Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: 2020

Friday, June 05, 2020

Ardmore Virtual 5 mile - Fri 5th June 2020

In the absence of any actual road races, maybe consider doing a virtual race...

From West Waterford AC... 

5TH JUNE 2020

Its never too late to start and if you would like to join us for the Ardmore 5 mile race this is how it works.

During the week of the race we ask you to run the race distance at a time suitable to you. The only rule is that you must stay within 5km of home as per the current HSE guidelines. When you have done this please send on a picture of your watch or timing device to Irene Clark 086 8242348 showing the distance and time taken by midnight on the Friday of the race. Spot prizes will be given out after each race.

No results will be published as its ‘You’ against the clock giving a good honest effort to achieve your best performance on the day.

We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Dungarvan when it is safe to race RACE 2 VIRTUAL SUMMER SERIES ARDMORE 5 MILE 5TH JUNE 2020

Well done to all our club members and friends who took part in the Ballinroad 5k. This was the first of our virtual summer series races and we are delighted that so many athletes supported it.
Its never too late to start and if you would like to join us for the Ardmore 5 mile race this is how it works.

During the week of the race we ask you to run the race distance at a time suitable to you. The only rule is that you must stay within 5km of home as per the current HSE guidelines. When you have done this please send on a picture of your watch or timing device to Irene Clark 086 8242348 showing the distance and time taken by midnight on the Friday of the race. Spot prizes will be given out after each race.

No results will be published as its ‘You’ against the clock giving a good honest effort to achieve your best performance on the day.
We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Dungarvan when it is safe to race again. In the meantime please join us for some virtual racing.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

2020 Limerick Marathon in October cancelled

The list of cancelled events continue. The original Limerick Marathon was due to have been held on Sunday the 3rd of May 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was postponed until the 4th of October.

Now the organisers have followed in the footsteps of Cork and Dublin and cancelled the marathon until 2021.

Anyone who has entered will be automatically deferred to the 2021 date. If you want a refund then you must request it before midnight on the 7th of June 2020.

Monday, June 01, 2020

Sanctuary Runners mark the date of the cancelled Cork City Marathon

Sunday the 31st of May 2020 was the date for the 2020 Cork City Marathon before it had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It's fair to say that if it had taken place, it would certainly have been a hot one.

Where I live in Cork harbour, the sea breeze meant that the thermometer never got above 20 deg C but I'd imagine it must have been into the low to mid 20s in places like Ballyphehane and the Model Farm Road by around midday. A great day for spectators but not great for running fast times.

To mark the date, the Sanctuary Runners have put together this short video...

Thursday, May 28, 2020

2020 Cork City Marathon Cancelled...

The organisers of the Cork City Marathon have just announced that the event will NOT be held this year. The rescheduled event had been planned for early September.

Anyone who had already entered will have their entry deferred until June 2021 with the option of a refund if they so wish.

This news doesn't come as any great suprise. As indicated by a recent poll, the vast majority of runners in Cork didn't expect the event to go ahead anyway.

Parkrun Ireland say there will be no events during June 2020

It should probably come as no great suprise that the parkrun organisation have announced that there will be no 5k parkruns anywhere in the world during the month of June 2020.

Statement from Parkrun Ireland here...

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

2020 Dublin Marathon Cancelled...

The organisers of the Dublin Marathon have announced that the 2020 event will NOT be held.

Anyone who has an entry will have it deferred to 2021. Alternatively, a refund can be obtained.

In a statement, race director Jim Aughney said: “We know this is extremely disappointing for all runners, especially those who secured marathon entries. We made the difficult decision in the best interest of the health and wellbeing of all those involved in making our events such a success from runners, supporters, volunteers, sponsors, to suppliers. We explored many alternatives for running the events safely but ultimately none were viable.”

View full statement HERE

Friday, May 15, 2020

Notice: Glen River Virtual 5k parkrun - Sat 16th May 2020

The organisers of the Glen River 5k parkrun are organising a virtual parkrun every Saturday!

