Miles and Smiles for Carraig Na BhFear AC

June 04, 2024

The Cork City 10K, Half-Marathon and Marathon took place in glorious sunshine on Sunday 2nd June, challenging conditions with the heat but the atmosphere was electric and Carraig Na BhFear AC were out in force in the sold-out events. The second running of our team competition was eagerly anticipated with 6 teams of 4 competing, with some members completing their first 10k race. Hotly debated before and after, team ‘Smilers’ lived up to their name as they collected their prizes. Congratulations to Brian Hawkins (36:46), Peter Hawkins (38:32), Siobhan Walsh (44:10) and Orla Gorman (49:21). The deciding factor again this year was current form and dark horses coming to the fore on race day! Having a race target to focus training is ideal as well as the social aspect which is now firmly established! Thanks to Coach Rhona for organizing. Fantastic performances all-round, well done to Conor Kelly (38:49), Diarmuid Kiely (39:36), Willie Walsh (39:38), John Ahern (39:42), Colm Crowley (42:27), Sean Gorman (42:46). Dave Mullins (43:15), Cian Ryan (45:00), Paul Ryan (45:45), Rhona Lynch (45:51), Eileen O’Riordan (48:16), Luke Mullins (48:24). Michael Mullins, Rachel O’Callaghan (51:29), Christy Murphy (52:33 & 3rd place in Category!), Anita Casey ((54:51), Isobel O’Meara (54:57), Rachael McCarthy (58:28), Aidan Cooney (1:13) and Marion Cooney (1:20). Looking forward to next year already!

The temperatures for the half-marathon had risen significantly by the 10:15 start and fast times were hard to achieve, However, we had fine performances from Darragh O’Keeffe (1:28:08), Michael Mulcahy (1:31:44), Richard Hawkins (Pacer, 1:44:35), Helen Roche (1:51:08) and Fiona Holmes (2:09:21). Last but certainly not least were our two marathon finishers. Huge credit to Robert Boyle who was hampered by injuries for a large part of the race but battled through to finish in a creditable 4:37:54. Caroline O’Donovan notched up yet another marathon in 5:06:03, congratulations to both athletes on a day where finishing was far from a formality!

The All-Ireland Schools Track & Field finals took place in Tullamore on Friday and Saturday and it was treat for the watching fans of athletics as every competition was at a high level and there was superb talent on display. On a beautiful Friday evening the Race Walks were the first event on the Track, Robyn Maher representing Loreto College, Fermoy was in the first Race - Junior Girls. The race began at a ferocious pace, Robyn got into her stride quickly but realised that she needed to leave the leading girls go otherwise she would suffer on the third lap or worse get a DQ. Robyn went through 400m in 1:45 which was still very fast. At this stage Robyn was isolated but kept her head and didn’t lose any ground on the girls ahead of her and was always pulling away from the girls behind her. On the Third lap Robyn looked relaxed and still gaining on others. Robyn had a great race and finished 5th in 5:58, once again breaking the 6-minute barrier. Next up was Aoife Martin representing Colaiste an Chroi Naofa Carraig Na BhFear – in the intermediate Girl race. This race was stacked with race walkers of the highest quality. The first lap was very slow, all positioning themselves and waiting for a move. Then just coming into the second lap Karen Mulvaney- Kelly made a move and was 10 metres clear in a short distance, then Savanagh O’Callaghan, Aoife Martin and Robin Murphy covered the break and with 200m the 3 girls were now clear. Savanagh made a break on the third lap on the back straight, but Aoife covered it with Robin 5m behind. The pace was now picking up all the time, on the 4 th lap Robin was back in contact. Coming into the final lap the 3 girls were lapping others. Savanagh made another break after overtaking one of these girls, Aoife covered it but left a gap on the inside and Robin saw the gap and went, suddenly Savanagh and Robin were clear of Aoife by 5m. They both led at times and in the final 80m Robin was 5m clear and had the gold. Aoife’s final lap was her fastest of the race, finishing 3 rd and getting a PB of 9:40. This was a fabulous race of the highest standard, any one of the 3 girls could have won. Well done to both Aoife and Robyn, both walked and raced very well.

Also in action on Friday evening was Aidan Maher (St,Colmans Fermoy) in the Senior Boys 2k steeplechase .Again, a race of the highest standard, an early break from Noah Harris on his way to a fast race time of 5:52 quickly split the field and with many of the other athletes doubling up in the Championships their conviction to racing hard was tested. Aidan ultimately finished in 6:53 for 7 th place but energy saved was put to good use on Saturday when he was in the mix in a high-quality 1500m running a massive pb of 4:10:71 for 8 th position. Ruaidhri Boyle (Coliaste An Piarsaigh) won silver in the Senior Boys 400m Hurdles, well in the mix for the title, a few clipped hurdles were costly but good pacing enabled Ruaidhri to have enough in the tank to come from 3 rd place through to 2 nd in the closing stages in a time of 55:86. Congratulations to Ruaidhri who later competed in the 400m Flat finishing 5 th in a fast time of 51:16, great running for his second race of the day. The final events of the Championships were the relays. Lucy Lynch (St.Aloysius, Carrigtohill) moved up to Senior grade to run the anchor leg of the 4 x 300m relays, Lucy ran a powerful leg to help the team to 4 th place and their fastest time of the Championships 3:05:33. Unfortunately not in the medals but an excellent result to be 4 th in Ireland.

Faye O’ Riordan was part of a 4-girl U20 Irish team running in the European trail running event in Annecy France, her race was a 7k classic Up/Down race. A big thanks to IMRA for organizing and managing the teams, there were Male/Female U20 5k Uphill, Senior 7.6k Uphill, Ultra 58K and 16k Up/Down Classic. Fayes’ race had very strong competition from the big mountain running countries of France, Italy and Spain with the first 3k climb with 350 meters of elevation on a surprising muddy trail for France at this time of year. A change in the course the night before from the organizers due to heavy rain in the preceding days removed a lot of the technical downhill to the disappointment of Faye as it is a key strength for her. They routed the course on to safer fire roads, this suited the fast roadrunners with a few small climbs for the remainder of the 4k which brought them into the flat last kilometre that was well supported with flags and cheering spectators along the banks of the Lac d'Annecy and into the finish with the big screen and cheering crowds. Faye and the other 3 girls ran their hearts out and did the country proud, they are a very young team with Faye and one other girl still only 15, credit to the IMRA for developing young talent, they will be back to take on the big boys again in the coming years.

Timmy Hawkins was unable to compete in the Cork City 10K this year due to his impending leaving cert exams but kept his hand in with a 16:59 5K in the Tramore Valley Parkrun on Saturday as first finisher.

Look ahead: The Munster U9 to U13 Track and Field championships take place next
weekend in Castelisland, Co. Kerry. Best of luck to our younger athletes who will be

Featured Image: Members of Carraig AC who competed in the Cork City Marathon 10k. Photo by Michelle Whooley

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