National Senior XC:
National Senior XC:
The National Senior XC was held in the far away reaches of Rosapenna, Donegal last Sunday. In a magnificent setting, among the sand dunes hugging the rugged Atlantic coastline of the Rosguill peninsula, the course was set up for fast but honest running. The grass was like a Persian carpet underfoot and even with thousands of feet racing on it all day it did not cut up one bit. There were three very distinct parts of 1500m lap: A fast flat section at the start, a gradual sustained hill in the middle and a rolling up/down section at the end to test the different muscle groups. The crowds were able to view the race unfolding from any part of the course and with the commentary team providing exciting updates the atmosphere was what a National Championships should be like! Even the odd (cold) shower did not dampen any spirits.
Senior Womens 8k:
Fiona was up first and after some very strong performances in the previous few months expectations were high. After about 2.5k the main group of contenders including Sarah Healy, Ciara Mageean and Michelle Finn had formed the leading group and set a fast pace from the off. Fiona settled into about 40th place but well in the mix with lots of bunches just ahead of her. As each lap went by Fiona was edging further and further up the field, using her big race experience to know to trust her own pacing. With just over a lap to go Fiona had edged into the top 25 and still had the after burners to ignite. The 8k is longer than what was ran at the County Seniors and the British and Irish Masters but the extra distance suited with a strong last lap getting Fiona right up to 22nd and getting her a Silver medal as the 4th scorer on the Cork team. Her first time scoring on the Cork team at the National Senior XC. Also Fiona will be happy to know she matched her rival from a previous generation Eileen Pruntys silver county medal from 1989 in the process! Congrats Fiona, superb result.
Senior Mens 10k:
The mens race was up next and with a bit of wait at starting pens approx 200 athletes charged off from to gun all aiming to get in the best possible position before the first sharp left hand turn after 300m. Some had also spotted the camera for the live stream at the same bend and were trying to get their sponsors some airtime. The mens race had one small 1000m lap and then 6 of the 1500m laps. Paul, Tim and Mike bunched nicely together in the top 20 or thirty for a few laps all having learnt the hard way what it feels like to blow up in one of these races and were waiting for the race t really begin at about the half way mark. Franko, fueled up on a fine feed of fish and chips from the night before, was in the top 50 and was keeping the lads in sight. Kevin and Nick were a bit further back waiting to take up the slack if something happened any of the top 4.
Tim in the midst of a marathon training block for Valencia next month used that strength to his advantage to up the ante at 5k and do what he does best, to pick people off without a care in the world to how it makes them feel. Over the final 3k Tim moved from 20th all the way up to 11th. A fine display of running from Tim who matched his previous best position from 2015. Paul was next home in 19th and also had a fine run and making it look easy to finish in the top 20. He just hung there the entire race rock solid as always. Paul was also keeping an eye on the U23 competition around him as the top 5 were predicted to be selected for the European Champs in Italy next month. Unluckily for Paul he missed out by one position (and only 6 seconds) being 6th U23 in the end. He is now first reserve for the team so not all is lost.
Mike finished just behind Paul in 21st place. Mike has had a golden few months of racing with many PB's and national master records under his belt and he was certainly bucking the age profile trend with his result. If it was a parkrun and the age adjusted %'s were factored in Mike would have been hard to beat! It has been 6 years since Mike last ran this race and his comeback came at a wonderful time with Paul and Frank exploding out of the Junior ranks to bolster our Senior team. Frank was next home in 38th place. Frank has been plying his trade in the UK for the past 18 months and the racing experience that he brought home with him certainly helped him to take some big scalps with his run in Donegal. Frank was prominent the whole race and had a tidy sprint finish to ensure he finished as high up as possible. Kevin was next home in 75th place and Nicky in 121st. Both had solid runs and with a few more months of training under the belts over the winter should be sharp for early 2023.
When the dust settled (5 minutes after the race) the team were hoping they had done enough for 3rd place to match the feat of the 1989 team of Liam O'Brien, Donnacha O'Mahony, Bryan Meade and Tom Owens. Everyone had an opinion and were trying to roughly add up the teams that were in contention. But then an excited Liam O'Brien with a suspected tear in his eye (although it also could have been residue from one of the previous sun showers) announced we in fact had got silver and surpassed anything the club has achieved before at the National Senior XC!
East Cork have had potential for a top 3 team many times over the past 15 years but with so few runners at the level required something always seemed to happen in the lead up to scupper the chances. This year with Paul and Frank coming of age and Tim and Mike having rock solid form and experience we were finally able to bridge the 33 year gap and podium at the biggest team race of the year. Congrats to all who have contributed to this fantastic achievement. This was not just the four who scored on the day but a wonderful amalgamation of efforts from people who have kept the club going in leaner times, training partners on cold Wednesday night runs and early Saturday morning hills, coaches and advisors, supporters who prefer to be back stage. This is a result for all and will hopefully inspire the next generation of East Cork athletes to try and go for one better and land the big one. Hopefully we will not have to wait another 33 years!
On top of the this East Cork have now been selected to represent Ireland at the European Club Cross Country championships in Spain in February. It will be a proud day to see the small club of East Cork AC represented at such an event. For the record we were only 3 points off winning it in the end with Clonliffe Harriers 1st on 86 points, East Cork second with 89 and Mullingar Harriers third on 100 points. Tim, Paul and Mike also scored on the bronze winning Cork team.
On the same day as the cross country was the fist Cloyne 4k of the series. Everyone who attended this is forgiven as it has been agreed that Rosapenna is too far a drive to justify for a supporter. We did have a mighty turn out with Annelise finishing second woman in 16:00.
