last October and Jerry Kiernan (1983 and 1987 winner) in January. Also deceased are Jim Dingwall (1985 winner) who passed away in 2005 and Ursula Noctor who died at the young age of 28 in 1993, just five years after winning the race.

May they all rest in peace.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Guest Post: Sunday Thoughts... by Pat Walsh

 ** Sunday Thoughts **

Beautiful day and the mood is good.🀣

I have been critical of our leaders when I thought it was needed. In the interest of fair-play things are moving along nicely now.

Our boundaries are opening up and our ability to mingle is increasing so let us use this.😍

I love literature and the writings of Yeats Heaney and Kavanagh.

I sing along to all music and love well written lyrics.🎼

--- Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame! --

Sadly my current message is far more mundane and simple. No fancy writing, no hidden meanings. 

"Get off your arse and get out there". There is a world to be discovered. Have a lovely week. Summer has arrived (I hope) πŸ₯°

#pwr #bekind

Saturday, June 12, 2021

UK study finds a link between 'vigorous exercise' and Motor Neurone disease

RTE are carrying a news item on their website at present titled..."Motor neurone disease linked to 'vigorous exercise' - UK study"

It then goes on to clarify... "Frequent strenuous exercise increases the risk of developing motor neurone disease (MND) for those genetically predisposed to the illness"

No doubt a lot of the people will just read the headline and no further.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Friday Jigsaw: Mallow AC on Tour - Fota 2017

For this weeks jigsaw, we go back to 2017 and Mallow AC at the start of the Fota race.

You can find this 165-piece jigsaw HERE

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Guest Post: June Bank Holiday Pat Walsh

 ** June Bank Holiday ** πŸƒπŸƒ

We should have been running the streets of Cork last weekend but for the second year we have to miss it. Pity, as I did like the day out with the crew. And yes we did make a FULL Day out of it plus some of the night. I do miss the fun of the day and the huge numbers of people we met before, during and after the race. We will be back again. πŸ˜πŸ’ž

I have enough 'virtuals' done to keep me going for a while and would love a decent race. I am in good form mentally and not being too critical here but this intrigues me.

All the emphasis on return to sport is about spectators attending elite matches and events. Brilliant but, these were taking place anyway and it is only a few spectators get to see them. Elite sport has continued with only a few interruptions. I am happy for them and watching on TV has kept me sane.

Yes I would love a ticket for Cork V Limerick first round of the Hurling but I would also like to see a local Park run as a trial event. Maybe a few 5k’s around the country with limited entries and see how they get on. 

We know enough now to understand the importance of exercise for our overall health. We need to start events for ‘us’, the ordinary man. 50 people in June, 100 in July and growing as the country opens up. It will be hard to have nothing and go to a big 500+ event without some smaller trials. 

All online entry, staggered starts, no presentation of prizes, no after run grub or tea, bring your own water, move away immediately after race. Just see how we go and what we can do safely. 

This must happen first. The Government can give guidelines, but it is up to each individual sport to implement them safely. We learn, we grow, we move on. πŸƒ‍♀️πŸšΆπŸƒπŸšΆ‍♂️πŸƒ‍♂️

The powers that be in Athletics should be making greater efforts to start events off again for runners. Make a safe trial event, document what worked and didn’t. What can improve and what went OK. Publish findings and the whole country can learn.

Not a moan and I can live with the situation as it is, but just an opinion. πŸ€ͺπŸ€”

What to do next to help.

Get your buddies together again and start planning.

Who has gone missing and needs a helping hand and friendly voice to start them off again.

Staying within all guidelines, reach out to others to join you for a run. Somebody from another area or group and be free to make a return visit. Show off your own area.

The mornings and evening are long and bright, get your own gang into their cars and go somewhere different that you haven’t run for a while.

Find an old race route and run it. Imagine the glory of crossing the finish line. πŸ…

Have a time trial every few weeks. A 5k or a 4mile. Warm-up together, race hard at your pace, cool down together. See where your fitness is right now.

The possibilities are endless and only limited by imagination. Doing nothing isn't an option.

