Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: April 2020

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.

A list of previous guest posts from John Walshe can be seen HERE

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