Donal was first home for the men with a solid performance after his Munster Senior Team silver medal performance, he was 5th in 13:04. Michael Furlong continously improving was 6th in 13:29. John Spelman wished the race finished after 3500m but was still 8th in 13:29. Stephen was next for 10th in 13:36. In a long awaited return Sean McGrath had a solid run for 11th in 13:43. If Sean can get 3 or 4 weeks of training in before hte next Cloyne 4k everyone in the top 10 should watch out. You have been warned! Eric Meade was 35th in 15:25. Annelise as mentioned had a great run for 2nd lady in 16:00. Avril and Christine as usually were close to each other with Avril in 4th in 16:19 and Christine in 5th in 16:35. Eadaoin tempo'd around after injury in a good 17:01 with Lorna just behind in 17:42. Zach Swords made his club debut and could be part of the future East Cork Senior XC team if he keeps up his training, he had a great run in 18:14. Denis was next with 19:28 with Lavinia in 21:33. Well done all. Great to have good club support at our local race.
Next up is the National Novice XC championships. Luckily they are being hosted a little closer to home. St Catherines will be doing the honours in Conna and we have a strong mens and womens teams entered. These are on December the 4t. Best up luck to all.
Also the club Christmas night out is on Thursday December 15th in the Surf and Turf (East Cork Golf Club) at 7pm. If you/your partner are going please confirm with Lorna in the next few days.
British and Irish Masters XC:
The 33rd British and Irish Masters Home XC international was held on Saturday in amazing conditions in Santry. The course was in perfect condition for fast running. Fiona donned her first Irish singlet since 1997 and ran a great race to justify her selection.
From the trial she was 4th fastest on the Irish teams but she ripped up the form book with a powerfully executed race. Back in 12th place after a lap and a half of the 1500m circuit she could see from her vantage point, the lead of Sinead O'Connor growing and the chasing pack struggling to hang on. Fiona started to pick them off one by one. With about 2k left to race Fiona had got up to 5th place and within striking distance of the podium. In a strong move she surged past teammate Laura McDonnell and two Scottish girls to get into 2nd place and took a 10m lead on them into the final lap. With the home support cheering her and Sinead on she battled all the way to the finish line for a memorable silver individual medal and gold national medal. In every single one of the past 32 runnings of this event England have taken home the overall winning trophy. For the very first time Ireland claimed it for there own and Fiona played her part in that too. Congrats Fiona and hopefully that form will follow you to Donegal next weekend too!
In other cross country races Ollie Smiddy ran the Novice B county championships in Riverstick and was 11th overall and Frank ran in the Met League XC in London and was also 11th.
John Spelman ran in the UCC team for the annual Irish Universities road relay championships in Maynooth. He was on the first mile leg and ran 5.38 in wet and windy conditions. Well done John.
In the Thomas Kent 10k in Castlelyons on Sunday we had three running. Michael Furlong had a super run for 4th overall in a time of 35.26. Christine Kelly had a very strong run and finished 5th lady in a great time of 43.30. Chris McGrath had a first hit out after the Dublin marathon with 47.03 for 91st.
The National Senior XC is on in Donegal this Sunday. We have a strong team heading up to compete in the mens race and Fiona will have high hopes in the womens race. Best of luck to all and enjoy the journey!
Also on Sunday is the first race in the Cloyne Commons 4k race series. It starts at 9.30am with registration in Hartys Bar beforehand.
Munster Junior and Senior XC:
The Munster XC championships were held in Limerick racecourse last Sunday. Conditions were tricky with the going soft to heavy. It was a day for the mudlarks rather than the thoroughbreds.
John Spelman was our sole representative in the Junior Mens 6000m race. John finished a solid 19th overall and was also a scorer on the Cork team that pipped Clare for the Gold.
With a lot of teams looking 2 weeks down the track to the Nationals in Donegal, the senior fields were a little less competitive than usual. All four of our Gold medal winning county team were absent for the race so it was great to see the depth of the club shine through as we came home with Munster silver team medals in the end and improved on our bronze team last year.
The race was shortened to 8k just before the start due to the conditions but it was more likely the organising staff wanted to get out of there for a shower and hot cup of tea. Kevin showed good improvement since the Counties with a 5th place finish. Matt on his local stomping ground picked all the good lines and got the better of Donal in the final 2k to finish 20th. Donal was just behind in 22nd with Nicky, who was in bed sick for the week, completing the team in 25th. This got us 72 points and second place behind rivals Leevale who had 47 points. Kevin also scored on the winning Cork team for the County competition.
The County Intermediate and Novice B is on this Sunday in Riverstick. Anyone who wishes to enter please let Eadaoin know by Tuesday night at 8pm.
The new club captains have also hit the ground running, already sending an email to the entire club! They are planning the now annual club run for December 17th and are thinking of using a Parkrun as the event. More details to come in the next few weeks.
Also the annual Christmas social will be coming up. Date with venues are currently being finalised but is likely to be Thursday December 15th. Again details will be sent as soon as confirmed.
County Masters XC:
The County Masters was held in Carrignavar on Sunday in very wet and mucky conditions.
The mens team race was a very close affair with a lot changing during the race but luckily as the dust settled we just snuck the win and retained our title beating Leevale by 2 points and The Barrs by 3. Kevin, still a spring chicken in the Masters ranks, was 2nd overall behind race winner Donal Coakley. Brian Harty had a fine run showing the months of training in his legs with a 5th place and was battling for the podium for a long spell. Chris Kelly continued his good form too with another strong showing for 9th. Stephen O'Brien was well up in contention for a top 10 but a bad fall at the Fairmont Hairpin caused an issue with his DRS in the last lap. He did enough to secure the team medals with a 23rd place finish and was the sole link between the winning team from 2021 and 2022.
Kevin won individual Silver in M35, Brian Bronze in M40 and Chris Bronze in M35. Eric had a battle for the M55 title with John Cashman of Midleton, in the end Eric had to settle for Bronze. Denis was 7th in the M55 race.
Fiona had a powerful run blowing away the field for a comfortable win in the women's 4k event. Avril edged out Christine by 4 seconds for 14th over all with Christine just behind in 16th. Unfortunately we were one short for the team.
Congrats to Carrignavar in organising another great event. The only grumblings that people had was that the business plying it's trade during the event did not offer free refreshments to the gold medal winning athletes...
Well done to Kenneth and Chris on completing the Dublin marathon on Sunday too. Kenneth after a stint out injured was not at his fittest but still ran a very impressive 2.49 for 187th overall. Chris knocked a big 16 minutes off his Cork time for a superb 3.30. Well done both.
