Charleville famous for its cheese is a historic town located in County Cork, Ireland. Its history dates back to the late 17th century when it was founded by Roger Boyle, the 1st Earl of Orrery, in 1661. The town was strategically situated on the banks of the River Blackwater, which made it an important trading hub and contributed to its growth over the centuries. Charleville played a significant role in the agricultural and industrial development of the region, with a strong focus on dairy farming and cheese production.
Enough of the history lesson, Charleville also hosts one of the more famous half marathons in the build-up to the DCM or Chicago Marathons. It’s a flat and fast course with a good quality field to get those fast times, but despite the favourable system I’ve never run well here.
After running Dingle last weekend and a 1500M run on Saturday I had considered skipping this one but two friends were running and looking to run solid sub 90-minute times so I decided to do this with the group as part of my 2-hour long run.
Two hours after running the 1500M I was on the M7. I was lucky to be offered a spare room in Limerick the night before so it wasn’t an early start to get to the race. Limerick is only 30 minutes away if you stick to the speed limit. I was running with my speedy friend Shóna (Former Sportsworlder) and PB-seeking Padraig Looby.
Running with a group is an absolute blast! There’s something incredibly invigorating about pounding the pavement with a bunch of like-minded individuals. The camaraderie that forms during those sweaty, heart-pumping sessions is hard to beat. It’s a fantastic way to stay accountable and stick to the race plans. And let’s not forget the post-run high – the feeling of accomplishment and the shared endorphin rush is the perfect recipe for a great time. We all did a few strides and 3K of a warm-up before the race at 10 AM.
After the heat of Saturday, the race started in a cloud of fog but quickly got warm and sticky. The agreed pace was 4.10 kms and it was my job to block a little of the wind, carry a few water bottles etc. The loop starts in Charleville and runs out to Killmallock in Limerick before heading back to the start. The start was a bit bunched but we soon found ourselves running with a smaller group of 5-6. The first 7K was chatty but then everyone got down to business.
As we got to Kilmallock we were on pace despite me being accused of running all over the road, instead of taking the racing line. Remember who the donkey carrying the water is people. As we reached the halfway mark in 44 there was a collective feeling that things were going well. This stretch back onto the main road has a bit of a bumpy surface and it’s where people who have gone out too fast start to struggle.
As we reached 17-18K we were catching so many other runners. At 19K I could sense that Padraig was tiring a wee bit from the heat. Your job as the one setting the pace is to drive on and keep hitting the splits as we got to 19K there was some baying for blood and we hit the last mile well under 7 minutes.
The time on the clock was 1.27.10 (4.08s not bad pacing) as we crossed with Padraig just 20 seconds behind. A good job by the whole crew with neither Padraig nor Shóna having a full block of training behind them.
I kept running through the finish and finished out 2 hours with a bit of marathon-pace running, a hard task given how warm it was out there. Can the next 7 weeks be over already. Alo running for the club was Noreen Brouder who had a tough day but still ran a very respectable 1.26 on a warm day.
This is an excellent race that I can’t recommend enough. My tip would be to stay down the night before, There is a nice hotel in Charleville and it is very close to Limerick or Tipperary. Killmallock also has a lovely 4 miler in May.