Good luck to anyone running this weekend, I hope the weather is good, the company great, the laughing infectious and the miles go gently by. If you have a Cork T-shirt from a previous race then put it on. 

Treat yourself to a cuppa and who knows in a few weeks we might be able for something stronger.

Feel free to post any Bank Holiday run pics on this page to cheer us all up. πŸ’žπŸƒ

Thanks for all kind comments and messages.

"Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all." Emily Dickinson

#pwr #keeponrunning

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

The Guardian Podcast: The danger and beauty of ultrarunning

In a recent 100km mountain race in China, 21 competitors died after a sudden change in the weather.

The sport of Ultra-Running has enjoyed huge growth worldwide in recent years going from 120,000 finishers in 2008 to over 600,000 finishers in 2018.

In this podcast, the Guardian looks at the sports of Ultra-Running... its attractions and its problems.

You can find the 30 minute podcast HERE

Cork Runner Michelle Finn secures Olympic Qualification

From Leevale AC... Michelle Finn has secured her place at this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games in the 3000M Steeplechase when the crossed the line in second place at Paavo Nurmi Games

A stunning new personal best of 9:29.25, knocks almost ten seconds off her previous PB and is within the Olympic Qualification Standard time of 9:30.00. Michelle’s time in Finland moves her up to second on the all-time Irish list, just over a second behind RoΓ­sΓ­n McGettigan’s 14 year old all-time Irish record.

Full story...

Monday, June 07, 2021

Guest Post: The Group Pat Walsh

** The Group **

“These people raised me 🎼

And I can't wait to go home” 

First effort this week at a collective run since the Christmas Holidays, all of 5 months ago and it was dreamlike. It has been such a weird, strange time.

It is such a wonderful feeling to be back among friends again. The sun came out to welcome us back. WE ARE BACK 🌀☀️

We are all different and what we need differs from person to person

Some found the solitude to be Ok and came to peace with it.

For the quiet introverted person it was a good time, without the need to be mixing with big gangs and being pulled from race to race among huge crowds.

Personally as an extroverted person, I found it difficult. I survived and I am mentally stronger but I would not like to repeat it. We changed with regulations and did what we could under the circumstances.

It was hard in the cold, wet months to just go out on your own. We had no goals and little motivation. Widening the limits and allowing you to run with 1 other was huge. For that I am eternally grateful to MissAG who had to put up with my moans, rants, silly opinions and other faults too many to mention since the start of the Year. Counselling can be organised 😍🀣

So we are now back with ‘The Gang’ and maybe easier to get out more often. Lots more ears to be moaning into but so many more friendly faces and voices that will lift us all again.


I interviewed myself…! I can do that, as I am weird. πŸ€ͺ

What are you training for?

I still have no idea and it isn’t too important. Live for the moment we are in.

What was the first group session like?

Christmas morning in a house full of children. The sound of voices and laughter was wonderful. There was a little bit of running done.

What will the emphasis be in the training session?

Just having a run, a laugh, a few miles, a getting to know one another again and get back to the friendship and support that we previously had.

Where will you do your training?

Somewhere nice and scenic where I feel part of nature

What will be the pace of the training runs?

Slow enough so that we can be having the chats

Should you be doing some speed training?

Yes is the answer, but if you have not done it for months then you do need to be careful and slowly introduce it again. The Physios of the world are already counting the money.

Will you ever get serious?

Hopefully never, but if a few races start coming along we might try to focus in on them.

Will there be coffee and buns?

You can chalk that one down. I dream of a long run and a big brekkie served to me afterwards 🍩☕️

How did you feel?

 “And I'm on my way 🎼

I still remember these old country lanes

When we did not know the answers

And I miss the way you make me feel, and it's real

When we watched the sunset over the castle on the hill”


We are on the way back from the abyss slowly but surely. It is time for optimism and hope. Thanks Ed for a few lyrics for this article.