Eadaoin ran in the Battersea 5k in London on Saturday and was 2nd lady in 20.17. Great to see her coming back into form for the pointy end of the XC season.
We had the club AGM last week. Thanks to those who turned up on the night and thanks to Rooskagh Coffee for providing the catering. The main updates are the new club captains. Annelise is the Ladies Captain and Stephen is the Mens Captain. Best of luck to both for the coming year.
The next race up on the calendar is the Munster Senior XC in Limerick Racecourse on Sunday. It seems our A team are saving themselves for the Nationals in Donegal so we will see what the B team can come up with on the day. Best of luck to all running.
Munster Novice XC:
The Munster Novice was held in Riverstick on Sunday the 23rd . The course was hilly and wet, a true XC test. First up the women were lead again by Annelise who had a great individual run despite battling sickness all week to get in the top 20 for 19th. Niamh O'Connor ran very strong for 27th overall just ahead of Eadaoin in 32nd. Christine completed the scoring team with another good and ever improving run for 38th. Avril was 47th but had also ran in the Rebel Run 5k earlier in the day and was 17th overall in 21.22. This got the ladies team 6th overall.
The men had a solid team that packed well. Donal was first home for the club with a decent run for 23rd overall. Matt Horrigan showed all his experience as he really came through the field in the final 2k picking off about 10 positions for 25th. Chris was next home in 33rd with Michael Furlong completing the scoring team in 42nd. John Spelman was 47th and Stephen was 52nd. The mens team was 5th overall.
Road Racing - National M40 record:
Michael took flight to Leeds to run a competitive fast 5k also on Sunday morning. In sparkling form at the moment his momentum kept on going with a superb 29.42 and with it became the first man in Ireland over 40 years of age to ever run a sub 30 minute 10k. With the speed in his legs and his proven cross country pedigree the National Senior XC will be a big target in 3 weeks time and with a strong team out with him perhaps a top three team could be on the cards! Well done Michael from all in the club.
Brian made a welcome return to racing, his first in over 3 years at the Rebel 10k. Brian was 11th in 36.31 and will most definitely kick on from here now with a good block of training under his belt.
The County Masters XC is on in Whites Cross Monday the 31st and the Munster Senior XC is on in Limerick Racecourse November 6th. Best of luck to all running and representing the club.
Autumn Open XC:
We had two athletes venture up to Abbotstown last Sunday to compete in the Autumn Open XC. This race is also used as the masters qualifying race for the British and Irish Masters International where we have had some successes in the past. Fiona was up first and the under foot conditions were set up for a fast race. Fiona used this to her advantage and ran a very strong race coming 4th master overall and 3rd F35 which qualifies her for her first Irish vest on November 12th. Congrats on a very big achievement, lots of miles and dedication over many years have gone into getting to this level.
Paul ran in the mens race but with 15 years to go before being eligible, he did not have much interest in the Masters. He was focused on the Senior position and ran an exceptional race to come 10th overall in a high quality field beating quite a few heavy weights (not literally) and really mixed it with the best in the country. It will be a great confidence builder going into the national Senior and U23 XC in Donegal next month. Well done Paul.
On Saturday Shane Harrington made his first race appearance since the 2019 National Novice XC in Dunboyne. His running certainly seems to have tapered off since saying "I do" but luckily his East Cork singlet still fits and it was great to see him back in action. He came 3rd overall and in typical island fashion the 5 miles turned into 5.25 miles as the lead car got distracted chatting to a local and went the wrong way. The times were slow in the race but the route was more akin to the Wicklow Way route with a savage hill to contend with mid way through.
Avril raced in the Defence Forces 5k in Haulbowline and broke the 21 minute barrier for the first time with a PB of 20.59. One year ago Avril ran 22.57 in her first 5k for the club so a full 2 minutes improvement in 12 months! Outstanding!
On Sunday the Munster Novice XC is on in Riverstick. We have full teams in the mens and womens races so best of luck to all.
Tough Conditions for County Novice in Ballynoe:
The county novice was help in Ballynoe last Sunday alongside the famous East Cork Road Championship route. Conditions were a bit wild. Strong winds and a lot of rain meant XC season is truly on us now. The Women's team was lead by Annelise who was 9th overall closely followed by Eadaoin in 10th. Christine and Avril had another close battle with Christine shading it this time by 1 second in 23rd with Avril 24th. Lorna was 40th. The team came 4th, six points behind Cork Track Club.
The mens team was lead by Chris Kelly who had a battling performance for 16thwith John Spelman not far behind in 20th. Stephen just back from his nice holiday was 25th with Michael Furlong, running out of steam in the final 500m, in 28th. Ollie had a solid run for 48th with Padraig improving with each race in 66th. He probably would have been higher up the rankings but only had a pair of runners, which could not have been easy in such conditions! The mens team was 5th overall.
Michael also ran the Rosscarbary Steam Train on Saturday in a fine PB of 17.01.
Michael wins gold, Fiona bronze and mens team dominate!
The county senior XC was on in Carrignadrohid again last Sunday. It was a very warm and calm October day with the ground in perfect condition for running. The course lap changed quite dramatically from past years, this time the course organisers decided to make it hilly...and they did!
The mens race was an interesting tactical battle with a large contingent of Leevale singlets leading the way for the first few laps. Micheal and Paul were sitting in the bunch watching and waiting. The three time champ Tim was at the back of the group testing out the body after a few months of easy running after a hamstring injury with Franko running his first County Senior race also in the mix. Kevin, Donal, Fergus, Chris and Denis were further back having their own battles!
As the race progressed the leading group whittled down to three with Gavin O'Rourke of Leevale taking on the pace. He was stalked by Michael and Paul who were just behind him watching and waiting. Frank and Tim were in the chasing group with Leevale duo John Shine and Conor McCauley. Nathan O'Leary was coming strong just behind so over half way through the race the top 8 positions were held by East Cork and Leevale. It was primed for another classic dust up for the team title.
