Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: January 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Results of the Doneraile Park 5k...Sat 31st Jan 2015

There was a big turn out for this 5k run in Doneraile Park with 16 getting in under 20 minutes.

1 16:55 VALATKA, Edd KILFINANE AC MJ 05:27
2 16:57 KELLEHER, Tony TOGHER AC M45 05:28
3 17:16 COAKLEY, Donal TOGHER AC MS 05:34
22 20:58 BLUETT, Ursula NORTH CORK AC FJ 06:46
43 22:55 TAYLOR, Caoimhe NORTH CORK AC FJ 07:24
49 23:12 GOGGIN, Maura LISCARROLL AC FS 07:29

These are the provisional results HERE

Looking ahead to the Dungarvan 10 mile road race...Sun 1st Feb 2015

The big race in Munster this weekend of course is the Dungarvan 10 mile road race. This sold out months ago and the entry list can be seen HERE

First off, the weather forecast looks pretty good.

There is a ridge of high pressure moving across the country so the winds that are here on Saturday will drop. It's likely to be sunny and dry. The wind should be a breeze from the north-west so it's going to feel very cold. Wind into your face when you're heading west in the early stages and near the finish. Maybe about 4-5 deg C and feeling cooler at the start line with a bit of wind chill.

It's probably the type of conditions where you could wear a singlet on its own but you'll be frozen at the start line. You'd get away with a dry fit top. Don't even think about wearing a jacket as you'll bake at the end of the race.

As for the course, it is largely the same as before except for the part near the town. The preview of the old route is here...

The organisers have put up a copy of the new route but it's not very clear. Here is the route near the town....

1) Because of road works, the start has moved closer about 400m to the east. This cuts out a small hill but that's a small issue coming so early in the race.

2) There is a sharp left bend at 400m. Runners on a road behave like a fluid in a pipe....any bends and it slows. Watch for congestion here.

3) See the red arrows. You head out the Cork road like before. Turn right and pass the 2 mile mark. This time, instead of running straight, you turn right and past the finish line. Then you head west and you're back on the usual route.

4) See blue arrows. In previous years, you stayed inside the hard shoulder of the main road all the way to the roundabout. This year, you turn off left instead as you approach the town. A slight diversion to make up the 10 miles.

Overall......Should be good conditions for a 10 mile race.The changes to the course shouldn't make much difference. Expect a fast time.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Notice...Mealagh Valley 10 mile road race - Sun 22nd Feb 2015

This 10 mile road race is coming up in the Mealagh Valley near Bantry in West Cork on Sunday the 22nd of February 2015. Organised by Bantry AC, it has been measured accurately by Jones Counter and has an Athletics Ireland licence.

It's probably best described as a small but well organised 10 mile race in a small secluded valley near Bantry in West Cork. It's not one for setting personal best times but it's in a nice quiet location.

Funds raised from the race go towards The Mealagh Valley Community and the Build4Life Cystic Fibrosis charity.

You can pre-enter HERE for €15 or on the day for €20.

Preview...You can see a preview of the 10 mile route with maps, directions, photos, etc HERE

5 k Fun Run......For those who may find the thought of a hilly 10 mile race too tough then there is also a 5 km fun run on offer for runners, joggers and walkers. You can find a preview of the 5k route HERE

The race now has a new website. All the info is there including maps, directions, past results, etc. Visit

Killarney 5k series starts Sat 31st Jan 2015

For anyone in Kerry or interested in traveling, there is a 5k series starting in Killarney on Saturday the 31st of January. Organised by Gneeveguilla AC, they are using a brand new course which is even flatter than before so it should result in faster times. Set in Killarney National Park, it is of course a stunning location for a race.

More info on the Gneeveguilla AC website.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Mallow 10 entries close 29th Jan & the Mallow Buff...

As of noon on Thursday the 29th of January, there were only about 5 entries left out of 1500 for the Mallow 10 mile road race. Those last few are likely to go today and if not, entries will be closed off at the end of the day anyway.

As shown in this earlier post, the number of entries have been coming in at a steady 30 a day for the last month. The date that it closed is almost identical to last year except that this year, there were an extra 300 places on offer so the level of interest was up again this year.

For those that have entered, the organisers will be putting up an entry list next week so that any errors can be picked up on and corrected.

All finishers this year will receive a buff...

The last time they gave out a buff was at the Mallow 10 in 2013. You can see the various uses it can be put to below but one of the most useful is to use it as a neck scarf on a really cold day when you're out for a long run.

Red FM interview with Ciarán Ó Lionáird

Ciarán Ó Lionáird from Cork is one of the countries top middle distance runners. In 2013, he won a bronze in the 3000m at the European Indoor Championships in Sweden.

Last weekend, the Cork radio station Red FM caught up with Ciarán for a chat about his training and his immediate plans.

The interview starts at 30:00 and lasts until 44:00

You can hear it HERE

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Highlights of the Athletics Ireland Junior & U23 Indoor Championships...Sun 25th Jan 2015

The Athletics Ireland National Junior & U23 Indoor Championships were held in Athlone last Sunday the 25th of January.

Full results

The video coverage with a guide to times can be seen below.....

00:10...Junior Women 60m final
00:14...Open 60m for women. Phil Healy of Bandon AC was disqualified for a false start in an earlier 60m race. In this open race, she clocked 7.41 seconds...her 3rd fastest time over 60m and just five one-hundredths off her PB of 7.36.
00:18...Junior Men 60m final
00:27...U23 men 60m final
00:48...Junior & U23 women's 3000m race walk. An impressive 14 started in this race, a big change from a few years back when the fields were tiny.
01:12...Junior & U23 men's 3000m race walk. Luke Hickey of Leevale AC in Cork was a comfortable winner here.
01:31...Junior men 1500m
01:42...Open men 1500m
01:48...Open women 1500m. Maria McCambridge taking to the track for a change.
01:58...Junior women 200m heats
02:17...U23 women 200m final. 20 year old Phil Healy of Bandon AC dominated this one winning in a new PB time of  24:21 which moves her up to 8th on the Irish all time list.
02:20...Junior men 200m heats
02:26...Interview with Phil Healy

02:52...U23 men 200m heats
03:05...Junior women 800m final. In a tactical race, Louise Shanahan of Leevale AC in Cork won Gold with an impressive kick from about 80m out.
03:11...U23 women 800m final. Katie Kirk who looks likely to declare for Ireland was the winner here.
03:24...Junior men 800m heats
03:39...U23 men 800m final
03:46...Junior women 60m hurdles final
03:57...U23 women 60m hurdles final. Sarah Lavin was the clear winner in a time of 8:65s.
04:03...Junior men 60m hurdles final. Sam Healy of Leevale AC stole the show with a new junior national record of 7.89s.

