Cork City Marathon weekend is a very special weekend in the Cork racing calendar, and this year was one to remember. The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering & the atmosphere was electric. The Cork City Marathon, Half Marathon & this year the new 10K event brings together runners at all levels with one goal in mind; to put in their best effort to cover the distance. We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all of our Eagle athletes on their achievements and look at a few highlights of the weekend.
The Full Marathon Participants
Some brilliant results in the marathon with Vivian Foley once again leading the club home in a fantastic time. Mark & Anthony were the next two Eagles over the line with PB runs from both and brilliant running by the two training partners. Aoife Cooke crossed the line as the 3hr pacer and 4th lady overall in the Marathon, and great thanks due to Aoife who was a late enrolment to the pacer team. An impressive performance from Ethan Bevan in his first outing in the Eagle singlet & his first marathon. Martin O Leary has kept us up to date on his training through his blog in the run up to the Marathon and ran a fantastic race. Jane Power also ran an excellent first marathon. Despite the heat there were plenty of PB’s and some very strong running from Eagle AC.
9 1397 VIVIAN FOLEY Eagle AC 02:38:17 02:38:14 18 322 MARK MURPHY Eagle AC 02:47:47 02:47:42 28 1811 ANTHONY MC CARTHY Eagle AC 02:50:41 02:50:37 57 17 AOIFE COOKE Eagle AC 02:58:53 02:58:48 98 2002 DAVID O’KEEFFE Eagle AC 03:06:43 03:06:32 129 1268 JIM O BYRNE Eagle AC 03:11:42 03:11:26 177 1270 ETHAN BEVAN Eagle AC 03:17:25 03:17:07 180 643 SIOBHAN HOLLAND Eagle AC 03:18:16 03:18:05 196 642 MARTIN LYNCH INDEPENDENT 03:20:36 03:20:25 236 2158 PETER FLEMING Eagle AC 03:24:58 03:24:52 264 803 KEN MULCAHY Eagle AC 03:27:36 03:27:22 296 69 MARTIN O LEARY Eagle AC 03:29:22 03:29:11 313 592 MARESSA MILLS Eagle AC 03:32:09 03:31:41 356 913 JOHN SHEEHAN Eagle AC 03:36:17 03:36:02 413 630 SHANE O ROURKE Eagle AC 03:41:22 03:40:24 494 697 ANDREW MACDONALD Eagle AC 03:46:11 03:45:44 519 1351 DENIS CARROLL Eagle AC 03:48:26 03:47:45 771 1361 TONY O’LEARY Eagle AC 04:05:04 04:03:02 820 338 JANE POWER INDEPENDENT 04:08:09 04:07:17 1163 671 CHARLIE BYRD Eagle AC 04:32:40 04:31:30 1185 395 PATRICK RYAN Eagle AC 04:33:37 04:33:05 1294 2091 AENID DOHERTY Eagle AC 04:42:54 04:42:17 1479 2072 PROINNSIAS O’KEEFFE Eagle AC 05:00:27 04:58:53 1571 783 ALAN WONG Eagle AC 05:13:45 05:11:42
The Half Marathon Participants
First time out in the Eagle Singlet and Adam Doyle leads the Eagles home in a superb sub 77 min half marathon! Fantastic performances from our racers & pacers.
12 5606 ADAM DOYLE Eagle AC 01:17:01 01:16:57 15 6859 KEN INCE Eagle AC 01:18:00 01:17:57 68 7074 JASON O’MAHONY Eagle AC 01:27:16 01:27:10 84 4643 BRIAN MC GUIRE Eagle AC 01:29:26 01:29:19 103 4889 MARTIN LEAHY Eagle AC 01:29:53 01:29:42 109 4359 SEAN O KEEFFE Eagle AC 01:30:01 01:29:51 (PACER) 134 5680 PAT O’CONNOR Eagle AC 01:32:10 01:32:06 260 6644 MIKE MC GRATH Eagle AC 01:39:30 01:38:51 414 4658 KAREN BEVAN Eagle AC 01:44:43 01:43:53 539 4031 MICHELLE TRAYNOR Eagle AC 01:48:19 01:47:22 540 6329 RUAIRI EGAN Eagle AC 01:48:19 01:47:30 594 5900 LISA BOLAND Eagle AC 01:49:37 01:48:15 610 6317 MARTIN DALY Eagle AC 01:49:57 01:48:28 723 6205 MAIREAD PEREZ Eagle AC 01:52:12 01:51:19 724 4422 DENIS BROWNE Eagle AC 01:52:12 01:51:18 808 6424 MICHAEL NOONAN Eagle AC 01:54:32 01:53:25 898 7056 NIALL MC SWEENEY Eagle AC 01:56:11 01:54:43 921 4029 IAN O BRIEN Eagle AC 01:56:46 01:54:46 954 6566 DAMIEN GERAGHTY Eagle AC 01:57:16 01:55:54 1040 5382 DENIS LOONEY Eagle AC 01:58:41 01:56:09 1264 4351 ELAINE GUINANE Eagle AC 02:02:21 01:59:24 (PACER) 1271 4659 DANIEL LUXTON Eagle AC 02:02:26 01:59:55 1278 4349 ED FITZGERALD Eagle AC 02:02:35 01:59:28 (PACER) 1388 6388 DAVID LYNCH Eagle AC 02:04:50 02:01:46 1568 5915 GREGG MOORE Eagle AC 02:08:22 02:05:25 1607 5381 BERNADETTE LOONEY Eagle AC 02:08:58 02:04:49 2186 5091 JOHN SWANTON Eagle AC 02:19:36 02:15:47 2406 4346 TAMARA LOPEZ Eagle AC 02:24:37 02:19:21 (PACER) 2463 5710 FRANCES O’CONNOR Eagle AC 02:26:18 02:23:07 2926 4350 EIMEAR BURKE Eagle AC 02:43:21 02:40:23 (PACER) 3188 6643 KAREN O SULLIVAN Eagle AC 03:43:46 03:36:20 3191 6642 SINEAD POWER Eagle AC 03:46:04 03:38:38
The 10k participants
What a finish from our two leading Eagles home in the 10K Derek & Paul with an amazing duplicate in Chip and Gun times! We would like to give a big welcome back to Glenn Kenneally who was able to wear his Eagle singlet and stand on the race start line for the first time in 2 years. The 10k proved an incredibly successful addition to the weekend with over 5,000 participants registering.