A unique feature of the Carrignadrohid course over the years is the 1500m laps for the 10k. Here it was 1 small lap and 6 big laps. So for tired minds there is a lot of counting. Leevale lost the 2019 team title to North Cork due to this and lightning struck twice again last Sunday. Gavin O'Rourke pushed hard on the 5th 1500m lap, most thought it was a long run from home to break Mike and Paul but when they passed the turn off for the finish funnel and were directed for "one last lap" that unfortunately was the end of his race. It didn't effect the East Cork lads at all both were there to win and were still very comfortable and cruising at this stage. For the record Mike is twice the age of Paul so it was set up for a great classic last lap of youth v experience. The previous 6 weeks Mike has been training in Iten, Kenya and he showed that he didn't just pick up a nice bronzing tan over there but some fitness too! Over the final 1000m Mike put a spurt in that showed he was a class apart on the day and in the end won with 20 seconds to spare and joined Liam, Donnacha and Tim as County Senior XC champions.
With the battle for 1st and 2nd taken care of just behind them Tim was steaming through the field and finished a comfortable 3rd. Frank had a great battle with the Leevale lads to finish 5th over all and sowed up the team title for the club, one we have not won since 2017. Kevin was next home in 19th, Donal 25th , Fergus 27th, Chris 33rd and Denis 44th. Paul and Frank also were 1st and 2nd U23's.
This was Denis' 40th running of the County Senior XC championships. He has been on the scoring winning team twice. Rumour has it this could be his final running of the event and if this is true it was a fitting finish to such a great servant of Cork athletics by receiving a loud round of applause as he crossed the finish line from a large group of East Cork athletes and also many other clubs. To put it in perspective this was Franks first County Senior XC, for him to emulate Denis the earliest he could match this tally is in 2062!
John Spelman ran in the combined U18 and Junior Mens race and was 16th overall.
Spoiler - the womens team took the bronze team medal behind Leevale and St Finbarrs.
Fiona had a storming race to finish 3rd overall. Sinead O'Connor always looked a big favourite to win but Leevales newest memebers, transferred in from Tipperarey last month, were looking to make it a clean sweep of the podium. The race set of with Sinead and Fiona Everard (Bandon AC) taking a lead with a large chasing pack including Fiona. The womens race was 6k so four hilly 1500m laps. Fiona sat at the back of the group knowing the hills would play to her advantage and as the race went on and people were dropping back and dropping out, the group whittled down to a battle with Martina Kiely, Michelle Kenny and Shona O'Brien. With just over 1500m to go Fiona (who did count the laps right) made her move and went hard up the long hill and down into the final lap pushing strongly to open a gap and break those eager to get their hands on the last remaining individual medal. Her half marathon strength showed as none of the group behind could close the gap and Fiona powered on to extend her lead and take 3rd overall.
Annelise had a good run to beat training partner Eadaoin with Avril and Christine also having a great battle just behind them. In the end the ladies team score was 57 points to take the bronze team medals. Well done all.
Thanks to Ray and John too for taking some great photos of the action.
Cross Country season is on us again and our mens teams made a dominant statement winning both the Senior and Novice team titles.
Senior and Masters:
Firstly in the Senior and Master in Ballynoe on Sep 17th Paul finally got the monkey off his back and got his individual win, having to deal with the unfortunate bridesmaid tag the past two years. Frank stepped up last minute having already done his training for the day to help the team and came third overall. One time leader of the race Donal finished 5th overall (and 2nd M25) with Eric Meade rolling back the years to claim his 12th East Cork Senior team title in 15th. Denis was 22nd in the race and continues a 41 year active streak of competing in this race.
Niamh O'Connor was 4th overall with Christine Kelly making her debut with an excellent 8th. NIamh was 1st F35 and Christine was 3rd F35.
The East Cork Novice race was held in Whites Cross. Just before the start we looked like we would be just short in having a team but as the women started their race Michael, Stephen and Padraig all arrived fashionably late.
John, Stephen and Michael lead the race out the first 3k with Watergrasshill athlete Brendan Healy in close pursuit. As the race wore on Michael got a little dropped from the pace and John made his move with 1k to go. All was looking good for John until the orange Watergrasshill vest came storming past him with 300m to go. Stephen was following closely but John had just enough of a lead to hold on for 2nd with Stephen in third. Michael battled for 4th with Ollie Smiddy having a good run on his way back from injury to finish 8th. Padraig running his first race for the club was 18th. This was good enough to win the team title comfortably.
Avril Crowley had a great run to finish 5th in the womens race with Claire O'Brien coming 13th.
Fiona had a great run in the Womens Mini Marathon 6k to come 4th in 21.17. And Chris ran a strong race in Charleville on Sunday morning to get a PB or 92.11.
All roads lead to Carrigadrohid next Sunday for the County Senior XC. The womens race will start at approx 2pm and the mens at 2.45pm. If you want to enter please make sure you have told Eadaoin as the entries are on the Entry 4 Sport website.
Kevin O'Leary made a fine return to racing after a significant time out injured with an impressive 71.33 in the Waterford Greenway half marathon. Kevin was 3rd overall.
Michael Furlong had a busy week coming 4th in the Grant Thornton 5k on Tuesday night in 17.35 then backed it up on Thursday in the St Lukes 5k in 17.13. Donal, Stephen and Eadaoin ran in St Lukes too. Donal edged Stephen out by 9 seconds for a 10th place in 16.41 with Stephen 11th in 16.52. Eadaoin ran a competitive 20.24 for 5th lady.
Cross Country Calendar - Winter 2022:
See fixture list below. I will update this if any changes.
Stryker 4 Mile
The BHAA Stryker 4 mile was on last Thursday night on a good evening for racing. James was 3rd overall in 20:41. Michael Furlong was our next home in 22:41. Paul Cleary was 48th in 24:49 and Claire was 200th in 31:07.
Glengarriff 5 Mile
Fiona was first lady home and 2nd overall in the Glengarriff 5 Mile at the weekend. Interestingly she was 2nd to Darragh McElhinney. There are a few in the club that would give a lot to be second to Darragh in a race later on in the winter!
Cross Country Training and Races - Winter 2022:
We are back training in the normal winter venues now again. Market Green on Tuesday at 6pm and Welchtown on Saturday at 10am.