Have a lovely week 😍

#pwr #survive21 #keeponrunning

Sunday, June 06, 2021

The Informal Virtual Cork City Half-Marathon - 5th June 2021


The Cork City Marathon and Half-Marathon would normally have been held on this Bank Holiday weekend if it wasn't for the pandemic. As the event is virtual this year, lots of Cork runners are out in the fine weather doing their own run.

A group of 15 or so local runners met up for their own informal virtual half-marathon on Saturday and used the Cork City to Passage West Greenway as well as local walkways. 

Joe Murphy has a gallery of photos HERE

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Online Jigsaw: Cork City Marathon Pacers - 2018


For this weeks online jigsaw, we go back to 2018 and a photo of the 3:15 pacers on the Blackrock Greenway during the Cork City Marathon.

The 117-piece jigsaw can be found HERE

Friday, June 04, 2021

Guest Post: The Next Steps... by Pat Walsh

 ** The Next Steps ** 

πŸƒ‍♀️ What is behind us can be assigned to the past and never to be changed. IT HAPPENED.

What happens next is important. The Nightmare is nearly over.

It is like starting a New Year again and this is a modified version of a post from a while back. Most New Year starts were mainly a physical one, where as this time there is a mental side to it too.

Mistakes were made, we got lazy, lacked motivation and consumed food and drink that maybe we should not have. It is understandable and OK and you were not alone.

It was easy to let the head and enthusiasm drop and I can get that. There was pressure on everyone with lots of worry, stress, anxiety that many of us just could not cope with.

My own head went a bit funny at times, lacking all the fun, life, social contacts that I had taken from me and wondering when I would see my family and friends again. Yes we could run but without all the FUN bits it wasn’t so easy to train.

If you want to make a fresh start and be ready to run races later in the Summer / Autumn now is the time to start. We have more freedom and can meet more people. It isn’t going to change overnight but it is getting better folks.

Simple tips

πŸƒ‍♀️ Dumb the rubbish 

You have no chance while you fuel yourself on these foodstuffs. You need some simple proper food to provide the energy to run. Once the house is clean, do not restock. If it isn’t in the house then you cannot eat it.

Forget some fancy detox, just ditch the rubbish… Simple as...

Lose a few pounds and you will run quicker. That is not in doubt. You will also feel better about yourself.

πŸƒ‍♀️ Get off the couch.

If you have made a start already then well done.  If not then just put on the gear and go out the door for a few easy miles. There is no magic formula, you will only get out what you put into it, so off your arse and move. Try to get more active generally and walk or cycle on in-between days. MOVE. It all helps

πŸƒ‍♀️ Plan your week

Make a weekly plan and stick to it. Share it with your friends and that will help motivate you to stick to it. Keep it simple. A few weeks of this = “A NEW YOU”.., Sample below and it does not have to be any more than this.

Easy Run Monday, 

Some speed work Wednesday, 

Long run Saturday. 

Zoom class of strength and stretching some morning or evening. Plenty good videos on YouTube.

Set some time aside alone to get the mental side sorted. This can be done while walking in a scenic location. Be positive and count your blessings. If you look you will find them.

πŸƒ‍♀️ Water

We have had some terrible amounts of tea, coffee, fizzies and alcohol. Do your body a favour and just get loads of water over next few weeks.

Benefits are so numerous, from weight-loss, rehydration, skin complexion, suppleness and many more that you should ask yourself … WHY NOT?

πŸƒ‍♀️ Strength 

Take a long term approach to strength work. Are you strong enough to get the results you want from running? A strong core helps leg strength and leg drive and keeps the body in best position for running. Few minutes a couple of times per week.

πŸƒ‍♀️ Flexibility🀸‍♀️🀸‍♂️

We need to keep the body flexible to prevent injury and some work on this is always required. Put it in the plan. You might be strong enough but you will always need flexibility work.

For strength and flexibility. Any issues won’t be fixed overnight but take time and patience. Also you can never stop and the older you get the more important they are. 

Note to self: I do need to read and remind myself of that a few times.


There will be races this year and after missing them so much for the last 14 months now is the time to get ready again. I don’t know where or when they will happen but they will.

Pick a target race sometime into the future. If it doesn’t happen then run it as a Virtual anyway.

