Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Races in Cork on Easter Monday, the 5th of April 2010...
After the Belgooly 4 mile race on Sunday, there is a choice of 2 races on Easter Monday

Clonakilty 10km.......11am
I don't have a whole lot of info on this race. It would seem to be a charity event in aid of the two national schools in Clonakilty. Registration will take place at the Quality hotel and leisure centre in Clonakilty.
Registration will open at 10am and close at 10:45 and a race start at 11 am sharp.
Entry is €10. Contact: (087) 268 1588

I have no idea as to whether the race has an AAI permit or has been accurately measured.
Boherbue to Kiskeam 4 Mile ...........The annual Gneeveguilla AC 'Jack O'Keeffe' Boherbue-Kiskeam 4 mile road race takes place at 2pm. The sign on for the race is in Kishkeam and it costs €15. For that, there is a T-shirt as well but €15 is still very expensive for what is a low key 4 mile race.

After registration, the runners are taken by car and mini-bus to Boherbue which is 4 miles away. The race is along the main road back to Kishkeam which is also a main road from Mallow in North Cork to Castleisland and Tralee. As such, it is a narrow busy road with some very fast traffic. 

Last year, I ran this race for the first time and to be honest, my last time. It's just too dangerous. Last year just after the start, there was runners running down the middle of the road and on the left with a creamery lorry driving through between them! I really would hate to think what would have happened of someone had tripped. Your own experience may be different but for me, this race is just too expensive and too dangerous.


Anonymous said...

John I have to seriously disagree with you on this one.
For me it is one of the best races of the year.The atmosphere there is great especially with the kids races beforehand and the bus to the start.I have ran this race on numerous occasions ( too many to remember) and ok last year there was the lorry but there was never anything like this before that I recall but in many races there is an exception.Remember the crazy driver in Cork - Cobh (You had the video on line) 2/3 years ago.This morning in Belgooly (Kinsale -Cork road) there was heavy traffic all up one side of the road.
As regards the 15 Euro.The prizes in this race are exceptionaly good and would put most of the other races we attend to shame.They cater for three in all catogries (you even got one yourself if I recall correctly) and the catering and food and crack after is second to none.The money goes to support the local athletic club which in my book is a very worthy cause.The work they do with the kids in this wide rural area where little other sponsorship is available is in my opinion a very worthy cause and worthy of my support much more so than the privately organised races where the money goes to line the organisers pockets and gives nothing back to athletics in return.The clubs are the backbone of athletics and the youth are the backbone of the clubs.
Anyway John thats how I feel and I will be there again tomorrow to support one of the few old style but best road race around.
Danny Mc Carthy
Lone Wolf AC

John Desmond said...

Looking at the photos for the Belgooly race, it was obvious that the Gardai were involved and there was some sort of traffic management. In Boherboy last year, there was nothing.

I have no doubt that if someone from the insurance industry had seen the start of the race last year and saw a creamery lorry drive through the field of runners, the would be absolutely horrified.

The fact is that the R577 road is a major route between areas like Mallow and Castleisland / Tralee. It is a busy road with very fast traffic. What I fail to understand is that why, in what is a really nice area, they choose to hold a 4 mile race on the most dangerous section of road? Someone sent me an e-mail today of a map showing what looks like a nice quiet L shaped 10k route that would be on the quieter roads from Boherbuy to Kishkeam. There must be loads of other potential routes that are safer.

While we can debate issues like entry fees, prizes, etc, we should never ever compromise on safety.

There are plenty of road races to choose from without risking life and limb on this one.

Donal O'Donoghue said...


I have to agree with John on the safety issue. Most other aspects of the race, registration, community centre, refreshments, prizes, etc were above par.
But the race itself had it's worrying moments.

John is not exaggerating here.
I was down the field, but according to the results, about five places behind yourself, Danny.
You must have seen uncomfortable situations ???
At one point, I was in a line of six runners, running along the centre line, following the person in front. There were 4 cars passing on the left, and 4 on the right.
We had a gap of maybe 24" to run in. If somebody tripped and fell, it would be curtains.
And I was acutely aware that the lady behind me, was wearing headphones. There were several other little incidents :(

Note: People often just follow the person in front, but I also recall the roads edges were sloping away to the side (camber), such that it'd be most uncomfortable running there.