Just run a 5k on your own on Saturday the 16th of May 2020 and upload your time to this website before 5pm the same day.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Results of the Poll - Will the 2020 Cork City Marathon go ahead in September?

Thanks to the 170 or so of you that took the time to vote on the online poll. There were two reasons for conducting the poll...

1) It gives an overview of what the general running community think about the future race situation as opposed to the opinion of an individual.

2) There is a concept called the 'wisdom of the crowd'. If you ask enough people a question, the answer you get can be remarkably accurate.

The poll question was... Do you think the 2020 Cork City Marathon will go ahead in September?

Now the results!...

52% said definitely not.
36% said probably not.
7% said maybe.
5% said probably will.
0% said definitely will.

Even though it's easy to be wise after the event and say that the results are as expected, I would have thought more people might have opted for the middle 'maybe' option.

Considering that 88% of people think the Cork City Marathon won't go ahead then it's very likely that it will be cancelled. It's hard to imagine that many people entering with those figures.

I would think the poll also suggests that we are very unlikely to see any type of the usual road race in 2020.

I saw that one politician say yesterday that 'social distancing' will be the new norm for the next 18-14 months. We probably have a long way to go before the running scene is back to normal.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020



During the first running boom of the early 1980s, races over the half-marathon distance and even longer were fashionable. After falling out of popularity in the ‘90s, it is only since the noughties that half-marathons have returned to the fixture list, many of course now held in conjunction with events over the full distance.  

For a couple of years in the mid-1980s the Carrigaline People’s Half-Marathon took place around the Ballygarvan and Five-Mile-Bridge areas. As the attached report and results from Marathon Magazine of the time show, the 1984 event on April 1st attracted a good turnout of around 240 with the race up front featuring two Corkmen who were then at the peak of their powers.

Tony O’Leary of Leevale was the impressive winner, his time of 66:05 giving him a clear advantage of one minute and 21 seconds over Liam O’Brien from Midleton. O’Leary had just returned from New Jersey where the previous week he had had been the sixth scorer on the Irish team who had finished a fine 10th at the World Cross-Country.

O’Leary had gained that Irish representation with a fifth placing at the BLE senior C-C held at Kilmacow on February 26th where Liam O’Brien had finished 12th, 40 seconds in arrears of the Leevale man. But the most significant indication of O’Leary’s form came in between those two races when he turned the tables on O’Brien at the Ballycotton ‘10’ on March 11th, his winning time of 48:22 giving him the title by 16 seconds.

O’Brien’s main ambitions for the year undoubtedly lay on the track and running a half-marathon at the start of the season may not fit the textbook approach. But then that was nothing unusual for the Midleton teacher. The attraction of the first prize of a ‘miniature’ television might have had something to do with his appearance and, as events proved, it certainly didn’t do him any harm.

Over two months later, at the AAA championships held at Crystal Palace, O’Brien established an Irish record of 8:27.24 for the 3000m steeplechase – it still ranks him number two on the Irish all-time list. This qualified him for that year’s Olympics in Los Angeles where he reached the semi-final on the biggest stage of all.

Donie Walsh took third spot at Carrigaline and it marked a busy four weeks for the Leevale man. After a below-par 13th at Ballycotton (despite running 50:43), Walsh finished second to his brother Michael a week later at the Friends of the Irish Wheelchair Association Cork Half-Marathon. He then followed that up on March 25th with another runner-spot at the Cork-Cobh 15 miles behind Tony Ryan from Dungarvan.

The women’s winner at Carrigaline was Catherine Hourihan of St Finbarr’s in a time of 80:49. Catherine had finished third at Ballycotton (58:47) and over the longer distance had well over a minute to spare over Catherine Hennessy from Kilkenny with Mary Sweeney (then of Youghal) in third ahead of her future St Finbarr’s club-mate Marion Lyons.

Incidentally, equal first prizes for men and women had yet to become the norm as the female winner received a bicycle compared to the men’s ‘miniature’ television set!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Poll: Will the 2020 Cork City Marathon go ahead in September???

