Off Course and On Headlines: Cornyn's Legendary Leitrim 10K Race

April 24, 2024

In the annals of athletic mishaps, Michael Cornyn's experience in the early 1990s stands out as a testament to the unpredictable nature of sports and the stories that often emerge from unexpected challenges. Cornyn shared his remarkable story with Run Republic, detailing a race that started as a routine 10K event but quickly morphed into an adventure worthy of front-page headlines.

The setting was Leitrim and Leitrim Athletics had organised a county 10K race, drawing runners eager to test their mettle on the course. Little did they know that this race would go down in local lore for reasons far beyond mere athletic prowess.

As the race unfolded, Cornyn found himself at the forefront alongside fellow runners PJ Leddy and Danny Hannon. The trio pushed ahead, their strides almost synchronised as they navigated the course's twists and turns. However, fate had a different route planned for them, one that would lead to an unexpected detour.

Around the 6-kilometre mark, the runners reached a critical junction. Cornyn, relying on his instincts, believed they should turn left to head towards the finish line. However, Hannon and Leddy, perhaps influenced by a momentary lapse or a miscommunication, continued straight ahead. Cornyn followed suit, unaware that they were veering off course.

As they ran on, the absence of familiar landmarks hinted at their divergence from the intended route. It wasn't until they found themselves in County Longford, far from the expected trajectory, that they realised their error. Imagine the disbelief and humour of finding yourself in a different county mid-race!

Meanwhile, back at the finish line, confusion reigned. Brian Moyston from Carrick AC crossed the finish line, leaving spectators and officials puzzled about the whereabouts of the three frontrunners. Cornyn's wife, among the onlookers, must have wondered how a routine race had transformed into a search-and-rescue operation.

The Leitrim Observer, seizing upon the drama unfolding on the roads, splashed the story across its front page. The headline, "Had the 3 Lads Entered a Bermuda Triangle?" encapsulated the surreal nature of the situation, highlighting how a simple race had morphed into an unexpected odyssey.

Fortunately, the organisers sprung into action. Realising that their top runners had taken an unintended detour, they dispatched a bus to track down Cornyn, Hannon, and Leddy. The bus, akin to a chariot rescuing stranded warriors, located the trio and brought them back to the finish line, where a mix of relief and amusement greeted their return.

In a gesture that underscored the spirit of sportsmanship, the organisers decided to award Danny Hannon the victory, with PJ Leddy taking second place. Cornyn and Brian Moyston were deemed joint third, a fitting conclusion to a race that had transcended the typical boundaries of competition.

Cornyn's tale serves as a reminder that in the world of sports, as in life, unexpected twists can transform ordinary moments into unforgettable adventures.

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