May 31st 2020
We didn’t get to run together today – the first June Bank Holiday weekend in 14 years when the streets of Cork weren’t closed to traffic and weren’t full of pure people power! The first year that our loyal crew of volunteers wasn’t up at the crack of dawn to make sure everything was in place for race day. The first year in 14 that all our runners, joggers and walkers weren’t out en mass to achieve their goals.
The nervous energy that permeates us on race weekend was missing, along with all our incredible crew, past and present. The volunteers that make registration happen, our stalwart Head Stewards and their team of volunteers, the water-station volunteers, start/finish-line crews, those who harry around the course delivering lunches and dealing with the unexpected, those in City Hall minding bags and looking after runners, the Control Centre, our fabulous Pacing team, and so, so many more.
We know every event is special but the Cork Marathon is an exceptional event and we are incredibly proud of all who have made it into one of the most extraordinary events in the country, not least our former Race Director, Jim O’Donovan, our late lamented Tony Brauders and our longtime supporters at the River Lee Hotel and 96FM/C103.
The city seemed empty today without our runners, our wonderful team of officials, medics and Gardaí, all the suppliers who work so hard for us. Although the heat would been a challenge for our runners, the magnificent Cork public would have been out again in their droves, to shower runners with water and fruit and jellies and jaffa cakes, and their unfailing support.
It seemed so wrong this morning not to be heading for the Control Centre to spend the long day with our amazing emergency responders, listening to the two coolest Gardaí you could ever meet calmly and expertly dealing with the machinations of race-day traffic, watching the wonderful volunteers from the Civil Defence, St John Ambulance, the Irish Red Cross and the Order of Malta coordinate our world-class medical response team with Dr Jason and the HSE staff, always with the reassurance that the Fire Brigade and City Council staff were on hand to deal with any emergencies.
We missed you all today and tears were shed, not just for what might have been. Our thoughts are also with those who have suffered and those who have lost loved ones during this awful pandemic. We think of the superb health-care workers who have and are still caring for those affected. The nature of a marathon is such that we rely on those same medics like no other event does. Our heartfelt respect and thanks goes out to all of you.
But there were some truly uplifting moments today. People throughout the country got out and ran, jogged and walked, for themselves and for different charities and causes. We salute you all. Many of you will know that from their inception, we’ve been very proud to be involved with the Sanctuary Runners. Today, they ran a virtual relay throughout the country and beyond. They’re a movement that demonstrates what our marathon is about – inclusion, solidarity, friendship and respect. Check out the wonderful video produced by Graham, Clare and their friends here
Finally, thank you to all who have been involved in trying to find options for running during this extraordinary time. While we won’t be running on September 6th in our usual format, we haven’t given up on the idea of organising some kind of a run in September, but the next couple of months will dictate that possibility. In the meantime, we hope you’ll stay with us and engage with our virtual marathon. We look forward ultimately to a comeback on the traditional June Bank Holiday next year.