30 8868 DEREK OKEEFFE Eagle AC 00:36:34 00:36:30 31 9607 PAUL COTTER Eagle AC 00:36:34 00:36:30 137 8677 JACK MURPHY Eagle AC 00:41:47 00:41:33 196 11705 SEAN LUCEY Eagle AC 00:44:19 00:44:04 224 8200 RUAIRI EGAN Eagle AC 00:44:54 00:44:40 (PACER) 229 8927 PADRAIG SHEEHAN Eagle AC 00:44:58 00:44:41 303 9672 GARY GIBBONS Eagle AC 00:47:19 00:46:56 360 10950 BRIAN HEGARTY Eagle AC 00:48:38 00:47:32 369 11456 BRENDAN DALY Eagle AC 00:48:52 00:48:00 406 8325 PAT TWOMEY Eagle AC 00:49:35 00:49:30 432 8199 KAREN BEVAN Eagle AC 00:49:57 00:49:29 (PACER) 470 10877 DEREK COSTELLO Eagle AC 00:50:35 00:49:45 576 9255 MARIA MADIGAN Eagle AC 00:52:05 00:51:16 929 12115 GLENN KENNEALLY Eagle AC 00:56:41 00:56:11 955 11343 DEIRDRE CASEY Eagle AC 00:56:56 00:53:59 1371 10428 KAREN MC HUGH Eagle AC 01:01:04 00:57:54 1728 11731 REBECCA O’RIORDAN Eagle AC 01:04:22 01:00:22 2043 10427 JACQUELINE SLYNE Eagle AC 01:06:58 01:03:46
The Eagle support crew on Farranlea road were a welcome sight. Captain Finbarr Lehane, Chairman Grellan McGrath & Ian Roche were providing cheers and support, and best of all handing out Mr Freeze ice lollies!
The ‘Marathon Afterparty’ in Deep South brought a brilliant end to the weekend with great credit due to Damian Kenneally & Brain Ahern of The Runners Diary Podcast for the work and organisation that went into this. It was such a memorable afternoon, gathering everyone together for post race reflections and hearing from their many guests on stage. Brilliantly organised & brilliantly executed by Damian & Brian.
Thank you to all of the organisers, all the volunteers, all the paramedics who worked very hard on the day, the Gardai, the photographers, the supporters and so many people along the way that make this event possible. Great credit is due to the ‘The Cork City Marathon’ organising team and Race Director Eamon Hayes of Eagle A.C. The work, preparations and dedicated time and effort that go into events like this are astronomical. This is the most important running event in Cork running calendar and we should all work together to build this up & support our marathon towards continued success in the future.
Until next year well done to everyone & hope you all enjoy the memories of an amazing weekend.
The Eagle AC Cheetah Run at Fota Wildlife Park on Thursday May 18th 2023 was an unforgettable evening. There was a buzz of excitement around the wildlife park that only the Cheetah Run can bring. This was a very special evening for the club, marking the the first presentation of the ‘Anne Lucey Murphy Memorial Cup’ to the winning lady on the night. The 1st lady home was Hannah Steeds of Leevale AC, a talented runner finishing in a time of 17:33. Annes husband Joe Murphy presented the cup to Hannah, and her name will now be first engraved on a list of many talented female runners in the coming years. A fitting tribute to a valued clubmate, a much loved runner & photographer in Cork. Michelle Kenny also of Leevale AC took 2nd place in 17:51 and Kealey Tideswell of Clonmel A.C. was 3rd in 17:57. Brilliant running by the ladies.
Our winner on the night was Ray Hynes of Donroe AC, making the trip down from Dublin to be a part of this amazing evening. It was a tight race up to 4K when Ray made a break for home in a blistering time on this course of 15:25. Second place was won by Tipp resident Sergiu Ciobanu, Clonliffe Harriers A.C. in 15:37 and a Cork man Denis Hegarty Watergrasshill A.C. took 3rd place in 15:47. We were delighted to welcome such a high quality field to our 2023 Cheetah Race.
We had 723 finishers in our 5 Km and 79 finishers in our 1 mile event. A total of 802 finishers in a 1000 place sold out event, is an achievement that we are very proud of. A total of 46 running clubs and 15 counties were represented and in celebrating our ladies this year it was fitting that our ladies outnumbered our men.
We appreciate each & every runner/ walker that was a part of this magic evening in Fota Wildlife Park, thank you for your support.
Results & Prizes.
Top 5 Males
1 Ray HYNES 00:15:25 00:15:26 622 M M40 Donore Harriers A.C.
2 Sergiu CIOBANU 00:15:37 00:15:38 475 M MS Clonliffe Harriers A.C.
3 Denis HEGARTY 00:15:47 00:15:49 608 M MS Watergrasshill A.C.
4 Donnchadh MAC AODHA 00:15:56 00:15:57 678 M MS North East Runners A.C.
5 Barry TWOHIG 00:15:57 00:15:58 395 M M40 St. Finbarrs A.C.
Top 5 Females
1 Hannah STEEDS 00:17:33 00:17:35 908 F FS Leevale A.C.
2 Michelle KENNY 00:17:51 00:17:53 652 F F40 Leevale A.C.
3 Kealey TIDESWELL 00:17:57 00:17:57 920 F F35 Clonmel A.C.
4 Carol FINN 00:18:05 00:18:05 93 F FS Leevale A.C.
5 Aoibhin FLATLEY 00:19:08 00:19:09 98 F FS Swinford A.C.
Male: David MAHER 00:17:07 00:17:08 844 M MJ Carraig-Na-Bhfear A.C.
