Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Preview of the Cork Half-Marathon - Sunday 12th Sept 2010 (11am)

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Preview of the Cork Half-Marathon - Sunday 12th Sept 2010 (11am)

The big event this weekend of course is the Cork Half-Marathon in Blarney on Sunday the 12th of Sept and this year yet again, the race is sponsored by John Buckley Sports.

If you have not entered yet, you can still enter on the day at the GAA grounds in Blarney for €25. Last year, this race attracted a large turnout of 551 runners and it seems likely that it will attract a similar number this year.

Directions / Start / Finish..........This race is run over the quiet roads to the North of Blarney, about 10 kms to 15 kms to the North West of Cork City. The easiest way to get there is from the N20 Cork to Limerick/Mallow road. Just take the slip road for Blarney. As you drive alongside the walkway, take the first left and then the next right after that. See map above. Entries will be taken at the GAA grounds.
(Update....Additional car parking will be available on the morning of the race at Scoil Mhuire gan Smal  the secondary school on the Hedge Road. This is just 200 metres from the race HQ at Blarney GAA complex.)

The start of the race is very close to the GAA grounds. The finish is about 800 metres away on the other side of Blarney.

Course....The course is made up of 3 seperate sections....1) the road North from Blarney, 2) the loop and 3) the road back to Blarney.

1) From the GAA grounds, you run through part of Blarney and then North towards Waterloo. After about 800 metres, you should pass the finish line of the race. You carry on for another 1.5 miles with the woods and the river on your right. At the next road junction, you cross right over the bridge and carry on along a tree covered road until you reach a road junction near the 4.7 mile mark. All the while, you will have been running alongside the main N20 road which runs parallel to this small road and climbing slowly all the way. In fact, you will have gained about 50 metres in altitude from the start (30m) to the road junction at 4.7 miles (80m).

2) This is where the loop starts and where things start getting tough. At the junction at 4.7 miles, you stay left and the road gets steeper. Past the 5 mile mark and keep climbing. It eases a bit, you veer off right at the next junction and then start climbing again until it flattens out around the 6 mile mark just as you approach the village of Grenagh. In that last 1.3 miles, you wil have gone from 80 metres to over 160 metres in far, the toughest section of the race.
Then it's through the village and take a sharp right. Here, the road drops rapidly as you lose 50 metres of altitude over the next half mile until you are near the 7 mile mark. From here, it is more or less flat or slightly downhill until you reach the road junction again near the 9 mile mark and the end of the loop.

3) This is one section where runners will pass each other....the slower runners heading towards the 4.7 mile mark as the faster runners return from the 9 mile mark. For the last 4.1 miles, you are basically retracing your footsteps. It is mostly flat or slightly downhill as far as the finish just before Blarney.  

Overall.......a reasonably hilly course with a tough 1.3 mile section near the middle. It's certainly not the fastest of Half-Marathon courses but the big turnout is a help over those hilly sections. If you keep something in reserve for the climb up to Grenagh then you may find the last 6 miles of the race very fast. On the 'must do' list for a lot of Cork runners.

If you want to have a closer look at the course, I have put it up on the MapMyRun website.

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