Wild Pursuits: Racing Amongst Nature's Finest at the 2024 Cheetah Run

May 20, 2024

Last weekend, Fota Wildlife Park played host to the electrifying 2024 Eagle AC Cheetah Run, showcasing a thrilling display of athleticism amidst the park's lush surroundings. Run Republic spoke to the people at Eagle AC to learn more about the day.

Despite the wet start to the evening, characterised by heavy downpours, the spirits of participants remained undamped, fuelling an atmosphere of excitement.

Under the watchful eye of this year's race ambassador, the fleet-footed Ryan Creech, runners embarked on the challenging course with determination. And it was clear that Creech's presence inspired some remarkable performances, as both the 5K and 1 Mile Juvenile races witnessed impressive times.

In the 1 Mile event, Eoin Looney of Blarney Inniscara A.C. stormed to victory for the boys, while Nellie Bateman of Belgooly A.C. claimed the top spot for the girls. Meanwhile, in the ladies' race, Kealey Tideswell of Clonmel A.C. was a commanding winner once again showcased her prowess, clinching victory and securing the prestigious Anne Lucey Murphy Memorial Cup. Michelle Kenny of Leevale A.C. and Noémie Leduc Grange Fermoy followed closely behind, demonstrating remarkable skill and determination.

The men's race saw Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers A.C. assert his dominance, overcoming challenges from unexpected competitors, including racing wallabies, to cross the finish line first. Mark Walsh of Leevale A.C. and Dermot Gorman of Carrick-On-Suir A.C. secured second and third place respectively, in a closely contested battle.

What makes the Cheetah Run truly special is its inclusive nature, appealing to both seasoned elites and first-time runners alike. As elite athletes battled it out at the front, spectators were treated to a spectacle of speed and skill, while category prizes sparked competition among participants. For many, the event served as the perfect opportunity to tackle their first 5K race, with runners of all abilities coming together to celebrate the joy of running.

Among the sea of familiar faces were notable personalities, including Paralympian Niamh McCarthy as well as the Assisted Running team of Katie Louise & Derek Goodfellow, who journeyed from Belfast to be part of the action. Additionally, the dedication of the Couch to 5K crew from Watergrass Hill, who made the event their target race after months of training, was truly commendable.

Eagle AC stressed to Run Republic that the success of the Cheetah Run wouldn't have been possible without the generous support of sponsors such as John Buckley Sports and Brooks Running, as well as MP O'Sullivan Cash & Carry for providing essential hydration. The presence of The Red Cross Cork City Unit ensured the safety and well-being of all participants, while the invaluable contribution of Eagle A.C. volunteers added to the event's vibrant atmosphere. Special thanks were also extended to the remarkable team at Fota Wildlife Park for their hospitality and for providing the stunning backdrop for the unforgettable evening.

As the curtain falls on another exhilarating edition of the Eagle AC Cheetah Run, memories of swift strides and shared triumphs will continue to linger, serving as a testament to the enduring spirit of community.

Featured Image: by Ruairi Egan

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