Female: Rachael WALSH 00:20:30 00:20:32 939 F FJ Grange/Fermoy A.C.
The 1 MileResults
Top 3 Boys
1 Finn YORE 00:05:02 M14 West Muskerry A.C.
2 Eoghan LOONEY 00:05:24 M11 Blarney/Inniscara A.C.
3 Daithi O’DONOVAN 00:05:27 M13 Cork City A.C.
Top 3 Girls
1 Chloe MCCARTHY 00:05:45 F11 Midleton A.C.
2 Rachel LEDWITH 00:05:53 F13
3 Jenny KENNEALLY 00:05:56 F13 Carrigaline A.C.
Category Prize Winners
Male Category Prize Winners:
3 James GRUFFERTY 00:17:22 00:17:23 111 M M40 Leevale A.C.
4 Martin WHITE 00:17:53 00:17:56 943 M M40 Clonakilty Road Runners
5 Cian MCPARLAND 00:17:58 00:17:58 720 M M40 St. Finbarrs A.C.
1 Kieran MCKEOWN 00:16:36 00:16:38 716 M M45 Grange/Fermoy A.C.
2 Con MARSHALL 00:17:49 00:17:51 685 M M45 St. Finbarrs A.C.
3 Ken CROWLEY 00:18:35 00:18:37 507 M M45
1 Garrett CASEY 00:19:17 00:19:18 471 M M50 St. Finbarrs A.C.
2 Edmond BYRNE 00:19:15 00:19:19 463 M M50 Togher A.C.
3 David MULLINS 00:20:03 00:20:06 742 M M50 Carraig-Na-Bhfear A.C.
1 Pat O’CONNOR 00:19:35 00:19:36 249 M M55 Eagle A.C.
2 Richard HAWKINS 00:19:39 00:19:41 597 M M55 Carraig-Na-Bhfear A.C.
3 David O’RIORDAN 00:21:02 00:21:05 843 M M55 Carraig-Na-Bhfear A.C.
1 Dermot O’SULLIVAN 00:23:23 00:23:34 856 M M60 Fota Island Running A.C.
2 Norman ALLEN 00:23:45 00:23:57 419 M M60
3 Richard GLEESON 00:25:18 00:25:18 575 M M60
1 Andrew GEANEY 00:24:36 00:24:53 105 M M65
2 Patrick MURPHY 00:25:30 00:25:39 757 M M65
3 Michael VAN DER POEL 00:33:17 00:33:54 931 M M65
1 Jimmy MURRAY 00:31:01 00:31:31 223 M M70
2 Billy CABALL 00:39:32 00:40:18 28 M M70 St. Finbarrs A.C.
Female Category Prize Winners:
2 Natalia GUERRAS 00:20:23 00:20:28 584 F F35
3 Annmarie BURNS 00:20:44 00:20:49 459 F F35
4 Orla HAYES 00:20:47 00:20:54 600 F F35 Leevale A.C.
2 Sheila BUCKLEY 00:21:51 00:22:01 447 F F40 Midleton A.C.
3 Jennifer COSTA 00:22:16 00:22:23 490 F F40 Ballymore Cobh A.C.
4 Ailíse MCNULTY 00:22:19 00:22:30 719 F F40 St. Finbarrs A.C.
1 Linda KELLY 00:19:19 00:19:22 639 F F45 Carrigaline A.C.
2 Niamh CRONIN 00:19:22 00:19:26 500 F F45 St. Finbarrs A.C.
3 Fiona MCCARTHY 00:19:51 00:19:57 690 F F45 Leevale A.C.F45
1 Helen LEONARD 00:22:42 00:22:50 668 F F50
2 Ann OFLYNN 00:25:58 00:26:24 257 F F50
3 Liz O’BRIEN MENIHANE 00:26:12 00:26:35 236 F F50
1 Annamarie FEGAN 00:23:47 00:24:05 88 F F55
2 Breda MCELHINNEY 00:23:55 00:24:06 706 F F55 Bantry A.C.
3 Margaret MURPHY 00:27:00 00:27:35 745 F F55 Togher A.C.
1 Mary SWEENEY 00:21:48 00:21:49 912 F F60 St. Finbarrs A.C.
2 Catherine LORDAN 00:27:39 00:28:13 672 F F60
3 Mary MULCAHY 00:28:48 00:29:16 741 F F60 St. Finbarrs A.C.
Thank you all for coming out to support the Eagle AC Cheetah Race, for some very exciting running, some amazing supporting and loads of fun. We are proud to host an event where generations of runners, from all over the country, gather to enjoy a fantastic evening of racing, in the amazing setting of Fota Wildlife Park, and in association with the OPW.
Very warm thanks to all of the Eagle AC members who gave their time to volunteer in the various areas, and to the many family and friends you brought along to lend extra pairs of hands. The Eagle AC Cheetah Run 2023 was a night to be proud of our club once again.
Last, but certainly not least, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors John Buckley sports and Brooks running for their continued support and very generous sponsorship of this event. Thank you all for your support.
We look forward to seeing you all again next year!
The Cheetah run offers a truly unique experience to run a 5K race (adults & those aged 16 and above) or a 1 mile race for those aged 11-15 years, within a wildlife park. Your supporters will be not only your family and friends but also all the animals within the park. The Giraffes & Ostrich’s always take a particular interest in our runners as they gather for the race start! With the additional celebration of Fota Wildlife Park’s 40th Anniversary, this promises to be one to remember.
Hugh McSweeney, Eagle AC with Sean McKeown, Director Fota Wildlife Park, Conor Kavanagh, John Buckley Sports, Ruairí Egan & Karen Bevan, Eagle AC Race Directors, Eoghan and Conor Looney from Blarney Inniscara Athletics Club. Pic Darragh Kane
The1 Mile Race
The 1 mile race for juveniles this year (Ages 11, 12, 13, 14 & 15) will commence at at 7:15pm. The numbers will be limited to 100. The one mile race has been measured accurately by Jones Counter, will be chip timed and all finishers will receive a medal. Please note that there are no prizes in the juvenile race.