The East Cork Senior and Masters is on this Sunday hosted by St Catherines. The Junior and Senior Races will start approx 1pm.
The County Board will confirm their fixture list later this week and I will add a full schedule on the next post.
Fiona Santry - National Masters Track Gold!
The National Master Track and Field were on in Tullamore on August 13th. Fiona ran in the womens 3k and was 2nd overall and first F35 bagging herself a national individual track medal. To add some icing on the cake she also got a 2 second PB of 10.11.
Stephen and Donal ran in the mens 1500m and both ran strong competitive races. Stephen edged out Donal for 5th in 4.26 with Donal an agonising 1 second and 1 place behind his training partner.
Updated Club Record - Frank O'Brien
Frank continued his rich vein of form with another storming 800m at the Eltham BMC. Frank ran a gutsy 1:52.30 (hand timed) to win the B race on the night and lowers his own record by another second.
Lots of road races and great performances as well the last two weeks with people signing off their summers and others trying to limber up for cross country. The results of these are below.
Mike Harty - National Track Bronze!
The big news over the last few weeks was Mike Harty coming third in the national 10k track championships. It has been 9 years since James won our last Senior track medal, a bronze in the 5k in 2013. Mike was up against young guns Mathew Neil (Current U23 5K national champion) and Paul O'Donnell (who was 3rd in last years National Senior XC) in a tactical race that really hotted up over the last couple of laps. Just over 1 second separated them when the dust settled. Mike gamely hung right in there till the final meter and showed that age is just a number crossing the line in 30:44.71. Well done Mike you certainly deserved such a result, the past few years have been littered with many set backs but perseverance and determination shone true and you have clearly reaped the rewards this summer. Long may it last!
Fiona has certainly made her comeback felt locally gobbling up 1st places for fun at the Ballinameela 5k (17.43) and St Catherines 5k (17.58). Interestingly she also came 3rd overall in St Catherines the same position hubby Nicky came last year in the same race.
Tamzin was 3rd in St Catherines in 19.59 and Denis was 53rd in 23.21. Paul Cleary raced in Novartis and was 35th in 19.26. Annelise continued her strong form too with a 5th place in Mitchelstown at the GR8 8k with a time of 33.25. And finally Tim won a race in York at the weekend. Beating over 2500 in the process with a time of 30.48.
Currently training for the next few weeks is continuing at Welchtown on Tuesdays at 6pm and Saturday mornings at 10am. Towards the end of August we will transition Tuesday back to Market Green.
Frank O'Brien - Club Record:
The British Milers Club is always a race to get good fields and fast times. Frank took full advantage of this last Wednesday night running a 3 second PB and in the process breaking the long standing club record from Santry Stadium August 17th, 1986. It remains to be seen if Liam will be pleased or otherwise to see one of his club marks chalked off. However his PB of 1.51 still will be brought up at family dinners for the time being no doubt.
Frank ran a tactically astute race sitting at the back of the group conserving energy but still went through in about 57 seconds. As he kicked around the pack with 300m to go the long time leader started to fade and Frank was in perfect position to pounce on that weakness. He held his speed and form right through the line to stop the clock in an impressive 1:53.89. For the record books legitimate dragonfly spikes were used. The Youtube video is below.
The Gas Networks Ireland 5k was held in the Marina on Wednesday night as well. Kenneth had a great race to clock 15.50 and finish 3rd. Interestingly and impressively he first broke 16 mins for 5k about 25 years ago and is still going strong. Lot to be said for healthy living! Stephen ran a PB of 16.35. Donal will have to counter that when he's home again. Paul Cleary was next home in 19.37. Annelise was in the hunt for a PB form the very start and was rewarded with her first (official) sub 20 min clocking of 19.47. From winning a beach half marathon last week to a sub 20min 5k is showing some great range. Niamh also broke the 20min barrier for the first time too with a 19.50 just behind Annelise.
Championship Races (Two Victories):
On the championship side of things we had the East Cork 5k champs on in MTU track last Wednesday night. We took gold and bronze in both the mens and womens races. Frank won his first medal for the club running a controlled race to finish in 16.04 (with a 59 second last lap). Michael Furlong opened his account with East Cork with a well executed run for 3rd overall in 17.24. Fiona was next home and in the process won the womens section in a superb time of 18.03. Niamh O'Connor and Annelise had a ding dong battle for 3rd with Niamh edging away in the final couple of laps to take the bronze in 20.17. Denis was 14th in 25.20.
The National U23's took place on Sunday. Frank was our sole representative and ran a solid race for 5th in the 1500m with a time of 4.08 in a slow tactical race with a last lap burn up.
Road Racing (Three Vicories):
Michael had another excellent run and win in the Dundrum 10k last week. Stopping the clock at 30.13 it sets him up really well to have a right good crack at the National 10k coming up soon.
Frank also ran and won the Corkbeg 4 mile last week in 20.30 with Niamh taking out 3rd in 27.13. Others running were Nicky 3rd, Kenneth 4th, Eric 20th, Avril 5th and Tom 71st. Thanks to all in the club who helped out on the night.
Annelise had a well deserved sandy victory in Kerry in the Brandon Bay Half Marathon on Saturday too and Michael Furlong ran the Dungarvan 10k in 36.32 for 6th.
Many many races to catch up on. The summary below should have most on it.. If there are any missing please let me know.
The main highlights were from the championship races. Paul and Frank went to Santry for the National Championships on June 25th. Frank was one place off making the final in his very competitive heat coming 5th in 4.02. Paul ran a 4.03 for 10th in his heat. Well done lads this is the place to aiming for especially as the 1500m is probably the deepest event in the whole programme.
The other championship race was the other end of the spectrum. Held on Carrig na Bhfears fine grass track we were very successful on the night. The main winner was double gold medalist Donal who doubled down in the 1500m and 3000m M35 category. Stephen won the 300m and was second in the 1500m. Annelise and Eadaoin were 2nd and 3rd in the Senior 3000m with Nicky 2nd in the mens senior 3000m.
