Monday, 21 February 2011

Ballycotton Is Almost Upon Us

As our esteemed colleague Donie O’Connell annually remarks “this is our All Ireland Final”. Donie is of course referring to the Ballycotton ‘10’ as he again charts his training programme from early in the New Year to the first weekend in March.

- The feeling of excitement in the pre race build up for Donie and many more compares to the big match nerves in Croke Park. The walk up the steps afterwards to collect the water and goodies no doubt mirroring the sense of achievement as hurlers and footballers walk up the steps of the Hogan Stand to collect their spoils of victory.
Record Entry

This year Donie, who incidentally will wear number 2849 on big race day, has no less than 114 Midleton AC colleagues along side him on the entry list. By any standards it’s a huge gathering and even allowing for a number of absentees for one reason or another, the likelihood is that our club will have a record number of finishers this time around.

As always there is a considerable mix of young and not so young taking part, of experienced and novice runners and of course a wide variation of ambitions within the hearts and minds of all when Dick O’Brien’s anthem rings out.

Many will see the race as the chance to chase a personal best for the famous event, others will have no other objective but just to cross the finish line. It’s what makes the occasion so special, because on the village streets and on the country roads the reception is just as great for those at the back of the field as it for those chasing the big prizes.

New Members

Ballycotton 2011 will be particularly special for a number of our new members who have trained diligently under coach Vincent Connolly over the last eighteen months. In wishing all our members every success on the big day, we extend special words of good wishes to those who are running the race for the first time.

Remember the traditional run around the course is likely to happen again this coming weekend, so keep an ear out at training as various groups are likely to be heading in the direction of the picturesque fishing village on Saturday and Sunday.

As for the race day, as always the advice is to arrive in plenty of time. Major traffic restrictions will be in operation in the vicinity from early morning, with the park ‘n’ ride system again set to operate. In all cases please follow the advice of the stewards.

Help Needed

The race which in 1999, was ranked by the UK edition of ‘Runner’s World’ as second only to the London Marathon in these islands is now a massive undertaking for the organisers. If you are not running or you know somebody who is willing to help with stewarding etc please contact Tommy Hartnett on 086-2386390. Certainly the committee will need all hands on deck through out the day. By helping out in whatever role, one also gets the opportunity the sample the unique atmosphere that sets the event apart from all others.

In recent times some Midleton AC members have also followed a tradition of packing the famous race mug in advance of the weekend. This usually takes place on the Thursday or/and Friday night in the local Community Hall. Keep an eye to the Midleton AC blog next week for updated information.


Post Race Meal

Don’t forget to join us for all the inquests, reflections and discussion after the race by attending the customary Midleton AC post race dinner, which this year will be at Midleton Park Hotel. It represents tremendous value at just 15 euro for members. Pre booking is essential – please book and pay Edmond O’Sullivan at training on this Monday or Wednesday.

Neilus Aherne

Finally, remember our colleague Neilus Aherne Sports/Holistic Therapist is the man to contact for any advice on injury prevention and treatment over the next few weeks. In the countdown to Ballycotton, it’s important to have the legs in tip top shape - Neilus may be contacted on 086-8438355 for appointment and advice.

Race Action In Carrigaline

Action on Sunday last centred on Carrigaline, where the 22nd annual Tommy Ryan Memorial ‘5’ Miler was held. This is a tough test of speed and stamina as the undulating course gives very little time to relax. Certainly there was no relaxing judging by some of the performances produced by many our athletes. Noel O’Regan (2nd Over 40) was in top form finishing 15th overall in a time of 28:42. John Hennessy 29:14, Kevin Smith 29:41 and the returning Shane Cooney 29:53 all made light work of the course in recording sub 30 minute runs.

There were many more very good performances by many of our athletes.

East Cork 3K

There were plenty of bright orange t shirts to be seen following the conclusion of the East Cork 3K Winter Series last week. The Series featured some outstanding running from our leading lights and also some very commendable performances from our newest recruits. Well done to all who participated. For the record four of our runners, John Hennessy 10.10, Darragh Canavan 10.46, Matt Chojan 10.49 and Adam Duchnicz 10.51 broke the 11 minute barrier in the final fixture..

Bantry 10 Miler

The Mealagh Valley 10 Miler on Sunday week last saw Midleton’s Kevin Smith produce an outstanding time of 1:02:49 to finish in 6th place overall. Denis Kelleher (who only a few days previous had undertaken a 30 mile plus run as he looks ahead to the Ultra Marathon), also produced a very laudable performance chopping six minutes off his time in the 2010 race. Well done also to Paul Kierans and Marion Cotter who also produced very good performances on what is a very tough course.

BHAA Cross Country

Meantime, whilst the road action was in Bantry, on the same day the BHAA 5K Cross Country race was run in Beaumont Park. Here we had a sizeable Midleton entry with some great displays again forthcoming from our crew.

In fact we had three category winners with John Hennessy, Sally Drennan and Mary Toher all topping their sections. Congrats to all three and to Stan Byczek who was third man home in the Over 45 age category.

The next BHAA fixture will take place in the scenic surrounds of Fota Island Hotel over 5K on Sunday March 13th, with the Janssen ‘4’ Mile Race being held in Little Island a week later. Both races are scheduled for 11am.

Congratulations Ladies

The full team results of last year’s Munster Half Marathon Championships have only been announced within the last few days. There was great news for a number of our

ladies who have collected provincial medals following the race in Blarney. In the Senior Ladies category Sally Drennan, Breda Cahill and Anne Marie Perry won the bronze medals whilst Sally, Margaret Rohan and Joan McCarthy won the silver medals in the Masters category.

Important Club Meeting

Now just a final reminder to members that our club meeting will go ahead on this Thursday evening at O’Meara’s Bar in Ballinacurra (8.30pm) The purpose of the meeting is to elect a full set of officers, committee members, sub committees along with ladies and mens team captains to operate the club during the next 12 month period. Thereafter, there will also be a brief discussion to set the wheels in motion for this year’s Joe Hourigan Memorial Midleton AC ‘5’ Mile Race which will take place in early May.

Midleton AC Blog

Please remember to keep in touch with our club blog for daily updates and news, particularly in the lead up to Ballycotton on Sunday week.

The address is

That’s it for this week – ‘keep on running’ and enjoy Ballycotton on Sunday week!