04:10...U23 men Hurdles.
04:18...Junior women 200m final
04:25...Junior men 200m final
04:28...U23 men 200m
04:32...Junior men 800m
04:37...Junior women 400m
04:43...Junior men 400m final
04:47...U23 men 400m

Notice...MMRA Clonakilty Trail Race - Sun 8th Feb 2015

As well as there been plenty of road races locally, the Munster Mountain Running Association have their own series of trail races on various hills and mountains in the province.

Here is some information from them about their second race of 2015....Race number 2 of 6 in the Munster Sunday League.

From the MMRA....Clonakilty Trail race...The next MMRA race will be held on Sunday 8th February 2015 at 1pm in Castlefreke Woods outside Clonakilty. This trail race takes place on relatively gentle terrain and is a great introduction to trail running for any newcomers.

Course Description: The race starts at the forest barrier in the car park and follows the forest trail up towards an old ‘Wart Well’. The trail then descends through the woods and follows a route to an old lodge. From here we take the Lake Walk through the woods which brings us to the Sand Dunes and on to beautiful Long Strand. From here runners can choose their own path through a 1km beach run and exit Long Strand and climb up to the High Cross. From here it is a gentle decent to the forest barrier and Finish Line.  The distance is approximately 6km and the grade is relatively easy.

Please be aware that ALL participants MUST purchase IMRA membership for 2015 and cost is €10 per person for the 2015 calendar year. Please note this is a separate one-off yearly payment, in addition to race cost. Please download the membership form, print and bring filled out form to race. You will be then assigned your 2015 IMRA number on the day. This number is to be kept and used in all subsequent 2015 races. Cost of the race is €5. There will be tea and sandwiches at the finish line.

An important rule change that has been introduced for your own safety and for the safety of others is that, as of the start of January 2015, it is MANDATORY to carry a rain jacket for ALL IMRA races. PLEASE note that under our new national rules, you cannot be allowed to race officially without this ... no exceptions. Marshals will check that the rain jacket is carried for the duration of the race. 

Note that all those taking part must be registered with the MMRA. This costs €10 for the year. More info HERE

Full directions with maps can be seen HERE

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Notice...FACE 5k road race, Kilworth - Sun 15th Feb 2015

Fermoy Action Children's Education (FACE) is a charity whose aim is to help children with learning difficulties. After organising a 5k fun run/walk last year, they are holding a proper 5k road race this year in Kilworth near Fermoy. The course has been accurately measured by Jones Counter and the race has an Athletics Ireland permit.

The race also has its own website where you can find out more about the charity as well as maps, prizes and directions.....

You can also find a more detailed preview of the course HERE

Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC wins Raheny 5 mile in 26:34

The Raheny 5 mile race in Dublin was held last Sunday the 25th of January and had a huge field of over 2500 runners.

One exceptional performance on the day was that of Lizzie Lee from Cork who won the women's race in a time of 26:34. This works out to be an impressive 5:19 min/mile pace and was I believe about a minute ahead of her previous best.

If you look at the results of various 5 mile road races, you tend to see a pattern with the times of the top women.
29:xx would be considered a handy time. Fast enough to win a lot of the smaller races.
28:xx is pretty good. Fast enough to win nearly all but the largest races.
27:xx is getting exceptional. Likely to win nearly all races and at a level where wearing an Irish singlet at some level like cross country might be possible.
26:xx is exceptional. There just aren't that many women in the country running 26:xx times for 5 miles.

Just to put Lizzie's time in perspective, here is some info that John Walshe of Ballycotton sent on to me about the records in the Ballycotton Summer Series courses. While they're not as fast as Raheny, it really shows just how fast 26:34 is...

Ballyandreen '5' - 27:51, Christine McNamara 1997 (USA - best marathon of 2:33)

Shanagarry '5' - 27:33, Sonia O'Sullivan 2001

Churchtown South '5' - 27:45, Louise Cavanagh 2000

Ballycotton '5' - 27:33, Lizzie Lee 2013

It's probably fair to say that since Lizzie has returned to competitive racing after having a baby in 2014, she has definitely moved up a gear.

1    MARTIN    FAGAN    0:23:36
2    MICK    CLOHISEY    0:23:44
3    CONOR    DOONEY    0:24:11
4    SCOTT    RANKIN    0:24:16
5    SEAN    HEHIR    0:24:30
27    LIZZIE    LEE    0:26:34
44    ANN-MARIE    MCGLYNN    0:27:12
48    ORLA    DRUMM    0:27:23
52    CATHERINA    MCKIERNAN    0:27:41
57    MICHELLE    FINN    0:27:57

Full results HERE

1) Eoin Fegan has over a 1000 photos HERE

Photo credit : Gearóid Ó Laoi

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kick of the Week...10 Year Old Nathan Sheehy

If you're going to kick at the end of a race then you may as well do it in style. This video clip has been doing the rounds on the net and it shows 10 year Nathan Sheehy winning an U12 600m in Athlone at the start of January.

Munster Senior, Masters & Novice race now on 29th March

Just a quick note for club athletes out there. In previous years, the Munster Senior and Masters road championships were held on different days.

It has just been decided that they will be held on one day this year instead. This means that the Munster Senior, Masters & Novice Road Championships will be held in Kilmallock, Co.Limerick on Sunday the 29th of March over a distance of 4 miles.

The Senior & Novice which was originally supposed to have been held on the 15th will now be on the 29th of March instead.

Club members should ask their respective club secretary about entering. Keep an eye on the Munster Athletics website for more info.

A quick look at Mallow 10 entries

As of Sunday night (25th Jan), there were about 100 entries left for the Mallow 10 mile road race. The limit this year is 1500 entries, up from the 1200 of 2014.

This got me thinking about what the natural limit of an race like the Mallow 10. How many would it get if it was left open until the 6th of March and there was no limit on numbers?

Time for a graph! This definitely comes under the category of useless info but what harm :o)

I plotted the number of entries against various dates. One obvious point is that the graph suffers somewhat from a lack of data but it does show the general trend. Over the last month, the entries have been coming in at about 30 a day...i.e. 900 entries in 30 days.

Going on that basis, the last 100 should be gone by next Wednesday or Thursday unless there is a last minute surge.

