Clonakility Marathon - Courtesy of Dolores Duffy
Thanks to Dolores for a great review of the Clonakilty marathon and huge congratulations on winning the Ladies Marathon in an outstanding time for the conditions and course profile.
Its reputation preceded it, this was not going to be easy.
Saturday 6th Feb, Clonakilty Marathon take 2, the original date in December 15 sabotaged by storm.
This time the course was reverting back to the original big loop around the headland after the “out and back” four times flat route of 2014. We knew there would be hills and exposure to the elements on the Wild Atlantic Way.
Clonakilty marathon comprises a 10km, half marathon and full marathon. All started together at 9am from the Quality hotel, a welcome haven before and after the race. It was cold, wet and windy heading off. A couple of miles round the town eased us into it. Everyone was chatting away, getting into our respective paces. The training was done and spirits were high. Those of us doing the Full parted ways with the rest of the crowd at mile 4, as we headed out Inchydoney Island. This was the first of the challenging gradients, a long hill up, followed by a dangerously steep descent to the Inchydoney Hotel, then back out the road we came. For these few miles we passed runners going the opposite direction so the “good luck”s and the “well done”s helped us on our way.
Next we crossed the Causeway, heading out towards Rathbarry and Castlefreke. Here as we passed mile 9, 10, 11, 12 we had long stretches with strong side-winds. We passed walkers who had started at 8am. This was a clever idea to stagger the starts and ensured the course never got lonely. These were rough country roads, with potholes and puddles.
Mile 13, halfway, we took a sharp left up a very steep hill to be rewarded at the top with the breath-taking views of the Atlantic coastline. This was what it was all about. The sea was loud and spectacular high waves helped to distract from the pain of hailstones pelting my face. The wind at this point took my breath away and blew me across the road. Mile 15ish and a glorious rapid descent along the coast helped revive flagging energy levels, feeling euphoric.
Mile 17, Red Strand, was where the weather hit its worst. Sand blew in over the road from the beach. By now I was soaked to the skin and freezing cold. I’d left a stash here the previous night, with dry gloves, a change of top, and more gels. I stopped for a minute to change. I knew the goliath of a hill that awaited at mile 18. The long slow pull from the coast began, progressing to a serious climb towards the village of Ardfield to mile 19, 20.
At this point I felt battered, eyes stung from wind. Tears threatened. Stomach was queasy. Spirits were low. Another gel and a few sweets helped to turn things around as I decided to man-up, and I knew that the worst was over. Mile 22,23 and passed Dunmore House Hotel on lovely downhill tarmac road. Here, there were breath-taking views across of Inchydoney beach. We were headed for home. A feature I have found unique to Clonakilty Marathon is the kerb-crawlers, locals that drive along and lower their window to shout out encouragement. I soaked it in. The last of the climbs was mile 24 25. Final mile was flat and fast, then the last brief hill up the driveway of the Quality Hotel to be greeted by the welcoming crowds waiting for us in the cold and wet.
This is where Clonakilty Marathon stands out. The Clon Crew and the warmth they extend, hugs and congratulations.. the Quality Hotel that understands runners (super early breakfast, free use of leisure facilities, friendly staff), the kindness of the marshalls, two colossal medals, tech top, personalised race number. Unlike the big international marathons such as New York or Berlin where you’re shuffled along at the finish, and flung out alone to go find refuge, in Clonakilty you’re met with kindness, hot drinks, snacks, and a feeling that you’re welcome.
On 06.02.16 there were experienced marathoners like myself, marathon virgins, walkers, wheelchair and assisted runner participants, plus Ireland’s top two elite marathoners. All ran the same 26.2miles. It was an amazing day. Can’t wait until the next one!
Results from Clon..
Melanie Davis, 10k, 53:20,Dolores Duffy , Full Marathon, 3:26:22,Kevin Nash, Full Marathon, 3:31:02,Paul Keegan, Full Marathon, 3:46:24,Jim O'Keeffe, Full Marathon 3:43:58, Gavin Murphy, Half Marathon, 1:36:42,Sean O’Brien , Half Marathon, 1:46:39,Donncha Savage, Half Marathon,1:53:33,Stuart Roche, Half Marathon,1:54:56,Conor Mullane, Half Marathon, 1:56:07
Thanks to Caroline for a great write-up on last Sunday mornings BHAA Rcae..
