Eagle AC Member Profile

Name: Ian Roche

Member of Eagle AC since: 2015 (I think)

Ian running the Kilkenny marathon a few years ago-great time!

How long have you been running what made you take it up: I first started running in about 2005 while living in Canada. A friend was a good runner and would meet up for a social run. Took a break when kids arrived and probably been running consistently for the last 8 years now.

Favourite thing about running: Enjoy getting out on a sunny summer morning before a days work. No matter how things go at least you have run that day!!

Favourite race distance to run: The Marathon is my favourite distance. Enjoy the whole build up to it and the relaxation afterwards. I also enjoy a nice 10 miler and was sad when Ballycotton disappeared off the calendar.

What is your main goal for this year: The main goal this year is to finally run Dublin after a 2 year wait. Next year I might have different goals as hit a new age category 🙂

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date: Without question the best memory was the start of my first marathon that happened to be Chicago. I was at the absolute back of a field of 40,000 runners and when the gun went there were 20,000 t-shirts and hoodies up in the air as people ditched their gear. Would have been an amazing picture.

Tell us something most people might not know about you: Before arriving at running I spent a lot of time Whitewater Kayaking. Its amazing to see the rivers we have here and most people just drive past them not knowing.

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting): From running it has to be John Treacy. I watch his finish to the Olympic marathon now and then and he is as hard as nails. Outside running it would be Richard Branson. A fantastic businessman that has a sense of fun also.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running: Easy does it. When I started I tried to beat yesterdays time. Took a while to realise that slow easy running is the way to stay on the road.

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island: My Campervan, Duct tape, and a Kayak

Eagle AC Member Profile


Jack Murphy

Member of Eagle AC since:


How long have you been running and what made you take it up:

I started running in 2016 so that I could take part in the Killarney Adventure Race (Cycle/Kayak/Run). I quickly realised that running is a lot more fun than cycling!

Favourite thing about running:

I love the process of following a plan and seeing the progress over time – you get out what you put in. There are so many different goals to chase across all distances and surfaces.

Favourite race distance to run:

5km – breaking 20 minutes was my first real running goal. In particular, I always enjoy racing the Bweeng 5k (one of the fastest 5k routes in Ireland).

I’d like to try a 1500m or mile race someday too!

What is your main goal for this year:

Amsterdam Marathon in October. It will be my first marathon, so I will be happy just to finish in one piece!

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date:

My best race was probably the Valentia Island Hardman Half Marathon on Easter Saturday this year – breaking 90 minutes on a challenging course, 15 minutes faster than I ran in the same race in 2019.

Even though I was on crutches for a few days after the race, it was definitely worth it!

Tell us something most people might not know about you:

I’m a bit of a running nerd. Most of my media consumption is watching running YouTube and races (from 100m on the track to ultra-marathons in the mountains) as well as listening to all sorts of running podcasts.

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting):

My dad is a big inspiration. Despite being twice my age, he is undoubtedly fitter than me!

My favourite pro athlete is the ultra-marathon mountain runner Courtney Dauwalter – her laid back attitude to life and ability to endure the ‘pain cave’ is inspiring.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running:

Build up slowly – there is no rush. I think that parkrun is the best way to get started – the community is so friendly and all abilities are welcome.

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island:

My trail runners to explore the island, a solar-powered Garmin watch to record it all, and a satellite phone so that I can get home to upload everything to Strava!

Eagle AC Cheetah Run 2022.

The Cheetah Run 2022 raised a fantastic €5,000 for Fota Wildlife Park conservation charity.

The 2022 Eagle AC annual Cheetah Run took place on May 19th on the grounds of Fota Wildlife Park. The Cheetah Run has taken place yearly since 2009 but this year marked a special return to the in- person event following 2 years of virtual events due to the Covid pandemic.

Roisin Fitzgerald the marketing manager in Fota, who also ran the race on the night, explained that “as well as being a fun and uniquely set road race, it is also a fundraiser for Fota Wildlife Park and the monies raised go towards a specific conservation project”. This year’s even raised a fantastic €5,000 for Fota Wildlife Park conservation charity.

The 2022 Cheetah Run was a sell-out event with 900 adult places and 100 juvenile places available. On the night we had a super turn out with 712 runners completing the adult’s race and 86 completing the juveniles’ race; and what an unbelievable night in Fota Wildlife Park it was.