Have a lovely weekend. Be good, be kind, be safe.

#pwr #keeponrunning #Survive21

Monday, May 31, 2021

Guest Post: Thinking out Loud Pat Walsh

 ** Thinking out loud **

Bit thought provoking this week. Not sure has it anything to do with running. πŸƒ

The last year was a life changing event that completely stopped us in our tracks and brought us all down to earth with a bang. We were confined close to home and all the social activities ceased. It was a time of worry and stress that we didn’t expect and most of us were not ready for.

Now as things improve and before we start off on the Hamster Wheel again of 24 / 7 busy, have a think about the way you want the future to look for you.

Did you just follow people and do what they were doing? Now is a time to break free from that.

You have been given an marvelous opportunity to reset.

You have discovered nature, fresh-air, exercise and the simple things in life. 

You have found more local routes to run, walk and cycle in.

You survived on your own and you are mentally stronger for that.

You missed your friends and now is the time to appreciate them more.

You have enjoyed a cup of coffee sitting on a wall with a buddy.

Will you get back on the – 'I must go here, I must go there bandwagon' – and not have the time to train and do what you want to do yourself?

What good thing has the past year made you do, and will you keep doing it?

Are you going to continue to keep it simple and give yourself time to do what YOU want to do?


I would love to have a race to go to. Not to be killing myself but just for the social aspect of travelling and meeting. 

There are many who don’t miss racing and the anxiety it gave them worrying about times and performance. You have been spared that and don’t go back if it causes you too much stress.

Maybe find low key events and leave the watch at home.


Folks I hope you are all safe and well. We need to exercise for so many health and mental benefits that I cannot start to name them. You future depends on a healthy YOU. 

Proactively manage your health and well-being to enjoy your life and be ready for the next curve-ball. The people who managed this one best, were in good physical and mental shape before it ever struck.

Life is short and can take sudden unexpected turns as we now know. Over-planning the future is futile. As we emerge into the light again, make it a life that you want to live and make yourself happy. We will only get one go at it. 

Before you start again, know what you want. πŸ€”


"Spirit of my silence I can hear you, but I'm afraid to be near you

And I don't know where to begin

And I don't know where to begin" 🎼

Have a lovely week. Sorry if a bit too deep for Monday reading.


Friday, May 28, 2021

Friday Jigsaw: Joe Murphy at the 2016 Cork to Cobh race

For this weeks online jigsaw, we head back to the finish line of the 2016 Cork BHAA Cork to Cobh 15-mile road race and the ever present Joe Murphy taking some photos.

You can find the 117 piece jigsaw HERE

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Notice: Mallow Virtual 10 Mile: 30th June - 6th July 2021

It looks as if the Mallow 10-mile road race is going to virtual this year.

From the organisers: 

Co-op Superstores Mallow 10 is going virtual. 

Along with our traditional 10 mile distance we are delighted to offer 5k and 10k options or if you want run all three! There is something for everyone and you can walk, jog or run the distances on offer. 

For anyone who was not registered in our 2020 event and would like to register in this event please use the link below. Participants from 2020 who did not avail of a refund please check your email for updated options. 

A donation will be made to Pieta House with every entry. 

Mallow AC would like to thank you for your continued support and wish you all the best with your training. 

You can enter HERE

You can do the virtual run between the 30th of June and the 6th of July 2021 inclusive.

You can then upload your results to the MyRunResults website.

Monday, May 24, 2021


RON  HILL – A PERSONAL TRIBUTE ...By John Walshe (23/05/2021)

It has been said that you should never try to meet your heroes “lest they be found to have feet of clay.” One thing that can be safely said of Ron Hill, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 82, is that he certainly hadn’t, either metaphorically or literally, feet of clay. 

For any runner getting started in this great sport back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ron Hill was the man. His many achievements on road, track and cross-country were the stuff of legends. For those of us lucky enough to have both copies of his acclaimed autobiography The Long Hard Road (even though now dog-eared and falling apart), no extra motivation was required to head out on the roads on a dark winter’s night.