Great turn out this morning for the Bhaa Janssen 6 k road race in little island with 342 finishers braving the Tough weather conditions this morning especially with the wind blowing against you right to the finish line .
Great atmosphere with a great turn out of all different ranges of athletes . Great to see the supporters on the roads cheering words of encouragement.
Super turn out from Watergrasshill ac but a special mention to simply suits who launched there new running gear for there team members . They were simply the best dressed running the roads of little island .
Great performance from club men's captain Bryan Crowley . First in from the simply suits team at a time of 21.52 . He also came 2 nd in the men's 40's category . I think it was a cool down after competing in the half marathon in clonakility on Saturday
Sean o brien was 2 nd in for simply suits team running a great time of 22.51 he had also completed the half marathon in clonakility on Saturday . Barry yelverton came in third for team simply suits newly after joining the Watergrasshill AC and really enjoyed the race . There was a great team spirit and everyone really enjoyed there run and there was even pb for the intermediate runners which was a huge achievement .
A big mention for Doloras Duffy who was First Lady home for clonakility half marathon and did a great time yesterday also a new club member to Watergasshill AC
Next race is on in the Gas networks 5k on February the 28 th so pop it in your diary . Doesn't matter what level you are at with your running it is just about competing and feel like part of a team .
On a rare sunny Sunday morning in Watergrasshill that nervous pre race tension began to set in once again. The target this time, hosted by the Mooreabbey Milers was the very first running of The Cahir Downhill Half Marathon, Sunday the 12th of July. A lot of prep goes into organizing our team of 24 runners to the start line of a new race and no better woman to take on the task than Club Treasurer Colette O' Donoghue.
To inject a bit of team spirit it was decided we would organize a bus!! Give each other the team talk on the way and the low down on the way home..........................but was it a sign of things to come, when the bus never showed!! 5 min passed,10 min passed and still no bus, a quick look back at the email revealed the bus company [ who shall remain anonymous ] had gotten the date wrong and booked our bus for the following week! But all was not lost,a quick head count to confirm our numbers and off we set in car loads to reach Cahir in plenty of time. Colette had collected our numbers the previous day from race HQ so we were in good shape.utesutes
Now the term "Downhill" would suggest an easy route, but as the saying goes, Never Judge a book by its Cover!! It was a point to point Race so we" finally" got on a bus to the start line, to finish back under the dominating and impressive figure of Cahir Castle. The route itself to be fair to the organizers did have a higher starting point than finishing point, hence the downhill, but as you would expect there is plenty of undulating terrain in between. Conditions were really good, but there was a worry about the humidity.
Race time, 10am and the bus dropped us about 9.15 so we had plenty of time to mix with all the other runners and take in the atmosphere. Nice loud music to get you pumped up, a few dodgy poses for the photographer and this is it, time to toe the line!!
Some 400+ runners set off, many with a plan to stay with the pacer of their choosing, others happy with to go with " see how I feel" approach. Long straight stretches on the route allowed for a birds eye view of the action ahead but also I suppose what was ahead of you!! So head down and power on.
An initial group of about 8 runners took up the lead pack, with Liam Tracey and Bryan Crowley well up there from start to finish, Liam finishing 4th overall in a time of 1.17 and Bryan hot on his heels in 6th place in a time of 1.19. A much Larger group followed on behind with a bunch of 25 runners jostling for position and trying to get comfortable. Dave Murphy sat in just behind the 1.20 pacer for mile 1 but soon realized it was too quick for him and pulled it back to tie up with Stephen Hurley who coming off an impressive Marathon in Cork earlier this year was looking really strong. Stephen continued on and powered home in 1.26, just a hares breath ahead of Ken Crowley also in the 1.26's. Ken had a great race,he seems to just glide along with no effort at all, its a pleasure to watch. Dave a few mins behind them taking a 1.30.