The evening got off to a flying start when the winner of our ‘11-15 year olds 1 mile race’ Connor Looney of Blarney Inniscarra AC crossed the line in 5 minutes and 28 seconds, followed closely by his brother Eoghan in 5 mins 34 seconds. Emma Flynn of North Cork AC was our first girl home in a time of 5 mins 39 secs, and 3rd place finisher overall. Indeed the future of athletics in Cork looks bright with our first 13 finishers running a sub 6-minute mile over a challenging course.

The Adults race was an exciting event also with the top 2 men, Alan O’Shea Bantry AC and Sergiu Ciobanu Clonliffe Harriers battling it out over the course, before Alan made the decisive break in the closing stages to win by 11 seconds. Aidan Noone of Leevale AC, took the third place spot in a time of 16 mins and 2 seconds.
In the ladies’ race Carol Finn of Leevale AC lead from the beginning and ran a strong race to secure the win in a time of 17 mins 49 seconds. Her club mate Michelle Kenny finished in second place in 18 minutes and 6 seconds and 3rd to cross the line was Kealey Tideswell Clonmel AC, and in 18 minutes and 24 seconds.
Both of our winning male and female junior athletes were from Carraig Na Bhfear AC, and they were Timmy Colbert and Sinead Roche.

List of the full results can be found here:



Friday the 1st of July marked the presentation of the €5000 raised to the Fota Wildlife Park conservation charity.

Sean McKeown, Director of Fota Wildlife Park said “We’re absolutely thrilled and humbled by the great fundraising done by the Eagle AC committee, race organisers and supporters year after year. We would like to say a huge thank you to all involved, especially as this was the first year the race could be held physically here at Fota since the pandemic. We’re delighted to announce that the €5,000 raised will be donated to an on-site conservation programme for one of our native species, the Curlew.”

Ruairi Egan, Cheetah Run race director said “We at Eagle AC were thrilled to return to the wildlife park this year to host the real edition of our long-standing fundraising Cheetah Run, following two years of virtual events. The fact that it sold out completely once again is a testament to the uniqueness of the race and the popularity of Fota Wildlife Park. Our thanks go to all of our members who volunteered on the night, the staff of the park, all at Fota House and the OPW. Well done to all who took part on the night and it’s a pleasure to present this year’s donation.”

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors John Buckely sports and Brooks running for their continued support of this event. Thank you all for your support, involvement & help in getting the Cheetah Run back to the super event that it deserves to be, live and in person on the grounds of Fota Wildlife Park.

We look forward to seeing you all again in 2023.

Eagle AC latest Member Profile

Name: Maressa Mills

Member of Eagle AC since: September 2021

How long have you been running what made you take it up:

2019, when a couch to 5KM kicked off at work – but it was only during lockdowns 2021 that I started to head out regularly myself when the gyms were closed. I signed up to some virtual charity distance challenges too which helped to make sure I completed them!

Favourite thing about running: The post run buzz, especially after a tough track session of a Tuesday! The running community – and friends I have made since joining the club. I still feel a bit of a fraudster at the track, running alongside the talent of other club members but the support & advice has been so helpful. I have really seen an improvement especially when pushing my distance further. I’ll probably always be towards the back of the group 😊 …but will show up at training and put 100% in! I couldn’t imagine my week now without the track, and my long Eagle social runs at the weekends.

Favourite race distance to run: 10 miles

What is your main goal for this year: Dublin Marathon 2022! I signed up through a charity when registrations were closed off thinking there was a half option…no going back now 🙂

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date:

Clonakilty Half Marathon 2021. I never ever thought completing it was possible, as a 10KM distance was my max and before that I hadn’t completed many races other than 5/10KM fun runs! I had just joined the club in September – with the race in November. The training sessions, long social runs at the weekend and the encouragement from fellow members really helped. The buzz of the race day was something special, while chatting to other runners along the way too. (I had to strike up some conversations to take my mind off the struggle which helped!)

Tell us something most people might not know about you: On some of my earlier runs in Ballincollig Regional Park, I was known to stop dead in the trails at 3/4KM and walk back home!! Thank god for Strava & the accountability of it now.

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting): Up to recently I could not think of a sporting hero for this piece, but it was right under my nose, my hero & local running legend Mary Sweeney. Mary’s not only a great friend of the club, but has been a little inspiration with her incredible running career to date. We realized after meeting through the club that we lived nearby one another, and have gone on social runs ever since. Mary’s advice & support has been so helpful, along with the encouragement to sign up to races. She is a bundle of fun & energy, full of positivity, and a joy to run with and I’m so glad to know her. Check out this super feature on Cork Running blog to read more about Mary’s incredible running career!