As the country comes very gradually out of lock down due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it looks as if we might have to get used to 'social distancing' for some time yet.

The Cork City Marathon which was originally due to take place at the end of May 2020 has been postponed until the 6th of September.

Knowing what you know now in the middle of May, how likely do you think it will go ahead in September?

Take part in the online poll HERE

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Carrigaline Road Runners launch virtual runs

Now that the limit for personal exercise has been extended from 2kms to 5kms radius from home, people should have a lot more options in terms of routes. As outlined in a previous post, the Cork City Marathon route would almost fit inside a circle with a 5km radius. If you examine most of your own running routes, you'll probably find that you never get further than 5kms from home anyway as the crow flies.

Carrigaline Road Runners are encouraging people to take part in a virtual run once a week. The distance is up to you.

If you want to post your runs then go to their Facebook page.

Friday, May 01, 2020

COVID-19: 2km limit for exercise from home extended to 5kms

The Government has just announced that the limit from home for personal exercise will be extended from 2kms to 5kms on Tuesday the 5th of May.

To see your limit, go to this website and select 5kms...

Going from 2kms to 5kms may not sound like much but it's a major change. A 2km radius covers an area of almost 13 square kms. A 5km radius covers an area of almost 79 square kms.

And of course within that 79 square km area, there are going to be a lot more roads and paths to choose from. The map above shows a 5km limit based on Patrick's Street in Cork City. As you can see, it covers a large area.

I checked my own 5km limit and practically all of my usual short and medium running routes fit inside the 5km radius.

What next??... Well, it looks as if the 'social distancing' of 2-metres apart is going to be with us for a long while to come. With the removal of the 2km limit, there are likely to be plenty of 'virtual runs' starting up as many charities will have seen their fundraising dry up with the lockdown.

As I come across them, I'll start putting them up on the race calendar.

Update: Just to illustrate just how much can be done within a 5km radius, the map below shows that the 26.2 mile Cork City Marathon almost fits completely within the 5km limit.

There are plenty of options there if people take the time to explore new routes.

The Marina in Cork City will be closed to traffic for the next 3 months

With the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, there is a need for more public space for pedestrians, runners and cyclists to be able to exercise properly and keep the required 2-metres 'social distance' from each other.

It has now been announced that the Marina in Cork City will be closed to traffic for the 3 months.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Guest Post - DAN McCARTHY, R.I.P. John Walshe

DAN McCARTHY, R.I.P. John Walshe

The athletics community in Cork and especially those who have participated in any road race in the East Cork area will be saddened to hear of the death of Dan McCarthy from Ballynoe who passed away after a short illness.

To many people, Dan was the familiar starter at virtually every race in the eastern region for over 40 years. Always willing to help out at any event, be it cross-country, track or road, he also contributed immensely at committee level, none more so then to his beloved East Cork Division where he served as Chairman for a total of over three decades.  

Dan’s first love was hurling in which he won East Cork Junior ‘A’ and ‘B’ medals with the local St Catherine’s club. With the formation of the Irish athletics body BLE in 1967 came a new athletic club in the village - also named St Catherine’s - and Dan’s involvement here led on to him becoming Vice-Chairman of the East Cork Athletics Board.

During his tenure as Chairman he was responsible for the formation of a road race championship which celebrated its 40th birthday last year and but for the current situation would have taken place again last Thursday evening. Those four decades also saw many well-known athletes emerge from the region, none more so than two Olympians in Liam O’Brien and Sonia O’Sullivan.

As recently as two months ago, Dan was in attendance at the annual East Cork Athletics Division Awards Night at the Midleton Park Hotel where he presented the Juvenile Athlete of the Year Shield in memory of his late wife, Kathleen, who passed away in 2011 and who was also a familiar figure on the running scene.

Probably Dan’s proudest achievement was acting as starter of the Ballycotton ‘10’ for 38 of its 40 years. Apart from the inaugural event and one other year while in hospital, he attended every one and during those years sent an estimated 50,000 runners off on their 10-mile journey.