The minimum age is 16 for the 5k race as per Athletics Ireland permit recommendations. This will commence at 8pm.
There will be prizes for the first 5 men and women as well as the usual age categories. The exact number of prizes for the age categories will be determined after the online entries close with the aim of making each age category competitive.
The entry fee for the 5k event will be €16 (+ processing fee), entry fee for the 1-mile junior race will be €9 (+ processing fee), the athletics Ireland levy is also applicable to those runners who are not currently members of an AAI club. The places for the 1-mile race are limited to 100& the 5k places are limited to 900 runners. Each runner can bring a maximum of four visitors along with them free of charge to watch the race, this is a part of race entry. Access will be controlled on the night and gates open at 6:30pm
The Cheetah Run Launch 2023.
This year we were delighted to welcome Hugh McSweeney Eagle AC along with Conor & Eoghan Looney brothers from Blarney Inniscarra AC to launch our 2023 Cheetah Run.
Huge McSweeney is an incredibly talented track & field masters athlete with a resume that few could contest, along with this he has some impressive performances in road races also! Hugh started his running career in 1982 and is a long standing member of Eagle A.C. Over the last 40 plus years he has won to mention but a few, 30 National Gold Medals, 15 National Silver Medals, 2 National Bronze Medals, 2 World Indoor Games (1991) 2 World Masters Outdoors Championships Medals (2022), & 2 European Indoor Championships Medals (2022). Hugh has held 10 National Records over 60 meters, 200 meters and the long jump. This includes a long jump record that lasted for 22 years! If you want to talk about inspiring athletes & life long dedication to the sport Hugh believes that last year ‘2022’, was his best year to date when at the age of 77 he won 3 National, 2 European & 2 World Championship Medals. Hugh Kindly brough along these medals and the Baton from the European Masters athletics Championships
Conor & Eoghan Looney finished first and second in our Cheetah Run 2022 1 mile race in time of 00:05:28 & 00:05:34 respectively. They are a true example of the young & talented athletes we have here in Cork. We would like to wish Conor & Eoghan every success and look forward to seeing what the future holds for them. Perhaps they will come along to defend their titles, they look set to us!
What’s New This Year:
We have a couple of changes to the entry system on the night and the prize giving ceremony this year.
You will enter the park via the main ticket booths and your number collection will be provided from the ticket booths. This should speed up entry and allow you to enjoy the wildlife park as soon as you enter, avoiding number collection queuing.
The Teas & Coffees will be served at the Fota Wildlife Park Coffee shop with the prize giving for the 5K race taking place in the main pavilion outside the coffee shop. The shop will be open this year until 9.30pm for anyone who would like to purchase a memento of their Fota run 2023.
Following the sell-out return to Fota Wildlife Park in 2022, we are looking forward to welcoming everyone again to our exciting and unique race. We are very grateful to John Buckley Sports & Brooks for their ongoing support of this event. We are grateful also to the OPW and to Fota house for their continued support in allowing us to use their property. It is a pleasure to work with everyone at the park and we are delighted to again support their wonderful research & conservation projects.
Fota Wildlife Park has been listed as one of Ireland’s Top Ten visitor attractions (CSO 2010) and is the most popular tourist destination in Cork. This year Fota celebrates its 40th year open to the people of Cork & beyond. Hundreds of thousands visit the park every year. Fota is a non-profit organisation and is also a registered charity. It is completely self-financing, relying entirely on gate receipts and membership fees for its income, and any financial surpluses generated are reinvested in order improve infrastructure and promote the company’s core objectives of conservation, education and research.
The club would also like to acknowledge the continuing sponsorship of John Buckley Sports for this years race. John Buckley has been a great supporter of road races and athletics in the Cork region over the years and is one of the main shops in Cork for running gear.
RACE DAY INFORMATION 11 am Sunday 19th February 2023
Race Day: Sunday 19th February 2023
Race Number: Please wear your race number on the front of your t-shirt & on you outermost layer of clothing.
Number Postage: If you selected number postage prior to the 8th of February you should have received your number in the post.
Number Collection: For entries received after the 8th of February, or where postage was not a selected option, your numbers will be available for collection from 9:30am in Carrigaline Community Complex, Church Rd, Carrigaline Middle, Carrigaline. (Map location: RJ77+W4 Carrigaline, County Cork) Eircode P43 TK70
Race Parking: Please allow enough time for parking, number collection and getting to the start line. Be aware that there will be up to 400 people looking for parking in a community area so this can take time. Parking at the Carrigaline Community Complex will be exclusively for wheelchair athletes or local community groups who use this on a weekly basis. We encourage all runners to use the Carpark opposite the park on both the bypass road and the Church road sides of the park. (Please see map below)
Toilet facilities: Available in the hall, some portaloos outside the hall and more at the start-line
The start line is located in the Waterpark Estate, please see map for details. This is a 10-minute walk from the Carrigaline Community complex.
Race start time is 11am Sharp!
The finishing line is also located In the Waterpark Estate.
If you opted for the postal option, your number will have been posted to you.
For all on-line registrations after the 8th of February, or where postage was not a selected option, your numbers will be available for collection in the Carrigaline Community Complex from 9:30am
Please let us know as soon as possible of any problems with receipt of your number and we can resolve this for you.
Please park responsibility and follow the instructions given by the carpark stewards.
At the start line
Please listen to the stewards and the safety briefing, prior to the race start.
There will be a lot of people in a small space, so take care of each other.
There is a very quick downhill start to this race. If you feel there are faster runners in the race, please let them start in front of you to avoid collisions.
There will be a lead car at the front of the race and a lead cyclist with the leading man & lady.