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running: Go for it! Heading out with a friend, or running group helps to get into a routine also the chats will keep your mind off the run when its tough. Check out upcoming races, or fun runs in your area, signing up for something & setting a goal will help to have something to train for.

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island:

  1. A good desert island playlist
  2. Extra battery
  3. Enough goodies & chocolate one could carry. To keep the sugar levels up obviously 😉

Cork City Marathon Weekend, June 5th 2022

Some excellent running by our Eagle AC marathoners last weekend Sunday June 5th 2022. Damian Kenneally led the club home in 11 place overall and with a 14 minute PB, brilliant running by Damian. Kevin Gilleece was second home and with another superb run; running a 2:45 marathon. Mark Murphy was next up with his second sub 3 marathon in about 6 weeks! More PB’s for Paul O Brien & Jason Crosbie, and a PB by 10 minutes for our first lady home Siobhan Holland! It was the first run over the marathon distance for Michelle Cheung accompanied by Alan Wong. Congratulations to Michelle on a brilliant achievement. Well done to everyone who ran, we are super proud of you all!!

Marathon Results 2022

11 290 DAMIAN KENNEALLY Eagle AC 02:38:42 02:38:38
17 276 KEVIN GILLEECE Eagle AC 02:45:10 02:45:07
69 154 MARK MURPHY Eagle AC 02:59:31 02:59:23
116 34 PAUL O BRIEN Eagle AC 03:06:13 03:05:55
189 2037 KEN MULCAHY Eagle AC 03:15:09 03:15:03
190 2131 JASON CROSBIE Eagle AC 03:15:18 03:14:55
220 1604 SIOBHAN HOLLAND Eagle AC 03:18:42 03:18:23
344 621 DARREN CASEY Eagle AC 03:28:56 03:28:47
362 187 FINBARR LEHANE Eagle AC 03:29:54 03:29:17
389 1689 KAREN BEVAN Eagle AC 03:31:52 03:31:15
421 293 JOHN SHEEHAN Eagle AC 03:33:59 03:33:23
624 1827 HELEN CRONIN Eagle AC 03:47:01 03:46:03
747 1682 SIBEL LEBLEBICI Eagle AC 03:55:08 03:54:15
924 179 DAN KELLEHER Eagle AC 04:02:38 04:01:50
1226 1215 DENIS CARROLL Eagle AC 04:26:59 04:24:55
1301 2886 PATRICK RYAN Eagle AC 04:31:06 04:28:47
1619 1843 MICHELLE CHEUNG Eagle AC 05:22:11 05:19:29
1620 1844 ALAN WONG Eagle AC 05:22:11 05:19:30
Pacer 62 DEREK O KEEFFE Eagle AC 3hr first 16 miles

Cork City Half Marathon 2022

Impressive running in the half marathon by the 28 Eagles who took on this distance. Brilliant times recorded here too, PB’s, strong running and groups working together are always great to see. Some lovely stories shared on social media also of our club members making us proud and helping out other runners on the course requiring some assistance or encouragement along the way. That’s the spirit of running, nice work Proinnsias O Keeffe & Ken Mulcahy. Congratulations and well done to all involved.