There is no doubt that not one of those 50,000 could say they didn’t get a fair start – because impartially, fairness and a willingness to help others have been the hallmark of Dan McCarthy’s long and cherished sporting life.

May he rest in peace.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Eastern Gateway Bridge offers to open up new routes for runners in Cork

At present, the Port of Cork is being moved to Ringaskiddy and Marino Point leaving lareas of the city open for development.

A recent article in the Irish Examiner outlined how Cork City Council were putting out for a €5 million development of the Monahan Road and Centre Park Road area.

This new road improvement will feed into the new proposed Eastern Gate Bridge which will cross the River Lee by Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

While this new bridge is still some time off, it will open up new routes especially for those living in Mayfield, Tivoli and Glanmire.

The popular Mahon - Blackrock loop is shown in Blue below and is one of the most popular running routes in Cork.

Looking at the map above, I've included two examples.

Point A is by the church in Lower Mayfield. At present if someone was to run to the start of the Marina by going into the city then it's about 3.6 miles /5.8 kms. With the new bridge, that reduces to 1.4 miles / 2.3 kms.

Point B is out in Glanmire. If someone wanted to run on the flat and get to the start of the Marina, it would be 6.0 miles / 9.7 kms at present. With the new bridge, this would reduce to 3.5 miles / 5.6 kms.

There may well be some budgetary constraints in the near future as a result of the COVID-19 crisis but another bridge downstream over the River Lee would probably get priority considering the potential for grid lock when there is an accident at the Jack Lynch Tunnel.

As for a time line? 3 years? 5 years?

Friday, April 24, 2020

Uncertain times ahead...

With the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions and all the race cancellations, it's hard to know what is going to going to happen in a few months time let alone a few weeks.

This is probably best exemplified by the Wexford Half-Marathon which was due to take place on Sunday the 26th of April 2020.

It has now been postponed to the 20th September 2020 and they announced back up dates as well of December 13th 2020 and April 25th 2021.

It just shows the uncertainty of what is going to happen and nobody know for sure is any rescheduled races will go ahead as planned.

Will the Cork Marathon go ahead in September?

Will the Limerick Marathon go ahead at the start of October?

Will the Dublin Marathon go ahead at the end of October?

It's hard to see how we can go from a situation of 2-metre social distancing now in April to having people crowded together on the start line of a race in a few months time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

2020 Berlin Marathon Cancelled...

The 2020 Berlin Marathon which was due to take place on the 27th of September has now been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows a decision by the German government to put a cap of 5,000 people on public events until the 24th of October.

It remains to be seen if events like the rescheduled Boston and London marathons will be cancelled as well.

Virtual 5k :o)

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Cork Easter Weekend Garden Runs - Fri 10th to Mon 13th April 2020

Thanks to everyone who took part in the Cork Easter Garden Run. Pat Walsh kindly donated €100 to two charities chosen from two runners.

Ann Bogan did the run in aid of Cork Penny Dinners and Eilis Mannion did it for Marymount Hospice.

List of garden runs below...

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Results of the Castlemartyr 4 mile road race - 21st April 2005

In a recent guest article, John Walshe of Ballycotton wrote about the history of the Castlemartyr 4 mile road race which included the results for 1994. See post HERE

The results for the 2005 race are shown below...

Friday, April 17, 2020

Doneraile 10k in June 2020 cancelled

Race Statement from the organisers...

It is with regret but inevitable that we have to inform you that we have decided to cancel our award winning 10KM race that was to take place on June 6th this year.

Results of the Castlemartyr 4 mile road race - 20th April 1995

In a recent guest article, John Walshe of Ballycotton wrote about the history of the Castlemartyr 4 mile road race which included the results for 1994. See post HERE

The results for the 1995 race are shown below...

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Sum of money found near UCC Farm

A sum of money has been found on the access road to the UCC Farm. If it's yours then let me know asap.

Otherwise the person that found it will donate it to Marymount Hospice.