Today in Belgooly, there was a Garda Car, Paddy wagon, HSE Rapid Response Ambulance.

The Gardai were at both ends of the R600, and were clearly coordinating, and allowing traffic flow in one direction at a time, using the Southbound lane. Runners had exclusive use of the Northbound lane. No worries whatever :)

Last year, there appeared to be no traffic management in Boherbue-Kiskeam. I didn't see any Gardai?
There were no noticeable road marshalls in yellow jackets slowing traffic, nor any road-side warning signs.

By comparison, one would have lost count of the number of road marshals and Gardai in Killarney on Friday night for the Good Friday Run. Every lane-way and possible entry point for traffic was covered.

The issue can be solved by moving the course to a quiet local byroad, or putting in proper traffic management.

At the same time, I fully agree that Gneeveguilla AC does great work in Athletics in the area!

And North-West Cork and East-Kerry need every road race they can get.

ps: Does anybody know the outcome of that incident in Cork to Cobh 15 in 2008 ?

Anonymous said...

John I'm glad to say that after a very wet and windy day in Kiskeam, I once again had a very enjoyable experience on a very good testing course.

I think I speak for the vast number of runners taking part in this event over the last number of years that its more than safe, and the number of people than return each year shows this.One incident in 20 years of running the event should not put people off taking part and doesnt give you, John the right to down grade the race.

On your statement about the price, and the race itself being a low key event. The prizes without dought are one of the best on offer in Munster, and I stand over that!!!!. I cannot let you get away by saying this event is a low key race, and I'm sure the following winners over the last number of years would also beg to differ. The race has been won in the past by the following athletes, John Barrett, John Lenihan, Cian Murphy, Pat Byrne, Christie O'Riordan, Niall Collins and of late Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers, who is the current National Half Marathon and Marathon National AAI Champion and who has won the race in 2009 and again today. Female athletes of the calobour of Maureen Harrington and Niamh O'Sullivan.

I'm Looking forward to meeting you John at the next race I attend in Cork, as I dont just want to hide behind the computer but to let you know my feelings in person and in public.

James Doran
An Riocht AC.

John Desmond said...

Hi James

Thanks for your comment.

When I refer to a 'low key' event, I am referring to the fact that it only attracts 80-90 runners. It has absolutely no reflection on the people running in the race or who may have raced it in the past. When you compare it to other races getting 200-300 then it has to be considered 'low key'.

I agree completely with you that the prizes are very good and truth be told, better than most. But that doesn't make a race special. Big prizes do not attract a large field. As for the entry fee, €15 is expensive when compared to other similar events in Cork.

When it comes to safety, I'm quiet entitled to point out to others what I feel to be a dangerous course. I'm not the only to think this. Several others have mentioned it to me as well.

Safety should be the number one priority for all race organisers.

John Desmond

Anonymous said...

John, another comment for you on your reply.

Firstly 15euro is not dear for the amount of money put back into the prizes and that also includes the master categories for this race.

low key: A race of 80-90 runners(kiskeam) compared to a race of 200-300 (business house races).

I think you look at numbers rather than quality, alot of the so called low key events have high quality, such as Kiskeam, and quiet alot of the larger numbered races in Cork and else where dont have the quality, once you get to a certain point on the clock. That is not to take away from anyone who just wants to walk or jog these bigger events.

I dont enter races for the number of people taking part or due to the cost. I enter because firstly I enjoy and love the sport, and secondly because some races have better prizes than others, this is true of Kiskeam. A well ran event, cheap at 15euro,good prizes and races for the children at the start which brings the family and community element into it.

Once again this is not a dangerous course and I will contunue to repeat this at every chance I get. I would also like to point out that its amazing how others have told you that its dangerous, but I have not heard anyone other than yourself complain about the race.

As the tayto add says John,
"theres always one" well one out of last years 60-80 isnt so bad.

James Doran
An Riocht AC

Cillian said...

Having seen the negative comments on this event here yesterday, I even considered abandoning my plan to go along to the race today. But, since I really wanted to have a run out over the Easter I went along to Kiskeam anyway, my first time taking part in the event.

Despite the awful weather, the race was generally well organized and the atmosphere was good. Minibuses were provided to get runners to the start, the race started more or less on time, results were provded and prize-giving got through with the minimum of fuss. However, it is hard to disagree with the two points John made in the article; the €15 entry fee is probably a bit more than for the average 4-miler, and there is a lot traffic on the main road during the race.

