Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Looking ahead to the 2012 Cork City Half-Marathon

Monday, May 28, 2012

Looking ahead to the 2012 Cork City Half-Marathon

This will be the second year that a Half-Marathon event has been included in the Cork City Marathon. Last year, they had an entry limit of 1,000 runners. This year, they have increased the numbers to about 1,800. This will obviously impact on the start line and the initial stages of the race.
While the full Marathon and Relay event will start at 9am on Patrick's Street in the centre of Cork City, the Half-Marathon will start about 6 kms to the east in Mahon at 11:00am. This is 30 minutes earlier than the 11:30am start of last year.

The map above shows the route of the Half-Marathon. From mile 2 onwards, it joins the Marathon route so we'll have a look at those sections in later posts.

From the City Hall, there will be a free bus service taking relay and Half-Marathon runners to the CSO office in Mahon. See map below...(Half in Pink, Full in Green)
From here, it is a short walk to the holding area which is likely to be at the end of the Skehard Road. This will keep the Marathon route free until the runners are moved out to the start of the Half which is just around the corner.

Now, this is roughly the 10.5 mile mark in the Marathon so considering that the Half starts 2 hours later, anyone doing on average 11.3 min/mile or faster should have passed....(5 hour Marathon).
This is the start of the Half-Marathon.....nice wide road. Except...they will have to partition part of the road to leave the Marathon and Relay runners pass. With the increased numbers this year for the Half, it may well be fairly congested at the start and for the first few hundred metres.........especially when it has to pass through the relay changeover point a few hundred metres later.

This is a major change from last year when those running past were heading for a 6:15 other words, the bulk of the Marathon and Relay runners had passed through and the relay changeover would have been pretty deserted. This year, there should be a lot more runners present.

After passing the relay changeover, the course turns right and heads towards Blackrock Castle.

Just before the Castle, the course splits. The Full Marathon and Relay runners turn off right onto the walkway and runs alongside the river. The Half-Marathon runners stay on the road and run up a short hill past the Castle.

If you are a relay or Marathon runner and you run past Blackrock Castle then you are on the wrong course!

From what I understand, the split will be well signposted. This however is the one area where the earlier Half-Marathon start may cause problems. There will be a lot more Marathon and Relay runners this year at the split once the Half-Marathon field arrives. Will some runners go the wrong way??? If you were to watch the Half-Marathon race just around the corner from Blackrock, would you see a trickle of runners with different colour race bib's coming through? Some people want an even earlier Half-Marathon start but this would mean that it is even more packed where the course splits and increases the chance that runners end up going the wrong way.
For the Half-Marathon runners, once they pass Blackrock Castle they run downhill slightly before tackling this short climb which is about 300 metres long. After that, it's down into Blackrock village, right onto the Marina.....

....and then dead flat for the next mile.

Near the 2 mile mark in the Half-Marathon, the two courses merge again. The Marathon and Relay runners will appear from the left at what is near the 15 mile mark for them.

Assuming that both the Full and Half start on time, then this is the relative pace for both groups...
a) For Half-Marathon runners doing 6 mins/mile pace (~1:19 Half)....the Marathon runners will be doing an average of 8:48 per mile. The 3:45 and faster pace groups are ahead with their concentration of runners although the groups will have thinned out a lot in the later stages.
b) For Half runners doing 7 mins/mile pace (~1:32 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 8:56 per mile).
c) For Half runners doing 8 mins/mile pace (~1:45 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 9:04 per mile).
d) For Half runners doing 9 mins/mile pace (~1:58 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 9:12 per mile). At this stage, it will feel like everyone is running at the same pace.
e) For Half runners doing 10 mins/mile pace (~2:11 Half)...the Marathon runners are doing an average 9:20 per mile).

Obviously, the road now after the races merge may feel pretty packed. At around 3.5 miles, the next Relay changeover should be interesting ;o)

After that, it really just a case for the faster Half-Marathon runners (say those aiming for 1:45 or less) to work their way through the Marathon and Relay field.

