Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Preview of the Bandon 5 mile road race - Mon 2nd Jan 2012

The next race locally is the Donough Coughlan memorial 5 mile road race in Bandon on Monday, the 2nd of January 2012 at 1pm. Starting on the relief road to the south of the town, the race is mostly run on quiet country roads to the south-east.

Directions........If you are coming from Cork City......As you enter Bandon, take the relief road left at the first roundabout. Follow the directions for Clonakilty and this will take you to the local GAA grounds...see red dots on map below.

Registration....There is plenty of parking at the GAA grounds. Registration opens at 11am. The entry fee is €10. The race flyer can be seen HERE

Non-Competitive Walk....The walk starts at 12:30pm from the GAA grounds. Entry €5.

Course....The race course is basically made of three parts. The first two miles are largely downhill / flat and are very fast. The third mile is uphill and slow. The last two miles are downhill and fast again.

The race starts on the relief road to the south of the town. From the GAA grounds, it is approx. 700 metres. The start is on the highest part of the road and the first few hundred metres are flat...

Soon though, the road begins to drop away and this section is very fast...

....or as seen from the next road junction....You run down the hill and turn off left....
You are now on Connolly Road which is a quiet residential street. It's mostly flat along here and soon you hit the 1 mile mark....a very fast first mile.

After a very slight climb, you drop down into the town and you cross over the Bridewell River, a tributary of the Bandon River, and then take a sharp left....
Here, the road is flat as you follow the river. Soon, you pass the starting point of the Bandon 10k race which was on last October...

From here, you follow the river and take the next left and pass the entrance to the GAA grounds...

Just after this is the 2 mile mark. Again, another fast mile. Now for the tough part of the race. The third mile is mostly uphill and you are going to lose time here.

At about 2.6 miles, you turn off left and the hill gets easier...

...and by the time you reach the 3 mile mark, the road is largely flat. Easily the toughest mile of the race. From here, it is largely downhill all the way to the finish line. It starts with a good downhill gradient...

...and then eases off at the next road junction which you run straight through...

From here, you are running along a narrow quiet country road until you join another road which winds it's way though a wooded valley. Along here, you hit the 4 mile mark...a fast mile. From here, it is slightly downhill all of the way until the finish line at the next T-junction...
Overall......a race that can be broken down into three parts. It would probably be best to not run flat out for the first two miles and you should keep something in reserve. You are going to lose time on the hilly third mile and this is where the easier initial pace will pay off. The last two miles are downhill and fast. Anyone who still feels fresh at the 3 mile mark will be able to make up for it over the last two miles and spend the rest of the race passing all of those runners who went out too fast.

Post Race....The finish line is just over a mile from the GAA grounds so you can use this as part of your warm down. Note that following the race route through the town is the quickest route (1.18 miles) as opposed to running back up the relief road (1.42 miles).

Prize giving and plenty of refreshments (tea. sandwiches, etc) are available back in the GAA hall.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Running may not be harmful to your knees...

The conventional wisdom amongst 'armchair experts' is that running is bad for you....bad for the joints and bad for the knees. However, new studies have shown that running in moderation may actually be beneficial for the complex and critical knee joint. David Felson, a researcher and epidemiologist at Boston University School of Medicine, says past concern about jogging and knees centered on the continuous impact of the foot to the ground and suggestion that it caused degeneration of the knee and the onset of osteoarthritis. But when researchers actually studied the impact of running on knees, he says, that's not what they found.

"We know from many long-term studies that running doesn't appear to cause much damage to the knees," he says. "When we look at people with knee arthritis, we don't find much of a previous history of running, and when we look at runners and follow them over time, we don't find that their risk of developing osteoarthritis is any more than expected." Both types of studies agree, says Felson, that recreational running doesn't increase the risk of arthritis.

In one study, Swedish researchers found that exercise, including jogging, may even be beneficial. Felson describes how researchers took one group of people at risk of osteoarthritis and had them engage in exercise, including jogging. The other group didn't exercise. After imaging the joints of the participants in both study groups, they found that the biochemistry of cartilage actually appeared to improve in those participants who were running. Felson says that suggests that "running is actually healthy for the joint."

Jonathan Chang, an orthopedic surgeon in California says that exercise appears to stimulate cartilage to repair to minor damage. It could be that the impact of body weight when the foot hits the ground increases production of certain proteins in the cartilage that make it stronger, he says. This is similar to the way exercise, in particular weight-bearing exercise like jogging, increases bone and muscle mass.

According to Nancy Lane, director of the UC Davis Center for Healthy Aging who specializes in rheumatology and diseases related to aging, scientists are now starting to understand that there is some loss of cartilage annually after a certain age. Some doctors think cartilage loss begins after age 40. But, according to Lane, "if you have a relatively normal knee and you're jogging five to six times a week at a moderate pace, then there's every reason to believe that your joints will remain healthy."

Lane did some of the very first studies of runners and knees while she was a resident at Stanford University. "We wanted to answer the important question of whether, if you continued to run into your 50s and 60s and even 70s, you also ran the risk of damaging the knees," she says. The answer, she says: absolutely not. And there was an extra bonus: While enthusiasm for jogging seemed to diminish as people hit their mid-60s, Lane says they were still more inclined than the non-joggers to get out and exercise.

A Few Caveats though...Lane cautions that if you have suffered a knee injury, especially one that required surgery or are more than 9 kgs overweight, running can actually increase your risk of knee arthritis. So can routinely running really fast — at a five- or six-minute-mile pace — or running in a marathon. Lane's best advice? Running in moderation, at an eight- to 10-minute mile pace, for about 40 minutes a day. For those that are overweight, Lane advises..."I have them walk and walk until they're to a point where I think their body mass is reduced enough that it won't traumatize their joints," she says. Otherwise, significantly overweight joggers run the risk of that extra weight stressing the knee to the point of inflammation, the formation of bony spurs and accelerated cartilage loss.

An audio podcast of this can be heard HERE

New York Marathon to cost $60 more next year...

Back in November, I had a post about the New York City Marathon and how it was getting record numbers with some 47,000 or so runners taking part. In fact, the demand is so high that the limit for registered runners is 60,000. Post HERE

Now it seems that they are cashing in on the demand by charging an extra $60 for entries. Members of the New York Road Runners, the group that coordinates the event, will pay $216 to participate in the 26.2 mile race that winds through all five boroughs. Americans who are not in the club will pay $255, while non-U.S. citizens will pay $347!! The $11 fee to process the application will remain unchanged.