During the Race
Our race does not permit the use of headphones of any kind, you need be aware of the people around you, you also need to be aware of on-coming traffic.
Listen to the stewards, they are there as volunteers for your safety.
As this is a 5-mile race there will be no water stops on the course.
The course is on main roads open to traffic. Please keep to the left-hand side of the road. The Gardai and stewards will be on hand to ensure your safety, but please do take care and run safely.
At the finish line
Water will be provided at the finish line.
Refreshments: Tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes & biscuits will be available in the Carrigaline Community Complex after the race. Please keep the flow of people moving through the Hall to allow all participants to access the post-race refreshments.
Please dispose of all waste in the bins provided
After the race
The prize presentation will take place at approximately 12.30pm in the Carrigaline Community Complex.
There will be donation boxes available for any participants or family members who may like to make an additional donation to our charity partners: Carrigaline Meals on Wheels & Carrigaline Forόige Youth Diversion Project.
Please exit the carpark safely
The race results can be found at myrunresults.com.
We are very grateful to our sponsors The Edge Spots & Coughlan DeKeyser Architects for helping to make this event possible. We hope you enjoy our event, and we are delighted that we can once again offer post-race refreshments in the Carrigaline Community Complex.
Thank you all for supporting our Eagle AC club race & we hope you all enjoy the event.
Dec 2021. Siobhan Holland was on one of her recruitment drives.
How long have you been running what made you take it up:
Since 2010. Just started doing 5k’s to keep fit as I headed into my late 30’s. Never ran more than 4 miles until 2016.
Favourite thing about running:
The head space when running solo, but more importantly the people when meeting up for weekend runs and races and coffee.
Favourite race distance to run:
10k to 10 miles. None of the pressure of an all-out fast 5k, and not too long to get too sore.
What is your main goal for this year:
I have 3 half marathons lined up for March, April and June. Got the all clear recently from my cardiologist to return to that distance following a little trip to A&E in an ambulance after my last one in 2017 (diagnosed with bicuspid valve / heart arrythmia in 2009). All good for now thankfully.
Your best race/most memorable racing moment to date:
Great Manchester Run 10k last year. Huge event on an out and back course around Old Trafford & back into city centre – the elites pass by on the way back so it’s amazing to see them. I did it with my wife Siobhan last year and enjoyed it so much that around 15 of us from Eagle / Ballincollig parkrun gang are all going back this year. The Eagle Insta page will be busy that weekend.
Tell us something most people might not know about you:
I’m a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and still run a club with a friend twice a week, training kids from aged 7 up to 60. Hence I can’t do Eagle track sessions on a Tuesday night as it clashes.
Biggest heroes (sporting or non-sporting):
Roy Keane & Aoife Cooke (she’s my coach so I have to be nice to her…)
One bit of advice you would give to someone thinking of taking up running:
Get good shoes & join a group or club. The social aspect makes a huge difference to your progress. I spent years slogging away at 5k at the same speed all the time and it got very boring. The club, parkrun gang and a good coach make the world of difference to motivation, enjoyment and race times. I absolutely love my running these days…much to the boredom of my family when I start to talk about it over diner. Again.
3 things you would take with you onto a desert island:
Eagle AC were saddened to hear of the passing of one of it’s founding members Mr. Fred Gilbert, on December 24th, 2022.
Fred along with his wife Sheila Gilbert and Mick Clancy were the three founding members of Eagle A.C. originally known as the Eagle Track Club upon its commencement in the Autumn of 1982. Prior to this Fred was a well-known coach with the juvenile section of St Finbarr’s Athletic Club.
While Eagle Track Club had adult members from its beginning, the club’s main role lay in coaching the juniors and juveniles. Fred Gilbert was a passionate coach and the club he directed between 1982 and 1988 produced several excellent junior athletes. These included Fred’s sons Tony & Declan Gilbert, who won athletics scholarships to the University of Lowell near Boston. Tony O’ Gorman who won an athletics scholarship to Minnesota University & Fidelma Kirwan, who was a Celtic and schools’ 400 metres hurdles international.
With thanks to Paul Cotter ‘A history of Eagle Athletic Club’ was compiled in January 2022, more about the excellent Junior athletes fostered by Fred within the club at that time can be read here:
This Amsterdam Marathon idea started as a prank. My good friend Jack Murphy would constantly send me YouTube videos of Kilian Jornet or Courtney Dauwalter and show how amazing they were completing their 100 mile races over difficult terrain. He would then start saying things like we should sign up to the Jungfrau marathon or the Ultra Trail Mount Blanc. Now don’t get me wrong, this sounds amazing. However over the years I had slowly become bitter and disgruntled with all the injuries I had picked up and was afraid of completing anything. When I joined Eagle AC back in November 2015, I joined because I wanted to complete a marathon. Roll on to the end of 2016 and I had completed 2. From 2017 onwards I then came up with the ingenious idea of injuring myself every summer. Taekwondo, tag rugby (the worlds most dangerous sport) and 5 a side soccer are not good complements for running. Not for me anyway. Would I learn my lesson? As it turns out…No. I decided the best way to prepare for a virtual marathon was to do some mountain biking. Even better, crash the mountain bike, ruin my right quad and do the virtual Dublin marathon 3 weeks later. It didn’t go well. Cue more bitterness. It was at that moment I needed help. I spent a great deal of time annoying Damian Kenneally in the Edge sports telling him my problems (running ones obviously). He gave me crazy advice to give up all this foolish shenanigans and just run. It seemed to work as I hit a 10km PB a few months later. Small bit of confidence restored and it would be around 18 months to the marathon.
When we came out of the good side of Covid and we could go abroad again, my friends and I wanted to do a race abroad, for a while it was looking like a half in Rome but I wanted to try and bring my over enthusiastic friends back down to earth. We booked the Amsterdam Marathon. As well as Jack there was Alan Wong who is no stranger to marathons and David Woods who like Jack would be running his first.
