Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Preview of the Mitchelstown GR8KM race...Fri 5th Aug 2011

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Preview of the Mitchelstown GR8KM race...Fri 5th Aug 2011

This unique 8 km road race is coming up at 7:30pm on Friday, the 5th of August in Mitchelstown in NE Cork. With the new motorway network now in place, Mitchelstown is a lot easier to reach than in previous years. It is now a 35 minute drive from Cork City which is much the same as any of the Ballycotton races.

It is also well within reach of runners in S Tipperary and E Limerick  so it promises to attract a large turnout. Looking at the comments for the race last year, it was a great success so no doubt a lot of people will be returning this year again.
The race is organised by Galtee Runners which is a relatively new club. Not so long ago, there were no races in north-east Cork so this is a welcome addition to the calendar.
This will the 5th race in the Ballyhoura Active race series. Race entries which cost €10 will be taken at St.Fanahans College which is a local Secondary school next to the parish church.

Prizes........1st 6 in ladies and men, ranging from €100 for 1st to €40 for 6th, 1st 2 in each of the usual categories and 1st wheelchair.
There is also a bonus of €100 for setting a new course record. The current record is 25:50 for men while the current womens record is 34:16.

Directions........If you are coming from the direction of Cork City, leave the motorway and head into the town on the old Dublin road.

St.Fanahans school is located in the eastern side of the town. The letters A, B and C above refer to the pictures below.....
A....Just after entering the town, you turn right at this junction and up the hill. Note that this is part of the race route and you will be running up this later.
B...You go over the crest of a hill and down the other side to turn left here.
C....Along a straight residential road and take the next left at C and the school is there on the left.
Parking.......From the organisers......Parking can  got at the school car park, church car park  or a few minutes away at the square in the centre of town and at the local Tesco store.

Course......The start and finish point for the race is a short distance from the school.

The start is outside Hartnetts seen on the right of the photo above. As you can see, the road is wide, flat and straight for about 600 metres. Just up the road about 200 metres, you will pass the finish line just outside the entrance to the Co-Op stores.

After 600 metres at the first road junction, you turn left and run up through the main steet of the town. This is the start of the toughest part of the race as you will be climbing from here to roughly the 1 mile mark.

By the way, if you are coming to the race from the Limerick or Tipperary direction, you may end up coming into the town from the north. This is the first crossroads you will come to after you pass some petrol stations. Take the left here.......look for Hartnetts shop...and then turn right...and right again for the school.

After running through most of the town, you take a left and up the steepest section of the climb to the 1 mile mark. Probably not the fastest of miles but at least it comes early in the race.
At the top of the hill just after the 1 mile mark, you get your reward with a half mile stretch of downhill running....very fast. You cross a small bridge at the low point before a slight climb again as you cross over the motorway for the first time...

After the bridge, you turn left and you are on to quiet country roads for a while as you pass the 2 mile mark. The roads aren't exactly flat but any pulls are pretty modest and short.

At the next junction, the roads splits into 3 directions and you take the first left. Along this straight fast section, you go through the 3 mile mark and carry on for another 600 metres or so to the next road junction and turn right. This part of the course is especially fast and a good chance to make up for lost time on some of the earlier sections.

You hit the 4 mile mark just before you cross over the motorway for the 2nd and final time. Up the road, cross the bridge, back down the other side and continue towards Mitchelstown.

As you approach the town, the sign might say 2 kms but in reality, you have only about 1km to go to the finish from this point. From here, the course is pretty fast and soon, you are back at the start line...

...and the finish line is only 200 metres beyond this point.

Overall.......certainly not a dead flat course but at least the hardest part comes early on in the race. It has a mix of town and country running and is unique in that it is the only 8 km road race on the calendar. With ease of access due to the motorway, it is sure to attract a large crowd from a wide catchment area.

Walk........There is also a walk in conjuction with this event. Runners and Walkers go off together at 7:30 but then walkers turn off left [walkers only, marshalled] [optional] about say 300m approx after the 2nd mile to rejoin course slightly after the 3rd mile.  This in turn will bring walkers home to finish that bit earlier to savour atmosphere at finish line. Wakers will also wear different race numbers to runners and can avail of a water bottle station on the slip road. This will be well signed out in the course and explained during registration.

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