The excuse given is that various costs associated with putting on the marathon, like closing the streets and providing medical care to participants, have increased. Considering that the event already generates $350 million of economic activity and $10 million in taxes for the city, it seems a lot more likely that they are just taking advantage of the demand for places.

Applications for the 2012 race will be accepted starting Jan. 2 and stop on April 23. A spokeswoman for the event doesn't expect the price increase will affect the number of applications, which stood at 120,000 for the 2011 event—the largest in the 42 year history of the race.

From an Irish / European perspective, is it worth paying $347 (~€270) to enter??? Plus the costs of flights and accommodation??? No doubt, some people will decide that it is but it certainly isn't cheap.

Newspaper articles on Irish athletics...

There were three newspaper articles on Irish athletics over the last few days. In the Irish Times, Ian O'Riordan reflects on the top Irish performances in 2011. The full article can be seen HERE

In the Herald, Lindie Naughton looks ahead to 2012 and who might be able to qualify for the Marathon in the London Olympics. So far, only  Mark Kenneally has qualified by running faster than the qualifying standard of 2:15. In 2011, four others ran faster than 2:20. Compare this to the period of 2007 to 2010 when only two men broke 2:20.

For 2012, the article suggests the following men will be trying to qualify...
Sean Connolly will be running in the Rotterdam Marathon in April after running 2:17:23 there in 2011.
Thomas Frazer will run either Rotterdam or Boston.
Alistair Cragg, who ran a time of 1:00.49 in New York last March, but dropped out of the Boston and Fukuoka marathons. Next??
Sean Hehir who has run 1:05:24 for a Half-Marathon may make his marathon debut in the spring.
Alan O'Shea, Gary Thornton and Martin Fagan are undecided on their next moves.

For the women, only Linda Byrne has qualified so far by running 2:36:21 in Dublin last October. There are however only three places on offer and there are plenty of others hoping to qualify for one of those places. In 2011, seven women broke 2:45 which is a big change to the previous four years when no more than three in any given year had gone under that time.

Those trying to reach the qualifying standard of 2:37 are...
Gladys Ganiel and Ava Hutchinson in the Houston Marathon on January 14
Maria McCambridge in Seville on February 19 or Barcelona on March 17
Among those likely to run the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15 are Caitriona Jennings, Lorraine Manning, Annette Kealy, Lizzie Lee, Breege Connolly, Rosemary Ryan and Barbara Sanchez.

The full article can be seen HERE and is worth a look.

...and finally, the Irish Examiner has an interview with Ciarán Ó Lionáird from Cork. They talk to him about his training in Oregon and his plans for the future. Article HERE

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dungarvan '10' entries now closed...

Entries for the 2012 Dungarvan 10 mile road race are now closed. The limit of 1,500 entries was reached today (Wed 28th Dec), approximately three weeks ahead of the closing date last year.

Olympic silver medalist John Treacy receives his number 1 race number for the John Treacy  Dungarvan 10 mile road race on Sunday January 29th at 1pm. Also included are race committee members Pascal Proctor, Ann Dunford ,Tony Ryan and James Veale

Running Times interview with Ciarán O’Lionaird from Cork

2011 was the year when Ciarán O'Lionaird from Macroom in Cork showed his true potential. He set multiple personal best times during the year and also made the final of the 1500 metres in the World Championships in Daegu in South Korea last August.

The times below show how much he has improved recently...

Ciarán O'Lionaird's Personal Records (Bests prior to 2011 in brackets)
1500m: Aug. 2, 2011: 3:34.46 Oordegem, Belgium (3:48.36, 2008)
1 Mile: July 8, 2011: 3:57.99 Dublin (4:06.59 OTi, 2008)
3,000m: July 13, 2011: 7:50.71 Naimette-Xhovémont, Belgium (8:04.05 OTi, 2008)
5,000m: July 6, 2011: 13:33.64 Heusden, Belgium (14:07.92, 2008)
10,000m: March 25, 2011: 28:32.30 Stanford, Calif. (no previous mark)

Here's a typical week of O’Lionaird’s training during the Autumn:
Mon...a.m. – 10 miles; p.m. 4 miles ,
Tue...a.m. – Short intervals on grass plus 200m hills ; p.m. – 4 miles plus strength/conditioning
Wed...a.m. – 12 miles steady ; p.m. – 5 miles underwater treadmill
Thurs...a.m. – 10 miles + strides, p.m. – 4 miles plus strength/conditioning
Fri...a.m. – Long intervals on grass ; p.m. – 4 miles easy
Sat...a.m. – 5 miles easy, ; p.m. – 5 miles underwater treadmill plus strength/conditioning
Sun...18 miles with 8 miles at tempo pace

The full article can be seen HERE

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Results of the Belgooly 4 mile...Mon 26th Dec 2011

 Men: 1st - James McCarthy, East Cork (20.32), 2nd - Jeff Scott, Carrigh Na Bhear (20.41), 3rd - Robbie Neill, North Cork (21.00)
Women: 1st - Jill Hodgins (23.45), 2nd - Sinead Ni Chonachnir, Eagle AC (23.57), 3rd - Emma Murphy, St Finbarrs (24.17)

The results of the 4 mile race in Belgooly can be seen HERE

The is a gallery of photos from John O'Driscoll HERE


Monday, December 26, 2011

The Story of Jim Thorpe...Olympic Champion 1912

Several months ago, someone mentioned to me that they had been to a small town in the US named after the former Olympic champion Jim Thorpe. When I looked up the name, I found several news items, some are which are still current even to this day.

Jim Thorpe was born on an Indian reservation in 1888. His father, Hiram Thorpe, had an Irish father and an Indian mother. His mother, Charlotte Vieux, had a French father and a Potawatomi mother, a descendant of Chief Louis Vieux. He spent his childhood working on a farm and attending an Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. There, his athletic ability was recognised after he reportedly began his athletic career in 1907 when he walked past the track and beat the school's high jumpers with an impromptu 5-ft 9-in jump while still wearing street clothes.

In the spring of 1912, he started training for the Olympics. He had confined his efforts to the jumps, the hurdles and the shot-put but now he undertook the pole vault, the javelin, discus, the hammer and the fifty-six-pound weight. In the Olympic trials, his all-round ability stood out in all these events to claim to a place on the team that went to Sweden.

