MORE than 8,500 people pounded the streets of Cork in the warm sunshine for the Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon.
The race was won by 43-year-old Louth native Gary O’Hanlon who finished the course in two hours and 21 minutes.
Gary, who trains with the Clonliffe Harriers, said he was “absolutely delighted” with the win.
“Everything went to plan. I knew it was going to be very very tough. The first three miles were pretty slow, but after that, it picked up,” he said.
The runner, who was competing for the fourth time in the Cork City Marathon, came third last year.
“It is my fourth time competing, first time winning,” the personal trainer and running coach said.
On the sidelines, Gary’s wife and 11-month-old son Ben cheered him on as he crossed the finish line.
“There was a great atmosphere and great support,” Gary said.
Second to cross the line was Mark Kirwan, and Eoin Callaghan was third.
Zola Flynn, who trains with a small group in Sligo, was the first woman over the line in two hours 58 minutes.
“I came here today looking for a podium position so I am absolutely delighted. It was hot, it was hard, but I just kept on going.”
Claire McCarthy was the winner of the half marathon.
“The support is amazing Every corner my name was being chanted, it was just amazing. It was a great feeling, coming up Patrick Street to the finish line.”
Claire said she was very happy with the day. “The race was so well organised, I couldn’t fault the course. I was delighted.”
The first Cork man home in the marathon was Alan O’Brien, who said the support from the crowds was amazing.
“It is fantastic, amazing. I didn’t think that would happen halfway through the race. I felt uncomfortable and I took it handier. There were a few dark moments, but there was great support from everyone. That is the luxury of a home marathon.”
Looking ahead, Alan said he would be taking some time out to rest and recover.
“I’m going to take the summer off and book a holiday,” Alan said.
Brighton AB group were the first relay team to cross the finish line, and Ballincollig runner Dolores Duffy dressed as Superwoman, celebrated her 65th marathon.
While Cork was abuzz with excitement and activity, Dublin also basked in Rebel glory as Cork woman Lizzie Lee of Leevale Athletics Club was the first woman home in the women’s mini marathon.
30,000 took part in the race which was won by the Cork woman who was competing in the “bucket list race” for the first time.
The race was part of her ongoing preparations for the full marathon at the European Championships in Berlin this August.