Mazerskiand Curley take the honours

It was a case of déjà vu at the Cork Marathon yesterday with Poland’s Bartosz Mazerski denying Gary O’Hanlon’s brave attempt for a third marathon victory in 15 days in a sprint finish down St Patrick’s Street, while Pauline Curley smashed her course record from last year when coming home in 2:43:37.

Mazerskiand Curley take the honours

In an exciting duel that went the full distance, Mazerski had more in the tank to prevail in 2:28:38 to O’Hanlon’s 2:28:45 as they sprinted over the bridge and into the finish on after an enthralling 26 miles.

“I’m going to come back next year with fresher legs and not the same madness,” said O’Hanlon referring to his hectic marathon schedule that started with a second place finish at the Limerick Marathon on May 4 and then two victories at the Killarney and Newry events on May 10 and 18 respectively.

The teak tough Louth man led the marathon field from the outset with James Grufferty forging ahead for Leevale in the team relay event. Grufferty put Leevale in a good lead but they had to settle for second with East Cork coming out on top in the relay in 2:17:31. Leevale finished in a time of 2:19:36 with Freda’s Flyers third in 2:27:14.

In the race for top honours, O’Hanlon was running consistently under 5:30 per mile until the 16-mile marker but then began to tire with Mazerski reducing a deficit that had grown as large as 20 seconds.

At this point O’Hanlon was struggling, with the Pole now matching him stride for stride. Mazerski edged slightly ahead up the tough climb on the Model Farm Road with O’Hanlon hanging in gamely.

They descended back into the city together with the race now developing into a tactical battle. Shoulder to shoulder down the quays, Mazerski made his move with 400m to go and O’Hanlon finally wilted.

It was a different story in the

women’s race with Curley (Tullamore Harriers) dominating in a new course record of 2:43:47 —bettering her 2:47:44 record set last year.

She was well clear of Leevale’s Nollaigh Hunter in 2:50:52 and third-placed Jill Hodgins in 2:56:44.

“It’s a great course with a great atmosphere,” said Curley. “I was tiring in the last few miles but I kept my pace. It’s got some tough hills but you expect that with road races.

“I was a little tired mentally coming in having run the Limerick Marathon a few weeks ago,” said the Tullamore woman who won that race in 2:44:28.

“But looking at Gary [O’Hanlon] running so many marathons makes me smile at that tiredness. He’s something else to be able to do so many and a really nice guy too.”

Sergiu Ciobanu came out on top in the half marathon in 70:18 and the Moldovan is now waiting eagerly to hear about his Irish citizenship so he can compete in the marathon at the European championships in August.

“I was speaking to Athletics Ireland earlier in the week and they are going to try and help me get it in time,” said Ciobanu.

Togher’s Gavin Sweeney finished second in 71:13 with Carraig na bhFear’s Colin Merritt third in 71:45. Emma Murphy (St Finbarr’s) won the women’s section in 1:21:34 ahead of Annameria Costelloe (Gneeveguilla) in 1:26:51 and Margo Dinan (St Finbarr’s) in 1:28:36.

Robert Heffernan competed in the team relay in preparation for the European race walkng championships.

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