JILL Hodgins was a comfortable winner of the Cork Marathon in 2:48:18 to provide another hometown victory in the women's race on Patrick Street yesterday.
“I’m overwhelmed at the support out there,” said mother-of-two Hodgins. “I couldn’t have asked for better support. To cross the finish line on Patrick Street, it’s such a special moment.”
After the first five miles, the Cork woman was left in splendid isolation finishing a full 14 minutes ahead of back-to-back female winner, Nollaig Hunter of Leevale. Hodgins, who is also set the join Leevale, finished third in Cork three years ago.
“I’d company for the first five miles with relay runners,” explained Hodgins until the hard work began when she came up to the Jack Lynch tunnel in warm and slightly windy conditions.
"That's where the hard work started. I was prepared for all conditions but it was reasonably nice. The course was tough with some more hills but I've gotten some good training in. Consistency is the key. Three months out I built up the mileage and the speedwork.” Hodgins’ father, Dick, who died last year, was a leading road runner in the 60s and 70s and was a leading light of the Cork City Sports. Working, and sponsored by Goodbody stockbrokers, she has two young sons, and was in celebratory mood.
“I’ll have to fill up the cup,” she said pointing to her winner’s trophy. She has been getting advice from coaching guru, Donie Walsh, and the input paid off in spades. She was regularly running 65 miles a week and built up to as much as 80. Joan Ennis (Grange Fermoy) was third woman home in 3:07:32.
It wasn’t all plain sailing in the men’s race where Bantry’s Alan O’Shea went out hard in order to steal a march on his competitors. The doctor, who won the race when it relaunched in 2007, went through the halfway point in 1:11:52 and well clear of the chasing pack of American Chris Mocko, David Mansfield and Gary O’Hanlon.
The Bantry man blew up though in the second half and was passed at the 21 mile mark by eventual winner Chris Mocko who was first past the post in 2:26:43. O’Shea struggled home to an 11th place finish in 2:38:44 – covering the second half in 1:26:53. The two splits tell his tale of woe.
The course was slightly different this year which lead to a few more sharp steep inclines. Coupled with the warm conditions, it made the race more challenging.
David Mansfield got up for second in 2:29:20 with serial marathoner Gary O’Hanlon returning from injury to bag third in 2:30:20.
Mocko, an ultra-runner from San Francisco, was a happy winner and was pleasantly surprised by all the support on the route. “I wasn’t expecting that many people out on the road,” said Mocko who recently quit his job in Silicon Valley.
“The race went out quickly at around 5:20 per mile pace and I just had to run my own pace,” said the six foot three inch American who will race over 100km in a few weeks’ time.
Leevale’s Claire McCarthy won the half marathon in 76:34 and was using it as a build-up for the Swansea half marathon and then the World Championship marathon in London in August.
“It was really about preparation today,” said McCarthy. “It was about looking at getting up early and getting all the preparation for the bigger races to come.” The Cork woman will represent Ireland at her first global championship in London.
Kenya’s Peter Somba, running for Dunboyne, won the men’s half marathon in 67:46 – just two seconds ahead of Clonliffe’s Sergiu Ciobanu. Somba comes over from the Rift Valley most summers using his customary ‘sit and kick’ tactics to bag the winners’ cheque.
In the relay the Leevale Lads were the winners in 2:21:32.