For the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, two new multi-event disciplines were included, the pentathlon and the decathlon. The pentathlon in 1912 consisted of the long jump, the javelin throw, 200-metre dash, the discus throw and the 1500-metre run. The decathlon was a relatively new event of the then modern athletics. In preparation for it, Thorpe could run the 100-yard dash in 10 seconds flat, the 220 in 21.8 seconds, the 440 in 51.8 seconds, the 880 in 1:57, the mile in 4:35, the 120-yard high hurdles in 15 seconds, and the 220-yard low hurdles in 24 seconds. He could long jump 23 ft 6 in and high-jump 6 ft 5 in. He could pole vault 11 feet, put the shot 47 ft 9 in, throw the javelin 163 feet, and throw the discus 136 feet.

His schedule in the Olympics was busy. Along with the decathlon and pentathlon, he competed in the individual long jump and high jump. The first competition was the pentathlon; Thorpe won four of the five events and placed third in the javelin, an event in which he had not competed before 1912. He won the gold medal. The same day, Thorpe qualified for the high jump final. He placed fourth and also took seventh place in the long jump.

Thorpe's final event was the decathlon, his first—and as it turned out, only—Olympic decathlon. He placed in the top four of all ten events. Thorpe's Olympic record of 8,413 points would stand for nearly two decades. Overall, Thorpe won eight of the 15 individual events of the pentathlon and decathlon.

As was the custom of the day, the medals were presented to the athletes during the closing ceremonies of the games. Several sources recount that, when awarding Thorpe his prize, King Gustav said, "You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world," to which Thorpe replied, "Thanks, King." Thorpe's successes had not gone unnoticed at home, and he was honoured with a ticker-tape parade on Broadway. He remembered later, "I heard people yelling my name, and I couldn't realise how one fellow could have so many friends."

After his victories at the Olympic Games in Sweden, on September 2, 1912, Thorpe returned to Celtic Park, the home of the Irish American Athletic Club, in Queens, New York to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union's All-Around Championship. Competing against Bruno Brodd of the Irish American Athletic Club, and J. Bredemus of Princeton University, he won seven of the ten events contested, and came in second in the remaining three. With a total point score of 7,476 points, Thorpe broke the previous record of 7,385 points set in 1909 by Martin Sheridan, the champion athlete of the Irish American Athletic Club. Sheridan, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, was present to watch his record broken, and approached Thorpe after the event. He shook his hand saying, "Jim my boy, you're a great man. I never expect to look upon a finer athlete." Sheridan told a reporter from The New York World, "Thorpe is the greatest athlete that ever lived. He has me beaten fifty ways. Even when I was in my prime, I could not do what he did today."

In 1913, strict rules regarding amateurism were in effect for athletes participating in the Olympics. Athletes who received money prizes for competitions, were sports teachers, or had competed previously against professionals, were not considered amateurs and were barred from competition. In late January 1913, U.S. newspapers published stories announcing that Thorpe had played professional baseball. Thorpe had indeed played professional baseball in 1909 and 1910, receiving meager pay; reportedly as little as $2 ($47 today) a game and as much as $35 ($822 today) a week.College players, in fact, regularly spent summers playing professionally, but most used aliases, unlike Thorpe.

Although the public did not seem to care much about Thorpe's past, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) took the case very seriously. Thorpe wrote a letter to the AAU in which he admitted playing professional baseball..."I hope I will be partly excused by the fact that I was simply an Indian schoolboy and did not know all about such things. In fact, I did not know that I was doing wrong, because I was doing what I knew several other college men had done, except that they did not use their own names”

His letter did not help. The AAU decided to withdraw Thorpe's amateur status retroactively and asked the International Olympic Commission (IOC) to do the same. Later that year, the IOC unanimously decided to strip Thorpe of his Olympic titles, medals, and awards, and declared him a professional. Although Thorpe had played for money, the AAU and IOC did not follow the rules for disqualification. The rulebook for the 1912 Olympics stated that protests had to be made within 30 days from the closing ceremonies of the games. The first newspaper reports did not appear until about six months after the Stockholm Games had concluded. It has been speculated that Thorpe was in fact discrimated against because of his Indian background. At the time, athletics was dominated by white and wealthy individuals who didn't have to work for a living.

Post Olympics, Thorpe became a full time professional playing both baseball and american football. He retired from professional football in 1929 at the age of 41. After his athletic career, Thorpe struggled to find work and never held a job for an extended period of time. During the Great Depression in particular, Thorpe had various jobs, among others as an extra for several movies, a construction worker, a doorman (bouncer), a security guard, and a ditch digger. He died in poverty in 1953 at the age of 64.

Over the years, supporters of Thorpe attempted to have his Olympic titles reinstated. US Olympic officials rebuffed several attempts saying, "Ignorance is no excuse." Eventually in 1982, with evidence from 1912 proving that Thorpe's disqualification had occurred after the 30-day time period allowed by Olympics rules, the IOC Executive Committee approved Thorpe's reinstatement. In a ceremony on January 18, 1983, the IOC presented two of Thorpe's children, Gale and Bill, with commemorative medals. Thorpe's original medals had been held in museums, but they had been stolen and have never been recovered.

Besides the controversary regarding the medals, there is also the bizzare tale of the town of Jim Thorpe. Following his death in 1953, Thorpe's widow was angry when the government of Oklahoma would not erect a memorial to honour him. When she heard that the boroughs of Mauch Chunk and East Mauch Chunk in Pennsylvania were desperately seeking to attract business, she made a deal with civic officials. The boroughs merged, renamed the new municipality in Jim Thorpe's honour, bought the athlete's remains from his wife and erected a monument to the Oklahoma native, who began his sports career 100 miles (161 kilometres) southwest, as a student at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The monument site contains his tomb, two statues of him in athletic poses, and historical markers describing his life story. The grave rests on mounds of soil from Thorpe's native Oklahoma and from the Stockholm Olympic Stadium in which he won his Olympic medals.

In June 2010, Thorpe's son, Jack, filed a federal lawsuit against the borough of Jim Thorpe, seeking to have his father's remains returned to his homeland and re-interred near other family members in Oklahoma. Jack Thorpe says the agreement between his stepmother and borough officials was made against the wishes of other family members. They want him buried in Native American land.

Borough officials moved to dismiss the suit but as recently as late November, a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled against the borough and allowed the lawsuit to go forward. Even now, almost 100 years after the 1912 Olympic games, the name of Jim Thorpe is still embroilled in controversy.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette has an article HERE

The BBC also has an interesting 10 minute audio podcast HERE

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Race notice...Belgooly 4 mile - Mon 26th Dec 2011

Next race...Belgooly 4 mile...12 noon start...€10

1980...Steve Ovett V John Treacy

Steve Ovett was on top of the world in 1980. Shortly after winning the 800 metre gold medal at the Olympic Games in Moscow, Ovett returned home to race a 5000 metre race at Crystal Palace. Also in the race was American Bill McChesney, who qualified for the U.S. Olympic team in 1980 but did not race in Moscow due to the American boycott and Irishman John Treacy, twice the World Cross Country champion in 1978 and 1979.