Cork City Sport:
Frank was our sole representative in the Cork City Sports were he recorded a nice PB of 8.39 for 6th place in the Open 3k.
- Corkbeg 4 Mile: This is on tomorrow night July 7th with a 8pm start in Whitegate. This is hosted and organised by East Cork AC so if you are not running and have a hour to spare to help out please do. Also it must be noted this is only a €5 entry on the night. One of the rare races left that still is held to a high standard but for a low price. Even more of a reason to support.
- St Catherines 5k: Our friends in St Catherines are having their annual 5k on July 29th. Tim has the mens course record from last year and there is a prize for breaking it. Race starts and ends in Ballynoe and is always well organised and supported.
Frank has been limbering into the track season the last few month and showed again some good for the past week. Firstly at the Birmingham BMC meet Frank ran 4.00 for the 1500m and then the Watford Open 800m he nudged his PB down another little bit to a very respectable 1.56. Paul had a big breakthrough in the 1500m too at the Leevale Open Sports, breaking 4 mins for the first time with an excellent 3.57 for 4th.
Stephen and Donal ran in the Musgrave 5k last night up in the Marina. Stephen broke the 17 min barrier for the first time with a 16.49 for 17th and Donal broke 17min for the second time with 16.57 for 19th. The last time was over three years ago in May 2019 at the John Buckley 5k. Hopefully he won't have to wait as long again!
Eadaoin also ran a 21.34 for 122nd.
East Cork T&F:
Reminder that the East Cork Athletics Division Senior, Junior & Master T&F Championships is on Tuesday, 21st June at Colaiste an Chroi Naofa, Carraig na Bhfear. List of events and start times below.
Entries should be sent to Eadaoin by Friday 17th June.
Munster Masters T&F:
Stephen was again our sole representative at the Munster track and field on Monday in MTU. He ran the 1500m and got the bronze medal in the M35 category, running 4.35 on the day in damp conditions.
Cloyne 5 Mile:
The inaugural Cloyne 5 mile was held last Thursday night. Michael continued his great recent form with another convincing win in 24.27. Donal and John battled for 11th place with Donal besting John on this occasion. Eric was next home in 31.26. Tamzin finished 8th in 33.10. Avril had a great run to beat Annelise and clocked 34.41 with Annelise just behind in 35.00. Lorna was next in 36.17 just ahead of Denis in 36.30. Claire O'Brien and Dave Muldowney rounded off our results with 37.27 and 40.14 respectively. Also running very impressively was Emma Leahy McGrath who has won numerous cross country medals with us over the years. Emma was third on the night and interestingly was the only person on the podium for men and women who was not wearing supershoes.
June Bank holiday weekend in Cork and marathon fever took over the city as usual. This is one of the few races each year that brings the athletic community and the general public together on the same page. Tim took full advantage of this and proceeded to improve his finishing position from 2019 by one place to step at the top of the podium this time. Tim set a course record and convincingly broke the 2.20 barrier with his 2:18.37 finishing time. His splits were 10k 33.48, Half 69.08, 30k 1:38.28, 40k 2:11.20. This is the second time we have had a winner at the race. Roy Fahy won it as well back in 2008 with a time of 2:33.55.
Kenneth also had an excellent race finishing 8th in his first ever marathon in 2:35.39. Chris McGrath (without much training) ran around in 3:46.03. Well done all.
We also had an East Cork (and Friends) ladies relay team who finished 3rd ladies team. Fiona ran the first leg to Silversprings, Avril the second to Mahon and passed the band to Tamzin who had a fine run to past to Jen Preston for the 4th leg and Lorna took the glory leg and brought them home in 2:59.
Thanks to all those who helped out from the club on the day with stewarding and assisting at the relay changeovers.
Cork County T&F Champs (Day 2):
Day 2 of the County T&F was on last week. Stephen O'Brien was our sole representative. He ran in the 1500m and wsa 11th in 4.34.
Other Track and Road:
Frank was 5th in the Eltham BMC 1500m running an impressive 3.56. With his 800m PB as well recently this is a nice breakthrough spell for him so let the good times keep rolling!
The Ballymacoda 4 Mile was the main local road race on last week. Nicky continued his purple patch and won the race in convincing fashion, leading from the gun to the tape in a new course record and PB of 20.30. John Spelman took some time out from his studies to finish 8th overall and first junior in 22.30. Donal was just behind him in 22.41. Stephen was next in 23.00 with Tim O'Mahony racing for the first time this year and showed he still has a bit of fitness with a solid 21st in 23.56.
Niamh O'Connor was our first lady home just outside the 27 min mark (by a mere 2 seconds!), Lorna was next and had a nice improvement from Ballintotis in 28.33. Conor launched his trademark sprint finish to keep Denis at bay and finished in 28.56 with Denis just behind in 29.18.
Cloyne 5 Mile:
The Cloyne 5 Mile is on this Thursday at 8pm sharp. It is being supported by East Cork AC so if you would like to race/help out etc please let Liam or Brian Harty know.
Follow the yellow man they say!
Where to start.. Firstly well done to all from the club that helped make this work. While this might not be a championship race or even an Athletics Ireland event (God forbid!) it is one of the few events that as a club we get big numbers together with a common purpose. The Wicklow Way Relay brings out all the best characteristics of East Cork AC. The race is long, hard, tricky to get right and needs a big team effort to pull off a result.
Luckily on our 3rd attempt we managed to have a clean race with nobody getting lost or missing the start. In the end we finished 2nd overall just behind Rathfarnham AC.
We had two route records on the day. Congrats to Kenneth on Leg 4 and Tim on Leg 7. There is comprehensive database on the IMRA site with course and route times over the years.
The Race itself:
The race started just outside Marlay Park at 7am on Saturday May 14th. Graham only 2 weeks after the Limerick marathon was on the first leg and completed it 62.02 in touching distance of the leaders in 5th position. Graham handed over to his marathon friend Donal who maintained the 5th position on the 2nd hardest leg of the route, a 15km mostly uphill run from Prince Williams Seat to Lough Tay carpark. Donal ran a decent 75.58. Fiona was on the third leg and luckily had reccied the route the night before as apparently there were some questionable junctions.... Fiona made up one place for the team and got us into 4th 12 minutes down on the leaders TT Racers. Kenneth over the years has owned leg 4 and this year proved no different. Kenneth blitzed his leg to get us into 2nd with only a 7 minute deficit on Rathfarnham with still more than half of the way to go.