As for the natural limit? I would suspect that if it were to stay open, it would probably slow to 20 a day and then to 10 a day over time. Say an average 15 a day by about 30 days is 450. That's gives an natural limit of about 1900-2000 entries. That's only speculation of course as we'll never find out.

If you're interested in entering then do it now. More info in this race notice.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Results of the Cloyne 4k...Sun 25th Jan 2015

1 13:07    MCGRATH, Sean    East Cork AC    M    05:16.5
2 13:46    MALONE, John    Youghal AC    M40    05:32.2
3 13:53    SHEEHAN, Nigel    unatt/Mogeely    M    05:35.0
34 16:04    GILROY, Helen    Midleton AC    F45    06:27.7
38 16:28    LEAHY, Eileen    Midleton AC    F    06:37.4
39 16:29    O'NEILL, Eadaoin    East Cork AC    F    06:37.8

The full results can be seen HERE    (Updated 5pm)

1) Kieran Minihane has a gallery HERE

Live coverage of the Athletics Ireland Junior & U23 Indoor Championships...Sun 25th Jan 2015

The Athletics Ireland Junior & U23 Indoor Champioships are being held in Athlone today.

Entry list

Live stream

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Notice...Carrigaline 5 mile road race - Sun 15th Feb 2015

This 5 mile road race is coming up in Carrigaline on Sunday, the 15th of February at 11am. Coming three weeks before the Ballycotton '10', it is ideally placed as a test run to check your fitness level before the big day itself.

While you can enter on the day of the race, you can also pre-enter HERE

All those who pre-enter will be put into a draw for a €50 One4all voucher.

The race is organised by Eagle AC, has an Athletics Ireland permit and has been accurately measured by Jones Counter. More info on the Eagle AC race page.

Location...The town of Carrigaline is only five miles south of the South Ring Road so it is within easy reach of Cork City. Race HQ is at the local community sports hall where runners can enter on the day. For those who pre-enter in advance, they can skip the queues there and pick up their numbers at the pre-entry desk.

The race is co-sponsored by The Edge Sports Shop and they will be giving out discount vouchers to all runners on the day. These will entitle you to 20% off on running items and nutrition products. Obviously, the discount may well exceed the cost of the race entry so it might be worth doing for this reason alone.

Route Preview.........A preview with maps, directions and details of the course can be seen HERE

Short video titled 'First or Last'

A short video was released recently about Chris Mintern of Leevale AC, one of the leading figures on the Cork triathlon scene.  It is called “First or Last” and follows Chris around during summer 2014.

The film was made by a crew of four, two of whom are also Leevale members, Irene Hartigan and Rob Patterson. It also features Donie Walsh and other images from Leevale training at the Mardyke track.

Press Release.......
‘Barefoot Runner’ Film up for Prize......... It’s not everyday you see a top-level athlete running barefoot along a country road, bicycle in tow. This is, however, the opening scene of FIRST OR LAST, a sports documentary about young Cork triathlete, Chris Mintern, which has been nominated for Outdoor/Adventure Film of the Year 2014.

At the time, July 2014, Chris was competing in his first Olympic distance triathlon at the Little Bo Peep in Kenmare, Co. Kerry and encountered a triathlete’s worst enemy, a puncture (Spoiler alert!!). By the end of that season, Chris’ first season as a senior triathlete, he had won 12 triathlons including the Intervarsity National Championships and Munster Championships. The film also follows Chris as he competes in the iconic Lee Swim. Chris had competed in this swim many times, but had never won it, that is, until 2014. The small film crew had their work cut out for them trying to keep up with Chris along the various race circuits, even with 2 people on bikes and one in a car!

Director, Eamonn Dunne, who works in the camera department in TG4’s Ros na Rún, commented that “We knew it was going be a high energy project, but didn’t expect so many highs and lows on the track. It all adds to the drama of the film and we’re so pleased to be included in this national film competition.”

The film visits top triathlete Trevor Woods at the UCC Human Performance Laboratory and also has contributions from World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year 2012, Steve Redmond. Mintern, who is just 22 years old, is a member of the Triathlon Ireland U23 Development Squad and will be targeting some international events in 2015 along with major domestic races. Chris also finds the time to study Maths at UCC and is in second year.

FIRST OR LAST premiered at Indie Cork in 2014 as one of “50 Best Irish Shorts”. It has also been selected for Dingle International Film Festival this March. The winning Outdoor/Adventure Film will be decided by public vote and you can cast your vote at this link.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Parkrun comes to Tralee...Sat 24th Jan 2015

On Saturday the 24th of January 2015, a brand new 5k parkrun is starting in Tralee, Co.Kerry. This is the 5th parkrun in Munster with the other four being Macroom, Clonakilty, Bere Is. in Co.Cork and Clarisford in Co.Clare.

The 5k course in Tralee is 3 laps of the local town park. As with all parkruns, it starts at 9:30am and will be on every Saturday morning from now on.

There is no entry fee. If you haven't done a parkrun before then go to this website to register and print out the bar code.

Update.....A total of 150 people took part in the first Tralee parkrun.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Last chance to enter the Mallow 10 mile...

Just a last reminder about the Mallow 10 entries as they are about to close. As of Thursday night (22nd Jan), there are fewer than 200 places left.

It's interesting to note that the level of interest in this 10 mile road race seems to be up again this year.

In 2013, the 1,200 entries were full by the 6th of March.

In 2014, the 1,200 entries were full by the 30th of January.

And here we are in 2015 and it's likely the 1,500 places will be gone by the 24th of January. That's an extra 300 places and closing a week earlier.

More info in this earlier post.

Update on potential medals for Rob Heffernan and Olive Loughnane

As many of you will have read, five of the top Russian race walkers have been found guilty of doping on Tuesday of this week. Some of the media sources have been talking about Rob Heffernan getting a Bronze Olympic medal and of Olive Loughnane being upgraded to Gold in the world championship.

Just to clarify, this is the current situation.....

On Tuesday, RUSADA...the Russian Doping Agency issued this press release -
Russian Anti-Doping Agency "RUSADA" based on the decisions of the Disciplinary Committee of the Anti-Doping decided disqualified for doping rule violation, as expressed in the use of prohibited substances and (or) a prohibited method, the following athletes:

Kaniskina Olga for three years and two months from 15.10.2012, with the cancellation of the results for the period: July 15, 2009 - September 16, 2009, 30 July 2011 - 08 November 2011.

Sergei Kirdyapkin for three years and two months from 15.10.2012, with the cancellation of the results of the July 20, 2009 - September 20, 2009, June 29, 2010 - August 29, 2010 December 17, 2011 - June 11, 2012.