Half Marathon Results 2022

13 4091 FERGUS NUGENT Eagle AC 01:14:40 01:14:39
58 5259 PAUL COTTER Eagle AC 01:22:31 01:22:28
78 6853 CATHERINE MURPHY Eagle AC 01:24:51 01:24:36
82 6010 DAVID O’KEEFFE Eagle AC 01:25:19 01:25:03
112 5955 PAT O’ CONNOR Eagle AC 01:27:28 01:27:27
134 7089 MARTIN LEAHY Eagle AC 01:29:00 01:28:40
185 3069 JASON O’MAHONY Eagle AC 01:31:29 01:31:17
340 7098 PHILIP CORCORAN Eagle AC 01:38:38 01:37:41
416 4233 GARY GIBBONS Eagle AC 01:40:28 01:39:57
680 5927 MICHAEL NOONAN Eagle AC 01:46:24 01:45:33
731 4896 DENIS BROWNE Eagle AC 01:47:51 01:46:35
805 3827 AENID DOHERTY Eagle AC 01:49:52 01:47:38
827 6128 OLGA O’SULLIVAN Eagle AC 01:50:12 01:46:49
849 6833 PAT TWOMEY Eagle AC 01:50:30 01:50:08
977 6967 MARESSA MILLS Eagle AC 01:52:16 01:48:42
1092 5448 DENIS LOONEY Eagle AC 01:54:24 01:50:46
1148 6996 EIMEAR CROWLEY Eagle AC 01:55:17 01:50:44
1248 5318 LENNY MC CARTHY Eagle AC 01:56:41 01:54:33
1296 7170 JAMES QUINLAN Eagle AC 01:57:17 01:54:09
1476 3207 ELAINE GUINANE Eagle AC 01:59:19 01:59:19 (Pacer)
1520 5548 DAVID LYNCH Eagle AC 01:59:41 01:56:33
1624 3206 ED FITZGERALD PACER Eagle AC 02:01:09 02:00:22 (Pacer)
1648 3345 KAREN KELLEGHER Eagle AC 02:01:35 01:56:39
1690 4131 DANIEL LUXTON Eagle AC 02:02:21 01:58:47
1825 3455 FRANK COTTER Eagle AC 02:04:31 02:00:49
1688 4523 PROINNSIAS O’KEEFFE Eagle AC 02:02:17 02:01:20
2036 4008 FRANCES O’CONNOR Eagle AC 02:08:15 02:03:31
2203 5449 BERNADETTE LOONEY Eagle AC 02:11:32 02:10:11
2205 5795 OLIVIA HOLMES Eagle AC 02:11:39 02:10:25

Cork City Marathon Relay 2022

Our 2 Relay teams put in strong performances to finish 8th and 18th on Sunday. Mark and Aoife provided a top class pacing team for Damian Kenneally finished with an overall time of 02:38:43. While Grellan McGrath, Ian Roche, Chris Finnegan & Ken Nyhan ran a very strong combined time of 3:11:11.
We had several members who also ran with relay teams outside of the club, joining family & friends on the day. Well done to everyone involved in such a great event.

8 8347 A LESBIAN & A SCOTSMAN WALK INTO A BAR Eagle AC 02:38:42 03m 45s/km
18 8175 EAGLE AC RUNNERS Eagle AC 03:11:11 04m 31s/km

Parkrun 100

An exciting weekend was further improved when two of our Eagle AC runners marked their 100th Parkrun. Congratulations to Mick Dooley running his 100th Park Run at the Glenn River Parkrun & Ian O Brien choosing his local Ballincollig Parkrun to tick off his big100 total.

A special word of thanks to Joe Murphy, Derek Costello & Mick Dooley for all the photos over the weekend.

Member Profile: Jason O’ Mahony

Name: Jason (Jay) O’Mahony

Member of Eagle AC since: August 2020

How long have you been running what made you take it up: Running since 2008 onwards. Did a few Cork City sports in the 80’s representing my school when I was in primary school (St Josephs on the Mardyke)  but never followed up again until 2008 Cork City Mara Relay! Took it up after my buddy ran Cork in 2007. Got me thinking and started for fitness also.

Favourite thing about running: My favourite thing is just to be able to clear my head. It’s a busy life with 3 young kids in the family so I like to just run, and focus on the run – nothing else!

Favourite race distance to run: I like the 10 mile distance. It’s just about right where you can really enjoy it in autopilot mode running and not go flat out like a 5K/10K.

What is your main goal for this year:  I want to try and do a Half Mara in every county in Ireland over the next few years so this year is to successfully complete Cork (again), Killarney (again), Limerick, Waterford and Belfast Half. I also want to try out a few shorter runs in towns in Cork that I haven’t done before. That’s the plan anyway 😊

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date: Running in the Olympic Stadium in London for the Great Newham 10k a few years back. That was an amazing feeling. Also a close second would be the Malta Half Marathon. Lovely finish along the harbor, that was amazing in the sun!

Tell us something most people might not know about you: I worked in London for 8.5 years returning to Cork in December 2016. Loved London, got to see loads of it north, south, east and west and amazing locations from St James Palace to New Scotland Yard, War Office and Canary Wharf Banks, plus West end with my job (engineer) daily.

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting): Sporting – Roy Keane – A legend, a rebel and box office! Roys the man. Also Caitriona Twomey at the Cork Penny Dinners.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running: start easily and don’t push yourself too hard initially. It takes time to build up strength, speed and endurance. Be consistent with your training and develop a plan for each week. Set a goal distance for each week and try to target it.

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island: Family, a ball to kick, My Alphaflys!

