Busy local athletics calendar as New Year dawns

John Cashman looks ahead to the popular events taking place in Shandrum and Grange-Fermoy on New Year's Eve
Busy local athletics calendar as New Year dawns

A delighted Paul Hartnett (first) and Frank O'Brien (second) in the 123.ie National Novice C-C pictured with John Cronin, President of Athletics Ireland. Picture: John Walshe

THE final few days of a busy local athletics year will see two local races to choose from on New Year's Eve. 

Shandrum AC are hosting their annual 5K at 11am, with Grange Fermoy AC following up an hour later with their annual 10K.

2022 has brought a return to normality on the roads of Cork, with a comprehensive programme of races having been re-established for athletes and social runners. 

A high standard of organisation has been witnessed in all corners of the county and whilst numbers have dropped a little in comparison to pre covid days, there have been some superb events at a variety of distances.

So this Saturday, both clubs hosting their respective events will be very anxious to conclude the year on a high. The Shandrum 5k has online entry, whilst race entries will also be taken at Newtownshandrum Hall from 9.30am onwards. 

The route profile is flat for the first half of the race, but presents an up and down challenge in the second half, before finishing in the village. 

There are prizes for the first three male and female runners to cross a line and also prizes in all age categories.

At midday Grange Fermoy AC are looking forward to welcoming another big entry to their 10k which follows the usual route. Online entries are again open in advance of this event which last year saw almost 300 go to the start line. 

Leevale's Ryan Creech got the better of East Cork AC man Tim O'Donoghue to break the tape in 29:54. Creech's club colleague and Irish Olympian Michelle Finn posted a time of 34:37 to win the ladies race.

Once the new year bells have sounded runners will become their focus on their attentions of what's just around the corner - there is plenty to look forward to in the early weeks of the year.

Overall, 2023 will see a revamp in terms of entry fees. 

Liam Keane and Neil O'Connor who took part in the Great Glenville Ru. Picture: John Walshe
Liam Keane and Neil O'Connor who took part in the Great Glenville Ru. Picture: John Walshe

From January 1, any runner who is not a member of an Athletics Ireland club will be required to purchase a special 'one day licence', when they enter a race with an Athletics Ireland permit.

Cloyne Community Council have certainly struck a favourable chord with their monthly 4K races, which combine to form a 5 race winter series. 

The third such fixture brings runners to the East Cork village on Sunday January 8 - as always it's an early start at 9.30am on what is a fast flast course and ideal for participants of all abilities. 

On the same day the Cork BHAA commence their year by hosting the traditional cross country challenge at Beaumont Park in Ballinlough at (11am) The first BHAA road race of the season will be in Little Island on Sunday January 22 when the Dupont-IFF 5K takes centre stage at 11am. BHAA registration for the year again costs just €10, with €5 then payable for each subsequent event.. 

Non Members can enter individual races at €10 per event.

Running parallel to the events on the road will be the start of the indoor season. Munster Athletics will kick start their year on Monday next with the provincial junior and under 23 championships in Nenagh. 

The programme will also facilitate senior and masters runners who will be allowed to guest at these championships. Day 2 at Tipperary venue will feature the provincial senior and masters championships on January 12. 

A packed juvenile programme will be held Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 of February when all the Under 12 to Under 19 titles will be decided across two marathon days of action.

Munster athletics have also confirmed that this year's provincial under 9 to under 19 relay championships are scheduled for March 4 with adult road championships pencilled in for the following day.

Finally, back to the roads and love affair that Cork athletes have developed for the John Treacy West Waterford Ac 10 mile race , which this year will be held on Sunday February 5 in Dungarvan. 

The organisers announced that they have a facility to now accommodate over 3,700 runners on race day and this figure has now almost been reached. 

The race has for many taken over the mantle of the iconic Ballycotton 10, which for 40 years was for many the highlight of the road racing year. Now Cork runners have gravitated east in their droves down the N25 with many now focussing their minds on this marquee fixture as they say goodbye to 2002 and hello to 2023 athletics year..

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