The stage was set for Ovett to win with ease in front of a home crowd. He was after all the Olympic champion at 1,500 metres and this was just a formality to display his domination. The only problem though was that John Treacy forgot to read the script....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Study finds that running economy does not decline with age...

For a recent study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers at the University of New Hampshire and other institutions recruited 51 competitive runners, ranging in age from 18 to 77. Each trained regularly and had placed in the top three in his or her age group in a local 5-kilometre or 10-kilometre road race. Their goal was to assess running economy, a measure of how much oxygen someone uses to run at a certain pace. Economical runners can continue at a given speed longer than inefficient striders, outdistancing them.

Going into the study, the researchers had assumed that runners past age 60 would be less economical than youthful athletes, since older runners, as a group, are slower than younger ones. But as it turned out, when scientists fitted the volunteers with masks that measured their oxygen use as they ran on a treadmill and then compared the results by age group, the runners 60 and older were just as physiologically economical as younger runners, even those in their 20s and 30s.

“It was quite a surprise,” said Timothy Quinn, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Hampshire and lead author of the study. “Economical runners perform better than less-economical runners. And contrary to our expectations, economy did not decline with age.” The results are encouraging for older runners, he continued, suggesting that aging lungs and leg muscles have no trouble using oxygen efficiently, and that older runners can still be fast.

Masters runners and, in particular, those 60 and older are the fastest-growing group in the sport, according to most statistics. A recent study of the New York City Marathon from 1980 to 2009, for example, found that “the percent of finishers younger than 40 years significantly decreased, while the percent of masters runners significantly increased for both males and females,” said Romuald Lepers, a professor of sports sciences at the University of Burgundy in France.

However, in another study looking at running injuries published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, it found that middle-aged and older runners are much more prone to problems with Achilles tendons and hamstring and calf muscles. A possible explanation for the high rate of such injuries among the post-40 set, the study authors speculate, is that the normal muscle wear and tear “that occurs with training seems to take greater time to repair with aging, and older runners continue running at a frequency similar to that of younger runners.”

Dr. Quinn’s group, too, found that some physiological parameters did worsen with age. Older runners scored poorly on tests of upper-body strength and lower-body flexibility, both of which can affect the ability to compete. “You need upper-body strength to pump your arms and generate power and velocity, especially on hills,” Dr. Quinn said. Similarly, flexible tendons and muscles in the lower leg allow full, easy strides. “We didn’t measure step length,” he said, “but my guess is that it was shorter” among the runners who were 60 or older. With tighter tissues, older runners are constrained to choppy strides and, in general, a slower pace. Dr. Quinn says, these particular physical detriments can be improved. “Older runners should try very hard to get to the gym to lift weights a few times a week,” he said. Concentrate on exercises that build upper-body strength. The sexagenarian and older runners in his study had almost as much leg strength as younger runners, he says, but far less muscle mass, strength and power in their arms and shoulders.

Stretch occasionally after a run, too, he advises. It’s not as clear that flexibility aids in running performance among older runners, he says. But to help maintain speed, “it’s probably not a bad idea to work on lower-body flexibility, especially if you used to be more flexible.” Should you need further inspiration, consider another finding of the study of older New York City marathon racers. The researchers report that in recent years, the average finishing time for the fastest men 60 and older dropped by more than seven minutes; among older women, it plummeted by more than 16 minutes. And the improvements show no sign of slowing. Older runners “have probably not yet reached their limits in marathon performance,” said Dr. Lepers.

Marathon races boost local economy...

In a recent study done in Columbus, Ohio is the USA, it was found that the local half and full Marathon had a 13 million dollar impact on the local economy. With approximately 20,000 runners taking part, each runner was on average responsible for $767. In addition, the economic impact of the event since its inception in 1980 was more than $154 million.

“This shows that the Columbus Marathon is not only the largest marathon in Ohio, but also one of the most impactful events affecting the local economy,” said Kurtis J. Roush, JD, MBA, Executive Director of Fisher Professional Services. “My team determined that on average, each dollar of participant registration dollars generated $10 of positive impact on Central Ohio.

Bill Burns, Chairman of the Columbus Marathon Board of Trustees, added: “We also recognize that our impact goes beyond economics, and generates wonderful benefits in terms of the improved and sustained health of our athletes – many of whom change their life by training for and taking part in our event.”

The portion of the study that tracked the economic benefits of increased fitness levels of event participants focused on central Ohioans who trained for the event and, in the process, became healthier. The study found that the estimated healthcare savings for central Ohio was $687,055 in the first year alone based on an estimated 2,005 central Ohioans becoming physically active as a result of the Columbus Marathon. Participants were also surveyed for demographic information, residence location, retail expenditures, nonprofit fundraising, travel expenditures, food and beverage expenses and number of guests/supporters.

On a more local level, I wonder what is the economic impact of the half and full Marathons held in Ireland? While the obvious focus might be on entry fee's, what about the economic boost it gives to an area? What about the likes of say Bantry or Dingle where the races there are outside the normal tourist season? Is it a 10:1 ratio like the example in Ohio?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Marathon Mission Announces its 2012 Standards

The Marathon Mission programme is a system which was set up to nurture Irish marathoner runners. This was done in the hope that it will lead to Irish runners qualifying for and competing with distinction in major championships (i.e. the London Olympics) and being competitive on an annual basis in the Dublin Marathon.

Marathon Mission have now announced their 2012 Qualifying Standards for new aspirants. For the women the bar has been raised higher on two of the standards, the 10 Miles and Half Marathon while the Marathon mark of 2.45.00 has been left unchanged for the 3rd year in a row. For 2012 both the 10 Mile and Half Marathon marks have been lowered by 30 seconds each to 59.00 and 78.30 respectively.

30 Athletes by virtue of running at least one of the qualifying standards in 2011 have been offered places in the 2012 squad. Not all are interested in pursuing a Marathon career. A more likely starting group will be 24 with anyone outside of that 24 who achieves a 2012 qualifying time being offered a place. 2011 was a year of significant progress with 14 women running under 79.00 for the Half Marathon. In the Marathon itself 7 women ran sub 2.45 portraying the growing depth. In the previous 4 years no more than 3 women in any given year had gone under 2.45.

