Ballintotis Is Buzzing After Record Race Entry
And Sonia’s Visit
by John Cashman
Cameras: Ursula Barry, James Cooney, Mark Dolphin, Josie Knowles, Olan O'Brien and Martin Preston.
Video Editing: Olan O'Brien.
Ballintotis is still buzzing after over 1,000 thousand people descended on the area for last Thursday’s (18/4/13) annual ‘4’ Mile Road Race. It was a night and an occasion to remember as legendary athlete Sonia O’Sullivan arrived to take part in the race. She gave freely of her time before and after the race to pose for numerous photographs and sign autographs with delighted locals and visitors.
In total 835 took part in the race, 120 in the walk and on top of that the large number of spectators and officials made it one of the biggest crowds ever to be in the Ballintotis region. Setanta Sports also had a camera crew on duty as they followed the fortunes of Ballintotis Fit4Life member Mary Anne Treacy, who took part in the race as part of the “Get Off The Couch” programme. It was also a special night for local Ballintotis runners, Dylan Murphy who won the men’s junior category, the husband and wife combination of Sylvie and Mary O’ Mahony, along with Veronica O’Farrell who all collected category prizes in their home race.
James McCarthy – Star Of The Show
However, one more time the star of the show was James McCarthy who made it four successive wins at a venue that he has made his own, since the East Cork A.C fixture moved from nearby Castlemartyr in 2010. McCarthy from the promoting club who clocked 19:43 (4:55 pace) was followed home by his colleague Tim O’Donoghue in 20:08 and city based Gavin Sweeney who recorded 20;25. Two more maroon vests from East Cork A.C were soon to come into view as the top 5 was completed by Sean McGrath and Michael Harty.
Afterwards the race winner expressed his delight at another win in Ballintotis and whilst weather conditions were not as favourable as previous years, he admitted that most of the hard work was done by the time the runners met the head wind on the N25 in the closing mile.
Sonia’s Seal Of Approval
Meantime Sonia O’Sullivan gave a massive seal of approval to the fixture:
“It was a great evening, delighted to have been able to come along to a lovely race over a nice distance, a natural course! It was really well done and it was brilliant to see so many people out. I loved the starting zones, which looked very professional, in a nice way the whole event was very well organised”
Excellent Local Performances
Amongst the other high ranking displays delivered by runners in the East Cork locality were those delivered by Kenneth Kelleher - 9th overall in 21:37, Youghal A.C’s leading man John Malone in 12th position and other well know performers, Marc Dalton, John Hennesy, and Noel Curtin. Tom Cody once again proved the outstanding man in the Over 55 category, Cloyne’s Paddy O’Sullivan was runner up Over 60, whilst 30 years to the day from running the Boston Marathon Agahda man John Motherway collected the runners up prize in the Over 65 category with the evergreen Billy Griffin also on the podium in the Over 70’s. In fact there were smiles aplenty at the finish line particularly by those who chalked up the coveted personal best time. Popular proprietor of Tri ‘n’ Run Sports Shop, Midleton Stephen Devereaux was amongst those to leave Ballintotis with his own personal accolade.
Rhona Wins Ladies Crown
In the ladies race Rhona Lynch of Eagle A.C who won the inaugural race at the venue three years ago regained her crown with a very solid run, making it home in 24:45. She was chased all the way by in-form Michelle Kenny from Midleton A.C with Helen Leonard finishing just 4 seconds further back in third place. Midleton’s Anna Doris enjoyed another fine outing, finishing 6th overall. Club mates Helen Gilroy, Joan Hough, Joan McCarthy, Mary Toher and Margaret Barry were amongst the Midleton crew to collect category prizes whilst Norah O’Brien was the leading junior female.
Local Community Support
The success of last week’s race is down to several factors, but there is no doubt the community involvement is very much to the fore. We say a massive thanks to all who helped in any way in the weeks before, on the day of the race and the days after. Without people giving so much in so many different ways, quite simply the race could not go on. Numbers have soared beyond expectation and the race has now established itself as a firm favourite in the diary of so many runners. Judging by the favourable reactions from those departing the venue and follow up on comments on the local blogs, it appears all visitors to Ballintotis had a most enjoyable evening. As one contributor summed up “it’s the little things that make the difference”.
Hopefully in the years ahead the success story will continue and this venture which encapsulates all that is good about a massive rural community effort can maintain the high standards that it has now set. One thing is for sure is that Thursday April 18th 2013 will always be remembered by the locals as the night Sonia came to Ballintotis and won the hearts of all as she presented the prizes on stage. Such a scenario was seemingly impossible just a few short years ago, when Ballintotis had no race and no Community Centre.
To all who ran and walked, helped and encouraged we say once again a sincere word of thanks.