Bakulin Sergei three years and two months from 24.12.2012 to the cancellation of the results for the period: January 25, 2011 - March 25, 2011, June 16, 2011 - August 16, 2011, April 11, 2012 - June 11, 2012.

Borchin Valery eight years from 15.10.2012, with the cancellation of the results for the period: July 14, 2009 - September 15, 2009, June 16, 2011 - September 27, 2011, April 11, 2012 - September 3, 2012.

Kanaikina Vladimir life from 17.12.2012 to the cancellation of results for the period January 25, 2011 - March 25, 2011, June 16, 2011 - September 27, 2011.

In the World Championships in Berlin (15-23 Aug 2009), Olga Kaniskina finished in front of Olive Loughnane in the womens 20k walk. The Russian authorities have said that result is cancelled so it would seem once the IAAF give the nod, Olive should get her Gold medal.

Listen to Olive's reaction on this interview on NewsTalk...

For Rob Heffernan, the case is not so clear cut. Sergei Kirdyapkin won the Gold medal in the 50k walk at the London Olympics in August 2012. As you can see in the RUSADA statement above, they say that only results up to June 2012 will be annulled. In other words, they are cherry picking the ban dates so that Russian athletes can keep their Olympic medals. It should really be a simple clear cut case. The person was doping...their results are wiped clean. In this case however, we're getting into the murky world of international athletics and politics and it's likely to take some time for this to be resolved.

In a response to this farce, Athletics Australia issued the following statement..."It seems extraordinary to us that as a result of doping infractions Sergey Kirdyapkin can be ineligible for periods immediately before and after the London Olympics but not so during it. We will be asking the IAAF to conduct a full investigation into the validity of Kirdyapkin's participation in the 50km walk in London where he defeated silver medallist Jared Tallent by less than a minute. The full circumstances of his pre-Games doping offence and subsequent imposition of penalty need to be fully disclosed." 

Another important ban is that of  Sergei Bakulin. He finished 3rd in the 50k walk in the 2010 Wold Championships in Barcelona (30th July 2010). Again, the Russian authorities have annulled the results in 2009 and 2011 and left the 2010 World Championship count.

In short, expect Olive Loughnane to get her medal pretty quickly. The issue about the other two medals that Rob Heffernan should have got is likely to drag on for a while.

a) IAAF statement
b) Irish Times article
c) Irish Examiner article

...and a final stat... IAAF figures show of 37 elite athletes who have been sanctioned for biological passport failures 62% (23) are Russian

Update...23rd Jan 2015... "Russian press are reporting that the reason the doping cases involving walkers took over 2 years to be processed is that the Russian authorities were delaying the cases until the new WADA code was introduced in 2015 which allows selective removal of results in bio passport cases. If cases were concluded earlier Olympic medals would be automatically forfeit. "

Results of the MMRA Ballyhoura Trail Race...Sun 18th Jan 2015

The MMRA (Munster Moutain Running Association) season kicked off last Sunday with a trail race in the Ballyhoura Mountains. As you can see from the photo, there was still some snow near the summit of Seefin which at about 500m above sea level, is the highest point in the Ballyhouras.

1 Mike Cunningham    M50    0:36:14    Mooreabbey Milers    Limerick
2 Brian Flannelly    M    37:29    Dooneen AC    Tipperary
3 Paul Deane    M    37:35    Clonakilty Road Runners Cork
23 Ide Kelleher    F40    45:00    Mallow AC    Cork
29 Deirdre Finn    F40    47:10    Tipperary
30 Linda Twomey    F    47:15    North Cork    Cork

The full results can be seen on the IMRA website.

The next MMRA race is in Castlefreke Woods near Clonakilty on Sunday the 8th of February.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Will Rob Heffernan be upgraded to Olympic Bronze after another Russian is suspended???

At the 2012 Olympics in London, Sergei Kirdyapkin of Russia won the Gold medal in the 50km walk while Rob Heffernan from Ireland finished 4th.

It has been announced earlier today that the Russian has been suspended while he is being investigated for irregularities in his biological passport. According to media sources, this could  endanger the walkers results at the 2012 Olympics if he is deemed to have competed with blood values associated with doping. Achievements from the 2008 Olympics will not be affected, since the biological passport system was introduced by the IAAF in 2009.

If Kirdyapkin is stripped of his Olympic Gold medal then Rob Heffernan will be upgraded to an Olympic Bronze.

Following the German documentary on doping in Russia recently, the true scale of cheating in the country has come to light. Here is one simple statistic.....Out of the 17 gold medals won by Russian walkers at the Olympics and world championships in the last decade, 16 were won by athletes who have been banned for doping at some stage of their careers or who are currently under investigation.

Another Russian who has been investigated is Olga Kaniskina who won gold in the Women's 20km Race Walk in World Championships inBerlin in August 2009. In that race, Olive  Loughnane finished second for Silver. If the Russian is eventually suspended then the Irish woman will be getting a World Championship Gold medal.

Guest Article...Memorable Victory 40 Years Ago Today

This article by John Walshe appeared in the Evening Echo on Monday the 19th of January 2015 and is republished here with his kind permission. 

(Evening Echo, January 19th, 2015)

John Hartnett from Ballyhooly in north Cork is unquestionably regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest and most versatile of runners.

On the track he held Irish records for 1500m (3:38.1) and one mile (3:54.7), excelled on the competitive American indoor circuit, and first came to prominence when winning the International (now World) Junior Cross-Country title.

Although races on the road during his glory years of the 1970s were no way as prevalent as nowadays, 40 years ago today the tall fair-haired man in the Grange singlet won what was unquestionably the most prestigious road race in the country.

The Quinlan Cup at Tullamore had started off as a cross-country promotion but because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak of 1967 it had to move to the road. Usually held a couple of weeks after Christmas, it soon became the unofficial national championship on that surface.

Road races today may revolve around accurate courses and personal bests for various distances, but Tullamore was all about the competition.

Part of the allure was the vast array of prizes on offer. The senior men’s race, for example, boasted awards – merchandise in the form of electrical goods, household items and sportswear – for the first 20 individuals, the first 10 teams in Grade ‘A’ and the first three teams in both Grade ‘B’ and ‘C’. With six to score, that meant a total of 116 prizes.

The men’s race was advertised as 11,000m in length with three 3,000m races catering for women, veteran men and youths (U18). Richie Crowley of St Finbarr’s had won the main event in 1971, followed three years later by Donie Walsh who led Leevale to the coveted Quinlan Cup.