2011 also saw a stronger Marathon male pool emerge too with 5 athletes going sub 2.20. The fact that Mark Kenneally and Sean Connolly achieved the mark twice meant that there were seven sub 2.20 runs in 2011 compared to a total of two sub 2.20’s in the previous 4 years combined. Only the Half Marathon Qualifying time on the men’s side has been adjusted, reducing to 66.30 for 2012 aspirants.

Marathon Mission Qualifying Times 2012
10 Miles    Half Marathon    Marathon
Men    50.00    66.30    2.24.00
Women    59.00    78.30    2.45.00

Only known photograph of Irish ‘Champion of USA’ runner presented to GAA Museum

The only known photograph of one of the greatest Irish athletes of the pre-modern Olympic era, which was recently discovered in Kilkenny a remarkable 123 years after it was taken, was officially handed over to the GAA Museum in Croke Park last Wednesday, the 21st of December 2011.

T.J. O’Mahony, aka The Rosscarbery Steam Engine, from west Cork, was GAA Irish Champion in the quarter-mile (400 metres) in 1885, 1887 and 1888 and Irish Amateur Athletics Association (IAAA) champion in 1886, before grabbing all the positive headlines as part of the GAA’s ‘Gaelic Invasion’ tour of the USA in 1888, when the some of the country’s finest hurlers and track and field athletes were dispatched to promote Gaelic sports. The American athletes were the international benchmark on the track at the time and O’Mahony beat the USA champion in some style. This was before the era of the modern Olympics and The Rosscarbery Steam Engine was described as the de facto World Champion.

The full story can be seen in an earlier post HERE

Sharon Gayter from England sets new treadmill distance record...

On Wednesday the 21st of December 2011, Sharon Gayter completed a seven day run covering 832.57 kms (517.33 miles) on a treadmill!! In doing so, the 48 year old Teeside lecturer set a new mens and womens distance record. When interviewed, she said..."I was always confident I could do it but I didn't know what the time would be. It's very rare that a female can take a male record and to extend it by a considerable margin to make sure it stays for a considerable amount of time."

Sharon has run more than 300 marathons and more than 100 "ultra-distance" races, trained at the university's hydrotherapy pool and said the secret was to keep a steady pace. She said: "A lot of people can't control their pace. I've just been jogging along watching the heart rate, effortless really. If you keep it slow you can keep it going."

According to Guinness World Records, the previous record holders were Lee Chamberlain who ran 753.24km (468 miles) in July 2009 and a grandmother from Kent, Mimi Anderson, who ran 650km (404 miles).

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Results of the Cork BHAA Turkey Trot 4 mile - Sun 11th Dec 2011

This 4 mile charity race in aid of Cork Simon was held back on Sunday, the 11th of December.

The results are now available HERE

Doug Minihane has a large gallery of 355 photos HERE

Upcoming Race...Bandon 5 mile - Mon 2nd Jan 2012

This 5 mile race is coming up in the town of Bandon on Monday, the 2nd of January 2012...the first race of the new year!

After the first mile, most of the rest of the course is in the countryside to the south-east of the town. A fine race organised by one of the largest clubs in Cork.

Preview now HERE

GOAL Mile events over Christmas

The annual GOAL Christmas mile is coming up on or just after Christmas day in various location around Cork. The main one in Cork city is at the CIT track in Bishopstown. This is a charity event where you can run in a race over the mile distance for a small donation. Anyone can take part and you can run as fast or as slow as you would like.

The Cork events are...
Cork...Ballydesmond    Meet in the Church Grounds    25th Dec. 11.30am
Cork...Ballygurteen Meet at Tots Pub 26th Dec. 2pm
Cork...Ballynoe near Fermoy    Ballynoe, St Catherine's GAA    25th Dec. 11am - 12.30pm
Cork...Bantry    The Square    25th Dec. 12.45pm
Cork...Charleville St Josephs Foundation Track 26th Dec. 12 noon
Cork...Fermoy Town Park 25th Dec. 11.30am
Cork...Mallow    Doneraile Park    25th Dec. 10am-12 noon
Cork...CIT track, Bishopstown    25th Dec. 10am-12.30pm

There are over 100 events all over the country. A full list can be seen HERE

Longest US Female Running Streak Ends...

Starting on the 5th of July 1978, Julie Maxwell of Kasson, Minnesota had run every day for the last 33 years. Her 12,212 day running streak ended on the 10th of December after breaking her right ankle. She had the longest running streak of any female in the USA (and probably the world) as certified to the United States Running Streak Association (USRSA)

“It is with a heavy heart that I tell you of the end of my 33-plus-year streak,” said Maxwell to USRSA. “I fell Sunday morning and broke both bones in my right ankle! With my foot facing backwards, I knew I would not be lacing up my shoes for my daily run.” Maxwell plans to start another running streak when she recovers from her injury. “I assure you that when I heal, I will begin another streak.”

The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the United States Running Streak Association is to run at least one continuous mile within each calendar day under one's own body power (without the utilization of any type of health or mechanical aid other than prosthetic devices). Running under one's own body power can occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill. Running cannot occur through the use of canes, crutches or banisters, or reliance on pools or
aquatic devices to create artificial buoyancy. USRSA Website HERE

From an Irish point of view, the person with the longest running streak is Denis McCarthy of East Cork AC who has run every day since June 1985! I'm not sure which Irish woman has the longest running streak?

Anyone want to start?? :o)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

New survey suggests that 11.6% of Irish Adults are running

11.6% of Irish adults are runners according to a recent survey by research agency AskChili. Out of the 502 respondents, a total of 11.6 per cent of respondents stated they participate in running which is probably no surprise considering that 60,000 took part in marathons, half marathons and mini marathons outside of the big three runs; the Flora Mini Marathon (40,000), National Lottery Dublin City Marathon (14,000) and Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon (10,000) in 2011.

Overall, walking is officially the nation’s favourite “sporting” pastime with almost 40 per cent claiming to be active walkers (49.6 per cent for women, 25% for men).

Swimming is also immensely popular, with 22.3 per cent of Irish people over the age of 18 swimming and again, women (27.7 per cent) tend to swim more than men (16.5 per cent).

For cycling, men accounted for over 15 per cent compared to 12.3 per cent of women. With respect to cycling, a boom has occurred in this industry with 90,000 bikes purchased through the Bikes for Work scheme since 2009. Cycling Ireland’s participation numbers have jumped from 5,000 in 2008 to 10,000 in 2011 and, to add to this, there were no fewer than 538 official Cycling Ireland events in 2011 – up 50 per cent from 2009.