So preparation began and i started signing up to races left, right and centre. The year started with the most amazing race in the world. Yes you’ve guessed it, the Valentia Island half marathon. Jack Murphy blitzed it and came 5th also getting sub 90 mins for the second time. Unfortunately, Jack got injured in this race so he was out for a bit. To be fair though Jack always comes back stronger. Alan Wong also is a man that enjoys a come back and was already completing the Cork marathon with Michelle Cheung this year. Not to be left out and also very impressive was David Woods completing a Malin to Mizen cycle in May. Meanwhile I as receiving confidence boosters completing Ballintotis and Limerick 6 mile both at 7:30 a mile pace. The rest of the summer went quite well as we slowly started increasing mileage. As Alan, Jack and David all picked up injuries over the summer I thankfully remained injury free. This was the first summer since 2016 that I didn’t pick up some form of an injury.
There was one more confidence booster to come. As Jack came back from Injury No. 2 (this was from paintballing, less said about that the better), both of us completed the Kilkenny 30km. A really good race. Testing enough with the hills on the course. It measured slightly longer with Polar telling me I ran 30.9km. Jack completed the race in 2 hrs 21 mins and I completed it in 2 hrs 26 mins. I just want to say at this point we had our lunch in Petronellas after the race and it was amazing. Fine spot for food. Not too long later and we were tapering. Alan the poor man still not fully healed but he is made of stronger stuff and was confident of completing the race.
We flew out on the early 6 am Friday morning flight. Dropped our bags at the apartment. We stayed at the cityden bolo district. A fine 4 bed apartment with tram and bus routes right outside. The metro was not too far away. First port of call was the Heineken experience. Very nice tour great way to spend the morning as it had been raining outside. After a few Heinekens we headed to the marathon expo and collected our number, also we collected what I would describe as the nicest race t shirt I have ever received.
The Saturday was a cautious affair. As part of the marathon, we opted to do the pasta party. This would entail an all you can eat buffet and a drink as well. It was a great idea before a marathon. Carb loading is important. We returned to the apartment and watched Forrest Gump – just wanted to watch his form really. We originally thought Tom Cruise in mission impossible but his form is questionable.
The day of the marathon arrived. We were up early, breakfast finished, shower done and gels at the ready. We got the metro fairly near to the Olympic stadium, dropped our bags, completed a warm up and headed inside. Oh my word: the atmosphere was amazing. So many runners eagerly awaiting the start. There was already a crowd gathering in the stands. I couldn’t wait to get going. We started to move to where the 3:20 pacer was. Me and Jack were targeting a sub 3:30, David a Sub 4 and Alan just wanted to finish given the injuries.
We watched as the elites went off. Then it was our turn…….. I have to say the first half of the race went very well. I went through the half in 1 hr 40. Very happy with that. It wasn’t until mile 20 when I thought oh ya I forgot these get tough around now but thankfully did not panic. My pacing had gone well I knew that if I kept it below 9 minute miles I should break 3 hr 30. Unfortunately I hit a 9:25 mile at mile 23, I also stopped for a bit as I found the pace starting to get really tough, took on some energy drink and continued on. I managed a few sub 9 minute miles after but mile 26 I hit another 9:25. At 26.2 miles I checked the watch…30 seconds over. No shame in that, Kaka the Brazilian soccer player has a world cup and champion league medal but when it comes to the marathon I have the edge. The official time was 3 hrs 32 mins. Jack completed it in 3 hrs 24 mins, David Woods getting sub 4 hrs and Alan completing it in 5 hrs 36 mins. As I crossed the line there was a tear or two. A tear because after a few years where I felt I was plagued with injuries then Covid coming I feel like I’m getting back to where I need to be. I can’t wait to start training for my next event. What started as a way to bring my friends back down to earth has shot me to the moon.
So Jungfrau marathon anyone? Here guys that Courtney Dauwalter is amazing have you seen her on YouTube? Yes confidence restored and onto the next adventure.
With that I want to thank David, Jack and Alan. It’s good to have friends, it’s great to have friends that you can run with. I hope ye read this because ye were a big help in getting me there. Another thanks goes to Damian Kenneally. A man I very much admire and has been so good the last few years giving me advice.
Race Weekend Notes
Just a last few notes. Great race, very well organised. Plenty of toilets, water and energy drinks on the course. Great support all round. We flew back the Wednesday so we went to the Nemo Science museum Monday. Very good place with plenty of interactive games. Fantastic place for a family. Not great if you’re like me, an engineer who wants to build a bridge and kids won’t get out of your way. On Tuesday we did a canal cruise with Flagship Amsterdam. The hosts were excellent. They gave a great history of Amsterdam and served drinks on board. When it came to food. We had breakfast at the breakfast club and had it in Moak another day, the latter being absolutely amazing and highly recommend their pancakes. When it came to dinner we ate in Foodhallen – a cheap mans marina market really but still very nice with plenty of culinary delights. Also there was cannibal royale. Fine place for burgers and steaks. I think the pasta party is well worth adding to marathon ticket. There were various pastas there so catered for all. Plenty of nice bars too. Do yourself a favour and order a Kwak. Overall, a trip I highly recommend.
July 6th 2022 I’m on a bike heading up the Col du Galibier in the French alps, the same type of bike I’ve been on for the previous 12 months because of a stress fracture in my arse caused by over use and glutes not pulling their weight I’m told ……anyway its day 5 of this trip and the terrain is hard, and getting harder, its incessantly hot , I try not to look up ahead as its not great looking up at this point ! I feel like I’m on the edge of not being able to pedal anymore and close to full on bonk and then I start thinking about the London Marathon in 2018 , yes that was harder than this wasn’t it and we still kept going …..after about 10 minutes thinking about something similar but worse I managed to regain some energy and actually “enjoyed” the final 10km of a brutal but iconic climb. Irrespective of such hardship I really enjoy the mountains and the bike but like the lad who’s been off the smokes for years and has a sneaky one after a few pints the brain don’t forget ………..and so it was the following day, I’m on the plane home and I’m thinking about the Galibier and how hard I found parts of it and I remember my remembering the bloody London Marathon ………..