Update 21st April 2020: The €40 has now been donated to Marymount.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020


Up until recently, the middle of April was the start of the Summer season of evening road races in Cork. In this guest post by John Walshe, he looks back at the Castlemartyr 4 mile road race which preceded  the current Ballintotis 4 mile.


Given the glorious weather we’re having of late, no doubt there would have been a huge turnout for this Thursday’s Ballintotis four-mile road race, traditionally the opener to what promised to be another exciting summer of evening events. But alas, for obvious reasons, it is not to be.

Therefore, as we while away these strange times, less us take a look back to the race that preceded Ballintotis which took place in the nearby village of Castlemartyr. On this Blog there is another article [March 2015] on one of those four-milers which was prompted by a photograph discovered by local man Pat Walsh and shows the start of the 1989 event on Castlemartyr’s main street.

That was the fourth year of the race organised by East Cork AC and Castlemartyr in mid-April would herald the start of the spring and summer races for well over two decades. Just 81 runners took part that night, with victory going to Liam O’Brien of the promoting club in 19:25, eight seconds ahead of his team-mate, John Kearney. Eileen Prunty, also East Cork, was first of the women in a time of 23:41.

However, there was a four-mile race in Castlemartyr before East Cork was formed and this was held on three occasions from 1983 to 1985. The first event, on the evening of Friday July 8th, was organised by Imokilly Social Club and sponsored by local firm O.R.M. The winner was Michael Dwyer from Limerick in a time of 19:53. Michael had run in the junior race at the previous year’s World Cross-Country Championships in Rome and at the time of his Castlemartyr victory was working in Shanagarry.

Second that night (20:08) was Denis McCarthy, then of the Youghal club. Later that same evening Denis travelled to Midleton where he took part in the 5000m organised by the East Cork Board, finishing fourth. Dick O’Brien of St Nicholas, who had also run in Castlemartyr, fared better in Midleton when coming second in the 5000m behind club-mate Mike Griffin.

Michael Dwyer had finished 18th in that year’s Ballycotton ‘10’, his time of 52:40 putting him one place and 10 seconds behind Castlemartyr man Pat Whyte, a member of the Midleton club. Pat would go on to run 49:52 for eight position the following year at Ballycotton. No doubt his early morning runs before work around that Castlemartyr circuit – which formed part of his 100 miles a week training schedule – played a major part in his significant improvement.  

Although, as that picture shows, by 1986 the race commenced on the main street those early races had a slightly different start. The route was the same, on to the Ladysbridge road for almost a mile, then a left around Dower before re-joining the main N25 Youghal road just before three miles with the finish on the roadway outside the national school.

Pat Whyte’s brother John, who worked at O.R.M., was involved in those early races and was responsible for the results (below) of the 1984 race which shows 87 finishers, a fine turnout at the time. Two Youghal natives, Martin Drake and Mary Sweeney, took the individual honours with both setting respective course records of 19:40 and 23:49.

A year later just 23 runners took part and so brought the first piece of the Castlemartyr story to an end. With the formation of East Cork AC in that year of 1985, a road race was planned for the following April over the same route and this continued for the next 24 years until Ballintotis came along in 2010. Numbers there continued to increase for the following decade, culminating in last year’s record 1,240 finishers.

And so, along with the 1984 results (below), let us also take a nostalgic look back to the 10th (1995) and 20th (2005) Castlemartyr 4-Mile events and recall those enjoyable races as we scroll through the names of those who participated ‘All in the April Evenings’ going back to a quarter-of-a-century ago.

1984 results...

1989 Results

1995 Results

2005 Results

List of John Walshe's articles

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Fines of up to €2,500 for those breaking COVID-19 lock down restrictions

The photo above shows the UCC Farm in the last few days with plenty of cars parked outside as people drive there for a run.

New regulations just signed into law now mean that people caught traveling without an essential reason or exercising more than 2km from their home can now be faced with a fine of up to €2,500 and/or imprisonment for up to six months.