However, almost one in three adults do not participate in any exercise or sport of any kind. Slightly more women (35 per cent) than men (30.2 per cent) do not partake in any form of sport.

This number rises to 41.7 per cent for those over 50. The survey also revealed 40-49 age group are the most active of all with over 75 per cent of this category taking part in some sport or other.

Eamonn Coghlan to return to the Millrose Games in New York

The Millrose Games is an annual indoor athletics meet (track and field) held on the first Friday in February in New York City. They will be held at the Armory in Washington Heights in 2012, after having taken place in Madison Square Garden from 1914 to 2011. The games were started when employees of the New York City branch of Wanamaker's department store formed the Millrose Track Club to hold a meet. The featured event is the Wanamaker Mile.

August 17, 1985 when Frank O'Mara, Marcus O'Sullivan, Ray Flynn and Eamonn Coghlan broke the world 4xMile relay record in a time of 15:49.08. It remains the world record 26 years later.

Former Olympian and 5,000 metre World Champion Eamonn Coghlan is going back to the Millrose Games in New York, this time as an 'adopted coach.' The seven-time champion of the Wanamaker Mile is helping bring a talented Irish squad from Dublin City University to compete in the Byron Dyce College Men’s Distance Medley Relay in the 105th Millrose Games, Feb. 11, 2012 at The Armory.

"I've known these kids since they were young teenagers," said Coghlan, whose son, John, will be running the 1600m anchor. "I've seen them grow up. The fact that they are all in school together, they can see what running in New York City is all about. It's exciting for their team from Dublin University to go to the Millrose Games and have a chance to do exceptionally well. "The Irish used to come to the Millrose Games to support me, Marcus O'Sullivan (Wanamaker Mile champion in 1986, '88, '89, '90 and '92 and now head coach at Villanova) and Ron Delany (winner of four consecutive Wanamaker Mile titles, 1956-59). People are not aware of the talent coming out of Ireland. It might get them back on the scene again and they potentially could make the Olympic Team come next July."

Recognized as Ireland's 'Dream Team' and Gold Medal winner of the Irish Under-23 Cross Country team competition, the Dublin City squad consists of Irish Junior 800m record holder Mark English (1:47.09), Brian Gregan, Darren McBrearty and 2010 U-23 Irish 1500 meters champion John Coghlan. Dublin City University coach Enda Fitzpatrick will also make the trip.

Earlier this year Eamonn Coghlan introduced to Armory Foundation president Dr. Norb Sander the idea of bringing an Irish team to the Millrose Games. "He asked me if I would be in on the floor activities," Coghlan recalled. "I said we need a bit of the Irish influence back in the Millrose Games again. I said, 'What about bringing an Irish team over?'" Thus Coghlan, nicknamed the Chairman of the Boards for winning the Wanamaker Mile in 1977, '79-81, '83, '85 and '87, will be in attendance to support the talented Irish outfit. "My role there is as a parent, coach and a nervous dad," Coghlan said. "I just want to be with Norb and help keep the Millrose Games going. Enda would like my influence to be with the kids the day before and calm them down, motivate them and help them get ready. "The Millrose Games are close to my heart for obvious reasons. My success in the Millrose Games has been the making of Eamonn Coghlan. Not a week goes by when someone doesn't say something to me about winning the Wanamaker Mile."

The Irish Team will be competing against the country's top college programs including Eamonn Coghlan's alma mater Villanova, Virginia, Duke, Providence, Columbia and Albany. The week prior to the Millrose Games, the Irish team will participate individually in the New Balance Collegiate Invitational (Feb. 3-4) at The Armory.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guest Article...Dealing with Plantar Fasciitis by Paul Cotter

All too often when you search through the Internet looking for information on various running related injuries, you will find articles which are ill-informed. It can be very hard to tell what is actually good and what is just pure rubbish.

One of the injuries that a lot of runners suffer from is Plantar Fasciitis which is a very painful condition in the sole of the foot. Paul Cotter is a local runner who has spent months researching the subject, gone through all of the advice and found out for himself what actually works and what doesn't. If you find yourself suffering from this condition then read on. This is good advice from someone who has actually cured the condition.

Dealing with Plantar Paul Cotter

This is a short account of one runner’s struggle with Plantar Fasciitis. I’m not a medic, just a runner who has experienced this problem and overcome it (at least for the moment). My experience may be of some interest to other sufferers. Another, less fancy name for this condition is heel spur, although not really the same thing. Basically Plantar is a pain in the sole of the foot, especially underneath the heel. Anoraks can look this up on Wikipedia, etc., but put simply, Plantar Fasciitis is pain in the heel end of the connective tendons and ligaments which run along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the toes. (See picture) It makes walking, running, and even standing painful, and one of the key diagnostic factors is a sharp pain in the heel when one gets up first thing in the morning when the heel is ‘planted’ on the floor.

It’s not confined to runners, but can affect people who spend a lot of time standing or even overweight people and pregnant ladies. It’s particularly troubling for runners, however, and I know of at least two colleagues who had to give up running entirely because of it, one a fine runner in his thirties. The interesting thing about this injury is how ‘doctors differ and patients die’! In other words, the professionals disagree on treatment. One ‘experts’ treatment is a no-no for another.

I first experienced the condition after a weekend long-run. It was several years ago and I was with a group doing the last 16 miles of the Cork Marathon course as part of pre-marathon training. Towards the end of the run, our noble leader took off and, not one to be bested, I followed. The last third of a mile was therefore done at a sprint. Next morning I could not stand, literally, with the pain in my left foot.

I spent the next couple of weeks checking out the condition online and seeking advice. Having experienced many running injuries in the past, I had by now become good at self-diagnosis and I was usually able to cure myself by doing the right stretch or rolling on the foam roller. The advice I got about Plantar was that the main treatment involved manipulating the foot in several ways. These included working the sore area with my thumb (painful), rolling the sore area on a golfball while standing or sitting (very painful) and doing a stretch while standing up by piling two phone books on the floor and putting my toes up on the edge of them while leaving the heal on the ground. (This is actually an Achilles Tendon stretch.) You can even buy a special cylindrical plastic thing online with sharp knobs sticking out of it to roll your foot over instead of a golfball, I guess there’s one born every day!