Kevin was up next and ran a solid 61 mins up and over Mullacor to hand to Nicky still in 2nd place. Nicky during his reccie had assessed the route and knew the fastest way to go. He had a great run in 57 mins to claw back another few minutes on the leaders and then it was down to set loose our trump card Tim to see how much damage he could inflict on the longest leg of the course. A 21km leg with about 600m of climbing. Tim failed to disappoint. He had a 9 minute disadvantage when he took off from Iron Bridge and started as if he was running the Cloyne Commons 4k. At the 14km mark of his leg he had completely closed the 9 minutes and had 7km left to go. At the final handover point Tim had clawed us to first place with a buffer of 4 minutes. Tim ran the leg in 72.30 (a sickening 3.33 min/km) Annelise on the anchor leg had a tough task ahead of her as despite the lead, she was up against Laura McDonnell a 35min 10k runner. Annelise gave it everything to stay ahead but was passed on the very hilly road section coming into Shillelagh village, the finish of the race.
In the end we finished in a well deserved 2nd position in an very exciting tight race in 7 hours 34.
A huge thanks also goes out to Lavinia, Lorna and Eadaoin who supported during the race and volunteered for some car parking duties that was necessary. Eibhlin and Ger were a massive help too providing logistics on the day and keep a close eye on the splits and keep the whole crew aware of the race situation as it was unfolding. At one point Ger got so caught up in the event he must have thought we were competing in the Tour De France, as he was roaring in French out the car window. And last but not least a huge thanks to Rosemary Hutch for provide sponsorship towards the race entry fee too.
Hopefully we can get another team together again next year and give it another go.
National Road M40 5k Record:
Micheal had a sense of history correcting itself where he reclaimed the national M40 road record that was cruelly taken away from him after Kilkenny when they realised the course was 50m short course. In another top quality field Michael was 3rd home in 14.20. Congrats again Michael and well deserved.
MTU and National League Round 1:
Paul raced in the MTU Day 2 in the 1500m. Paul had a solid run in 4.04 for 7th.
Paul also represented the East Cork division in the 800m at the National League in Templemore, where he ran another sub 2 (1.59:67) for 4th. Matt stepped up after his holidays to run the 5000m. He was also 4th in 16.45.
Frank ran in the Watford Open in the UK. He won his 800m race in a new PB of 1.57:46.
Again the summer season of road racing is hectic this year. We had a good few race the Cheetah Run 5k (organised by Eagle AC). Nicky had a solid run for 4th in 16.05. Ger Lynch was next in 20.54. Lorna reversed the result from Ballintotis and pipped Conor by 7 seconds this time finishing in 22.10. Eibhlin ran 27.38 but would have finished faster if she wasn't too distracted by the animals along the very scenic route.
The John Buckley 5k was also on last week. Usually a well organised fast race and this year didn't disappoint again. Donal ran 17.08 for 35th, Stephen 17.40 for 47th and Avril ran a huge PB of 21.27 for 206th.
Updated on Limerick Last Week:
This was actually a Munster championship event. So congrats on Tim, Graham and Donal who all won individual medals. Graham was 2nd and Donal 3rd in the marathon and Tim with his club record was 1st in the half.
As quirks have it they all won their medals in the M35 category but they would have also won the exact same medals if they were in the Senior category.
Cork T&F Champs (Day 1):
The Cork County Track and Field day 1 was on last Monday. John Spelman was there to improve his speed and won the bronze medal in the Junior Mens 100m (in 14 seconds) and silver in the 800m with 2.16. Denis won silver in the mens M55 3000m with 14.09. Paul Hartnett also ran and won the A 3000m race in 8.44. This was not a championship event on the night however.
Lots of road racing the last couple of weeks. We had two podium finishes with Michael dominating and winning the Midleton 5 mile with a superb solo 24.21 on Thursday the 5th. Nicky was 2nd in the Youghal 5k Thursday 12th in 15.56. Hopefully everyone else is building fitness and shooting for PB's!
East Cork Road Champs:
The East Cork road championships were held in Ballynoe last Thursday night. We had 11+1 athletes running on the night. The 3k ladies race was up first and Fiona lead the team to a gold medal finishing 4th overall. Niamh O'Connor was next in 9th with Eadaoin just pipping Avril for the final medal in 15th. Avril was 16th, Lorna 17th and Claire 23rd. Well done for winning the team title. It is a pity the press corps did not get a picture of the team accepting the trophy. They will have to win it again next year now!
The mens race was split in two. Nicky was in one race and the rest of the field were in the other. Nicky comfortably took out the win with an impressive solo run in 27.09. I will have to trawl through the record books but this might be the first time in the East Cork roads that the trophy was passed from one brother to another. John Spelman, the +1 in the above was running as an individual until his limbo period ends on May 1st, was second home after a good battle with Chris Kelly in 28.47. Chris faded a bit on the last lap and gave the ever present Stephen a chance to snipe past him in the final 100m for 6th with Chris just behind in 7th. Diarmaid Collins was 11th with Denis in 32nd. This was good enough for the team silver medal.
National M40 track Record:
Some unfortunate news came in this week that the Streets of Kilkenny course was a bit short and the Road natoinal record that mike won was scrapped. However that might of provided more motivation to go get another one. This time Mike got the National M40 record on the track while racing in the high quality IMC meet in Dublin on Saturday. Mike was 5th and ran a time of 14.24. Congrats Mike.
Great Limerick Run and Club Record:
We had four runners competing in this event. Firstly Graham and Donal (affectionately known as "the splinter group") completed the marathon. Graham showed his experience at the distance to clock a very impressive 2:38.52 for 6th overall. And Donal who only decided to chance the marathon a couple months ago ran a very competitive 2:44.45 for 11th.