In a statement, Cork County Mayor Ian Doyle said... “Unfortunately some people continue to venture out and are not adhering to the restrictions currently in place. Closing off access to these coastal car parks sends out the message that it is not acceptable to visit places that fall outside of the 2km area of your home. We can all still get exercise and fresh air in close proximity to our homes. We have collectively been doing a great job so far in staying home and stopping the spread of COVID 19, so let’s keep working together.”

Chief Executive of Cork County Council, Tim Lucey said....“Government guidelines are clear that all citizens must limit their leisure and exercise to within 2km of their homes. Driving for non essential purposes is not permitted as part of these public health measures. With the good weather and Easter weekend approaching these closures have been put in place to make it clear that people outside the immediate 2km area should not visit public beaches or other amenities at this time.”

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Running in Paris banned from 10am to 7pm

As the death toll from the COVID-19 epidemic in France has gone over the 10,000 mark, the authorities in Paris have banned people from running in the city from 10am in the morning to 7pm in the evening. This is usually when streets are at their busiest.

The new rules come into effect on Wednesday the 8th of April.

The Paris daytime running ban followed a sunny weekend when large groups of people were running and walking in the city's parks, despite police controls that include fines for violating the lock down.

Several hundred thousand people have been fined to date for breaking the lock down restrictions.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Guest Post: St.Patrick wins the 2020 Ballycotton '10' ... by Pat Walsh

If you turn on the radio or TV today then it seems to be nothing but news about the Coronavirus epidemic. To get away from all the doom and gloom, here is a guest post from Pat Walsh to lighten the mood...

(Originally posted 17th March 2020 before the lock down)

Shock winner of the 2020 Ballycotton 10 was none other than St Patrick.

In news that will shock the Athletics world, he romped home in a field of 1 to win by a clear margin.

In a long and detailed interview after the race we asked him some deep thoughtful questions on what it all meant to him.

☘️ How are you feeling now?
Delighted to have won the race. Long time ambition of mine and I am glad it finally happened. I had no Parade or Pub today so I said I would have a go.

☘️ How will you celebrate?
My throat is dry for a few scoops and you would think that, I, the Patron Saint of this country could get a pint somewhere. Will just have to go home and make a crisp sandwich and see is there a bottle somewhere in the cupboard.
Might watch Netflix, I am in the mood for “Chariots of Fire” after today.

☘️ What do you think of the winning trophy?
I am over the Moon to win the specially embossed #pwr Loo-Roll. I will put it pride of place with my other stash. I have a few Velvet soft and Kitten soft left as well. Most of the stuff I hoarded last few days was the cheap hard stuff. Those things would tear the arse off of you.🤣😂

☘️ What about lack of Competition in the race?
It was well known that I was in good form recently and maybe they stayed away because they didn’t want to be beaten by a Man in a dress. I don’t know. Was hoping Aoife Cooke would be here today as I reckon I had a chance this year.

☘️ Did you find the hill hard on the way home?
What hill…

☘️ Did the lack of atmosphere affect your performance?
Yes I missed Dick O Brien classic song at the start and then DJ Mossie 🎧🎼🎤giving me abuse outside the Blackbird pub. Still once I settled there was a few ducks 🦆🦆on the Bog Road and a few Rabbits 🐇🐇and a Pheasant over by Ballybraher.

☘️ What is next on your plans?
I hoped to go for Olympic Qualification this year but the Country is in a crisis and needs me. I sorted the Snakes 🐍🐍out years ago and now I need to fix the Virus thing.😷😷🤧

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit ☘️😍
#Keeponsmiling #Staysafe

Pat Walsh Running is based in Midelton in East Cork and Pat holds running sessions during the week and at weekends. For more information on Pat and his running classes, visit his Facebook page...

Friday, April 03, 2020

Results of the UCC Staff 10k - 7th April 2002

In a recent guest post, John Walshe looked back at some of the history of races on the Lee Road / Straight Road circuit.

In this post, we look back at the results of the UCC staff 10k on the 7th of April 2002.

Full results below...

Results of the UCC Staff 5k - 27th March 1994

In a recent guest post, John Walshe looked back at some of the history of races on the Lee Road / Straight Road circuit.

