Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Preview of the Mealagh Valley 10 Mile Road Race, Bantry...Sun 13th Feb 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Preview of the Mealagh Valley 10 Mile Road Race, Bantry...Sun 13th Feb 2011

There are 2 races on next Sunday, the 13th of Feb. You have a choice of a 10 mile road race near Bantry in West Cork or the Cork BHAA Cross Country race in Beaumont, Blackrock in Cork City.

Preview of the Mealagh Valley 10 Mile Road Race...
First of all, the main thing is that you can still enter this race. Due to the narrow roads and restricted parking, the organisers had intended to set a limit of 300 runners. With that in mind, they were taking postal entries only. As of Wednesday, they had got almost 170 entries. They have decided now to take entries on the day up to 11:30am at the latest.

Getting there...
The Mealagh Valley is a secluded area a few kms to the north-east of Bantry in west Cork. If you are travelling from say near Cork City then you need to allow plenty of time to get to Bantry....say 1h 30m and then another 15 mins or so to get to the parking area.

The easiest way to get there is probably via Bandon....Enniskeane....Dunmanway....Drimoleague....Bantry.

Directions from Cork : When you arrive in Bantry, follow the road for Glengarriff to the outskirts of the town and past Caseys filling station. Take next right at Donemark bridge...
Once you turn off right, you stay on this narrow road for about 8 kms. Just keep going straight.
Directions from Kerry : As you approach the outskirts of Bantry, follow N71 passing the golf club on the right. Take the next left and follow road as above to race start and parking.

They will have special areas set aside for parking. Follow the stewards instructions on the day.

Please note! There is no need to go to the Community centre before the race. They will be taking entries at Cronin's Yard which is approx 50 metres from the start line. The entry fee is €15 and the last time for entries is 11:30am. If you have pre-entered then you can collect your race number at Cronin's Yard from 10am on. The race will start at 12 noon.
Map...Approach from Bantry (Red arrow)....Reg near Start....Community Hall near Finish

The Mealagh Valley is a lovely quiet scenic spot for a race. It does however come at a price in that the course is very hilly. It's certainly not a race to set a 10 mile PB but it should be considered as more of a challenge.
The start is on a narrow road as shown above. There is a slight climb before the road drops rapidly and then levels out. Soon it drops again and you reach the 1 mile mark. After that, you start to climb again and it seems to get steeper and steeper until the worst section just before the t-junction. It's probably no exaggeration to say that some people will walk this section!

The only way is up...

After that, the going is easier. There are plenty of small drags but nothing major. You pass the 5 mile mark...then the junction at the eastern most point of the course and head west for home.

You might think at this stage that since you are heading back down the valley, it might get easier. Dream on! You get to around 7 miles and there is another long hill. Nothing drastic but still slow going. Eventually, you get some fast downhill sections and you eventually turn left and retrace your footsteps from the start towards the finish line.

Overall.....probably the toughest 10 mile road race in the country but it's a great spot when the weather is nice. As the organisers say, it's got everything except flat sections ;o)

The race director is Geraldine O'Sullivan and she can be contacted on 087 6173376 if you have any questions.

The route can be seen in closer detail on MapMyRun

By the out for the plane in the field!

Photos from the 2010 race website HERE

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