John Hartnett’s form during the summer of 1974 had seen him break four minutes for the mile on the old grass track at the Mardyke, recording an exceptional time of 3:56.3. The previous winter, the Ballyhooly man had run the fifth fastest time ever of 8:26.6 for two miles indoors, followed by the first sub-four-minute indoor mile witnessed in Canada.

These performances made him one of the most sought after on the indoor circuit and he had already lined up two races in New York over three miles, plus a return to the Maple Leaf Games in Toronto, for that February of 1975.

Tullamore, therefore, would be a good indicator of his well-being before traveling to North America. But, as always, it wasn’t going to be an easy race to win. Virtually all of the country’s top exponents were amongst the 400 or so entries, which included 38 complete teams of six.

Sunday January 19 was a day of incessant rain and when the main showpiece got underway after 3.30pm (following a short delay due to a broken-down lorry near the start), darkness was already encroaching on the Midland town.

With a hump-backed bridge and a sharp turn to negotiate just after the gun, the start was akin to a charge of the light brigade. But almost before the runners had sorted themselves out, Hartnett was already in command. At the end of the first of the two laps he had opened up a clear lead and the interest had already switched to the battle for the minor places.

Reaching the finish outside Tullamore Harriers new pavilion in a time of 31:39, Hartnett had around 150 yards to spare over Joe Scanlon from Galway who snatched second from Ray Treacy (Leevale), 32:04 to 32:06.

John McLaughlin from Achilles in Belfast took fourth in 32:09 with Danny McDaid (32:11) and the late Tom Brennan (who would win the BLE Inter-Clubs the following month) making up the top half-dozen.

Donie Walsh took ninth spot but Leevale had to relinquish the Quinlan Cup to Donore Harriers who won it for the sixth time in eight years.

Although the stated distance of 11,000m was probably a little short, Hartnett’s time of 31:39 would surely be worth well under 30 minutes for a 10km today – he had, after all, run 29:02.4 for 10,000m on the Banteer track two summers before.

But what makes the race noteworthy all of 40 years later, was the incredible high standard. Times were only taken for 116 of the 337 finishers, but the time of 35:42 for 100th meant that just over four minutes covered the top 100. As a contrast, last year’s Great Ireland Run (which also doubled as the national 10km championship) saw the difference between the first and 100th man at over seven minutes.

Just a week later, John Hartnett was again back on the winning trail, this time easily taking the BLE national inter-counties at Roscrea. A gruelling seven-and-a-half miles in near quagmire conditions mightn’t be the ideal preparation for the indoor boards, but for the 24-year-old Ballyhooly man, it made no difference.

After the drama of a false start which saw the competitors recalled for not obeying the starter, Hartnett shot to the front and was 50 seconds clear at halfway. At the finish, his margin was one minute and 37 seconds over Gerry Deegan from Waterford with Des McCann (Meath) in third.

It was a great day all-round for Cork as, along with Hartnett’s victory, the Rebel County took all three team titles (men, women and youths) on offer. The men totalled 80 points which gave them a clear margin over Dublin on 95 with Galway third on 183 and Waterford fourth with 215.

For the record, the Cork scoring members behind John Hartnett’s majestic winning performance on that memorable day four decades ago were as follows: Donie Walsh (7th), Richie Crowley (10th), Finny Long (17th), Denis Manning (18th) and Eddie Hartnett (brother of the winner, 27th).

Monday, January 19, 2015

Update on Mallow 10 entries...

The Mallow 10 mile road race is coming up on the 22nd of March 2015 and it has a limit of 1500 entries.

As of today, a total of 1150 people have already entered which just leaves 350 places. If you are thinking about doing this race then enter asap. Don't leave it go too long. Once places get limited, there tends to be a rush on the remaining places.

The link for entries was also updated. Some people with iPhones and iPads were unable to enter using the old link and this has been changed now.

See the race notice.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Results of the Cork BHAA FMC 4 mile road race...Sun 18th Jan 2015

After an icy start to the morning and a delayed start, the race was held back on the original 4 mile course.

Pos Name Cat Prize Time Company Team
1 Colin Merritt 0/40A M1  20:23 Army
2 Sean McGrath M2 20:26 Harty Tax Consulting
3 Darren Molloy M3 20:38 Navy
70 Carmel Parnell 0/55L F1  25:00 Cork Shops
78 Anna Doris 0/40I F2  25:20 Midleton Town Council
79 Lorna Davey Fitzgerald  25:24 Temp Reg

The full results can be seen HERE

1) Kieran Minihane has a gallery of almost 400 photos HERE 
2) Graham Nudds has a large gallery HERE

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Cork BHAA FMC race changes to 6k

Just a note to say that the Cork BHAA FMC race in Little Island is coming up at 11am on Sunday the 18th of January. This year, the distance will be 6kms instead of the usual 4 miles.

The forecast is for a frosty morning and the roads may be a bit slippy although by 11am, they might be ok. As always, it's €5 for registered runners and €8 for non-reg.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Katie Kirk from Northern Ireland to declare for Ireland

Katie Kirk is a middle distance athlete who has represented  Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 where she ran a personal best of 2:02.63 in the 800m. With that time only being 13th fastest in the British rankings for 2014, the 21 year old has now confirmed that she will declare for Ireland instead of Great Britain.

Her 2:02.63 time in 2014 would have been the 3rd fastest in the Irish rankings for that year. Rose-Anne Galligan and Laura Crowe were faster with 2:02.07 and 2:02.24 respectively.

Her PB would also put her in 9th place on the all time Irish list but at just 21 years old, her best times are yet to come. Once her passport is sorted out, she plans to take part in the European U23 championships next summer.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Notice...MMRA Ballyhoura Trail Race - Sun 18th Jan 2015

As well as there been plenty of road races locally, the Munster Mountain Running Association have their own series of trail races on various hills and mountains in the province.

Here is some information from them about their first race of 2015....Race number 1 of 6 in the Munster Sunday League.

From the MMRA....Our next race is in the Ballyhouras on Sun 18th Jan 2015 at  1pm (with our rain jackets in tow!) for an 8km run around the mountains. The run starts from the Mountain Bike Centre and takes you along fire roads all the way around the hill to the car park and viewing point at the far end of the bog. From here, we will follow a single trail across the bog before turning left onto a trail once more. This leads us onto another fire road which takes us back to the cycle centre where we started. As you may expect, you will get muddy so make sure you bring appropriate footwear with you.
This race is open to all* and the cost is €10 for seniors, €5 for juniors. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before race start time to give time for race registration. The adult race will start at 1pm, so please arrive early to avoid queues at registration. Major junctions will be marked and there will be marshals on the course for the juniors. Please ensure that you sign the race sheet at registration before the race. 