This route has been used for the UCC 10k for many years but back in 1994, they used the Mardyke / Western Road loop for a 5k.

Full results below...

Thursday, April 02, 2020


The Lee Road / Straight Road circuit is a well known running route to runners in Cork and is home to one of the oldest road races on the calendar. In this guest post, John Walshe of Ballycotton looks back at some of the races on this route.


Last Sunday would have seen the 38th UCC Staff road race (now known as the Carmel Lynch Memorial) taking place over 10km on the Lee Road-Straight Road circuit. But, of course like all other events, it too has fallen victim to the dreaded COVID-19 virus. So maybe it’s an opportune time to have a look back to a few of the races that this popular route has hosted over the years.

Running out the Lee Road, turning left past the ‘Angler’s’ and then hitting the two-mile straight with the County Hall seeming like an never-ending oasis in the distance has always been a popular excursion for Corkonians.

Back before the first running boom, for two of the top Cork marathoners of that era it provided the staple diet of their weekly training. Both Jack O’Leary and Donal Burke worked in the County Hall and every lunchtime the duo would cover the hilly circuit which, along with the mandatory weekend long run, produced times in the 2:25-2:35 range.

As a regular race route, it has been used extensively for the past 30 to 40 years. But back in July of 1951, for the one and only time, a road race was part of the Cork City Sports which took in the circuit. This was over eight miles and started at the Grand Parade Monument. It proceeded out Washington Street and the Western Road, then out the Carrigrohane Straight before turning right onto the Lee Road, past St Josephs Hospital at six miles and the Mental Hospital to finish at the Gaelic Grounds.

On that occasion just 13 runners toed the line and it was a handicap race, with most of that small field starting off two to two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the scratch man, Joe West of the Rising Sun club. West was born and reared in Carrigaline and started off his athletics career with the local Owenabui club, winning the Cork senior cross-title on three occasions.

In 1947, he went to England and joined Coventry Godiva Harriers before going on to represent Ireland in the marathon at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. This was the race famously won by Emil Zátopek after the Czech had already taken gold in the 5000m and 10,000m. On that July evening almost 70 years ago, the large attendance at the Mardyke were able to witness one of their own, an Olympian marathoner, come into the Gaelic Grounds as winner of the eight-mile race. West’s time was 45 minutes and 44 seconds and in second place was Ted Geary from Ballymore near Cobh.

The first race of the modern era was probably the Our Lady’s Hospital (Cork BHAA) promotion of 1983. This was held over six-and-a-half miles, one full circuit starting and finishing near the hospital entrance. Four years later, as the attached results show, it had been shortened to 10km with the winner, Billy Horgan, recording the impressive time of 30:35.

Around the early to mid-80s a half-marathon took place here on a number of occasions. The 1982 race saw victories going to Kerry athlete John Griffin (66:38) and Leevale’s Marie Buckley (85:33) as over 400 finished the two demanding laps.

Over two winters a women’s-only series of races – following on from the first Evening Echo Mini-Marathon – were held around the city. The March 1984 10km on the Lee Road-Straight Road was won by Carmel Lyons (now Parnell) in 38:40 from Joan Hough (38:55) and Lucy O’Donohue (39:00). Although she didn’t run on that occasion, it is recalled that a 15-year-old Sonia O’Sullivan did take part in a number of those events.

A popular final ‘blow-out’ before the Dublin Marathon as it was usually held a week or two before the big day was the Rehab 10km. This took place on a Sunday afternoon for around 12 years, starting in 1984. On another occasion, the Cork BLE 10km championship saw the runners finishing with a lap of the Mardyke track, making it slightly over distance!

The first UCC Staff 10km races started just before the recently refurbished Shakey Bridge and finished near the County Hall. One of the results attached (only first page) (shown below) is from 1992 and saw victory going to Garrett Barry in a time of 30:44. This proved to be the start of a great summer for the North Cork athlete. He would go on to win the BLE Senior 1500m that July in 3:47.30 along with ending Liam O’Brien’s decade-long winning streak in the Ballycotton five-mile races at Churchtown South with a one-second victory in 24:32.

