Report by Andrea McNamara
Last Sunday a large Sportsworld contingent participated in the Cork city marathon event. The event comprises a marathon, half marathon and relay which involves five team members running a leg of the marathon course of between approx. 7km and just under 10km. While none of our members wished to have a go at the marathon on a hot summer’s day, we did have a number of participants in the half marathon and a few relay teams.
Having run a pretty disastrous marathon on the course five years ago, I decided that I had some unfinished business on my home soil, so signed up for this race shortly after Christmas. As it was on my one previous attempt at running Cork, the weather for the race on Sunday was very hot and humid but luckily it remained overcast for the race, so we escaped any intense sunshine.
The marathon and relay began at 8.30am with the half kicking off at 10.15am. I like to break half marathons down into thirds (7km each), which worked very well for this course, as the first 7km was generally flat, the middle 7km was quite hilly with lots of twists and turns (definitely the most difficult section) and the last 7km began with a couple of nice downhills and was then flat all the way home. There is a section from about 5km to 2km to go which is run on a dead straight, quite boring road (aptly called the Straight Road) which seemed never-ending on Sunday and was a bit of a challenge to me as my legs were beginning to tire at that point. After what seemed like an eternity, we exited Fitzgerald’s park and entered the city centre. The last few hundred metres involved sprinting (or attempting to sprint) down Patrick Street, which was packed with crowds left and right, to the finish line, which was a great experience.
Overall, I think the race was really well organised. They have had a few teething problems with the half over the past few years (including sending the runners the wrong way and adding almost a km on to the course a couple of years ago!) but everything seemed to run smoothly this year. There were a huge number of water stops along the route, as they had to cater for all the relay runners who were at various stages of their run, which really helped those of us doing the longer races too, given the heat on Sunday. There was also great support along most of the course and personally, it was lovely to run in front of a home crowd which included family and friends.
There were some great runs on Sunday, despite the heat, with Mark Hogan being the first Sportsworld man home in a time of 1.19. He was followed closely by Martin Doyle in 1.20, who not only managed a PB for his half but within that also achieved a PB for his 10k. I think we all need to start eating more Mars bars!
After the race the clouds lifted to make way for a beautiful sunny afternoon…perfect weather for a beer garden some might say! 🙂