Note that all those taking part must be registered with the MMRA. This costs €10 for the year. More info HERE

Full directions with maps can be seen HERE 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Some stats for Parkrun in Ireland...

Last weekend, Parkrun Ireland released some data which showed the number of people that turned out for the various 5k parkruns last Saturday, the 10th of January 2015. I took this info and produced a simple chart below which shows the numbers in the 26 counties shown in order of size. While the numbers might change from week to week, it does give an indication of relative size.

As expected, the largest events were in Dublin but it's a bit of a suprise just how big they actually are. Three of them had over 300 people in each one and this is for an event with no entry fee. Contrast that to races in the Phoenix Park that charge €20-€30 for the same distance.

You can also see the three parkruns in Co.Cork......Macroom, Clonakilty and Bere Island.....and how they compare to the rest.

Two other figures to note are Kilkenny with about 150 and Clarisford which is about 14 miles NE of Limerick City with about 140. Both of these are near or in large population centres.

Just how big would a 5k parkrun in or near Cork City be? Considering the population, at least 200 a week might not be a bad guess.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Results & photos of the Munster Junior & Masters Cross Country Championships...Sun 11th Jan 2015

This was held in Waterford city on Sunday the 11th of Jan 2015. In the mens senior race, East Cork AC won the club title with the Cork team taking Silver. In the senior womens race, there were only two women from Cork in it so not enough to scare as a team (4 required).

The winner of the Senior womens race was Shona Heaslip who represented Ireland at the U23 race at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria last December. Members of the Kerry team took all the podium positions and the county title as well.

Senior Women
Club Team Points
Place Club Positions Points
1 Ennis Track 4, 5, 6, 7...22
2 Clonmel 8, 9, 13, 18...48
3 Waterford A.C. 16, 17, 21, 22...76

County Team Points
Place County Positions Points
1 Kerry 1, 2, 3, 15...21
2 Clare 4, 5, 6, 7...22
3 Tiperary 8, 9, 1, 13...41

Senior Men
Club Team Points
Place Club Positions Points
1 East Cork 4, 5, 9, 11...29
2 Clonmel 2, 6, 8, 26...42
3 Waterford A.C. 10, 13, 14, 22...59

County Team Points
Place County Positions Points
1 Tiperary 1, 2, 6, 8, 17, 26...60
2 Cork 4, 5, 9, 1, 18, 20...67
3 Kerry 7, 12, 15, 19, 21, 27...101

The full results are available on the Munster Athletics website HERE

The host club Waterford AC have some photos HERE
Farranfore Maine Valley AC have a gallery HERE 

Just a quick look at the numbers. In the senior races this year, there were 22 women and 39 men. That compares to 13 women and 40 men when it was held in Tipperary the previous year so there is obviously an issue with numbers taking part.

In the Munster masters cross country in Watergrasshill at the start of Dec 2014, there were 66 women and 182 men...a complete contrast.

Results of the Cork BHAA ESB Cross Country 5k...Sun 11th Jan 2015

A total of 185 runners turned out for the first race of the year for the Cork BHAA.

1 Darren Molloy M1 17:14 Navy
2 John Durcan 17:27 Temp Reg
3 MICHAEL HARRINGTON 0/40A M2 17:41 Harrington Upvc Ltd
35 Ronnie Barry 0/40I F1 21:29 Cork County Council
52 Jessica Bruton F2 22:12 Dept of Ed F-B-1
72 Eibhlin Cleary 23:05 Temp Reg

The full results can be seen HERE

1) A gallery from Kieran Minihane can be seen HERE
2) Doug Minihane has a large gallery HERE
3) A slideshow of photos from Joe Murphy of Eagle AC

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Fionnuala Britton finishes an impressive 2nd at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country....Sat 10th Jan 2015

At the Great Edinburgh Cross Country event on Sat 10th Jan 2015, Fionnuala showed some of her old flair when she finished an impressive second in the womens 6km race. The eventual winner Emilia Gorecka broke away from the main group with Fionnuala in hot pursuit and in the end, both of them were well clear by the end of the race with Fionnuala only 7 seconds adrift.

Post race interview by Cathal Dennehy of Fionnuala Britton...

One of the biggest suprises of the day was the way the current European XC champion Gemma Steel faded during the race. She has looked unbeatable in recent races so her 11th place finish was a big shock.

Irish internationals Sara Treacy of Dunboyne AC and Michelle Finn of Leevale AC were also part of the European team that finished first.
 1 EUR 44
 2 USA 61
 3 GBR 81

International athlete Jim Hogan from Limerick RIP...1933-2015

Jim Hogan, the Limerick born runner who won the 1966 European Marathon for Great Britain, has passed away at the age of 81 in a nursing home in Kilmallock.

Born in Croom in 1933, he changed his name from Cregan to Hogan after moving to England and ran for Ireland in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There, he closely tracked eventual winner Abebe Bikila for more than 20 miles in the marathon before being forced to drop out in the closing stages due to severe dehydration.

In 1966, he went on to win a European Marathon title – this time wearing a British singlet. A few years ago a book was published on his life titled ‘The Irishman who ran for England’.

Earlier this summer, former world record holder Dave Bedford, a life-long friend of Jim’s, visited him at the Maria Goretti Nursing Home in Kilmallock where he spent his final days.

....from John Walshe

More info about his career....
Jim Cregan breaks Irish record, Limerick Leader 18/5/1957
The man born Jim Cregan, The Dawn (Bruff History Journal), no. 2, Oct. 1975
This sporting life on other side of channel, Limerick Leader 12/4/2008
The remarkable story of Limerick athlete Jim Hogan, Limerick Post 12/4/2008
The Irish man who ran for England, Limerick Post 27/6/2009
Jim Hogan - A personal appreciation, Athenry AC website

Coverage of the Great Edinburgh Cross Country...Sat 10th Jan 2015

Fionnuala Britton (Kilcoole AC), Sara Treacy (Dunboyne AC) and Michelle Finn (Leevale AC) will represent Team Europe this Saturday, 10th of January at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country. All three athletes were selected based on their strong performances at the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria on the 14th of December. On that occasion Britton placed sixth, Treacy twelfth and Finn 23rd to combine to win team bronze for Ireland.

