Over 3,000 runners will fill the narrow street of an east Cork village on Sunday next as the Ballycotton ‘10’ celebrates its 40th birthday.
The entry is the second biggest in those four decades while there is a welcome return to the high standards of early years with a top-class line-up making for an exciting contest. Heading the contenders is Mick Clohisey from the Raheny Shamrock club, a man who has won Irish titles on the track, cross-country and road. The 31-year-old ran the marathon for Ireland at the Rio Olympics and is now targeting the London Marathon on April 23, in which he has secured a place on the elite start line.
“It’s been a few years since I done Ballycotton so I’m looking forward to it,” says Clohisey, who finished second in the race back in 2010.
“The race is one of my main milestones ahead of London as I haven’t raced long since Rio; it’s been mainly 10kms and cross-country so I’m looking forward to giving Ballycotton a good bash.”
After finishing 10th in the European Clubs cross-country a month ago, Clohisey won the Enniscorthy 10km in 29:59 on his return and, as he says, “I like to keep racing,” a formula that taken him to the forefront of Irish distance over the past number of years.
He will face strong opposition from Irish marathon champion Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe), a man who knows the Ballycotton roads well as he won the race five years in a row from 2011 to 2015, with a fastest time of 48:58. Former winner Alan O’Shea (Bantry) – first over the same distance in Dungarvan recently – is also in the line-up along with local man Michael Harty (East Cork) who was third last year in 50:00. Holder, Mark Hanrahan, is unable to defend his title as he hasn’t raced since before Christmas.
Aoife Cooke from Youghal, last year’s women’s winner, is entered but is doubtful which should leave the way clear for Siobhan O’Doherty (Borrisokane) to take the title for the second time, having won the race three years ago in 57:32.
With such a huge entry, traffic restrictions will be in place in the general area from early on Sunday morning and competitors are urged to get to Ballycotton in plenty of time. The race gets underway at 1.30pm but people should aim to get there before 11am if possible.
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