It is also worth recalling that for a few years in the mid-1990s the UCC Staff race was held over 5km, comprising of a number of laps around the Mardyke Walk and Western Road.

Again, for interest, the results of the 1994 race are attached (results HERE) where the winners were Tommy Moloney from Tipperary – a 3:54.68 miler - who got the verdict ahead of Garrett Barrett with both given the same time of 15:04.

More results in separate posts.

UCC Staff 5k (1994) Results

UCC Staff 10k (2002) Results 

There is a list of guest posts from John Walshe HERE

Results of the 1987 10k & 1992 10k below...

First page of the BHAA UCC 10k - April 1992

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Results of the poll for the best Half-Marathon in Munster in 2019

Finally the last of the awards.

The Cork City Half-Marathon was voted the best half-marathon in Munster in 2019!

The Waterford Half-Marathon in December was in second place while the Run Killarney Half-Marathon in July was in third.

Thanks to the almost 800 people who took the time to vote.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Results of the poll for the best 10 mile race in Munster in 2019

Finally catching up with the last of the awards.

Congratulations to West Waterford AC, the organisers of the John Treacy 10 mile road race in Dungarvan on being voted the best 10 mile race in Munster in 2019!

The Mallow 10 mile was in second place while the Cork City 10 miler was in third.

Thanks to the almost 800 people who took the time to vote.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Man runs marathon in garden during COVID-19 lock down


With the COVID-19 lock down in England now in force, 36-year old James Page decided to run a marathon in his garden and helped raise over £3,000 for Children With Cancer UK.

James has been in training for the Marathon Des Sables Ultra in the Sahara but this had been postponed due to the COVID-19 scare.

Rather than let all of his training go to waste, James took it upon himself to run 873 laps of his garden to complete a full 26.2 mile marathon for charity.

In an interview, he said.... “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In a weird way it was quite enjoyable. It was nice weather and the kids were out there watching me with my wife.”

“I wanted to go a bit quicker and get a personal best, but it’s hard to pick up speed as you’re running in such a small circle. I’m not the fastest runner, but I had to keep it at a nice comfortable speed otherwise it would be tricky at the corners.”

“You can really see the loops trodden into the grass,” he said. “My wife’s not really happy, but she knows it was for a good cause and it keeps me happy.”

The full marathon took 4 hours and 57 minutes and he switched direction every 20 minutes to protect his knees.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Government restrict all individual exercise to within 2kms of your own home for two weeks

In an effort to clamp down on the spread of the COVID-19 disease, the Government have announced that as of midnight on Friday the 27th of March, all individual exercise must be within 2kms of your own home.

This restriction lasts until the 12th of April 2020.

Note that the instruction is for BRIEF individual physical exercise. It's not for running up and down the road within 2kms of your house and clocking up a half-marathon!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Boherbue to Kiskeam race in NW Cork cancelled

As expected, the annual Boherbue to Kiskeam 4 mile road race has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

It is hoped that it will be held later in the year.

All parkruns cancelled worldwide until the end of April 2020

The parkrun organisation has announced that due to the COVID-19 epidemic, there will be no parkruns anywhere in the world until the end of April and it's very likely that it will go well beyond that.

*** UPDATE - 16.40 GMT Tuesday 24 March 2020 ***

Update from parkrun Global Chief Operating Officer, Tom Williams

Today’s update is to notify you that all parkrun events will now continue to be suspended until at least the end of April. This is in order to keep all parkrun countries following the same timeline for the moment, although we do expect suspensions to go beyond April.

Since deciding to close our events we have been working incredibly hard to action that decision, understand the implications of making it, and provide immediate support to parkrun communities around the world. And, with all events suspended, we are now able to begin work developing our strategy for supporting our communities during this difficult time and, one day, re-launching.

Going forward we will be publishing a global parkrun update every Tuesday (UK time).

We will get through this, together.