Michael Harty picks up Cork City Sports Athletics award

Veteran from Cloyne was in top form in cross-country and on the road
Michael Harty picks up Cork City Sports Athletics award

Michael Harty, East Cork AC is the Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month. At the River Lee Hotel for the Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month award for October were L to R., Tony O’Connell, chairman CCS, Shay Curtin CCS, Nicola Cullinane, The Echo, recipient Michael Harty, East Cork AC, Trevor Welch, Cork 96FM C103, Jerome Favory, deputy GM, The River Lee Hotel, Joe Hartnett, meet director CCS and Terry O’Rourke, secretary CCS.

TWO exceptional performances, one at cross-country and the other on the road, have seen Michael Harty of the East Cork club awarded the Cork City Sports Athletic Person of the Month for October.

At the Cork Senior Cross-Country championships at Carrigadrohid near Macroom on the first Sunday of the month, Harty claimed his first county senior title, along with leading his club to its first team win since 2017.

Three weeks later he travelled to the UK where at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10km he became the first Irishman over 40 to break 30 minutes for the distance, finishing in 10th place overall in the elite field.

“Everything seemed to have come right this year and October was on the basis of having 13 months really without an injury,” said the Cloyne man at the function in the River Lee hotel.

“The summer went well; I took 14 days off and got back running in August and even in the speed sessions you could feel it, the work from last year was a lot easier this year. I also cut down from three speed sessions a week to two, I feel that’s enough for me now,” admitted the 42-year-old.

At Macroom, Harty had just returned from a four-week training stint at altitude in Kenya, something he has been doing for the past number of years.

An employee of Dairygold in Mogeely, afterwards he paid tribute to the company, saying: “Dairygold are extremely supportive of me and I’m very fortunate to have an employer who allows me to take four or five weeks away in Kenya, so I’m very thankful to them.”

THRILLED

After coming close to the Irish best for the 10km on the road during the year, Harty broke it in style at Leeds where he knocked 23 seconds off of Brian Maher’s previous best with his time of 29:42.

“I had come close in the summer with times of 30:06 and 30:13. The 30:06 was my first 10km in four years so I thought with a bit more consistently maybe there was more there, so that’s when the Leeds Abbey Dash became the aim.

“In the sixth mile I was looking at the watch and was fairly confident we were under the 30 minute pace so when I crossed the finish line and saw 29:42, I was thrilled.”

That Leeds race on an out-and-back course is regarded as one of the fastest 10kms in the UK and attracted over 3.700 runners.

Since his October achievements, the honours have continued to arrive for Harty and his East Club club.

At the recent 123.ie National Cross-Country championship in Donegal, the small contingent of athletes from the opposite part of the country caused one of the major upsets of the year when finishing second, just three points behind the mighty Clonliffe Harriers.

First home was Tim O’Donoghue in 11th position, followed by Paul Hartnett (19th), Michael Harty (21st) and Frank O’Brien (38th).

An unexpected bonus for the club is that they, along with Clonliffe, will now represent Ireland at the European Clubs Cross-Country which takes place at Oropesa del Mar near Valencia in Spain on Sunday February 5.

The Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Month Award is sponsored by the River Lee, 96&C103FM, The Echo, Cork Crystal and Leisureworld.

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