The third annual Bere Island Midsummer run took place on Saturday 12th of July 2014 in West Cork. This year’s event was the most popular to date with 114 runners taking part in the 5k and 10k runs. Last year’s race took place in sweltering heat so returning runners were not put off by the cooler conditions…a light south westerly wind prevailed with a clearing mist.
Making it to the start line is an event in itself, by catching the ferry from ‘The Pontoon’, three miles east of Castletownbere , we arrived at the eastern end of the island at Rerrin Village. The 25 minute journey across Berehaven is a chance to catch up with other runners and discuss race tactics, latest injuries or gloating Garth Brooks tales. Being a relative newcomer to the sport it’s a case of ears open and mouth shut to take in tips from those more experienced. Discussions quickly ‘cut to the chase’ and a most important subject was which events have the best post-race spread. There was a definite pattern correlating a great spread with a great race. My travelling companions highlighted Midleton’s great show which included a selection of cakes for coeliacs. A mental note was duly made. Races at the other end of the scale were outlined to this novice, but lets not dwell on those less bothered with putting on a good show.
On disembarkation, it is a short walk to the registration and start line. The entry fee was €20, with the proceeds going to Bere Island GAA Club. Given the remote location and effort required in accessing the island numbers are small in comparison to other races, but this adds to the warmer welcome. The course which consists of two 5km loops is ‘undulating’. An honest 10km, might be another way of putting it. I had been getting back into a routine following a family holiday in June which had little running and lots of beer and, yes you guessed, cake. My trek around the Island in last years heat was done in 54 minutes. It was tough and hilly. A recent check on a popular running calculator gave me a time of 47:33 on entering my recent 1:46 half marathon time. It seemed a bit optimistic, so I gave myself a generous target of sub-fifty minutes.
The 5k lap consists of a run out of approximately a mile and a half with three notable climbs. Nothing too serious, but there were few flat parts, you’re either up or down. The return to the village is slightly less hilly with a nice puff of wind to cool you down. Then there’s a long drag up to the army camp followed by a quick downhill into Rerrin village and you’re nearly at the startline again for another lap. The course is on small country roads of tar and chip. Not many potholes given the less trafficked roads. I was pleased with my pace and kept enough in the tank with two 7:40’s for the last two miles. My finishing time was 47:50. Shane Causkey (East Cork) finished first 38:26, a man with connections on the island, so they were claiming that one for themselves. Eagle’s Kevin Sievewright finished 4th with a 41:38 after Pat Coleman of Eyeries (40:56) and Tipperary man Pat Casey (40:57).
There was post race tea, biscuits and sandwiches. I will have to do more research to gauge the standard against other races. Our time on the island was all too short given the ferry departing for the mainland soon after the race, and away we went again. Races in this part of the county are few and far between, this being the most westerly. It’s a great opportunity to come and see this part of the world and a good time of the year.
Mark Gallagher, Eagle AC
a) Race results & photos…http://corkrunning.blogspot.ie/2014/07/results-of-bere-island-midsummer-runsat.html
b) Course Preview…http://munsterraceroutes.blogspot.ie/2013/01/cork027.html
c) Website for Bere Island…http://www.bereisland.net/