Michael Harty and Lizzie Lee came home clear winners of the 11th running of the Ballintotis four-mile road race

Michael Harty and Lizzie Lee came home clear winners of the 11th running of the Ballintotis four-mile road race

Lizzie Lee came home a clear winner of the 11th running of the Ballintotis four-mile road race.

ALTHOUGH the course records weren’t broken, both holders certainly showed their current superb form as Michael Harty and Lizzie Lee came home clear winners of the 11th running of the Ballintotis four-mile road race.

It had been all of three years since last the local roads echoed to the feet of almost 900 runners but looking around at the superb organisation, huge crowds of spectators and another ideal April evening, it seemed we were never away.

After the massive field got on its way the main contenders soon showed in front. 

Paul Moloney from Mallow, recent winner of the County Road championship, was first to show and after the halfway mark Tim O’Donoghue (East Cork) took over.

Niall Shanahan from An Bru in Limerick, running the race for the first time, was also well in contention but after hitting the main road with around 1000m to go, record holder Harty decided it was time to make his move. 

From there on there was only going to be one winner and it was a delighted Cloyne man who crossed under the gantry with the clocking a time of 19:18, just three seconds outside the record.

Tim O’Donoghue was next to finish in 19:28 with Shanahan taking third spot in 19:31. 

Junior athlete Paul Hartnett of East Cork was fourth in an excellent 19:41, 16 seconds ahead of eight-time winner James McCarthy.

When Lizzie Lee ran her course record of 21:21 in 2016 it was the start of a momentous year that culminated at the biggest stage of all, the Olympic Marathon in Rio. 

This year, her target is a bit nearer to home as she is aiming for the Cork Marathon around the streets of her native city on June 5.

After a 20-mile run the previous Sunday in preparation, the Leevale athlete still had to speed in her legs to clock a fine time of 22:20, over a minute-and-a-half ahead of runner-up, Linda O’Sullivan from Watergrasshill. 

Third was Breda Gaffney from Mallow – like O’Sullivan, a top masters runner – with fourth spot going to Jen Preston who has strong local connections although now running with the Dublin-based Liffey Valley club.

Results 

Men:

1 M Harty (East Cork, M40) 19:18; 2 T O’Donoghue (East Cork) 19:28; 3 N Shanahan (An Bru, M40) 19:31; 4 P Hartnett (East Cork, MJ) 19:41; 5 J McCarthy (East Cork) 19:57; 6 C McAuley (Leevale) 19:59.

M40: 3 P Moloney (Mallow) 20:06.

M45: 1 S Ahern (Youghal) 21:38; 2 K McKeown (unatt) 21:41; 3 P Cotter (Eagle) 22:50.

M50: 1 S McSweeney (St Nicholas) 22:25; 2 J O’Sullivan (Galtee) 22:32; 3 P Birmingham (Mallow) 25:10.

M55: 1 R Hahesy (West Waterford) 25:07; 2 N Curtin (Youghal) 25:19; 3 E Meade (East Cork) 25:23.

M60: 1 E O’Sullivan (Midleton) 26:22; 2 C Cahill (unatt) 26:38; 3 K Carey (unatt) 26:57.

M65: 1 B Menton (unatt) 29:38; 2 W O’Riordan (St Brendans) 29:54; 3 S O’Mahony (Youghal) 30:47.

M70: 1 K Higgs (Eagle) 29:53; 2 D O’Connell (Midleton) 34:09; 3 J Walshe (RRC) 36:04.

M75: 1 I Kohler (Midleton) 36:47; 2 J Murray (Rising Sun) 41:19; 3 B Caball (Rising Sun) 46:55.

MJ: 1 J Spelman (unatt) 22:55; 2 B O’Sullivan (unatt) 23:07; 3 D McLean (Midleton) 24:1 

Women:

1 L Lee (Leevale, F40) 22:20; 2 L O’Sullivan (Watergrasshill, F50) 23:57; 3 B Gaffney (Mallow, F45) 24:13; 4 J Preston (Liffey Valley) 24:27; 5 C (Crowley, F50) 24:29; 6 R MacKeown (Leevale, F45) 24:58.

F35: 1 F Santry (East Cork) 26:07; 2 J Pierce (unatt) 29:52; 3 R Comber (unatt) 30:13.

F40: 2 N Forde (Leevale) 25:14; 3 N O’Connor (East Cork) 27:01.

F45: 3 L O’Connor (unatt) 25:19.

F50: 3 C Murphy (Youghal) 30:41.

F55: 1 O O’Rourke (Ballymoe-Cobh) 26:29; 2 M Buckley (Donoughmore) 28:17; 3 B Sheedy (Midleton) 29:19.

F60: 1 F O’Connor (Eagle) 34:22; 2 M McNamara (Midleton) 35:45; 3 L Feeney (St Catherines) 37:21.

F65: 1 K O’Connell (Midleton) 46:15; 2 D Clancy (West Wateford) 47:18.

FJ: 1 M Bowles (unatt) 30:32; 2 A Kirrane (unatt) 32:52; 3 A Berkeley (unatt) 33:04.

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