Eagle AC Member Profile: Mark Smith

Name:  Mark Smith

Member of Eagle AC since:

June 2017

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

I first took up running after work and relocations (and age) restricted my ability to train and play soccer regularly.  It was just as a means to stay fit, but no more than 15 miles a week.  I took up more serious running after the death of my son, Callum, who passed away at 6 weeks old from a rare genetic disorder.  Running became an outlet for me where I could think and try to come to terms with what had happened.  I know I broke down a lot during that time, both physically and mentally.  I decided to run a marathon in his memory and completed the Cork marathon ~6 months later for Féileacáin, a baby loss awareness charity.  I have been running ever since.

Favourite thing about running:

Two things stand out.  The freedom that comes with it.  You can go whenever you have time, where you want and for as long as you want.  You get the freedom to think clearly, away from computer screens and other distractions.  I also like the fact that all runners are equal, if you don’t train and put in the hard work you will be found out in a race.  No matter your ability there is always an opportunity to do better than what you have done before.

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Track and Field running by Ken Higgs

I got into running during the 1980’s running boom and in 1983 I joined the newly-formed Bray Runners club in County Wicklow. The club was totally focused on long distance running but after three agonising marathons I finally realised marathon running wasn’t for me. In 1986, I moved to Cork to start a new job in UCC where I joined the Staff AC , but shortly afterwards I decided to pack in running all together. Fast forward 27 years to 2013 and early retirement. It was time to start running again. So, I joined a local running club Carrigaline Runners and the UCC Staff AC (again). In late 2015, a group of us transferred to Eagle AC which in the long run turned out to be a really great decision. Perhaps I should have said ‘in the short run’, because since joining the club I have discovered I am much better suited to the shorter stuff.

I took up track racing in 2018 with no previous background or experience. The seed of an idea was planted at a 5k road race in Coolagown. I had been trailing behind two runners in my age group, then with 200m to go I produced a sprint finish and claimed the age category win. John Desmond (who had been lurking near the finish with his camera) came up to me afterwards and said I should give track racing a go. Several months later,  Captain Damian was encouraging club members to go to Nenagh for the Munster Masters Indoor Track Championships , so the time had come to give it a go. I really enjoyed it and ran surprisingly well in the 800 and 1500m.So a month later I decided to try the National Master Indoors in Athlone. That turned out to be great too. I got such a buzz in the 800m race. I was racing against a guy who a few weeks earlier had won the National Masters XC in my age group ( I was a good 2 minutes behind him), but on the track I out sprinted him over the last lap to win the race. I was totally hooked! So I am now part of a small but dedicated group of Eagles who enjoy flying the club flag at provincial and national track championships.

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Eagle AC Tommy Ryan Memorial Virtual 5 Miler – Race Results and Report

A race report from Race Directors Ruairi Egan and Tracy Cotter:

A final report for you all on the Eagle AC Virtual Tommy Ryan Memorial 5 Miler which ran for the past 11 days.Firstly, a huge thanks to everyone who took part in and/or donated to the event. As usual, there was great support from both the Eagle AC membership as well as the wider Cork running community.

We are delighted to say that we have ended up raising a lot more money for our two charities (Carrigaline Meals on Wheels and Carrigaline Foróige) than we expected initially! We had 85 donators to the GoFundMe page, raising €1,370 altogether which is a brilliant amount! 100% of this money will be donated to our 2 chosen charities.

There were 70 entries to our virtual race in total which was a fantastic turnout also! (Because of the large number of race entries the club committee purchased some extra vouchers for spot prizes to be raffled between all entrants.)

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Eagle AC-Trail running by Olga O’Sullivan

Despite having grown up in a large city, I should start with the fact that I’m an outdoor nut rather than a typical road runner. In addition to running, I love hiking, climbing, surfing and open water swimming. The mountains and ocean are my happy place. I never use a treadmill or go to the gym; vertigo aside, the indoor exercise just doesn’t do it for me.

Not sure why I’m here writing this article, when there are many club members, who are better trail runners than me, and we probably crossed paths at the IMRA races! With the unexpected circumstances, which we found ourselves in over the last 2 years, I find more and more road runners are willing to try trails, and I may even be guilty of converting some of them.

I love running alone, but I also enjoy sharing my love for the mountains with others. McGillycuddy Reeks in Kerry is my favourite playground, from the remote Lough Duff circuit to the Eastern reeks and Coomloughra horseshoe, and Carrauntoohil from every direction. However, due to the recent lockdowns, I perused every possible bit of trails closer to home. There are hidden gems everywhere, you just need to look for them. After the recent loss of my husband, who loved the woodlands, I’ve spent many hours running in the woods, where, surrounded by the trees, you can cry without being judged and remember without being interrupted.