I had an entry for Berlin 2021, in my head it was probably going to be my last serious effort at a PB in the marathon but two months out I got that stress fracture. In October 21 I got an email saying if I wanted to re-enter 2022 ………I paid the discounted entry fee , looked at flights in January 2022 but with still a pain in my ass I said I’d wasted enough money and let it go …………let it go that was until we’re on that plane home from France and my brain had the taste of “ marotine “ remembering why I was remembering London Marathon cycling up a mountain ……….the entry to Berlin comes across my mind like the smell of a John Player blue outside mass on a sunny Sunday morning after that inadvertent drag the night before , the smell , fresh and distinctive triggers the brain like a burger to a Labrador , your left with little choice other than to cave in and take one when offered by a fellow soldier …………
When I got home I take two or three days to see if the feeling will pass but by Sunday morning its still there so instead of going for the bike I decide to do a 10 mile trail run in Kilmurray woods, its hard, my ass hurts but now thankfully not from the stress fracture but the remnant of too much time on the saddle. So I make a deal with my legs that if we can reach 20 miles by sometime in August we’ll book them flights and do Berlin 2022………..the legs and arse want no stress , so no Tuesday track , no tempo runs , no marathon pace and no cycling so to keep my side of the deal I decided to keep a tab on the effort by keeping all runs under 140 bpm ……….bit of an arbitrary figure but it’s around where I feel my breathing change from little effort to some effort …….. The contract didn’t mention no hills so that’s what we were left to work with. Must say the first couple of long runs over the 10 miles were hard going and took quite a few weeks of daily running to get the road resilience back into the legs. However, once that happened things stated to improve and get a little easier so I could again enjoy running
Nearing end of August I was up to 18 miles after few runs around Bandon with Darren Casey and 1 around the city with Dowling and Leahy. Leahy after 5 miles into that 18 miler just looked at me and said u could run 3;30 and look around u or 3:15 and feel a bit of pain which is what you should be feeling running a marathon! I was now under a bit of pressure so kept my mouth shut about my “3:45 will do” LIV marathon training plan which I had been thoroughly enjoying until now! Anyway, I was now also heading to Croatia for two weeks holidays and 3:45 was back on the agenda as I had made my mind up that no marathon was coming between me PIVO and Dalmatian cuisine ………. decided no long runs on hols but I would get up early every morning knock 1000 calories off the daily 3000 calorie tucker intake, limit my PIVO to 2/3 per evening, fill the void with red wine and eat like I was going to be running two ultras. Reading Jan Ullrich book during the day seemed very appropriate, on one hand I was eating and drinking like Noah’s Ark was leaving while in the morning the search continued for Bombenform ! Amazingly when I got home, I was only up 3kg, approx. half the damage I expected ………..I think the heat helps dissipate the alcohol but that’s only based on reading about Tony Adams, Paul McGrath and Bryan Robson who were players I admired for their ability to operate in a zone only occupied by those on the extreme end of a special bell curve! …………. still on my first and only 20 miler two days after coming home and two weeks out I noticed those 3KG up Rafeen hill as Dowling disappeared into the torrential rain! I was bate after it and HR had gone way up for last 6 miles trying to keep up with him , Dowling was toying with me and enjoying it but I got dragged thru the 20 when I might have gone for the car earlier ! ………..anyway we had a deal with legs. 20 miles by end of august and we were going to Berlin ………two weeks behind schedule, hadn’t told legs but flights had been booked after the 18 miler before holidays anyway.
23rd Sep 2022
Flight from Dublin airport, meet Conor friend of V O’Sullivan Beara on steps of plane, arrange to meet after, he’s trying sub-3, I’m on the spot now …. I’ll be round 3:20 says I (WTF per mile is that I think?)
On plane we meet Siobhan Holland down the back with all the messers, Siobhan is running marathons like they are going out of fashion, and you know she’s ready as she looks relaxed, carefree and reading a book.! I’m frantically dividing 200 minutes by 26.2 to see if I’ll be able to meet Conor for pints! Anyway, off plane and with typical German efficiency we are at the Hauptbahnhof central station within an hour and all for 3:80 euro! Hotel is next door so very handy for getting round.
Out to an old airport on Saturday morning for the expo………….bit of a queue fest compared to other big marathons, as usual got a couple of Adidas tops and we were back at checkpoint Charlie for 2pm , coffee, museum tour and walk around , then dinner near hotel in a nice Italian ………usual pasta bread and double expresso . Didn’t sleep very well and rarely do the night before but I’ve banked a lot of sleep over my lifetime so one night never matters!