Two weeks of this and things were worse than ever. More worryingly, I was beginning to have difficulty walking and even standing, and for me this crossed the line in terms of seriousness. By now I didn’t care if I ever ran again as long as I could go to work without pain. My next move was to visit a GP at my local practice who has a diploma in sports injury therapy. He dismissed the very idea of me having Plantar and told me that I had bruising of the fat pad under my heal, and that it would clear up shortly with a little rest! Needless to say, it didn’t. I then went to a sports injury therapist who manipulated the foot and worked it with his thumb until the pain could not be born further. He reassuringly told me that, if manipulation failed, an injection directly into the heel would probably help, at least until the effects wore off and I could get another.

Needless to say I wasn’t too pleased with this prognosis and fled to the other extreme of the therapy spectrum, to a podiatrist. This man looked on with horror as I told him about my earlier treatments, and assured me that rolling on a golf ball and other forms of manipulation would only make the injury much worse as the affected area was composed of ligaments and tendons and not muscle and therefore that ‘aggressive’ treatments were counter-productive. His answer was to bind up the foot with sticky tape in such a way as to prevent the plantar stretching at all. (See picture)

This was maintained for three weeks, during which time I had to re-attend each week for re-binding and wear running shoes all the time to support the arch. Oh, and to do as little walking and standing as possible and absolutely no running! At the end of this the next stage of treatment followed, being measured for orthotics or shoe inserts.

These duly arrived and I had little difficulty with them as I already wore orthotics. The ‘angle’ on these was sharper, however, and with greater arch support then the old pair. These new ones were also quite expensive (around €400). In addition to the orthotics the podiatrist checked my runners and gait for over-pronation or ‘foot roll’, a problem which was thought to be one of the causes of Plantar. It was found that my runners were not part of the problem, having sufficient arch support to prevent over-pronation, especially with the new orthotics which gave further arch support. (I have used the Asics 2000 series for years.)

Another possible cause was tight calf muscles, and indeed in my case I think there was something to this. I was encouraged to do a lot of calf stretching, and what convinced me that this was good was the fact that when I would get up in the morning with a sore heel I found that I could ease this immediately by doing a calf stretch held for 45 seconds repeated two or three times. Here I mean a real calf stretch, the kind that looks like your trying to push over the wall your leaning against. I have since learned that tight calf muscles put an extra strain on the Plantar, and that calf stretching is vital for masters runners both before and after serious training or racing.

After several weeks with the podiatrist, stretching and running with my new orthotics, I found that the pain had eased considerably but had not gone away. If the pain was at 100% at its worst it was now at 30%. I was able to resume easy running without making it worse, but racing, speedwork or long runs were different, and always made the pain a lot worse. This was pretty discouraging and, while the podiatrist’s treatment had certainly improved things, I was still not right. At this stage I was five months out with this injury and desperate to again experience the joy of being able to run fast.

One evening at home while at the computer, I was considering what a running career would be like without racing or training, and was pretty depressed at the thought. Idly, I began searching again for information on Plantar online, not having bothered since going to the podiatrist. Desperation drove me on, and after some considerable time and dozens of websites I found one where scientific claims of a very good outcome to a particular stretch were made. What intrigued me about this stretch was that it was gentle. The point being that most of the treatments and stretches I had come across involved putting full body-weight on the Plantar while stretching, or gouging hell out of the underside of the foot – like the Syrian secret police – or even injecting the heel. I thought to myself that I’d nothing to loose with this new gentle stretch, to which claims of being 80% successful over a three-month trial were being made.

This is what I did: sit in a chair and cross one foot over your other knee. Grab the toes of the foot that’s off the ground and pull them back toward the shin of the same leg until you feel a comfortable stretch (don’t overdo it!). Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times by 3 times per day. I did this everyday for a few months and also kept up the calf, achilles tendon and hamstring stretches as greater flexibility has all sorts of benefits. (See picture)

Within a few weeks of starting this stretch I was feeling better, and within six weeks my pain had almost gone. I got back to running, training and racing, and thought no more about Plantar, apart from being slightly surprised at how easy it had been to ‘heel’ at the end ;o).

Then, early this year, I was out again with a long-run group. We had done the 12 mile route which goes uphill at the start and sharply downhill at the end. A particular young lady nearly half my age who really enjoys being in the front had led the run for most of the way and took off down the hill to the church at a pace. The madness of youth I had once possessed came back fleetingly and I belted down the hill after her, determined to come in first with my long downhill stride. She upped it as she sensed my challenge and I matched this. She upped it again and I matched again. She upped it for a third time and this time I went into overdrive and, absolutely maxing out, passed her and finished first, classically winning the training and not the race.

Getting out of the shower at home an hour later I felt for the first time in a couple of years the dreaded heel pain of Plantar, but this time on the other foot! Over the next few days it developed sharply and back I went to my gentle stretch, three times per day. This time the same thing happened, over a two month period the pain entirely cleared up. I have been free of Planter pain since, touch wood! Maybe I’m just lucky that this stretch works for me, but I do think that a more gentle approach to dealing with Plantar is wise.

The website address where I first found out about the stretch and its efficacy is

Monday, December 19, 2011

New International Grade race course measurer in Cork...

One of the most important features of any road race is that it should be measured accurately. This is usually done by suitable trained people using a Jones counter. Irish National Grade Measuring courses are run by Athletics Ireland and this is the most common qualification. There are however higher levels which are recognised at an International level.

John Quigley (Eagle AC) from Cork has now been appointed Road Race Measurer Grade 'B' by AIMS and the IAAF. Following some 6 years as an Irish National Grade Measurer, John underwent an approval process comprising an initial scrutiny/observation by an AIMS/IAAF Grade A Measurer, followed by the submission of measurement documentation from six major race measurements and a final measurement exercise under Hugh Jones, AIMS International Measurement Administrator for English-speaking Europe and Africa.

The final measurement exercise took place in London on the final weekend of last August.  The exercise involved measuring the 2012 London Olympic Marathon course, and took place in the early hours of each night/morning, starting at 2:00am, to avoid central London's heavy traffic. John is now authorised to measure races up to and including regional IAAF Championships, in effect all races except Olympic and World Championships.

There are now 7 Irish AIMS/IAAF Measurers; One Grade A measurer (AAI's Tom McCormack) and six Grade B Measurers: T J Beattie (Loughrea AC), Thomas Clinton (Navan), Jim Gonnelly (Dundalk), Martin Kearney (Dublin), Billy Kennedy (Dublin), John Quigley (Cork).  There are approx. 230 AIMS/IAAF Measurers worldwide.

