1st Sunday in March, can only mean one thing the Ballycotton 10 has come around again. The 2016 staging of the race saw a new winner and a Cork man at that, Mark Hanrahan of Leelvale AC (An alternative Black and Amber). Sergiu’s The drive for Six Ballycottons was on hold as a date with Rio 2016 and place on the start line of the Olympic Marathon is the bigger goal. Let’s hope and pray Sergei is there as can be no Clonliffe Harrier more deserving of that honour.
The Weather Girl on the Saturday evening spoke of heavy rain down south. I awoke on Sunday morning to the sound of rain and the need to get going on the roads early to Ballycotton was the aim. For those of have never ran the race. It is without doubt one of the best road races in the country. “Mr Ballycotton” himself, John Walshe and his crew of organisers and officials run and manage a truly great race the fact that the race has been ran every year since 1978 is a record in itself.
The roads of Ballycotton like most of the country have been exposed to the bad weather of recent months and Cork County Council were deployed to do remedial works leading up to the race. In respect to myself it was my 14th time to run the race and is always one of the highlights on my racing calendar. It is always pleasing to see faces of runners you meet before at the race. Clubs represented include: Leelvale, Togher A.C, Donore, West Waterford, Galway City Harriers, Kilkenny AC, Celbridge Ac, Raheny Shamrocks, Sports world, Tullamore etc plus Clonliffe Harriers.
“Well we are all here again for the Ballycotton 10” goes the song, and at 13:30hrs we are of,f down past the Grotto then the Schooner Pub and past the Hall and out of the village. The rain was soft but no wind today. As is usual for the race and its reputation the spectators were out in force on the route. The sight of the 5 Mile mark at the famous Ballymaloe house is always as lift in its self. I passed through the first 5 miles in 32 mins 50 secs. On the way home now, the rain getting harder but the sight of the Lighthouse is always a lift. A group of the Raheny Faithfull (big contingent of runners taking part today) including Dick Hooper and others gives me a cheer to drive for home. I see Johnny Fennell of Raheny ahead of me, can I catch him. One mile to go can I break the 67 mIns, I push again past the Schooner 600 metres to go. The announcer lists the names of the finishers, Johnny is ahead of me today, well I got him in the recent Raheny 5. There will be another day I hope. Then I am over the line and with a time of 67 Mins and 6 Secs. The days of the 62 Mins are a memory now but I am happy it’s about the enjoyment and achievement. I spot David Flynn who is 8th today. A fine run as he was second in the “Lust for Life” 10K the previous day in the Park which I was officiating at.
To conclude well done to all the runners, supporters and organisers. It’s a race worth doing so put it in your diary for 2017. As they say in the slogan “A Classic Race at a Classic Distance”