The Worrall Report: The Ballycotton 10

Clonliffe`s Alan Worrall reports: History was made in Ballycotton on Sunday 9th March when the race was run by our club mate Sergui Ciobanu who completed a magnificent “4 in a row” to win the prestigious Ballycotton 10 title. This rare feat was achieved in near perfect running conditions under rare sunshine for this time of the year. Sergui absolutely blitzed the entire field with superb front running over a testing course. On this performance everything augers well for Sergui’s next big challenge the Rotterdam Marathon in April.

On a personnel note, the best advice when running the Ballycotton 10 any year “is get there early“. Heeding this advice I arrived in Ballycotton at 10:45a.m. Even though the race was not due to commence till 13:30hrs. The planning and mobilisation of the race is brilliant and one must consider that it is all voluntary. What started out as a small race of 31 competitors in 1978 now boosts and entry of over 3,500 competitors?

This year alone the Ballycotton website crashed due to the high demand to enter the race and by the opening day all the places for the 2014 race were booked out. This is a fine tribute to “Mr Ballycotton” John Walshe and the organizing committee. The village on the morning of the race is a Mecca for runners. It’s all there, the marquee where you can change and get a well deserved massage from the onsite physios. There is the official merchandise of the race where you can get the much sought after tee-shirt with the logo of the race. Plus John Buckley Sports, will kit you out in the latest running gear. Added to that there is the camaraderie that is present to the build up to the race and after the run is done. .

To the race itself. We all lined up at the start of the race waiting in anticipation for the gun to go. At 13:30 hrs the echoes of the song the Ballycotton 10 could be heard from the tannoy. “Well were all hear again for the Ballycotton 10″.

The first two miles are down hill so you need to pace yourself as we have to run these last two miles on the way back. The course is shaped like a spoon and is run on country roads which have a number of cross roads and T-junction’s where the supporters watch the race. The crowds at these positions are quite large and the noise and atmosphere is brilliant, very like a big city marathon atmosphere. We run past the world famous Ballymaloe House. At 8 miles is the dreaded return to the village via the hill which we ran down earlier. I dig deep and push on I can run close to 66 mins to the left is the Grotto. No time to say a prayer and there’s the finish I cross the line in 67 mins 24 secs. A recent bout of flu in February has left me with some catching up to do. It’s a long season anything can happen. On crossing the line if you are in the first 100 you get the famous top 100 T-shirt. On the way up the hill to collect your running gear each competitor is given his/ her Ballycotton mug. I get my t-shirt and head back to the marquee.

Finally it is back to the car and the long drive home. Just to finish well done to the other Clonliffe Harriers who ran today along with Sergui, to Kieran Murphy who is gearing up for Spring Marathon in Manchester next month. Our numbers participating have dwindled since from the highs of a few years ago when the black and amber was well represented. So maybe next year we as a club might get a large group to travel. In the case of Dublin Clubs, Rahney Shamrocks had a big number along with Donore and DSD plus I spotted some Tallaght A.C vests.

To finish up” a Classic race at a Classic distance” as the Ballycotton 10 motto goes.