Gemma Steel of Great Britain who won the title in Samokov will also be in action in Edinburgh with the senior women’s race scheduled for 14.02. There will be live coverage shown on BBC 1 from 13.00-14.30pm. The womens race starts at 2pm.

You can also watch it live below...

Friday, January 09, 2015

Ballycotton 10 entry list now online

Ballycotton Running Promotions have now put the entries for the 2015 Ballycotton 10 up on their website.

You can view it HERE

There is also a list on this spreadsheet of all the club entries. It might be handy for clubs that was to see who from their own club entered. Just copy and paste your club entries to your club facebook page or website.

There are 3,650 entries which is a new record. Non club runners make up the bulk of these at 65.6%. Women make up 39.8% of the entries. Based on previous years, it's likely the number of people taking part on the day will be around 2,600.

These are the top 11 clubs by number of entries...

As you can see, some clubs are down, some are up. It's probably a sign that there are plenty of races now to choose from and the Ballycotton 10 is now an option instead of a 'must do' race for a lot of people.

These are the clubs with 10 or more entries...
1 Midleton AC 127, 2 St. Finbarrs AC 92, 3 Eagle AC 89, 4 Mallow AC 74, 5 Kilkenny City Harriers 73, 6 Youghal AC 68, 7 Ballintotis Fit4Life 57, 8 Watergrasshill AC 50, 9 Leevale AC 36, 10 West Waterford AC 34, 11 Waterford AC 33, 12 Slaney Olympic AC 28, 13 Galtee Runners AC 27, 14 Clonakilty RR AC 24, 15 Sli Cualann AC 23, 16 Clonmel AC 22, 17 Grange-Fermoy AC 21, 18 Portlaoise AC 21, 19 Crusaders AC 20, 20 Newbridge AC 20, 21 Ballymore/Cobh AC 19, 22 Raheny Shamrock AC 18, 23 East Cork AC 17, 24 Tallaght AC 17, 25 Carrigaline RR AC 16, 26 Rathfarnham-WSAF AC 16, 27 Bandon AC 15, 28 Sportsworld RC 15, 29 Donore Harriers 14, 30 Donoughmore AC 14, 31 Navy AC 13, 32 St. Catherines AC 13, 33 West Limerick AC 13, 34 Carraig na bhFear AC 12, 35 Tracton AC 12, 36 Croghan AC 11, 37 Ballincollig AC 10, 38 Limerick Country Club AC    10, 39 Mooreabbey Milers AC 10, 40 Thurles Crokes AC 10, 41 West Muskerry AC 10

Note from the organisers...
(1) Please note we *do not have a waiting list or cancellation policy*. We allow for a
certain percentage of ‘no shows’ and therefore accept more than we can accommodate.
(2) We do not refund people unable to take part.
(3) If unable to run, *ON NO ACCOUNT can you give your number to another
runner* (when you signed the form, you agreed to this).
(4) The race packages (number, programme, etc) will be posted out approx two weeks before the race day of March 8th.

Corrections to the entry list below (name, category or club, etc) please email: OR John Walshe at

Please note this is for corrections *ONLY*.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Seb Coe raises the possibility of including cross country events in the Olympic games

Seb Coe recently launched his bid to become the next president of the IAAF...the international world body for athletics. As such, his opinion carries a lot of clout.

In a recent interview, he expressed a view that on how important cross country was and that it should be part of the future Olympic programme.

“One of the things that has really, I suppose, worried me in the last few years is that I don’t think enough younger coaches realise how important cross country is. I would love to see cross country back in the Olympic programme and maybe even something, thinking out of the box for a moment, why not include it in the Winter Olympic programme?”

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Video clip about Operation Transformation and the Bere Island parkrun

A 6 minute video clip about the community on Bere Island in West Cork getting fitter and getting involved in the weekly parkrun on the island.

Minimum ban for doping increased to 4 years

Up to now, the minimum ban for doping in athletics has been 2 years. What it has meant that anyone taking banned substances could still train away and be back in time for major championships. It was in effect too lenient and not enough of a deterrent.

As of the 1st of January 2015, the minimum ban has now been increased to 4 years. This means that anyone caught doping will not be able to participate in competitions for at least four years which means that they would miss major events like the Olympics, the World Championships and so on.

The punishment for missing three tests within a 12-month period has been increased from 18 months to two years. Athletes guilty of "inadvertent doping" will receive a two-year ban - although they can get a reduction if they have "substantial proof that they were not at fault or intending to cheat".

Monday, January 05, 2015

Phil Healy of Bandon AC opens indoor season with win in Manchester

Top Irish sprinter Phil Healy of Bandon AC opened her indoor season last weekend with a win in the womens 60m race in Manchester. This was part of the Sale Harriers Open Series in Manchester held on Sunday the 4th of January.

What was even more impressive was Phil's winning time of 7.46 seconds, just a mere ten one-hundredths of a second off her PB of 7.36 and this was her first race of the season.

60 SX 1.12
Pos Perf Name  AG Age Club    SB    PB   
1 7.46 Phil Healy SB U23 W  Bandon/Ireland 7.46 7.43   
2 7.61 Rebekah Wilson SEN W    23 Sale Harriers Manchester    7.60 7.50   
3 7.71 Megan Hoult PB SEN    W 23 Kingston upon Hull/Hull Uni 7.71    7.71   
4 7.80 Alexandra Russell SB SEN W 24 Wigan & District/Liverpool John Moores Uni 7.80    7.67   
5 8.04 Abigayle Fitzpatrick  SB U23 W 21 Sale Harriers Manchester/Liverpool John Moores Uni 8.04    7.84

2nd race of the day...
60 SX 2.5
Pos Perf Name AG     Age Club    SB    PB    
1 7.47 i Phil Healy U23 W Bandon/Ireland 7.46 7.43

Update on Mallow 10 entries...

Just a reminder about the Mallow 10 mile coming up on the 22nd of March 2015. There is a limit of 1500 entries for this race and it has already passed the 600 mark. There is no mad rush for entries at the moment but if you intend on doing the race then you should enter sooner rather than later.

These are some of the key dates.....
15th Jan...Closing date for postal entries
31st Jan...End of cheaper early bird entries
6th Mar...Final closing date
22nd Mar...Race day

The race website has been updated with a FAQ page which should answer most peoples queries....

For anyone trying out 10 miles for the first time, there is a 12 week 'Get Around' training plan HERE
It starts on Tues the 6th of January.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Update on parkrun numbers in Cork...

