Alan Worrall reports from the Co. Cork classic: Its mid-March, and it can only mean one thing, the Ballycotton 10-mile road race in East Cork has come around again. The 2017 staging of the race saw a new winner but a very familiar face on the roads/ country of Ireland. Raheny Shamrocks Mick Clossihey added the title of king of the road in Ballycotton to his CV. Our man Sergiu was second, but its early season and Sergiu will be motivated now for the upcoming season ahead.
The Weather Girl on the Saturday evening spoke of a clear dry day with possible temperatures in the low teens. I awoke on Sunday morning to a blast of sun from the other end of the room in North Cork where I was staying. This was more than an incentive to get moving and heading to Ballycotton. Such is the popularity of the race over 4,0000 souls had secured an entry. Without doubt the running boom is not abating and as we can see from races around country, organize a quality and safe event runners of all shapes and sizes will come. For those of have never ran the race. “It is without doubt one of the best road races in the
country”. I was joined this year by a bunch of harriers running the race for the first time. It was great to see Aisling, Mark, Niall M, Niall O’G and Stephen plus Ballycotton regulars like Sergiu and Kieran Murphy before the race.
“Mr. Ballycotton” himself, John Walshe and his crew of organizers and officials run and manage a truly great race the fact that the race has been ran every year since 1978 is a record. For the 40th edition everyone who completed the race got a t-shirt along with the much sot of mug.
In respect to myself it was my 15th time to run the race and is always one of the highlights on my racing calendar. Clubs represented include: Leevale, Togher A.C, Donore, West Waterford, Galway City Harriers, Kilkenny AC, Celbridge Ac, Raheny Shamrocks, Sports world, Dunboyne A.C, Tullamore etc plus Clonliffe Harriers.
“Well we are all here again for the Ballycotton 10” goes the song, and at 13:30hrs we are off down past the Grotto then the Schooner and Blackbird Pub’s and past the Hall and out of the village. The sun was
out and we had a fair breeze up to the 5-mile mark 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 a lift in its self. I passed through the first 5 miles in 32 mins 55 secs. On the way, home now, the wind had abated plus it was getting warmer, now to put the foot down the sight of the Lighthouse is always a lift. The final mile and ½ you need to keep something in reserve, Ballycotton version of Boston’s “Heart Break Hill” awaits. I push again past the Schooner 600 meters to go. Then the Grotto is on my left an athlete from Eagle AC is the target to beat and I do that. The announcer lists the names of the finishers. Then I am over the line and with a time of 67 Mins and 6 Secs. A recent chest infection had hindered my training for the past 2 weeks but I was happy non-the less.
To conclude well done to all the runners, supporters and organizers. John Walshe and crew again well done the race is without doubt on of the highlights of my racing calendar every year. It’s a race worth doing so put it in your diary for 2018. As they say in the slogan “A Classic Race at a Classic Distance”
New changes this year worked very well a new baggage area plus a bigger field to park in meant we all had to be at the start a bit earlier.