Our first Lady home was the affore mentioned Collette O' Donoghue, coming back from an injury earlier in the year and not long after putting her stamp on the Waterford full Marathon, Colette cruised home in 1.33. Next over the line,with his training focusing more on Triathlons at the moment was Connor Buckley in a great time of 1.37. Connor must have felt the heat of Paul Deasy and Jim O' Keffee who both were in the 1.37 bracket. Paul and Jim ran side by side throughout and true to form, Paul ran home from Cahir to Rathcormac when he was done! Paul completed the Marathon De Sables this year so that might explain a lot!!
Next in the queue was Sean O' Brien who found the course testing in parts but as always had a smile on his face and pulled out a 1.42 finish. Second lady home and no stranger to the category podium was Gwen Conroy in a time of 1.44, Gwen is a very competitive runner and can always give a good account, if somewhat "fruity" version of races! Third lady in and they are coming thick and fast now, Ciara Magner crosses the line looking fresh out in a time of 1.46. A glance up the hill and Sean Ahern comes in to view. Sean a relatively new runner with a great work ethic ducks under the gantry in 1.47.
Maude Kelleher is now crossing the bridge to the line, a very consistent runner and a regular on the race scene,Maude takes 1.50. Not far behind and cheered in by her family is Sinead Dorgan in a great time of 1.54. Seconds behind Sinead is a very popular clubman Mark "Dapper" Dineen, Mark is currently not at a 100%, with niggles here and there but no doubt he'll be fighting fit again soon,even so he pulls out 1.54! Minutes behind and feeling the heat is Donnacha Savage, well under the 2hr mark, Donnacha takes 1.57. Next in and new to the distance is Melanie Davis,just dipping the line to run sub 2hr in 1.59!!
The next 3 runners in were neck and neck,tit for that the whole way, Jackie O' Keeffe takes 2.08, Paul Forrest 2.09 and Andrea Houlihan also in the 2.09s, a great support to each other throughout. Again club friendship rings through with the next two runners, Chloe Ahern, after her 1st half in Cork this year toed the line again to take 2.14 just seconds ahead of Caroline Mullane also in the 2.14s. Caroline was really nervous before the race having not hit this distance before but kept the head and was cheered home by her family! Another first timer to this distance was Miriam Walsh who ran exceptionally well and can wear the finishers T shirt with pride coming home in a time of 2.30.
As always we all wait until every runner crosses the line before we head for the post race refreshments, and Mooreabbey milers put on a great spread. A BBQ on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon was not too shabby at all. Bellys full it was time to hit the road and the promise of something maybe a little stronger than water in the local had us in fine spirits. We sat around the table and the debate would be worthy of Giles and Dunphy and will no doubt continue on other nights.
Overall a great half Marathon, with great hosts. A manageable route with a nice finish. You won't please eveyone and never will but the "Notorious" Watergrasshill AC left its mark. Well done all.
It was a fantastic weekend for Watergrasshill AC as it saw an army of 19 runners fly across the pond to tackle the Greater Manchester Marathon on Sunday. The gang headed off early on Saturday morning with a mixture of seasoned marathon runners along with some eager but nervous athletes who were making their marathon debuts. And no better place to do it as Manchester is regarded as the flattest, fastest and friendliest marathon in the UK. It would seem that the crowds were out in force along the route with musicians and bands adding to the friendly atmosphere. Water stops were plentiful with the guys commenting that they were populated around the course at every two mile marker.
After a slow and congested start everyone eventually got away and quickly got into their stride and plugged away. Back home we were kept up to date on the proceedings by Colette O’Donoghue (who was a late withdrawal dues to recent injury) as the online tracker from the website was having a few technical difficulties. Once again members across the club were glued to their phones and smart devices as facebook was being checked continuously for the latest updates. This is becoming a common theme in the club these days!!