News items...Dungarvan 10 nearly full, Interview with Fionnuala Britton and legal costs for Athletics Ireland

Dungarvan 10 entries to close soon...By the end of last Friday (16th Dec) and the close of the 15 euro early bird entry fee, the John Treacy Dungarvan 10 mile road race had over 1,200 entered. This is well over double the numbers at the same period in 2010 when they had less that 500. Considering that there are less than 300 entries left at that stage, it is very likely that it will close in a few days time and certainly well before January 16th closing date.

It now costs €20 to enter which is still pretty good value considering that the it includes a dry-fit running top. This is a well run race over a fast 10 mile course. If you are considering it then enter straight away. The race website is HERE

(Update....23rd Dec 2011....There are now just 150 entries left)

Interview with Fionnuala Britton....The Irish Independent has an long in depth interview with Fionnula Britton after her recent win at the European Cross Country Championships. Click HERE

Athletics Ireland legal costs......The Irish Independent also has a short article on the money wasted in legal fees as a result of a High Court case which is estimated to have cost Athletics Ireland somewhere in the region of €400,000. The article can be seen HERE

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Results of the Newmarket 5k road race - Sun 18th Dec 2011

A total of 127 runners turned out for this new 5k road race in Newmarket in north-west Cork. By all accounts, it was a very fast course with the top three men all running faster than five minute per mile pace. The first man home was Alan O'Shea of Bantry AC in a time of 15:01, just six seconds clear of Sergiu Ciobanu in second place. The womens race also had another fast finish with Orla Drumm of UCC AC clocking an impressive 17:02.

The full results can be seen HERE

Focus On....Former Olympian Liam O'Brien

In the Sunday Independent dated 11th Dec 2011, there was a short article titled 'Where are they now' which looked back at the running career of Liam O'Brien of Midleton. While Liam retired from competitive running back in the 90's, he is still very much involved in the sport. Besides being technical director for the Cork City Sports, you will often find Liam behind the scenes at all of the East Cork and Ballycotton road races. Here is the article...

* * * * *

Former Olympic athlete Liam O'Brien won 11 national steeplechase titles over a 17-year period, but the Corkman believes that having such a long career was his greatest achievement in the sport. In many ways it was more special than being an Olympian.

O'Brien started running at a young age. His father worked at the Whitegate refinery and it was at their sports day that he first experienced the joy of athletics. In the mid-1960s, the Midleton Athletic Club was formed so O'Brien joined up and started to race competitively at juvenile level.

From there he went on to teacher training college in Limerick and his career prospered. He was always a middle-distance runner but at that time he was running shorter distances on the track, like the 400m and 800m. Then as he got older he started to compete in more long-distance events and those were the races that he performed best in, particularly the steeplechase.

"It's a very specific event. I found out pretty quickly I could beat people in the steeplechase that might often beat me on the flat. There is a little bit of technique involved in it; you're jumping up over barriers, landing and absorbing shock and I was just able to do it. It suited me," says O'Brien.

In 1977, the Corkman won his first national title and he went on to claim 10 more national titles, winning his last in 1994. In many ways that time was a golden era for Irish steeplechasers with the likes of Brendan Quinn, Kieran Stack and Joe Hartnett all competing in the event. A lot of the records that stand today were recorded back then. O'Brien also achieved success on the international stage. In 1984, he qualified for the Los Angeles Olympic Games and reached the semi-final. Three years later, he went to the World Championships in Rome.

Just over a year ago, he retired from teaching at Midleton CBS. However, he is still involved in athletics and orienteering at the school. O'Brien is also one of the organisers of the Munster Schools athletics and is technical director of Cork City Sports. From working with so many young athletes, the former Olympian thinks the future looks bright for Irish athletics.

Results of the Shanagarry Christmas 5k - Sat 17th Dec 2011

Weather conditions were almost perfect for this Christmas 5k race in Shanagarry in east Cork. The showers had cleared nicely leaving blue skies and winter sunshine for the race. A total of 71 runners took part which was way up on last year when only 27 took part due to all of the snow and ice.
The mens race was won by Sean McGrath of East Cork AC in a time of 15:43, managing to keep a gap of seven seconds on his fellow club member James McCarthy. In the womens race, Niamh Walsh of Leevale AC was the clear winner in a time of 19:29.

The full results can be seen HERE

A gallery of photos by Joe Murphy can be seen HERE

Friday, December 16, 2011

Preview of the Newmarket 5k road race...Sun 18th Dec 2011

Normally at this time of year, the Newmarket to Kanturk 5 mile race would take place. This year, the organisers Duhallow AC have changed to a new 5 km race which stays in the town of Newmarket. Located in north-west Cork, this race should be of interest to not only runners from Cork but also to those in Kerry and Limerick. If you are coming from the direction of Cork city/Mallow then look for the turn off to Kanturk. When you enter Kanturk, make sure you stay right at the first small roundabout in the town. Newmarket is just 5 miles further on. Please note that the race starts at 1pm.

Entries for the race will be taken at the Hi Land complex which is just on the Kanturk side of the town. The entry fee is €10 and all proceeds from the race are going towards an equipment fund for Mallow hospital. The race flyer can be seen in an earlier post. Please note that the Hi-Land complex will only be open for registration and for anyone wanting to get changed. It will close after registration but the car park can be used if you want to leave your car there. Post race, the prize giving and refreshments will be in Hourigans Lounge on High Street. See map below...

Course......As you can see, it's an out and back course and stays largely within the confines of the town. The course is reasonable flat so times should be fast. The organisers hope to have some traffic management in place for the race so the roads will be clear.

Start...The race starts a few hundred metres away from the Hi-Land complex on the Kanturk road...

As you can see, it is a wide open and flat road. Ideal for a fast start. Then back past the Hi-Land and downhill into a bit of a dip. On the other side, there is a slight pull before you turn right...

Please note that this is the entrance to the local Co-op. The finish line is located here. So, on you go very slightly uphill through the town...

Through the next crossroads...

...and from here it is slightly downhill until you take the right at the next Y-junction....
You then pass the local school and the 1 mile mark. From there, the road bends slightly and opens up into a long straight section....all pretty flat and fast....

The next junction is the turnoff for Ballydesmond and Kerry. You stay right at this junction...

Up a slight hill to the turnaround point....

...and from here you run back towards the town and the finish line by the Co-op.

Overall...It should be a pretty fast course. Any pulls that are there are very modest and anything lost on the way out should be recouped on the faster 2nd half. The course has been accurately measured by Jones Counter so it's spot on. Considering that it is within easy reach of runners in the 3 counties, it should get a good turnout.