Despite lingering jet-lag, after a long-haul flight from the US, San Francisco runner Chris Mocko still managed to limbo under the finish line to win the Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon.
Sporting matching stars-and-stripes bandana and shorts, Mocko beamed a wide California smile and fist-pumped the air. He crossed the tape in 2:26:43 on what was dubbed ‘Sunday runday’, the first Cork City Marathon staged on a Sunday.
Having recently quit his job, in Silicon Valley, to run full-time, Chris said he was delighted he had accepted the invitation sent to his Olympic Club by the mayor of San Francisco, one of Cork’s sister cities, encouraging their runners to compete.
Chris caught Bantry’s Alan O’Shea at the 21-mile mark and said he felt a surge of energy.
“This guy ran out of his mind the first half of the race, and I was like, ‘I can’t run a 2.20 marathon today. I still have a 10-hour flight in these legs’,” he said.
“I said ‘I just gotta be patient, trust in yourself and run your own race’. I focused on my form and kept it together. So, every mile, I just kept on churning, then made a turn and, all of a sudden, we were close.
“And I just got a surge of energy and I forgot the pain after that. I just felt great to the finish line.”
He will now prepare for a 100-mile ultra-marathon in the US, in three weeks’ time.
Runner-up, David Mansfield, of Clonliffe Harriers, crossed the line three minutes later, closely followed by his teammate, Gary O’Hanlon.
Jill Hodgins, from Douglas, who finished third in the women’s race, in her first Cork marathon, three years ago, was the first woman home, in 2:48:18.
“I’m just absolutely thrilled and relieved. It’s the culmination of a year of hard graft. It’s the same for everyone, though. I think every single person crossing the line will have those emotions.”
She was followed by Leevale AC’s Nollaig O’Neill, and Grange Fermoy AC’s Joan Ennis. Peter Brandon Somba, from Dunboyne AC, won the half-marathon. Leevale won the team relay.
Two world records were set, as 7,500 people took part in the full, half, and relay events.
Blackrock GAA’s Damien Coleman set a new record for soloing a sliothar in a marathon, crossing the line in 4:05:24, nearly 20 minutes faster than his previous record.
John Mullee, from London, set a new record for the fastest marathon dressed as a Stars Wars character, crossing the line in his Storm Trooper custome in 3:53:32, an hour faster than the previous record.
Boston firefighter, Greg MacCurtain, a great grandnephew of former Cork Lord Mayor Tomás MacCurtain, crossed the line hand-in-hand with his daughter, Abby, after pushing her in her wheelchair for over five hours.
Dave Brady, from Dublin, completed his 650th marathon, in 4:53:15. He ran a marathon on Saturday and is doing another one today. And Pádraigín Riggs, 68, from Bishopstown, completed her 49th half-marathon, in 2:20:34.
Race director, Jim O’Donovan, praised the huge team of volunteers. “We had approximately 600 volunteers around the course.”
Medics treated 57 runners for heat related injuries with most experiencing heat-induced hyperthermia.
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