There can’t be many runners anywhere who haven’t at some stage worn a piece of clothing without the RonHill or Hilly logo. A couple of years after commencing running, I purchased a pair of his famous Freedom Shorts which he posted along with a signed brochure.

Having obtained his autograph, I hopefully looked forward to the day when I would meet the man in person. In the late 1980s, through a friendship with Brian McKenna who supplied the Ballycotton ‘10’ T-shirts, I competed in a number of North of England races. As Brian belonged to the same Clayton-le-Moors club as Ron, surely he would be at some event we attended, but it was not to be.

On a September day in 1996, I took the bus from Manchester Airport to Stockport and on to the town of Hyde where the Ron Hill Sports store was based. Calling in to the shop around mid-day hoping to see the famous face behind the counter, the helpful staff informed me that unusually he hadn’t been in that morning. Purchasing some small souvenir of my visit, I caught the next bus back.

While on the top deck, admiring the lush Cheshire countryside, I suddenly spotted the unmistakably figure of Ron Hill gently trotting along the pavement. Getting off at the next stop I waited (and wondered what would I say) but he didn’t appear, no doubt his schedule that day taking him on a different route.

Two years later, we finally met. Andy O’Sullivan, a Waterford-born policeman who would receive an MBE for his fund-raising running events, had organised the first of what would become an annual Ron Hill Birthday race. Held from the Falcon Inn in the town of Littleborough near Rochdale, it was only a one-mile race in honour of Ron’s 60th, but it was enough just to be there.

One ambition had been realised; another remained unfilled. Ten years later, with the Birthday Race having now been increased to 5km, a return trip was made to Littleborough and an invitation extended to Ron Hill to come and run the Ballycotton ‘10’ the following March. 

And so on the Friday night before the 2009 10-miler, I waited anxiously before the arrival gates at Cork Airport opened to reveal Ron and his wife May pushing their laden trolley. The following day, bringing both from one hotel to another, a brief detour had to be made to the nearest town with an off-licence to insure that Ron was stocked up with his usual pre-race nightcap of a few cans of beer.

During the visit he also related that for around 50 years both he and May had maintained a weekly tradition of a Thursday night meal of fish and chips. This was no doubt a throwback to Ron’s original hero, Alf Tupper, The Tough of the Track fictional comic character from the same working-class Northern background who took on and beat the world’s best runners.

He may have run 46:44 for 10 miles on the track during his prime, but that day in Ballycotton Ron Hill had to be happy with his second place in the M70 category, his time of 85:41 well behind Tadhg Twomey of Metro-St Brigids who recorded 74:24.

Hill’s accomplishments and contribution to running in so many ways have been well documented but it’s no harm just recalling one of his greatest triumphs, the Boston Marathon of 1970. On a wet, cold and windy day and attired in just a string vest, minimalist shorts (which he designed himself) and a pair of thin Reebok shoes, he knocked over three minutes from the course record with his 2:10:30.

He didn’t even wear a watch - not that it would have been of any benefit as Boston at the time didn’t even have actual markers at each mile – but he was shocked when he learned the finish time, the first Briton to win Boston.

The winner at Boston in recent years could expect to receive $150,000 in prize money, plus bonuses and expenses. In his day, Hill received a medal, a laurel wreath and a bowl of stew. His airfare wasn’t even paid, the money came from a fund set up by the Road Runners Club (an organisation I’m proud to say I’ve been a member of for 45 years.)

The morning after Ballycotton, I accompanied Ron on a three-mile run along part of what is now the increasingly popular Ballycotton Cliff Walk, taking in the fresh sea air before making our way up through the fields and back down the hill to the village where both of us had been part of the record 2,400 crowd the day before.

Although living no more than a five-minute jog from that Cliff Walk, surprisingly I haven’t run along there since. So some evening this week I’ll don a Ron Hill shirt and retrace those steps I trod with a true and unique running legend and hero all of those 12 years ago.

And maybe afterwards I’ll partake of a feed of fish ‘n’ chips in honour of both The Tough of the Track and the real King of the Road, Dr Ron Hill, MBE, R.I.P.