A Special Night For Ballintotis Fit4Life Club
Just a few short weeks after their official formation, Thursday last also proved a very memorable occasion for the Ballintotis Fit4Club. An original group of joggers and walkers was causally brought together last year, but over the past few months interest has continued to soar and now the new club boasts nearly 60 members.
The running boom has well and truly hit Ballintotis and excitement certainly engulfed the locals as they ran the roads they know so well in the company of such a huge number of competitors from all the county and further afield. In total 42 club members took part, many of whom were competing in a race for the very first time as they began running in the recent past. Some of the more seasoned members impressively recorded personal best times for the 4 mile distance, whilst others who sampled the race atmosphere for the first time produced their best time around the course.
Ballintotis had also a number of other competitors who run with either Midleton or Youghal A.C whilst a number locals who are not affiliated to any club also took part including Brian O’Tuama, Patrick Troy and Marc Reilly all of whom had great runs. Overall, it’s fair to say that arrival of the race in the locality thanks to the kind gesture of East Cork A..C (who prompted the idea as a fund raiser for the Community Centre) has been a sensational success.
So for Ballintotis Fit4Life Club officers and their colleagues, it’s back to basics this week after covering their regular 4 miles in the company of the great Sonia O’Sullivan and the Setanta Sports film crew. Training for the summer months is now on Tuesdays at 7.15pm (note change of day for summer) with the next big race target for many being the Midleton A.C ‘5 Miler on Thursday of next week, May 2nd.
For the record the Ballintotis Fit4Life participants on a historic night are listed below. Incidentally one of our local runners Susan Fitzgerald recorded a personal best time in Ballintotis, before embarking on the Great Island 10 Miler on Sunday last in Cobh. – Well done Susan!
Ballintotis Fit4Life Race Participants –
Dylan Murphy, Declan Kelly, Sean Murphy, Michael Kelly, Cyril Garde, Ivor Knowles, Ger Broderick, Shane Ruddell, Dave Treacy, Fergal Abernethy, Tom O’Neill, Mary O’Mahony, John McGrath, Sean Leahy, Glynn Daly, Anita Bane, Amanda Hickey, Padraig O’Brien, David Murphy, Denise Coleamn, Bridget Ryan, Kay Murphy, Louise Knowles, Ann Shanahan, Mags Duggan, Mary Molloy, Michelle Cott, Yvonne Cashman, Diane Broderick, Colette Shanahan, Noreen Cashman, Caroline Murphy, Fiona Hickey, , Marian Harrington, Margaret McSweeney, Denise Murray, Diane Murphy, Andrea Gunn, Sonia Jeffries, Mary Rice, Judy Butler, Maryanne Treacy and Veronia O’Farrell.
Sonia O’Sullivan On Cork Evening Echo, Friday
“It was really well done, it’s a lovely course and it was brilliant to see so many people out. I loved the starting time zones which looked very professional, in a nice kind of local way, and the whole event was very well organised”
Sonia O’Sullivan on e mail – Saturday
It was a great evening, delighted to have been able to come along to a lovely race over a nice distance, a natural course ! Tomorrow will be more challenging but good to re visit my old training routes .
...my hilly Wednesday run from the 80's out and back so twice the hills.
Rhona Lynch – Ladies Winner
“I want to say a big well done to all involved in an fantastic event – myself, my Dad and my children had a great night and are already looking forward to next year. I know trojan work went in to it, but it was evident on the night – everything was great.
Running In Cork blog – COMMENTS THERE ARE 35 COMMENTS ON THIS SITE WHICH CAN BE VIEWED by logging onto running in cork blog (see link above right)- Here is just a sample
Its the little things that make this a great opener to the evening race calender;
The amount of registration desks.
The 4 safety pins already grouped together.
The zones at the beginning.
The mile markers up on a post, nice and high so they can't be missed.
The support from the local community.
19/4/13 4:10 p.m.
Just a fantastic event - brilliant system with the ropes to separate times at the start - saved all the problems of congestion from last year, great atmosphere, fantastic course, excellently marshalled - great T shirt - just a brilliant event - parking well supervised - just a great night and a great experience. Well done to you all.
19/4/13 5:30 p.m.
start system was best I ever saw, ended up running with similiar paced athletes which made the run even more enjoyable. Great Race.
19/4/13 5:47 p.m.
Ran it last year and it was my favourite race, didn't know why.ran it again this year and now I know why! To hear the laughter and banter before during and after the race ncluding the commentary, where would you get it?It really is the race that marks the beginning of the summer series.brilliant. Thanks to sonia and all on your fundraising efforts.
19/4/13 5:49 p.m.
Came from Cork City to run this race for the first time as I had heard so much about it last year.Now I understand what all the raving was about. From the time I arrived it was a great evening. The Stewards, the parking including the lighting on the way back, the registration, the start line and most importantly I went home well fed from the fantastic after race refreshments! Well done to the organisers and all involved - hope to be there again next year.
20/4/13 11:51 a.m.