The annual Nike Ballycotton 10 mile road race attracted over 2,000 runners of all shapes and sizes to the east Cork village on Sunday, and the local voluntary effort was well in evidence to ensure everything went like clockwork, which it inevitably did.
This year’s race upfront proved to be one of the most entertaining in years, with the lead group down to four after three miles. Cathal Lombard of Leevale dropped off the pace soon after, but was never too far away. That left Ballycotton specialist Noel Berkeley to share the lead with Dubliner Cian McLoughlin and English visitor Andy Coleman whose mother hails from Allihies in west Cork.
As the race wore on Coleman and Berkeley both tried to break away, but only succeeded in dropping McLoughlin. The two leaders eventually settled down, gearing themselves up to sprint finish. That allowed McLoughlin back to them, and he actually took the lead with a mile to go. However, his lead was short lived as the sprint in earnest began and Coleman proved the stronger to win from Berkeley and McLoughlin, with Lombard fourth.
Cathal said afterwards that he really enjoyed the distance and was looking forward to running more long distance races, with a half marathon next on the schedule of road races. Blisters and stitch problems during the race, together with a back problem before it, failed to interfere with his enjoyment of the event.
Roy Fahy had an excellent race, continuing his return to competitive athletics. Up with the leaders from the start, he then settled into the second group and ran on strongly to finish 8th and second Cork finisher.
Providence College graduate Gladys Ganiel, now running with DSD, won the women’s race from English visitors Melanie Ellis and Frances Gill.
Well done to Ballycotton for another great event. (Photos)