Freddy flies home in marathon record

Kenyan athlete Freddy Keron set a new course record as he became the first overseas winner of the Cork City Marathon.

But for most of the 8,000 other competitors, they were just glad to get over the finish line in one piece, raising an estimated €3m for charity.

“It was a fantastic day out there and very well organised. Weather conditions were great at the start. I was balming out on St Patrick’s Street at the start but it got a little cooler later on, which was great,” said Mayfield athlete Alan Dorgan.

He ran the first two legs and his wife Tara ran the second two, before her father, Dave Zuluaga, who is visiting Ireland from Washington State in the US, ran the final leg.

Mr Zuluaga was among hundreds of international contestants, drawn from 27 countries, to take part.

Racegoers consumed over 30,000 bottles of water, gulped 27,000 cups of water, and 10,000 cups of sports drinks while wolfing 4,500 bananas along the way.

Hundreds of weary competitors opted for a free massage at the finish line, offered by the Irish Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

While some limped home, hundreds more, armed with their medals, piled into the Sextant pub afterwards for its now legendary after-marathon party and barbecue to “replenish lost fluids”, as one competitor put it.

A first-time competitor in Leeside’s marathon, Keron crossed the line in 2:22:11, shaving over three minutes off the old record.

In one of the closest races in the event’s six-year history, he beat defending champion, Moldovan Sergui Ciobanu into second. Ciobanu, who’s been living in Ireland for six years, finished in 2:22:55 — over two minutes faster than his winning time last year. Fourth-placed Cillian O’Leary was the first Corkman home in 2:29:52.

Clonmel athlete and mother of three Angela McCann held on to her ladies’ title in 2:53:02.

Leevale athlete Lizzie Lee was the first woman home in the half marathon, defending her title in 1:20:34.

“I’m very proud to be a Cork runner. There was superb organisation and superb support out there,” she said.

The full marathon began on St Patrick’s Street at 9am, with competitors in the half marathon setting off from Skehard Rd at 11am.

Weather conditions were ideal for athletes, with a mixture of early sunshine giving way to cloudy conditions later.

The race’s oldest competitor, Kay O’Regan, 73, from Wexford, who took up marathon running at the age of 50, completed her 106th marathon in just over four hours.

Wheelchair athlete Jerry Forde from Blarney, fresh from completing the Newry marathon on Sunday, completed the marathon in 4:12:35.

Ireland’s Olympic walker, Rob Heffernan, strolled home in about three hours and one minute, with his wife, Marian, a 400m national champion, also finishing the marathon, before they set their sights on the London Olympics.

And Tom Corkery, who ran his first Cork marathon in 1982, aged 20, was hoping to match his 1982-time of three hours, 49 minutes yesterday. He crossed the line in 3:59:54 — not bad after 30 years on the clock.

Lord Mayor Terry Shannon ran his relay team’s final leg after good groundwork by Cllr John Buttimer (FG), Cllr Mick Nugent (SF), Cllr Laura McGonigle (FG) and Emmett O’Halloran (FG).

Mr Shannon, who also competed in the Ocean to City’s Rás Mór on Saturday, recovered in the Flying Enterprise bar afterward.

“Sure, politicians have been running for office for years — why wouldn’t they run a marathon,” he joked.

“It really is a fantastic occasion that not only promotes Cork City as a vibrant and exciting place to visit, but provides a welcome boost to the local economy by attracting visitors from near and far.”

In Dublin, the Flora Women’s Mini Marathon was won by Linda Byrne.

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