Gruelling hilly section removed from marathon

PUNISHING sections of one of the country’s most popular marathons has been scrapped as part of a course revamp announced yesterday.

The organisers of the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon said following feedback from runners, they have eliminated hilly sections along the 26.2 mile route to make it more enjoyable for competitors.

They hope the flatter course could lead to a record time this year. The energy sapping uphill section on Model Farm Road, from Inchigaggin Bridge to Nangles Nursery, and the tough downhill after that on Church Hill, have been scrapped.

And to compensate for the loss of that two-mile section at the western edge of the marathon route, runners will race along the popular walkway amenity along the Lough Mahon waterfront and the Rochestown/Blackrock section of the old Passage railway line.

Two miles from the finish, the route will shift from the Western Road at the Sacred Heart Church to the Mardyke, a stretch of road with a more favourable camber.

The new course map is available to download on the marathon’s new “social media hub” at www.readysteadycork.ie.

Registrations since the start of the year for this year’s marathon are double the number of submissions in the same period last year.

Organisers expect a record 10,000 people to take part on June 7.

Race director Jim O’Donovan said: “This is a marathon for everyone and whether you’re running, jogging or walking it, this year is gearing up to be the best and biggest year ever.

“Seeing the numbers surge since Christmas was a fantastic result and this will help us achieve our target of raising €3m of vital funds for charity.”

The marathon also features a relay race – the shortest leg is now the fifth and final stage at about 4.5 miles (7.2km) long.

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