The results came thick and fast as WGH athletes crossed the line claiming fantastic times and setting PB after PB. First home was Conor Mullane who was making his marathon debut and managed to complete the 26.2 mile route in 3.18, a fantastic achievement for someone running their first marathon. Not far behind him were his regular training partners Sean O’Brien and Kevin Nash in times of 3.20 and 3.22 respectively, two great times and well earned PBs obtained. We didn’t have to wait long for the next orange singlets as Gavin Murphy and Jim O'Keeffe crossed the line in 3.27 to become the 4th and 5th WGH runners to break 3.30 on the day, a brilliant achievement.
Ca O’Connell was hot on their heels as she came home in a fantastic time of 3.32 to be our first lady over the line, a super run indeed. It wasn’t long until the next Watergrasshill runners were coming down the home stretch and finishing outside Manchester United’s theatre of dreams that is Old Trafford. Gwen Conroy and ErIc Foley were only seconds apart as they both recorded times of 3.44, well done to both with Gwen knocking twenty minutes off her time from the Cork City marathon last year and Eric having do a lot of long miles on his own in training.
The clocked ticked on but not for much longer before another orange singlet was on the final stretch. Jason Lynch came home in a time of 3.54 to finish well under the 4 hour mark, well done Jason a great achievement. Mark Dineen wasn’t far behind him and crossed the line in 4.01 just missing out on a sub 4 but still a fantastic run and it wasn’t long before he had a celebratory beer in hand to accompany that medal. Wesley Dennehy was the next man home clocking up 4.08 followed by Valerie Lynch in 4.18, well done guys, two great times. Popular clubman Noel Prendergast was next to finish as he chalked up a time of 4.20, a fantastic result as he knocked 40 minutes off his marathon debut in Dublin last year and 10 minutes within his target time.
Not far behind Noel were the duo of Catherine Barrett and Andrea Houlihan claiming their well earned medals with great times of 4.24 and 4.26 respectively, Andrea making her making marathon debut too. Not far behind the two girls were three more ladies running their first marathon also.
Tracey Murphy (4.29), Jackie O’Keeffe (4.31) and Aisling McEvoy (4.36) all came home with super times for their first outing over 26.2 and wrapped up what was a very successful Manchester trip for Watergrasshill AC. It was great to see all the Manchester gang come back with superb results as they have been training hard over the last few months putting in a lot of miles on the road and having to overcome many injuries along the way. It is a testament to their dedication to training and commitment to each other and the results speak for themselves, well done to all on a fantastic weekend. There might be an even bigger contingent of WGH runners heading over next year!!
1435. Conor Mullane (Watergrasshill AC) 3.18:47
1536. Sean O'Brien (Watergrasshill AC) 3.20:58
1606. Kevin Nash (Watergrasshill AC) 3.22:42
1936. Gavin Murphy (Watergrasshill AC) 3.27:02
1991. Jim O'Keeffe (Watergrasshill AC) 3.27:33
2262. Ca O'Connell (Watergrasshill AC) 3.32:52
2999. Gwen Conroy (Watergrasshill AC) 3.44:51
3031. Eric Foley (Watergrasshill AC) 3.44:28
4135. Jason Lynch (Watergrasshill AC) 3.54:57
4410. Mark Dineen (Watergrasshill AC) 4.01:59
4766. Wes Dennehy (Watergrasshill AC) 4.08:04
5412. Valerie Lynch (Watergrasshill AC) 4.18:01
5642. Noel Prendergast (Watergrasshill AC) 4.20.08
5939. Catherine Barrett (Watergrasshill AC) 4.24:50
6039. Andrea Houlihan (Watergrasshill AC) 4.26:37
6179. Tracey Murphy (Watergrasshill AC) 4.29:09
6298. Jackie O'Keeffe (Watergrasshill AC) 4.31:44
6466. Aisling McEvoy (Watergrasshill AC) 4.36:59
BHAA UCC 10k:
The orange of Watergrasshill once again took to the roads on Sunday last for the BHAA Carmel Lynch UCC 10k road race.
