Duhallow Athletic Club look ahead to Virtual 5km classic run 

Duhallow Athletic Club look ahead to Virtual 5km classic run 

Castlemagner's Michelle Finn(Leevale) powered home to smash the Ladies record at the 2019 Duhallow AC 5K Road Classic. Michelle is set to compete in the 2020 Virtual staging. Picture John Tarrant

THE 2020 Duhallow Athletic Club 5K Classic Road Race hosting incorporates a Virtual staging from Friday, December 18 to Monday, December 21. 

Owing to the ongoing covid pandemic situation, organisers are unable to host the race in Newmarket in the normal format.

Instead, Duhallow AC have decided to hold a Virtual hosting where participants undertake the run in the area where they live adhering to HSE Covid 19 restrictions. 

Over recent years, the popular event was enhanced by coveted silverware donated by an outstanding athlete Jer Murphy, winner of six County Senior Cross County Championship titles and runner-up in the International Ras na Eireann. 

And as part of a Millstreet team, he was amongst a quartet that landed a national 4 x 100-yard title.

“Big Jer is a great man and loyal servant of Duhallow AC and to donate this silverware adds prestige to the big race. 

"In recent years, we have based the classic in Newmarket and its met with an overwhelming response,” said club Chairman Donie Shine.

Amongst the winners over the years were Ed Murphy (Gneeveguilla), Alan O’Shea (Bantry), David McCarthy (West Waterford), Colm Sheahan, Ben Thistlewood and Mark Hanrahan (Leevale). Of course, a new sensation emerged in the past three years, Ethiopia native Hiko Tonoso earned three in a row of outright wins in 2019 from a strong and representative field that held an international dimension. 

Ladies favourites and Olympian Michelle Finn (Leevale) along with Tonso hold course record.

From the ladies categories, some cracking outcomes developed including wins for Michelle Scott Murphy from Carrig Na bhFear, former world cross country team medallist Valerie Vaughan (Blarney/Inniscarra), versatile Olympian and former national senior cross country champion Rosemary Ryan (Bilboa), Mary Sweeney (St Finbarr's), Orla Drumm (UCC), Michelle Finn (Leevale) and Laura Crowe (Riocht).

Duhallow AC Chairman Donie Shine spoke of the popular event that over the years attracted large numbers of participants and spectators.

“The Newmarket Road race became renowned as one of the big attractions just ahead of Christmas. It's very much a compact race, out the Rockchapel road and returning over the same route made it appealing,” said Donie.

“For the year that is 2020 and throughout the country, there were few traditional races but in Newmarket, the home of the fast races, the virtual 5k was born,” he said.

Participants are invited to run the classic distance and receive a medal with an option to purchase a long-sleeve event t-shirt and or bobble hat. 

The main sponsor is Fitness Solutions, Sportswear Specialists based in Mallow.

There is a €15 entry fee, interested participants can enter the Duhallow 5 through Duhallow Athletic Club Facebook.

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