Thursday 18 March 2010


Mugs Update

- Just a quick update with just 3 days to go, the Ballycotton committee have confrimed they will be packing their famous mugs on Friday evening (exact time to be confirmed later) - All help would be greatly appreciated. Please try and give a little time even an hour from 8 o clock on would be greatly appreciated .
There are 3,000 mugs to be put in bags and boxed so every hand counts.

Remember we are so lucky to have this great race on our doorstep
Dont forget the club will have a car or two on the cliff car park (beside the pitch and putt course) so that club members can leave their gear bags etc in safety and be able to get them immediatly after the race.We usually assemble there at 12 o clock and get group photos etc and warm up on the pitch and putt course.

Ballycotton’s Changing Times

Ballycotton Countdown– John Cashman- Evening Echo Article March 17

Next Sunday a new decade will dawn in the life time of the famous Ballycotton ‘10’ Mile Road Race. Thirty two years ago the most romantic story in Irish road racing began with 31 participants. This year over 3,300 runners made the entry cut off point with another 800 missing the mark.

Through the time tunnel there have been some remarkable ever presents. Two runners Willie O’Mahony and Ballycotton’s own John Walshe are set to continue their one hundred per cent record this weekend, whilst several more who competed in the early days are still on the scene today.
But outside the participants there is a common thread of consistent involvement running through was has turned out to a superb sporting spectacle. Day one volunteers include local man Willie Scannell who on Sunday next will be on duty again, covering the miles in a job description that fits into the ‘highly versatile’ category.
As the thousands came and left Ballycotton, Willie Scannell was there as an ever present, always at the ready to answer the call for a race that has become part of his life.
When 31 runners departed the famous fishing village in 1978, nobody could imagine that they to be the fore runners to the Ireland’s most loved 10 mile road race.
“Things were much different then”, admits Willie, conceding that on the day the organisers thought they had attracted a very big entry.

“It didn’t quite all go to plan as we discovered at the end of the race that we did not have enough of cups and ware to cater for the assembled gathering. A quick trip down the village to a local bed and breakfast house was required to solve the problem”.
In that opening year 24 of the 31 participants broke the hour mark. Twelve months down the road Ballycotton welcomed 82 finishers notably including five ladies. Mary Dempsey took the honours in that category and remarkable she lines up again on Sunday next, having already impressed in Mallow and Dungarvan, where the opening two legs of the John Buckley Sports Munster ‘10’ Mile Series took place this year.
However, it’s the dawn of each decade that graphically illustrates the meteoric growth of a race has become land mark date for the majority of runners on the ten mile circuit.
In 1980 Liam O’Brien, having finished runner up in the previous two years led home 151 finishers, whilst marathon specialist Jean Folan set a new target for the ladies with her 62:31 finishing time.

By the time the decade changed again Ballycotton’s name had spread far and wide. 151 had become 695 in ten years and for the first time ever provisional on the day computer results were printed. John Griffin of St John’s won the race denying Liam O’Brien of a three in a row.

The nineties saw a continuation of the upward spiral with the 1,000 barrier broken for the first time in 1993 in a race that saw some exceptional performances. Eight participants led by winner Gerry Curtis broke the 50 minute barrier whilst 200 crossed the line under the hour mark.

1995 was provide the fastest Ballycotton time on record as Gary Staines set a daunting target of 47:00 that still stands firmly in place.
Five years on by the dawn of the new millennium, the Ballycotton ‘10’ had been ranked by ‘Runners World’ as second only to the London Marathon in their top 50 races. 1,222 finishers set another new record whilst Ballycotton’s new king Noel Berkeley showed his class to out pace Jamie Lewis in an epic finish.
The ten years that followed since have seen new milestones being reached on a regular basis, peaking when 2,813 completed the course in Vinny Mulvey’s first winning year in 2006. Last year’s figure of 2,402 became the second biggest in the history of an event that has literally become fit for a president.
“It was in President McAleese’s first year in office that she came to Balllycotton” recalls Willie Scannell.

“Her husband Martin, a regular runner took part and the President graced us with her presence at the start and finish of the race and also presented the prizes in the Cliff Palace afterwards. She came among us as an ordinary person, walked the cliffs, surveyed the scenery and received many presentations from local groups”.
Over three decades on from the original Ballycotton ‘10’ Willie Scannell is in a better position than most to analyse it’s success story.
“The continuous local voluntary help along with the additional assistance from a far wider group of people has ensured the smooth running of the event”.
It appears that the magic of the race is also infectious amongst it’s organisers.

“For many months we look forward to it and try to have everything in place. There is always that bit of apprehension particularly now over the last few days. Weather is a big factor, something that is totally out of hands. Ground conditions are also crucial as they dictate our car parking arrangements”, he concluded.
Now with the 2010 Ballycotton showpiece almost upon us you get the feeling that just like the runners, Willie Scannell and his colleagues just cant wait for Sunday to dawn

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