Thursday, June 10, 2010

Road Trip… Cork Marathon 2010

On Sunday morning, with bags packed (OK one extra t-shirt, change of underwear, camera and rain gear) I left a miserably wet Dublin to travel down to what turned out to be a sunny Cork. In the car journey down I was the only one not taking part in the race on Monday morning and was therefore the only one hoping for a sunny day for the race… for the photos you understand! Alas, looking at the forecast on Sunday evening it appeared as if Mother Nature had listened to the thousands of marathoners praying that there would be no repeat of the soaring temperatures that last years Cork marathoners endured.

Monday we were greeted by rain…. a lot of rain at that. After breakfast in the hotel, I threw on the rain gear and I sauntered (splashed) my way down to the 4 mile mark, along the docks, and waited for the runners to arrive. It didn’t take long before the lead car was in sight, being tailed by Sergiu Ciobanu on the trail of his forth marathon victory in Ireland within the past 10 months.

4 Miles into the Cork Maraton 2010

At this stage there was no rest for the runners from the elements, the rain was getting heavier and along this stretch they were running full tilt into quite a strong breeze. Not something I envied as I snapped away.

There were a few smiles to be seen about the place

The weather continued to get worse and my water resistant clothing could only hold out so far! As I hung around the 17 mile mark waiting for the leaders to arrive I knew I was no longer dry under the jacket. Once the photoing stopped I’d have to stop off somewhere and buy new clothes for the trip home…

Hanging around at 17 miles waiting for the leaders...

As the race went past it was clear that Sergiu had opened up a commanding lead in the Men’s race and Lucy Brennan was well clear in the women’s. Friend of RacePix’s and regular photo contributor, Peter Mooney, was battling away in 12th, running on his own a few metres behind 10th and 11th place.

Marathoners at Mile 17 - where it starts to get tough!

While it may have taken the poor marathoners over 9 miles from where they last saw me to seeing me again at the finish line, for me it was just a short stroll across town. The Cork marathon route is certainly spectator friendly. I’d have to say that anyone on foot could easily watch the start, walk to around three and half or the four mile spot, then head across the bridge to the relay change over at 16 miles, before being able to comfortably walk to the finish. Between 4 miles and 16 there’s even enough time to stop off for a coffee!

Coming onto Patrick Street for the finish Sergiu had opened up a lead of over 4 minutes to win in a new course record of 2:25:51. As expected Lucy Brennan won the women’s race for the third year in a row, while my mate Peter had a storming finish to rock on home in a magnificent 7th.

The home coming at the top of Patrick Street

Once the race ended the typically rain died down to a mere drizzle. This provided the perfect opportunity to jump into Penny’s to pick up some new clothes! Oddly enough I wasn’t alone in there and even saw a few marathoners whose change of clothes bags had got soaked through and also had to buy new clothes.

The weekend ended nicely as I met up with one of the contributors to the site who also uploaded photos from the race, Evin. I got to kill time waiting for my flight back to Dublin in the company of herself and her husband’s relay team at their race HQ only a stone’s throw from the finish line. The lure of sushi, chicken kebabs and smoothies was too much and with treatment like that I can certainly see myself popping up in Cork again in the near future.

All in all a great 36 hours, albeit largely wet, in Cork. For some scarey reason standing around in the rain, watching people run a marathon, battling the elements, has really made me want to take part in one again…. All I’ll say is watch this space…

Thanks also to the driver who got me down to Cork, not just for that but also for whipping out a camera after his relay leg and catching some great shots of the finishers at the end. Cheers Dave. Also Doug, who if I’d have had my wits about me I would have been in contact with before heading to Cork to try meet up. Doug also took photos at the Dublin marathon last year and when looking at them afterwards I realised that at one stage he was no more than 20 metres away from me taking photos. As always, thanks for the work Doug, very much appreciated.

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