Member Profile: Mark Murphy

Name: Mark Murphy 

Member of Eagle AC since:  2016

How long have you been running what made you take it up:

I started running in 2011. I started running because my god daughter Béibhinn O Connor was born with a serious heart defect. At the time she needed a surgery which would require funding. So I decided I would do something crazy and run the Cork City Marathon to raise what I could. At the time some of my friends laughed because they couldn’t imagine me finishing. But they soon got behind me and with Béibhinns inspiration I did run my first marathon in Cork in 2012. Also brook the 4hr barrier which was brilliant, cut it close though 3:59. By the time the marathon came around Béibhinns brilliant parents Eoin and Irene had secured funding through the HSE for the surgery. So I donated the money I raised to the heart ward in Crumlin Children’s hospital 

Favourite thing about running:

My favourite things about running are the headspace you get while running. The fact that you only need to compete against yourself and your own goals and times. Also I love being outside and the obvious health benefits running gives you. 

Favourite race distance to run:

My favourite distance to run is the Marathon. I love the training for a marathon over a 12 to 14 week plan, the way you can see week by week improvement if you do it right. But most of all I love the event itself, it really feels like a big deal when you arrive at the start line and you know you will normally get out of it what you put into it. 

What is your main goal for this year:

To be honest my biggest goal for this year is to get back running constantly and improving. The last 18 months has been the most difficult in my life
Béibhinn sadly passed away in September 2020 at 9 years of age due to complications after her latest heat surgery. I can’t tell how much that rocked our world, and changed our lives forever. Béibhinn is an inspiration to us all and her parents Eoin and Irene are absolutely amazing. Béibhinn will never be forgotten and now she even has a charity formed in her name  www.theheartangle.com.

7 months after Béibhinn passed, in April 2021 my Dad died at the age of 67. My dad to me was also a very good friend and work colleague and you could say life coach, always supportive and on my side in a crises. We were left in shock and devastation after his passing.

So my goal this year is to get back racing and to use the inspiration from Béibhinn and my Dad to live life to the fullest while we can. 

I will be Running Boston Marathon this weekend in their honor, it will be a very emotional race for me but I hope I do them proud.

Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date:

My best race was probably the Berlin marathon in 2019. Everything seem to click on the day, I felt good throughout which I never experienced in a marathon before. So I felt in that race the I got what my training deserved which often doesn’t happen in a marathon. 

My most memorable racing experience was my first marathon in Cork in 2012. When I came (fell) across the finish line I saw all of my close family and friends including Béibhinn and my Dad. 

Tell us something most people might not know about you:

Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting):

Well my biggest heroes in my life would be Béibhinn and her parents Eoin and Irene. If you met Béibhinn you would understand why, she was dealt a really difficult hand from day one. She never let it set her back though. She was always smiling and happy and you would never know she was sick because she didn’t show it, ever. She has also an amazing group of friends. Her mom and dad really amaze me with there strength and determination that Béibhinn will not be forgotten and she will continue to do good. They raised around 100k for The Make A Wise charity in Béibhinns 6 months after she passed. Heroes doesn’t even come close to describing them.

One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running:

My advise to someone taking up running is be patient, don’t let the knocks get you down. Take it easy on the easy days and don’t push it in training if your body says no. Thake a step back and go again.

3 things you would take with you onto a desert island:

 I would take my runners ofcouse, lol. I would definitely bring an ipod, really love listening to music, and my wife ofcourse 😉. Who it has to be said without her I would never be able to do what I really love doing. 

My Boston Marathon Experience.

The 126th Boston Marathon, April 18th 2022.

Report by Mark Murphy, Eagle AC.

My Boston Marathon story began in January, when I decided to focus all of my training on the 126th Boston Marathon 2022.

Mark Murphy on completion of the 126th Boston Marathon 2022

Training for the Boston Marathon

I wanted to build my weekly mileage steadily from January. That meant avoiding shorter races, the only races I entered in the run up were Dungarvan 10 and Mallow 10. The idea for those 2 races was, to run them as my long run with a 10 mile easy warm up, then for the race itself, run it at marathon effort at first, and aim of hopefully discovering my marathon pace. The idea was to gain confidence running at that marathon pace over long periods of time.
January block of training went well, I was building mileage every week, without pushing the pace too hard. I managed to get my first 20 miler done on the last Sunday of January which was nice.
The first Sunday in February was Dungarvan 10, so I got to put my first 5 weeks of training to the test. I started with 10 easy and then tried to run the race at marathon effort. I was disappointed with it, as I lost discipline in the first 3 miles of the race. I went off too quickly, settled down around 5 miles and held on after that. Not ideal and exactly what I wanted to avoid doing, but lesson learnt, a slap on the wrist and move on.
I steadily increased my mileage in February, also increasing my long interval speed sessions. By the end of February I had built a nice base with a consistent block of training. I was getting in the speed on the track and hitting 20 to 22 miles on my Sunday run every week, and up to 70 miles average weekly mileage.

