East Cork Harbour Marathon was another outstanding success

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Photo Caption Marathon Winners – David Ryan, Clonmel AC, 1st placed and Cornelius Marshall, St. Finbarr’s AC, 2nd place

This year’s East Cork Harbour Marathon was another outstanding success story. Despite allocating and opening for more entries than ever, the event still sold out with over 1,150 making it to Aghada GAA Club’s magnificent complex at Rostellan on Saturday morning.

Unfortunately the recent hot and dry weather deserted the event and we witnessed some very wet conditions, leaving it extremely tough at times on runners. The runners though braved these conditions and made their way around the East Cork Harbour area and surrounding villages.

Spirits were not dampened as the high organisational standards of the event shined through to overcome the adverse weather.  Hot food including homemade burgers greeted the runners as they crossed the line following the competition of their exploits either over the Marathon course, the Half Marathon course or the 10K route..

Clonmel’s David Ryan was the main headline maker of the day as he made it a successful first visit to Aghada breaking the tape in the Marathon in 2:41:21 which gave him the luxury of over 12 minutes on runner up Con Marshall of St Finbarr’s.

So how difficult was it to run solo and keep the focus? ” I had a plan in my mind going out and despite a few difficult hills, I was able to pretty much keep the pace steady all the way”, the delighted winner told Midleton & District News. It was also a day of great joy for Kerry Crusaders athlete Rachel Stokes, who won the ladies title for a third year running. Rachael’s reaction summed up her achievement – “Yes really happy, it proablay was the toughest year yet, but I am thrilled to come home in 3:21:38.”. Next stop for the Marathon specialist is Dingle in three weeks time.

Mark Smith of Eagle AC. took the honours in the Half Marathon as he got the better of Ravis Zakis with a late burst to the finish line.  Mark stopped the clock at 1:17:52 Meantime, there was joy for Ballycotton native Julie Kenneally, of Youghal A.C as she claimed the ladies title in a 1:38:54.

The 10k was the first event to cross the finish line with in form Kevin O’Leary from East Cork romping home to a runaway success in a time of 33:49 – his nearest pursuer being Chris Murnane, who recorded 36:09 on the clock. .One of the most successful athletes in the history of Irish athletics Catherina Mckiernan was a surprise visitor to Aghada and despite a  limited training routine, the Cavan native was third overall in the 10K.  Catherina told Midleton & District News afterwards  that “whilst she has very much toned down her training, she still enjoys taking part in events and said this race was a superb occasion with wonderful community involvement.  These days I spend most of the time coaching and giving classes, but it’s marvellous to run in events like this with no great pressure”.

Huge credit must go to all those who contributed to organising a fantastic event. The East Cork community has backed this event and taken great pride to welcome all runners and participants to the area.  The chosen charity was Marymount Hospital in Cork.  Aghada GAA Club can take a massive bow for their trojan efforts and the contribution of the local Aghada Running Club is also significant. But no event of such magnitude could be organised without an inspiring leader and this event has a stellar figure in Brendan Crowley who has put so much time and energy into what has turned out to be a great sporting and social fixture.. It certainly is now up there with the best races, thanks to Brendan’s vision for success. Here’s to 2019.
(report courtesy of My Run Results and John Cashman – Midleton & District News)