I think the entry fee can be excused given the standard of the prizes. Maybe Gneeveguilla could promote this a bit more so people won't think they're being ripped off? The top ten men and top six women all got prizes, as did medalists in all of the various age categories. The standard of the prizes were amazing, as anyone shopping in Boherboe on the way home will tell you! Given this, and the fact that the balance of the entries go to supporting the local club, it's hard to begrudge the entry fee.

The traffic along the route needs to be managed a bit better, I think. If not dangerous, it is at least distracting. The path you take along the road is generally dictated by where the cars happen to be as you go around each bend! As I ran the last mile I was in amongst a line of cars and was relying on them keeping on moving so that I could. Eventually one of them turned off onto a side road to the right and cut me off completely, which meant I had to cut my stride and change direction suddenly – not the end of the world, but not what you want when you're out on your feet either!

If the organizers are intent on sticking with that particular route, maybe the road should be made one-way, as someone else suggested? Maybe there's a handy alternate route that could be used as a detour for cars for the hour or so that the race is on? Someone at the start made a statement to the effect that "there had never been an accident in the 20 years of the event". In fairness, you could say that about most road races, and usually organizers don't wait for an accident to happen before taking safety precautions!

Overall, it was a good day out and I might go back next year. Hopefully the organizers will take on board some of the feedback re the route. I think the tone of the original article might have been a little too negative – we should probably remember that events like these are organized by people who give up their free time week in, week out, to support athletic clubs throughout the country.

John Desmond said...

James.....thanks for your comments again.

On some points, we'll have to agree to disagree ;o)

Regarding 'low key' or not, I suppose it depends on your point of view. If you are local to the area then it may be a major event. From my point of view looking at the all of the races in Cork, an event that attracts 70-80 runners seems small.

As for the entry fee of €15, again, it depends on your point of view. From my point of view, €15 is expensive when compared to the other road races in Cork.

As for the safety aspect, I really cannot agree. In 2009, I saw a creamery lorry drive through the middle of a packed field of runners just after the start. How can that be considered safe? How can you tell anyone the course is safe when you see that?

It's all very well saying that it's a 'once off event' in 20 years or organisers giving speeches about how safe the course is. What runners really need to hear is what is being done to make sure that an event like that cannot happen again.

ALL RACE ORGANISERS should be looking at their own races and seeing how they can be made safer. After each event, learn the lessons and improve on the safety for the next event. If someone raises a safety issue then listen and act on it.

Cillian..thanks for your comment and you make a lot of well thought out points. You are probably right, I was probably a bit too negative on the original posting for the race. However, when I see race organisers ignoring obvious safety concerns then I feel I should highlight them.

John Desmond

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Just a few points on all this!
1. 'Low-key' is not an insulting term. It refers to numbers, not status, quality or importance of an event. Many of the races so far outside cork city will be of a lot more importance to locals,which is great and can make a race more special to a community, and so what if it doesn't draw as big a crowd from far and wide?
2. Regarding the comment about 'one incident in 20 years'- once is enough. I wasn't at that race but if, God forbid, there had been an accident it would have had very serious repercussions for the club, the community and everyone involved, so I don't think John has over-reacted on this one.
3. Regarding the entry fee, it's a matter of priority. It's true that sometimes the prizes can be of a poor quality at some races and it is great to hear that the prizes were of such a high quality yesterday, but for people like my good self who will never win a prize (!) and just go along to be involved, €15 is steep. That said, price rarely puts me off, particularly if theres a bit going to charity and/or back into a local club. I'm more likely to be put off by a long drive just for a four mile race. Perhaps that's true for a lot of people.

Anonymous said...

Too comment no:10 - It would be nice if the name had been added to the end, I'm not a big fan of anonymous reply's.

1 - "Low key" is an insulting term to me. If the numbers taking part were the bence mark of grading a race in terms of "Low key" or not, then the County Track & Field, County Road and County Cross Country races not to mention the Munster, would be classed as "Low Key" because of the low numbers. These events are far from low key they are the high light for club athletes.

2 - Remember it was an incident that happen not an accident

3 - €15.00 is very good value for this race, and your spot on the money is put back right into the club.

James Doran
An Riocht AC