I continued this progression into March. My main focus at this stage was to make every run count, that meant to work hard in Tuesday track sessions while making sure the easy recovery runs were very easy. I also started to add marathon effort miles to my Sunday long run.

Then came Mallow 10 on March 21st. My hope for this was that I would have more discipline than i did in Dungarvan, and comfort and confidence at my marathon pace and effort. Mallow went well on both counts and that was a nice confidence boost. I hit 80 miles that week, which I think was my first time ever.
At this stage I was feeling very confident in my training and thankful that it all went so well to this point. I am now 4 weeks out from Boston.

The following week went just as well. I ran 80 miles again including a 24 miler on the Sunday with 12 MP building on my 10 at Mallow the previous week. When I finished that 24 miler though I had a bit of a disaster. As soon as I finished I felt a sore throat, and although the session went well, I was concerned . When I got home I did an antigen test, and yes; I tested positive for COVID! “I’m 3 weeks out from Boston”

This was not a part of the plan.

This was a blow, I was really drained for a few days. It was very annoying, when on the previous Sunday I was running a 24 miler and bursting with confidence, but on Wednesday I was panting walking up a flight of stairs. I had to rest for a few days and my confidence took a big hit. On Friday I tried to do a bit of a progression run, but I was wasting my time. It was very windy and my energy levels were reduced, my confidence was knocked further. By Sunday I was feeling a bit better but obviously not where I was.

I was 2 weeks out at this stage, and very worried that my dream of breaking 3hrs in Boston was gone. I tried a small bit of speed work, it was difficult because I was supposed to be tapering but I had to do something to try and build my confidence back up.

I knew I had the training done; but I had run Boston in 2019 in good shape and blew up after 10 miles. So for me Boston was all about confidence in running at marathon pace and the discipline to stick to it early on.

On the Wednesday before the race I tried 4 miles at marathon pace, this felt good, I even had to slow down a few times. This was great, but still only 4 miles. I flew to Boston on Thursday, not as confident as I had been 3 weeks earlier but kept trying to tell myself to trust the training. Mallow, 4 weeks earlier at this stage felt like months ago. I knew at this stage that the race was going to be a mental battle as much as anything else.

Making it to the Start Line.

Once I arrived in Boston straight away you can see and feel that this race really is a big deal. It’s on the news and weather updates constantly, people are genuinely excited to talk to you about it and wish you well. I went for a walk to Boylston Street to have a look at the finish line and the excitement was palpable. Deep down, I was still wishing I was at the same level of confidence as I was 3 weeks earlier.
The race day has arrived, ‘Marathon Monday’. I am dropped to Hopkinton where I get on a yellow school bus filled with other excited Marathoners; some are quite and some are looking to chat. I was quite, trying to focus on the race and going over it in my head. I had run this 3 years earlier but it’s a blur, as I blew up and it was very humid, so don’t remember much. What I do know, is that it’s a quick start, the first 3 miles are pretty much rolling hills, but much more down than up. I have decided at this stage that my marathon pace is going to be 6:40 minute miles. I said I would go ‘all in’, trust the training and muscle memory etc.

I am in the holding area before the race starts, on a lovely sunny morning, but a bit chilly so I’m glad a brought a tracksuit to donate. You wait in this area for an hour or 2 before the race, so it’s best to put a bit of thought into it. I arrived at 7:30am, the race start is at 10am. I am in wave 1 & coral 5, due to be called to the start line at 9:15am. Sure enough we are called on the button. This race is conducted to military precision, really well organised. So we start to move to the start line, it’s about a mile walk and the place is buzzing. The whole town of Hopkinton is closed off. There are people in their gardens and driveways, in party mood and cheering us on. Again it hits you, this is a big deal. Not only is this the Boston Marathon but it is the first one in 3 years, people are excited to see a crowd and to be in a crowd. I am getting a bit of a spring in my step. I arrive in my starting pen, and cannot believe I have made it, after all the ups and downs over the last 2 years, and there have been a lot of downs.