25th Sep 2022
7:00 am up and at it. Quick bread roll with ham and cheese, new battery in my 1-day battery HR monitor and away we go at 7:30am. Nice fresh cool morning, no wind and perfect conditions. Enjoyed the build-up and the organisation in the TierGarten was excellent, spent a bit of time at the start watching German TV presenter get her make up done, I need some of that stuff that made her hair stand up like she was in a wind tunnel! Wasn’t long till 9:15 and main lads were off. Was in pen two but had dropped back so 9:23 crossed start line …………. having not ran a race in nearly 3 years I had been thinking my best bet to enjoy and finish this in one piece was to go off below same HR I had used to train with. I was also aware this was Berlin and my admiration for the Germans is well known, they are direct , don’t talk shite , have a ruthless streak but at the same time they are straight up and look and sound efficient even if they aren’t…………..in other words I wanted to run this like a German not an American ! ………..I did a test run the previous Tuesday, like a ramp test they call it where I ran six miles increasing effort and HR over the 6 miles, was surprised how well I felt ………..so my plan was something similar …………5 blocks (4 x 5 miles and 6.2 miles) where I would increase HR by effort (irrespective of pace) every 5 miles until 20 miles and then let it rip like the Swedish covid professor ! So, after two miles my HR was showing 165 but I kind of knew it was wrong as my breathing was fine. I had stupidly bought my phone and put it in my gel belt but it was adding too much weight and was making the belt fall down…………..had to keep holding it till mile 4 when I knew Jacqueline would be near our hotel, pulled over stopped watch and gave Jacq the phone and a thumbs up, she was kind of wondering why I took so long to get this far, a real confidence booster! When I restarted watch it reconnected to hr Strap and the HR was back to 140 …….threw in a few efforts to verify and it would rise and lower so I now knew it was right and had it on dual screen mile LAP pace/distance and LAP HR. HR to me is running off feel but it just puts a number on the feel and sometimes feel isn’t really feel as you can talk yourself into feeling great when you’re not or vice versa ! ……….the HR don’t lie if accurately measured and understood. AT mile 5 first gel down the hatch, took me ages to open it but felt the caffeine hit immediately, feel my brain can compute like a computer at this stage! HR was still around 145 so I increased effort a little up to but still below 150 till mile 10. Was starting to pass good few runners already so kept an eye on HR and just as long as it stayed below 150 on each mile I just ran away. At mile 10 gel number 2, still felt good so decided to leave HR drift as far as 155 with a bit more effort ………. through halfway in 1:38 this was my first view of any overall time or overall pace ………. Had asked Mark Murphy on last long run what Boston Q was for an auld lad, and he said 3:15 ………Leahy had more or less given me a look of disdain at the same time that morning, his eyes saying I shouldn’t be bothered running it unless I went under 3:15! So, I knew a 1:36 second half would put me around there …………mile 14 and 15 for some reason weren’t the best, I had a few negative thoughts (26 minus 14 being the worst one ) but used previous experience of way worse situations in marathons and this wasn’t long making me forget! Vapor fly’s so much more comfortable than blisters @mile 11 in a pair of concrete hugging Asics DS trainers! ………Mile 15 , gel no.3 and HR range was now going to go from 155 to <=160 ………….took a bit more noticeable effort here to up HR but was now starting to pass more runners, at mile 16 and with 10 to go I notice mile lap pace was now coming close to 7min pace ………….had a thought that maybe I could manage a sub 70 10 mile but then remembered my strategy was 5 mile blocks so under 160 HR till mile 20 and then the final 6.2 miles ………had to be patient here as I was now starting to feel good but having no real hard running done in over 12 months I wasn’t sure I’d be able to increase pace for final block …………gel no 4 at 18 miles and I felt this one in my veins , maybe it’s the caffeine but I hadn’t taken a gel since mile 21 of DCM in 2019 and really get a benefit of them in marathons ………..maybe its in my head but that’s the most important place for marathons for me anyway ………….so nearly at mile 20 I’m happy to see HR is still holding around 158/9 and I know I can at least hold 165 on the bike for ~ 40 mins as recently as June …………..so when mile 20 beeps I visualise myself leaving Coachford and taking a right for Bealnamorrive on my way to Johns well and the climb to the top of Mushera ! Passing more and more runners now the HR drifts above 160 almost immediately but I keep it steady for a mile or two dropping last gel at mile 21 until I see mile 22 beep at 6:53 pace ………its time to let the HR rip now and my legs feel a bit more freedom from the increased pace and the bounce from the vapor fly runners now becomes more obvious ……….HR is now at 166 with 3 miles left so I know I can easily hold this if my legs keep turning ………mile 25 and traveling steady , I’m in that part of the marathon now that makes you want it to both finish asap and go on for longer……..this is the part for me anyway that makes you eventually want to do another one …….its the feeling , the way the miles just pass faster like kilometres and the freedom to just throw caution to the wind as you cant blow up now and make the thing a real pain fest ! At mile 25 I throw away my Gatorade 500ml bottle that had water and a salt tab, almost empty 500ml was more than enough (carried it from start and avoided all chaos at water tables with cups along with the 90 degree elbow angle at shoulder height technique through all water stops, the amount of people who go right and then make a sudden turn left for water was unreal, only one lad caught the elbow but he’d have taken me clean out otherwise! ………. nearing the top of Mushera HR was now up to 168 /169, not having to hang on to ROC or Mike Forde this isn’t too bad, I think! we are running on big wide streets, under the Brandenburg Gate and 200 metres more on near perfect tarmac this is a great finish, still passing runners here like they are standing, I’m thinking I need to go back to the track and do a few 800’s as this is fun! …………under the banner with a wave to the camera man, stopped and took in the finish line atmosphere for a minute or two, have realised more lately you never know when your last one is ………. stopped watch at 3:12:30 felt very happy with that given where I had been or hadn’t been with running over the previous 14 months ………..really thought I was done and probably would have been only for a deferred entry to a brilliant marathon on what is defiantly the fastest course I’ve ever ran …….pan flat few pulls here and there but compensated for by slight declines as well. Great city, great route and support while not like London or NY is still superb and the feeling of big city marathon with Kipchoge an hour up the same road makes this a super event for sure.
Went for an immediate analgesic after meeting Jacqueline in the meeting area who was impressed that I had come out of my first 5-mile slumber and actually had done a bit of running ……….no medals handed out here, a tougher agent you’d be hard pressed to find! Jacqueline had Siobhan on the tracker as well, I’m wondering looking at my Pils is she’s behind me or in front of me! A super run of 3:19 for Siobhan and first Cork woman home I find out since! Stretched on a beach chair on the banks of the Spree I could have stayed all day, but Jacqueline eventually moved me, and we went back to hotel, quick shower, change and off to the Hackescher market area, a nice area of courtyards with shops, pubs and outdoor cafes. Met Conor whose first marathon didn’t go to plan but with the help of copious analgesic inducing Pils and discussing the modern LIV marathon training methods for washed GAA players we had Conor down to 2:49 by 8pm and improving rapidly thereafter! Deutschland Uber Alles.
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
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!
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