The one potential choke point is of course the Mardyke Walk. This comes at the 12 mile mark while it's roughly 25 miles for the Marathon runners. This is the relative pace of the two groups...
6 min/mile (1:19).........7:41 per mile (3h21m Marathon)
7 min/mile (1:32).........8:09 per mile (3h34m Marathon)
8 min/mile (1:45).........8:38 per mile (3h46m Marathon)
9 min/mile (1:58).........9:07 per mile (3h59m Marathon)

Overall.........that's a quick guide to what the Half-Marathon might be like. If you are running 1:45 or less, it may feel like that you'll be running through a field of slower Marathon and Relay runners for most of the race. For those running 2 hours or more, it may seem as if everyone is running at the same pace and you won't really know who is running what unless you look at the colour of their race number.

Will it be better than last year? Will there be too many runners at the choke points? Will the Relay runners be able to find their team members with all of those Half-Marathon runners passing through?



rom said...

Just hope they stop anyone on a bike this year as they were weaving in and out last year and getting in the way. This doesn't happen in Dublin. Thanks for the info regarding congestion. Its nice to know that as it would be stressful if it cam on unexpectedly.

Mike said...

will it be possible to get dropped by car near the half marathon start coming from the east cork side

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know if there will be timing mats at the start of the half or will it be gun time?Thanks

Anonymous said...

I am a bit apprehensive about this early start for the half. Am doing the full for the second time and found it tough going when the half runners were passing at pace on the mardyke. Looks like this will happen earlier this year. Will just have to close my eyes i suppose.

John Desmond said...

From what I remember, the road around Mahon are restricted but not all are closed. If you leave yourself plenty of time then you should be able to get close ok.

At worst, you could get dropped at the Mahon slip road and just walk to the start...via housing estates next to Mahon Point shopping centre.

Anonymous said...

I think to be fair to those running the half, they shouldn't be a distraction as relay runners would quite often have been running at a quicker pace to those doing the full so just focus on your own race and be mindful of your pace and ignore the rest.

Brendan said...

Traffic was very heavey near Mahon for the start of the Half last year , give yourself plenty of time . Yes to timing mat last year

Anonymous said...

Will anybody be walking/jogging?i can't run anymore though that was the aim when I signed up! Getting very worried about the half :(

John Desmond said...

According to the Marathon info, the finish will stay open for 7 hours. So, that means 5 hours for the Half-Marathon. Even if you were to walk at a normal walking pace.....3 miles per hour.....then the Half-Marathon should take about 4.5 hours. If you can jog/walk then so much the better.

Just make sure you're not trying to do it with some injury or you'll just make it worse.

Anonymous said...

I am delighted to hear there are walkers/ joggers taking part! It is my first time and I have this fear of everyone gone home by the time I get in!!!!! Best of luck everyone!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the help!i just hope there are others walking/jogging. I did it last year but do have a slight injury, I think I'll just have to stick to my own pace and not get carried away with it all.

Anonymous said...

"Full", "relay" & "half" runners: please run your own pace, there will be relay & "half" competitors going at faster pace, let them off. If you're feeling good in last mile, turn up the speed & shave a bit of time off, please don't be tempted to go out too fast, you'll pay for it later in the race through feeling wrecked, slower time or, horror of horrors, injury! (Written from experience!!)

Anonymous said...

Excellent comment re going at your own pace!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice :) I have done the half before, struggled with an injury which has persisted on and off for the past year. Great to hear people saying run at your own pace, I find it extremely difficult though when you see everyone else shooting off. Im just goign to do my best and thats all I can do. Have the fitness but its the running/jogging thats worrying me. Have been doing a lot of other stuff apart from running i.e. swimming/cross training cycling so I'm just hoping my fitness will pull through and I wont be last :). Will see ye all there. Best of luck to everyone.