The announcer asks us to please face our nearest American flag for the national anthem. It is sang with passion and emotion and you can’t help but get caught up in it. As soon as she is finished there is a fly over – WOW, This is really is a special race!

Mark Murphy running the 126th Boston Marathon.

The Boston Marathon

We are off! I know it’s going to be a slow start because of the crowd of runners, so I tell myself to take it handy, don’t worry to much about pace in the first mile, it’s pretty much down hill anyway so the pace well sort itself out, which it did. 

The first 5 miles I was telling myself to hold back, don’t over run it, keep the head. I said if I felt good at 6:40 pace in the first 5, I would do another, be honest with myself and don’t push it. I know from experience if you are struggling at 10 miles your walking at 20.

After 5 miles I have all of the downhill sections done, I know it’s going to level out. This can cause havoc with your calves if you have over run it. I am feeling good tough. The crowd is unreal, never a quite spot, and I can see why people over run it, and get carried away. With this in mind I notice that a couple of my miles were quick, and I tell myself to “cop on and keep the head”. I am heading for 10 miles feeling good, but there is a long way to go. I am happy with my pace at this stage and consistently in or around 6:40 pace. If anything I am still holding back, so there is belief creeping in. Heading towards Wellesley college, know as the scream tunnel and about a half mile away I can hear it, it’s like running towards a stadium. The hairs are standing on the back of my neck, I am getting emotional, hard not to, it’s going well, I go through the scream tunnel and it’s electric. That was definitely a quick mile. So again I chat to myself, calm down, don’t over run. 

I get to half way in 1hr 27 min and I know I have now banked a nice cushion, but the hills are coming, miles 16 to 21 are the tough ones. They are known as the Newton hills. I hit 16 miles, and see the sign that I am entering Newton. I make the conscious decision to just keep going on the hills, try and run strong but forget about 6:40 pace for a bit. The first hill is OK, not too bad, I am now heading for 17 miles and feeling good in Newton. Once again I get emotional as the crowds are just awesome, the support is amazing. 

I am constantly talking to my Dad who I lost nearly exactly 12 months to the day and he was always very supportive, also to Béibhinn my goddaughter who died 19 months ago at 9 years of age and was the reason I started running in the first place. Now I am trying to control my emotions, maintain the pace and get through the toughest part of the course.

I am at 18 miles, I have passed a couple of the hills at this stage and my calves are starting to burn. I do have heartbreak hill ahead, but I’m now counting down, single figures left. I am also happy, that although the pace has dropped in places I do still feel in control. I hit the 20 mile mark and heartbreak hill. There is no doubt about it, it’s tough, and longer than I thought. There are people stopping and walking everywhere, the crowd is amazing as usual, urging you up. I say to myself, “it’s only a hill, get over it”, but my pace has dropped right back, and I get worried for a second, as I am really feeling it. But then, I see the top and an end to it, that gives me encouragement to push on over it. I reach the top and 21 miles, delighted with myself. I lost a bit on that mile, so I try straight away to find my 6:40 pace again, and I do. By mile 22 the pace is back, but I am now really having to fight. My calves and thighs are burning, but it’s only 4 miles, no chance than I am stopping. I would love to push, on but decided to hold what I have, and through miles 23 to 25, I am just holding on. Then in the distance I see the famous Citgo sign by Fenway Park. I know this marks 1 mile to the finish, I am nearly in disbelief, this is the last mile of the Boston Marathon. It’s difficult to know exactly what my time is because I am reading about 0.2 of a mile out on the course markers, but I know it’s good. I turn onto Boylston, an absolutely amazing atmosphere, and yet another WOW moment. I can see the finish line, my legs are cramping but I don’t care. Nothing is stopping me at this stage. 

I cross the finish line, what a relief. The most emotional I have ever been crossing a finish line, thinking about my Dad and Béibhinn. Mission accomplished 2:56:17. Absolutely delighted! 

Mark Murphy Boston 2022: Mission accomplished 2:56:17. Absolutely delighted. 

An Amazing Experience.

Boston Marathon to me was an amazing experience. I have not run New York or London, but I don’t imagine a city or a community could be as excited or passionate about their marathon anywhere else, as they are in Boston. The Boston Marathon is the oldest annual city marathon in the world, and this year marked 50 years since the first ladies competed at Boston. There is the obvious passion and desire to maintain it’s importance as an event, while remembering the victims of the Boston Bombing in 2013. 

