Many of us were disappointed not to be able to head down to Co. Cork this weekend to run in the Charleville half marathon that took place on Sunday morning. It’s billed as one of the flattest and fastest 21k races in Ireland, but, unfortunately, in the times we currently live, it was limited to an event by invitation only. Mass participation had to be cancelled and affected runners reimbursed their entry fees.
There were 73 finishers on the day in a race that was won by Raheny athlete Mick Clohisey, in training for the London marathon in October (another invitational event). Mick ran 1:05:10 (chip was 2 secs faster) ahead of Clare native, Jake O’Regan, in 1:05:40 and Ballina’s Hugh Armstrong (1:06:30). An excellent warm up for Mick. The women’s race was won by Derry’s Breege Connolly in 01:17:31 (chip time 2 secs faster) who placed 52nd overall, ahead of 55th finisher Ide Nc Dhomhnaill of Donore (1:18:40 and chip 1:18:36) and Mary Mulhare of Portlaoise (60th in 1:19:55 (chip 1:19:51)). The last placed finisher came home in under 1:30 in what was clearly a quality field, although there may have been a bit of dilution with other elite Irish athletes having decided run in the Antrim Coast half marathon, another invitational event, on Saturday morning.
So we were really spoiled over the weekend with the two elite events taking place.
Back to Charleville, which was run in breezy conditions. The course involves an out and back of about 6km each way with a loop of about 8k at the far end. On the return, run in increasingly hot conditions, the athletes faced a strong headwind of about 24km/h for at least 8k. Despite this, there were plenty of PBs around.
Brian O’Kelly was the only Crusader invited to the event, but he acquitted himself well, taking some decent scalps and placing 18th in a time of 01:11:14 (chip 01:11:12) just behind Rathfarnham’s Mitchell Byrne (01:10:57) and ahead of Tralee’s Derek Griffin (01:11:20). All the runners were delighted to have been racing again. Hats off to Pop up races and the organisers.
Leo Lundy also reported that he completed the 50 counties challenge of marathons this weekend to add to his lengthening list of milestone achievements. The most recent event to complete the challenge was the Titus Trot marathon in Saltaire in Yorkshire.
Fingers are now well and truly crossed for the government’s announcement on Tuesday when it reveals its latest guidelines and a plan to reopen the economy. Several of us from the club are praying we will get to race in the Clew Bay half marathon and 10k, for which we have been training all Summer, taking place this coming weekend. The organisers have announced that it will take place for certain!