Tuesday, July 24, 2012

CORK CITY MARATHON 2012




















The Cork City Marathon is one of the biggest occasions in Cork’s sporting and cultural calendar and its one i have run for the last 5 years and is the first event i put on my marathon calender ever year. Each year the marathon grows in strength and this year is no different. It really is a fantastic occasion .The marathon kicked off at 9am on St Patrick’s Street on Monday morning, with 8000 athletes competing in the full marathon, half marathon and team relay with the half marathon commencing at 11am on Skehard Road. Weather conditions were ideal for athletes, as well as the thousands of spectators who lined the marathon route to cheer on the participants.


HISTORY OF THE MARATHON 
Monday 4th June 2007 saw the revival of the Cork City Marathon. It was the first marathon in 21 years in the city and the people of Cork welcomed the event back with tremendous enthusiasm. The city centre was packed with supporters and throughout the suburbs residents lined the roads, creating a festive atmosphere that befitted the occasion.Cork is a city of hills and valleys. Established on the low-lying islands around Washington Street and St Patrick's Street, the suburbs rise to fill the surrounding hills to the north and south. To the west, the Lee Valley provides some flat stretches, while to the east the harbour estuary also offers some flat relief.
As with all major city marathons, the challenge for the marathon course committee was to design a route that would maximise the runners’ experience while minimising the disruption to the public. We also wanted to make this truly a city marathon, by bringing the race to as much of the city as is possible, to give the people of Cork a public event they could engage with.
There are a few immovable constraining factors: The options to the north of the River Lee are limited because of the steep hills. To the south, the potential course is restricted by the critical South Ring Road, which carries large amounts of traffic into or around the city centre. Despite these restrictions, the course committee designed a route that takes the runners north, east, south and west of the city centre.
For the first three years of the Cork marathon the course remained largely unchanged, apart from a few small modifications to address traffic issues. From the outset, however, we were aware that there was one particularly challenging section at about the 21-mile mark. Out west of the city centre, on the Model Farm Road just after Inchigaggin Bridge, there was a short but steep uphill that led to a long dragging hill. Levelling out for about half a mile, the terrain then drops steeply to the flat of the Carrigrohane Road. For any runner who had built up a steady pace, this section was disruptive and gave them little time to re-establish the rhythm of their race before the finish line.
The Carrigrohane Road is known locally as the Straight Road and it’s not called that for nothing! At its eastern end, the 65m-high County Hall is visible almost from the start. It tormented the runners as they struggled to regain their race rhythm, never seeming to get any closer.
These three undulating miles comprised the one section of the course that consistently drew criticism from our participants. The course committee has now found mileage on the eastern side of the course to allow us to remove this section and replace it with a flat three miles that have significantly levelled the profile of the course.

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