For me it was a massive event, really special. Will I run it again?? Probably!

Anne Lucey Murphy: A Tribute

Written by Elaine Guinane 21.04.2022

Anne’s favourite thing about running? ‘The high you get after a good race, and having a great chat with the rest of the runners over a cup of tea’. When Eagle AC said goodbye to one of its longest-standing members on Sunday April 10th, we said goodbye to a runner, a photographer, a parkrunner, wife and best friend to Joe and a wonderful club member.

Anne Lucey Murphy joined Eagle AC in 1984. Like so many, Anne’s initial intention was to run a 10km, but soon found herself completing the full Dublin Marathon. She turned her hand (or feet) to many distances, taking part in everything from track races to road races to cross country. From the early days as an athlete to her final running days, Anne valued all aspects of running and threw herself into the running community in many ways. A true team player, she stepped up many times to take part in championship races for Eagle AC, including the last pre-covid County Road Championships in Castelyons 2019, where Anne won Silver in the F60 Category. Later that year she was part of the Eagle AC marathon relay team, where Anne ran the anchor leg to bring the mixed team home in 8th position out of 400 teams.

In recent years, Anne made her biggest mark on the Saturday Parkruns. Herself and Joe went the length and breadth of Munster, and often further afield, taking in parkruns in such places as Macroom, Bere Island, Killarney and Tramore. Their participation locally was of course huge also, with Anne completing a massive 93 runs in Ballincollig. The Tralee parkrun held special significance for Joe and Anne, where they did their first parkrun and also where Anne reached the outstanding milestone of 100 parkruns. In total, Anne ran a whopping 148 parkruns!

Even the pandemic and race shutdown did not stop Anne and Joe’s club involvement. Both took part in the Club virtual 5 mile series in Summer 2020, as well as completing the Eagle AC 12 Runs of Christmas challenge (of which Joe was the lucky winner!) There was no shortage of photographic evidence from either of them!

Running was central to Anne’s life. Even on holidays she was never one to slack off-the running shoes were always packed and Joe and Anne often fitted a race abroad into their holiday schedule. Indeed, they had no sooner touched down in the USA in 2016 on a visit to their late son Joseph when they scooped category prizes in a race in Midlands Park, New Jersey!

Perhaps even bigger than her participation as a runner was Anne’s contribution as a photographer. Anne’s encouraging words and the click of the camera have pushed many runners over the final stages of a race. Their facebook page is undoubtedly the first port of call after a race for many participants. The quality and volume of photographs taken by Anne and Joe have provided athletes with a fantastic record, wonderful memories and a sense of belonging to the running community.

A true pillar of the running community, Anne will be missed by her clubmates, her fellow parkrunners and the wider running community.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a h-anam.

Eagle AC Cheetah Run with Fota Wildlife Park

Entries Open Friday 8th of April at 10am

You can Enter here: https://www.myrunresults.com/events/fota_cheetah_run_2022/4368/details

Eagle AC are delighted to announce that race entries to our Cheetah 5K will open this Friday the 8th of April at 10 am. This is always a hugely popular event and places have sold out within the day in previous years. There will be NO entries available on the night.

Our Olympian Aoife Cooke was in Fota Wildlife Park this week to launch this years ‘Cheetah Run’, together with our race sponsor John Buckley Sports and Brooks running. This promises to be a fantastic event, a rare opportunity to run a 5K race (adults & over 16 years) or a 1 mile race for those aged 11-15 years, through the grounds of Fota Wildlife park. Perhaps you’ll have a chance to race a Giraffe or an Ostrich, you will certainly run past Cheetahs, Lions, Tigers, and so many more of Fota’s famous inhabitants! This is a unique event, one not to be missed.

The entry fee for the 5k event will be €15 (+ processing fee), entry fee for the 1-mile junior race will be €8 (+ processing fee) places for the 1-mile race are limited to 100. Each runner can bring a maximum of four visitors along with them free of charge to watch the race. Access will be controlled on the night and gates open at 6:30pm

The Fota Wildlife Park press launch article can be found on the link below:


Ruairi Egan & Karen Bevan Race Directors Eagle AC, Aoife Cooke Olympian, Roisin Fitzgerald Fota Wildlife Park, Lily McCarthy (Douglas), Connor Kavanagh of John Buckley Sports, Hugo McCarthy (Douglas), Lily Bevan-Luxton (Douglas). Photo by Darragh Kane

Image credits: Darragh Kane