Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Friday, August 14, 2009

Preview of the 'John Harnett Challenge'.......Sun 16th Aug 2009
This is a new race on the race calendar and it should live up to it's title. It's roughly 9.5 miles long (not 10 miles) and is over a mixed public road/forest track surface.

Getting there.......the race starts and finishes just to the south of Ballyhooly near Fermoy in NE Cork. To get there, you need to drive into Fermoy and follow the old Dublin road. After you cross the bridge, you need to turn left at the church with the 3 statues outside and take the N72 west for Castletownroche and Mallow. Ballyhooly is on this road. When you enter the village, look out for signs for the GAA pitch. The registration and changing rooms are there. The start and finish points are just to the south of Ballyhooly....see the map here for an idea of where it is.

The race starts at 12:30pm.

Route.......the race starts just to the south of the village near the bridge over the Blackwater river. You run south to the road junction and straight away, you're climbing. Pretty soon, you turn off right onto forest track with a well packed smooth surface. This is shown as Green on the map. The running is flat for a while but you turn right and then start climbing again. After that, the gradient eases off until you are back onto the public road again (shown in Blue).
Then you have a 3 km long but gradual climb until you turn off right again into the forestry, shown in Red. This section has a lot fewer big trees and is probably the hardest part of the run. The forest road surface this time is a bit rougher but should be ok. The incline starts easily but soon, it really gets tough until you reach the highest point at 330m asl, about 300 metres higher than when you first started out. Just to put that into perspective, Cork Airport is about 140 metres above Cork City so this is over twice the climb.

At the highest point, I'd reckon you are close to the 4 mile mark. After that, it's downhill all the ways. You lose height on the forest road until you re-join the public road (blue), down the road a bit, accross a straight section of forest road and then downhill to the finish.

Overall.........this is no fun run. It will live up to it's name....i.e. a challenge run. The first 4 miles will be uphill and slow and the last 5.5 miles are downhill and fast. It's probably best not to wear racing shoes....just use the regular runners for a bit extra cushioning.

Race flyer HERE

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