Conditions were blustery to say the least, and this proved to create a difficult course for many on the day. This race was a first outing for many of Watergrasshill AC’s newer members, with some very proud to be donning the orange singlet for the first time.
Spirits were good before the race, mixed with a little apprehension, but everyone was encouraging each other, and posing for the all-important photos!
Ed Dunphy was first male home, cruising in with a time of 41.00, and Maude Kelleher was first lady home in 48.31.
All in all, people found this to be a challenging run, but enjoyable. There were some great shows of team work amongst our members on the day, helping those that were struggling, and crossing the finish line together. There were even some PB distances reached! Well done to everyone who took part, we look forward to seeing the improvements as the summer comes around.
66. Ed Dunphy (Cork County Council) 41.00
222. Maude Kelleher (Nash Brothers Electrical) 48.31
513. Deborah Quigley (Temp Reg) 65.47
515. Helen Hunt (Temp Reg) 65.56
516. Stephen Hunt (Temp Reg) 65.56
517. Ciara Forde (Temp Reg) 65.59
521. Lorraine Slowey (Temp Reg) 68.23
522. Yvonne Savage (Temp Reg) 68.23
523. Claire Carol (Temp Reg) 68.23
Cloyne Commons 4k:
Kieran McKeown made the trip to Cloyne for the last race in the Cloyne Commons 4k series which also took place on Sunday. Kieran came extremely close to claiming a race victory on the day and finished in 2nd position trailing the winner Nigel Sheehan of Youghal AC by 6 seconds in a time of 13.53. Well done to Kieran who ran a great race to claim a podium spot.
2. Kieran McKeown (Watergrasshill AC) 13.53
Before the Paddy's Day celebrations got underway on Tuesday there was a small bit of business to attend to in East Cork. Midleton AC were once again hosting the Cork County Road Race Championships with 170 athletes registered to partake. Watergrasshill AC had a big representation with 11 male and 6 female runners taking part. Conditions were perfect for fast running, slightly overcast with a small breeze which in turn resulted in many PBs on the day for our runners.
Colette O'Donoghue bagged a top 10 in the womens race with a strong 9th place. Overall the women's team claimed 4th position in the Novice Womens Team with Ca O'Connell, Ciara Magner & Maude Kelleher contributing to the team score. Well done ladies.
Kieran McKeown was our first man across the line in a time of 22.36 to finish 19th in the men's race closely followed by Bryan Crowley in 21st. These results helped our men's team to finish 5th overall in the novice event with Dave Murphy & Brian Buckley the other contributors to the team score.
9. Colette O'Donoghue (Watergrasshill AC) 26.35
26. Ca O'Connell (Watergrasshill AC) 29.07
36. Ciara Magner (Watergrasshill AC) 29.58
38. Maude Kelleher (Watergrasshill AC) 30.09
49. Elaine Dolan-Crowley (Watergrasshill AC) 37.51
50. Valerie O'Leary (Watergrasshill AC) 38.08
Novice Womens Team
1. St. Finbarrs AC 28pts
2. Midleton AC 58pts
3. Eagle AC 67pts
4. Watergrasshill AC 103pts
19. Kieran McKeown (Watergrasshill AC) 22.36
21. Bryan Crowley (Watergrasshill AC) 22.42
39. Dave Murphy (Watergrashill AC) 24.04
49. Brian Buckley (Watergrasshill AC) 24.32
68. Stephen Hurley (Watergrasshill AC) 25.35
75. Steve Murphy (Watergrasshill AC) 26.25
76. Sean O'Brien (Watergrasshill AC) 26.32
78. Adam Smith (Watergrasshill AC) 26.39
82. Damien O'Brien (Watergrasshill AC) 26.51
84. Ed Dunphy (Watergrasshill AC) 27.25
101. Paul Forrest (watergrasshill AC) 35.12
Novice Mens Team
1. Leevale AC 21pts
2. St. Finbarrs AC 24pts
3. Youghal AC 62pts
4. Eagle AC 76 pts
5. Watergrasshill AC 128pts
6. Togher AC 147pts
7. Midleton AC 154pts