At the age of 83, Billy Griffin is still on the run with Midleton Athletic Club

Popular runners took part in the virtual 5K Winter Series
At the age of 83, Billy Griffin is still on the run with Midleton Athletic Club

Midleton AC stalwart 83-year-old Billy Griffin, celebrated his birthday by receiving his commemorative tee shirt at the end of the club's 5K Winter Series.

IT'S hard to imagine 12 months ago that we would now be talking about the success of virtual races throughout the length and breadth of the country. 

But, it was a year like no other, with the Olympic Games being the biggest casualty of the sporting 2020.

At local level, athletic clubs, groups and organisations had to become inventive to keep the interests of their members alive. 

In the week, when the organisers of this year's Cork City Marathon announced details of their virtual event for 2021, it appears as if this format will be the norm at least for many more months to come. 

The realistic target may point to local events getting up and running in some shape by the end of the summer or maybe early autumn in time for the competitive cross-country season.

Cloyne's virtual 4K has continued to attract the numbers in its three races thus far. The penultimate 4K must be completed by March 21.

Meanwhile, Midleton AC held a members' 5K through the winter months which saw 65 competitors complete the required minimum four runs. 

Tony Forristal recorded the fastest overall time across the series, but there was no denying who was the main headline maker. It was 83-year-old Billy Griffin, who continues to run on a regular basis with his beloved club and who was presented with his virtual 4K tee shirt on the day of his birthday. 

The hugely popular Billy ran on all five designated weekends posting his best time of 33:30 in the opening fixture.

Looking ahead several similar events are on the immediate agenda. 

Members of Ballintotis Fit4Life Club will join staff at Castlemartyr Resort to undertake a special 490K virtual run aid of the Ronald McDonald House, All money raised from the venture, which takes place between March 13 and 28, will go directly to the charities wonderful work. 

Ronald McDonald House is the official charity partner of Castlemartyr Resort.

The Karen Fenton Memorial 5K road race held in Waterfall each year in April, is also going ahead in a virtual format. Participants are urged to run their own 5K between April 16 and 19 at a cost of €10, a further donation may also be made to the Karen Fenton Ovarian Cancer Fund.

Also usually taking place in April is the Sonia O'Sullivan Ballymore 10 Mile race. and this year, again on a virtual basis, participants may also choose to run either a 5k or 10K, with a special category for the younger generation also over 5K. 

All proceeds will go towards the race's official charity partner Breakthrough Cancer Research. Results from the virtual run must be registered on the week beginning April 4.

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