Tim and Chris McGrath ran in the half marathon. Tim was 2nd overall and ran a new club record of 65.04. This is 4.58 miling for 13+ miles. Super going. Chris ran in 1:44.17.
James ran the first MTU track night of the year in the 3k and ran a solid 8.49 for 7th overall. And Eric was 9th Bartlemy 6k in 23.46.
- Tonight is the long standing Midleton 5 mile race. Starting at 8pm.
- A part of the County Track and Field championships are on next Monday night in MTU. Championship events are 800m, 3000m (for all women and masters men only). Enter online per Liams email.
- The Wicklow Way relay - On Saturday May 7th at 7am. You should know your route by now and have reccie done or planned. More details to follow by email.
Firstly the much loved Ballintotis 4 Mile race was on again after a 3 year enforced absence last week. A lot has changed in the world since then but an East Cork AC winner on the trophy remains consistent!
Michael took out his second Ballintotis 4 win in mightily impressive fashion. He made his move on a big bunch of rivals with 1000m to go along the main road and once he got the lead he didn't look back and cruised away to a fine victory in 19.18. Tim was second in 19.25 with Paul 4th in 19.41. James completed the top 5 and sub 20 finishers in 19.57. Our next bunch had evergreen Kenneth securing the bragging rights as Kenneth, Nicky and Matt were 14th, 15th and 16th in 20.59, 21.03 and 21.27.
Chris Kelly was 35th in 22.51 with our newest recruit John Spelman just behind him in 22.55 and winning the 1st Junior Man prize. Diarmaid Collins, former Inter schools 1500m champion and stalwart of the Glenbower generation, made a racing comeback with 23.19 for 44th. Eric Meade was next in 25.22 with training squad member Tamzin running her first race in a few years just behind in an impressive 25.31. Fiona only 4 months after giving birth to baby Holly also made a comeback with a very impressive 25.36. Niamh O'Connor finished like Usain Bolt to break the 27 minute barrier and it worked clocking 26.55.
Avril Crowley, Denis and Claire all had good runs with 28.09, 28.42 and 28.57. Conor O'Driscoll made his long awaited debut for the club and finished with 29.28 with one of the old guard Tom Walsh, National Road Relay gold medalist from 1988, just behind in 29.54. Lorna rounded off our runners with 30.02.
Well done to all who helped out on the night. East Cork had a very large presence on the night helping out with stewarding, results, cleaning up before and after. All mostly unseen work. And finally a lot of credit to the Ballintotis community and organising committee to produce such a wonderful race in the heart of East Cork each year.
National Road Relays:
The National Road relays were on Sunday in Raheny. What was once an annual pilgrimage for the club has been a bit more sporadic over the years. We had a strong Senior team this year with Paul, Frank, Tim and Micheal running well for 8th position out of 25 teams. All the top runners for the big Dublin clubs were running so the standard was very high. The lads averaged 4.44 a mile for the 8 miles which included a grueling 3 mile leg for Tim.
Our M35 team won the gold medal in the Masters race. Stephen led off and sat in the pack nicely bidding his time for a big kick in the final 200m to pass over to James in 4th position. James racing experience played an important part in the team win. He worked with the group to slowly close down the 9 seconds lead that Donore Harriers had and then pounced on his second mile to get the team into the lead and give the vulnerable anchor man Kevin a chance to hold on. Luckily he did and we took away our first medal at the masters road relays since 2006 where Denis McCarthy, Donnocha O'Mahony and Eric Made took home bronze that day in 20.13. Interestingly the team averaged 4.52 a mile for each leg to finish in 19.28.
The East Cork road championships are on Thursday night in the traditional venue of Ballynoe. We will be hoping to fill teams for both the men's and women's races so if you are around please do come along. €5 entry on the night with the Ladies 3k race at 7.15pm and the mens 5 miles at 8pm.
A lot has happened in the last few weeks so a bit of a catch up. Interestingly all the races have been 5ks (If I have missed any race results please let me know)
Track and Field:
Firstly Paul competed in the National Intervarsity's in Carlow IT coming 7th in the 5000m in 15.20. Frank raced in the Comeback 5000m in Battersea Park and finished 15th in 15.41.
BHAA - PWC 5k:
Next up was a welcome return to the winning circle for James. He dominated the PWC 5k to comfortably win in 15.12. Stephen O'Brien tempoed around in 18.18 and Ger Lynch had a massive PB in 20.02. So close to the sub 20 barrier. No doubt he will drop this again in the coming weeks on the back of his consistent Market Green sessions and his recent visit to Welchtown.
Streets of Kilkenny 5k:
The big boys (and Nicky!) came out to play up at the Streets of Kilkenny last Thursday night and they sure did not disappoint. Tims status as number 1 ranked runner is now in ruins. Michael ran the race of his life to clock 14.14 on a perfect evening for running. This time is now also a National Master M40 record. These most certainly do not come easy. This race has been part of a steady build up from about September last year, slowly building the fitness throughout the winter building a big base and then opening up the legs with track intervals in the Maradyke. Not to mention all the behind the scenes recovery and strength work and extra aqua jogging sessions that happen. Congrats to Mike on such a great achievement and hopefully it is only the beginning of a very hot streak.
Tim had a solid run off the back of a block of longer slower marathon specific training finishing 8th in 14.39. Nicky also had a very good run coming very close to his PB running 15.48. This was his first race back since the County Senior XC last year so now with the cobwebs blown off and a consistent spell off training under his belt he will be another to watch in the coming races.
All eyes turn towards one of the most enjoyable and rich in history races in the local calendar, Ballintotis 4 Mile. We will have a big turn out running on the night and if anybody would be available to help out please let Liam or Nicky know. It could turn out to be a classic going by the form of Michael and Tim recently. There is mammoth work put in for this race by the local community council and it really is a pleasure to have such a high quality race on our doorstep so enjoy it and don't take it for granted.
Also this weekend we have the National Road Relays in Raheny. The Senior Men's team is: Paul (2m), Tim (3m), Mike (2m) and Frank (1m). The Masters team is Stephen (1m), James (2m) and Kevin (1m). Best of luck to you all.