Way back in August of 2011, I had a post up about 5k parkruns in Britain and asking if they would spread to Ireland. Fast forward to today and there are now 23 parkruns in Ireland with large clusters in and around Dublin and Belfast.

There are now 3 in Co.Cork....Macroom, Clonakilty and Bere Island. The Macroom one started in mid-2013, the Clonakilty one at the start of 2014 and the one on Bere Island in the autumn of 2014. You can see the numbers below....

The parkrun in Macroom has dropped back from the initial 60 or so per week down to about 40.

Clonakilty has also dropped a bit and is now getting about 20-30 per week.

Bere Island despite its remote location gets about 20 or so per week. A visitor wrote a short review of it recently in this magazine.

There is no entry fee for any of these 5k parkruns and the only requirement is that you must be registered. You just need to print out a bar code and bring it along to any event you want to do. Each parkrun is run by volunteers who take turns organising the event.

Elsewhere in Munster, a new parkrun started up in Clarisford, Co.Clare in late October. They've been getting very good numbers...roughly 70 per week...which may well be due to the proximity to Limerick City. On the 24th of January, a new parkrun will be starting in Tralee, Co.Kerry which will be a welcome development for runners there.

Will we see a few more new ones in Cork & Munster in 2015???

If you want to find out more about parkruns then visit the Irish website...

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Results of the Bandon 5 mile road race...Thurs 1st Jan 2015

On a day that was wet and miserable, a hardy 173 souls turned out for the annual Bandon 5 miles road race on New Years Day.

1 25:22    MCCARTHY, James    East Cork AC    M    05:04.3
2 25:40    MEADE, John    St. Finbarrs AC    M    05:07.9
3 26:02    GRUFFERTY, James    Leevale AC    M    05:12.3
8 27:07    FINN, Michelle    Leevale AC    F    05:25.3
25 30:07    CROWLEY, Carmel    Bandon AC    F40    06:01.3
33 30:48    FINN, Carol    Leevale AC    F    06:09.5

The full results can be seen HERE

1) Mick Dooley of Eagle AC has a gallery of photos HERE

Winners of the race...Michelle Finn of Leevale AC & James McCarthy of East Cork AC

Looking back at 2014 and ahead to 2015

Now that we've entered a new year, it might be worth looking back at 2014 and seeing what 2015 might have in store.

Number of races in Cork....The chart below shows the number of races in Cork in 2014. These are for races that had published results with times. They include road, cross country and trail races as well as parkruns. It doesn't include track races or fun runs/walks where no results were given.

The big jump in 2014 was due in no small part to the new parkruns in Clonakilty and Bere Island. Even taking those out of the equation, there still was a significant jump in 2014. With Clon and Bere Is. removed, the figure would be up around 215.

Looking over a slightly longer time span, you can see how much things have changed in just a few years. Just five years ago, there was on average about a race a week. This translated into some weekends in the winter/spring when there were no races and a summer where there might have been two races in a week. In 2014, there were multiple races on weekends and sometimes, there were two races on the same day.

So what has changed?

If we look back at say 2008, things were different then. The Cork BHAA organised their own calendar of races, Ballycotton Running Promotions organised several races in East Cork and the various athletic clubs organised their own. When they were all added up, there were about 60 races in Cork spread out over the course of the year.

One significant point here though is the quality of the results and the prize structure. As you can see below, these are the Bandon 5 mile results from 2011. It shows a list of all the finishers with their club names. The race also gave out prizes for various categories and for teams. The BHAA did something similar except it was based on companies. This was the norm back then.

And in 2014?
Cork BHAA......The Cork BHAA continue to do what they do best.....good races at a very modest price. The number of events might have increased slightly? but they are still much the same. They have a wide range of prizes covering several various age categories with multiple team prizes as well.

Ballycotton Running Promotions......They continue much the same as before. Modest entry fees, a comprehensive prize structure and results with club names shown.

Parkruns.....These are a new addition in the last two years. Run on a voluntary basis, these weekly 5k races in Macroom, Clonakilty and Bere Island have given people in those areas plenty of choice....and they're free.

Commercial races.....These tend to be for the longer distance races and are often on a scale that are beyond the scope of a lot of clubs.

Races organised by clubs...These have seen the biggest changes. Some like the Bandon 5m, Belgooly 4m and so on remain the same. Full prize structure with full results with clubs listed. A lot of the newer races organised by clubs or at least those who have gotten permits through clubs are now very different. In many cases, the races are for charity and there is no comprehensive prize structure or team prizes. The main aim is now just to raise funds as opposed to organising a race. In many cases, chip timing is used and no club names are given.

Fun Runs / Walks.....It started out as like a trickle but there are now a significant number of these events. There is a huge variation in what an event is like. In some cases, it's nothing more than a charity walk in a local community. At the other end of the scale, some of the fun runs are organised better than some of the club races with full results including club names, a prize structure and times.

MMRA trail races.....Traditionally, the Munster Mountain Running Association has been involved in organising races up and down mountains like Carauntoohil and Mangerton. As expected, this is a niche sport and only of interest to a small number of people. The inclusion of trail races in various woods has opened up their races to a much larger audience and it's now an option for many who would have traditionally done just road races.

When you look at the list above, it's easy to see where all the extra races in the last few years have come from. Now with many using the services of chip timing companies, it makes organising an event so much easier.

And predictions for 2015???
I could look back 5 years ago and people were predicting a crash in numbers back then. There is no sign of any change in numbers. For example, I can look back at the numbers for the Ballycotton 5 last August and the results show record numbers. There are plenty of people out there running to support most of these races.

In 2015, the Cork BHAA races will remain as popular as ever. So too will the Ballycotton Running Promotion races due to the modest entry fees. The Parkruns will be fine as long as they can get volunteers. Trail races will be an attractive option for many.

The major change I can see is the increase in the number of fun runs and walks. These will be organised by community groups and other sporting bodies with the aim of raising funds for charities or their own sports. Once one is seen to be successful, it will encourage more to be organised. In most cases, it will be local communities doing their own thing with locals taking part. I suspect that some may well have an impact on some of the smaller races being organised in conjunction with athletic clubs. I'd expect that in 2015, we'll see more cases of where there are multiple races on the same day.

Bottom Line......Depending on where your interest lies but you'll have plenty to choose from in 2015. How much you want to pay or travel is up to you as there will be plenty of choice. It's worth noting that in the Belgooly 4 mile race on St.Stephens Day, roughly 60% of those taking part were not members of any athletic club. It's likely that the events that attract the numbers will be those based on quality and size rather than just because an athletic club is involved in the organisation of it.