I find solace in running far away from civilisation, alone with my thoughts. The air is cool, damp and clean. You are surrounded by the beautiful, lush, green, yellow, grey and brown hues, and sounds of nature: the trickling of a distant waterfall, birds singing, goats & sheep calling out to each other, or on a stormy day, the wind howling and drowning out everything else! If you time your run to witness a sunrise or a sunset, the experience is unparallel; it stays with you.

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Entry Window Extended for Eagle AC Virtual Tommy Ryan Memorial 5 Miler 2021

Due to the bad weather forecast for the coming weekend, and in the interest of all participants, the Race Directors have decided to extend the window for race entries for the Virtual Tommy Ryan Memorial 5 Miler until Sunday 21st February. Runs can now be logged from Thursday 11th February to Sunday 21st February.

All other race details remain the same and can be found here…


Eagle AC Virtual Tommy Ryan Memorial Run 2021


At this time of year we would normally be making the final preparations for our annual club race – The Tommy Ryan Memorial 5 Miler in Carrigaline. Of course, this year, the event will be unable to proceed in the traditional way. 

As a club, we would still like to do something to honour this event and to help out the 2 local Carrigaline charities who normally benefit from the race – Carrigaline Meals on Wheels and Carrigaline Foróíge. 
As a result, we are going to hold a virtual version of the race this year. 100% of all monies raised will go to the two charities. All runners are invited to take part! Here’s how it will work…..

From Thursday 11th February to Sunday 14th of February, we are inviting runners to take part by completing a 5 mile run or walk and by then donating to our GoFundMe page which can be found here….. https://gofund.me/0a48f24d

(We would suggest a minimum entry fee of €5 but all monies received would be greatly appreciated.)

Once you have completed your run and have made your donation we would ask entrants to enter their details – race time etc at this link …. https://forms.gle/U7DVKEtW87BrreUq9

A virtual leaderboard will then be compiled and regularly updated between Thursday and Sunday of next week using entries received. We will have 2 John Buckley Sports vouchers up for grabs for the fastest female and fastest male times entered! This is just a bit of an extra incentive to add a bit of a competitive element to the proceedings! – any course, route etc will be accepted so pick a nice flat one for yourself! 🙂 

There will also be a number of other vouchers ( One4All, LIDL etc.) up for grabs. ALL entrants who have donated to the GoFundMe page will be in with a chance of winning one of these vouchers. We will hold a raffle on Sunday evening once all entries have been submitted.

If anyone would like to enter but not submit their race times etc that is absolutely fine – just send us an email with your name to eagleac5mile@gmail.com and we will enter you into the draw. Familes, walkers, cyclists etc all very welcome to enter also! If you have any photos from your run we would love to see them too – just send them to either our club Facebook page,to Ruairi, Tracy, Karen or Mairead, or email them to eagleac5mile@gmail.com. We will share these on our Facebook page over the weekend. 

Of course, it goes without saying that all current HSE guidelines should be strictly adhered to when completing your 5 mile run. Your route should be within a 5km radius of your home and entrants should either run solo, with their household members or with just one other person from another household within their 5k zone.  Please be very aware of those around you at all times and keep at least a 2 metre distance away from others. If possible, it might be an idea to run on quieter routes or at quieter times of the day.

We hope to see as many people as possible take part in next weekend’s events. It’s a win win! – You’ll be getting exercise, donating to charity and giving yourself a chance of winning a prize, all at the same time!! 

Eagle AC Member Profile: Aoife Cooke

Our latest member profile is from our new Ladies Captain for 2021 , Aoife Cooke!

Member of Eagle AC since: October 2019

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

I started at the age of 11 when a club started in Ballincollig. My aunt Mary Sweeney was the reason I took it up. After watching her going out running every day when I was young I wanted to be just like her 🙂

Favourite thing about running:

The people. I have met the best people through running, and the support and sense of community amongst runners is wonderful

Can you remember the first Eagle AC member(s) you ran with:  Damian Kenneally 

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Eagle AC Member Profile: Glenn Kenneally

Member of Eagle AC since: July 2015

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

I used to love running as a kid and I was a member of a local running club from the age of 8 to about 18, running in lots of different events such as cross country, steeple chase and 4 x 400m relays. In my mid 30’s and about 4 stone overweight I slowly got back into doing short runs and eventually trained to enter my first Ballycotton 10 in 2009.

Favourite thing about running:

I love the buzz I get from running a PB and hopefully we’ll get back to races at some stage this year. I just love the feeling of being fit and that feeling I get when I’m cruising along at a pace which used to feel hard but now feels easy, and it feels like you could keep going and going.

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