History - Introduction
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.
Alan O'Shea, winner of Cork City Marathon 2007 (ASI Photo)
It was an unusually warm day in the normally temperate city as the temperature soared to 24°C (75.2°F) at its height. Ideal for spectators, but it made the going tough for the participants. To the delight of the spectators (and, okay, to the delight of the somewhat biased organisers too), Bantry AC’s Alan O’Shea won the race in 2:27:36. Alan was unbeaten in road races since February, including a tough Ballycotton 10 earlier in the year. He was the local favourite for the race, but what surprised many was how comfortably Alan took the step up to marathon running. Long may it continue and we all wish Alan many more successful races.
A packed St Patrick’s Street cheered Wieslaw Sosnowski, Eagle AC, home four minutes after Alan. As a former winner of the Longford Marathon, Wieslaw was one of the pre-race favourites and was very closely followed by another local favourite, Roy Fahy of East Cork AC, who crossed the finish line in 2:31:59. Colin Merritt, of Togher AC, finished in 4th place and Cathal O’Connell, of St Finbarr’s AC, came a close 5th in 2:33:32.
Darina Gately, Alan O'Shea & Lord Mayor of Cork, Michael Ahern. (Photo: Miki Barlok)
Congratulations to John Gately, proprietor of the Montenotte Hotel and our 2007 title sponsor, who came home in under 4 hours.
Wieslaw Sosnowski at the 14-mile mark (ASI Photo)
Local man Roy Fahy came home in 3rd position (ASI Photo)
John Gately, owner of the Montenotte Hotel, and sponsor of the Marathon (ASI Photo)
Competing in her 10th marathon, Tracy Guilfoyle, of Kilnaboy AC in Co. Clare, was the first woman across the line. A top-40 finisher in the London Marathon in April, Tracy led the field in Cork from start to finish, comfortably finishing in 3:01:52. She was followed by Mary O’Leary (3:07:51), of FC Perlach, originally from Castletownroche but living in Munich. Sinead Ní Chonchuir (3:11:26), from Crosshaven, continued her impressive recent form by finishing in third place in her first marathon. Ann-Marie Holland came fourth and, despite carrying an injury into the race, Leevale AC’s Angela Shine finished in fifth.
Tracey Guilfoyle, winner of Cork City Marathon 2007 (Photo: ASI Photo)
As inspiration for those of us who haven’t run any marathons recently, Leevale’s Nollaig Hunter, who only began running in 2006, finished in sixth place!
Nollaig Hunter (Photo: ASI Photo)
Both of our Wheelchair athletes put in strong performances, with Darrell Erwin crossing the line in 2:57:34 and Corkman Jerry Forde coming home in 3:38:09.
Jerry Forde in action on the Cork City Marathon course. (Photo: Miki Barlok)
We’ll produce more detailed stats later in the year, but in the meantime here are a few of the basic figures for the race. Of 1,575 athletes who registered for the full marathon, there were 1,356 finishers. We were delighted to see so many women take part in the race – just over one quarter of all marathon finishers. 12% of the total field came home in under 3.5hrs, with 46% finishing between 3.5–4.5hrs and a further 17% finishing in under 5hrs. More later............
Previous Cork Marathons
The 2007 Cork City Marathon was the first since 1986. The five marathon's in the 80's attracted substantial participants, peaking in 1984 when 1,138 runners took part.
It’s wonderful to hear from people who took part in the 1980’s marathons and we were equally delighted to receive a note from Billy Gallagher, of Ballaghadreen, who won the last two Cork City Marathons, in 1985 & 1986. Billy sent us the following tale of marathon endurance.
“I ran and won the last two Cork City marathons. After finishing the last marathon in 1986 I was very tired, as I had wanted to do a personal best time for the race. At halfway the time was 68.30 and I was feeling great. A new PR looked on the cards, but it started raining and the wind picked up, and running into a head wind really made the going tough. As hard as I ran I kept losing time, so no PR but a good win [in 2:20:12].
Meanwhile my fiancé had spent her time productively while I was running the marathon, busily shopping for more outfits, beachwear, etc. for our honeymoon later on in the summer. So on getting back to the Imperial Hotel, I was looking forward to a hot bath and a brandy and a rest for a few hours. My beloved asked me would I go jogging a few miles with her as she was determined to look her best on the big day. After biting my tongue and counting to ten, I said, “yes love, I would really love to do some more running!” By this stage my leg muscles were so stiff that I would have needed a can of WD40 to loosen them up, but I ran a few miles with Mary through the rain, and it must have been true love because we are still together many miles and 20 years later!”
If you have an interesting story about running in the 1980's Cork Marathon and would be willing to share it with us, we'd love to hear from you.