The BHAA ‘Sports Supplies’ Cork to Cobh 15M Road Race takes place on Sunday 2nd of October 2011 at 9:30am. On-the-day entries at €20 and changing facilities are available from 7:30am at the Montenotte Hotel. You can also deposit your gear bag for transfer to Cobh. The usual house rules apply and there’ll be prizes in all the usual categories as well as numerous spot prizes. All finishers will receive a Goodie Bag and a Sports Supplies T-Shirt. Post race refreshments and prize giving will be held in the Cobh (Great Island) Community Centre. Late entries can pick up the T-Shirt in the Hall.
The BHAA’s annual Cork to Cobh is a bumper activity day, a stretched Half Marathon with pre- and post-race hiking thrown in for good measure. The day starts early with a hike up Summerhill North to deposit the gear bag at the Montenotte Hotel. On return to base camp there’s a rousing speech by the Bishop and we’re off down the Lower Glanmire Road heading for Cobh. With the race over, time to tuck into the goodie bag and get ready for some more hiking. By the time you get up to the Community Centre overlooking that magnificent Cathedral, you’ll have earned that hot cup of tea, the sandwich and anything else that’s on offer.
Place names like West Beach, East Beach and The Promenade evoke thoughts of Southern California. However, with no bikini clad girls, no beach boys and the Sun permanently on power save, your destination is the quaint coastal town of Cobh, maritime gateway to the nation’s second city and crown jewel of the world’s second largest natural harbour. Race H.Q. at the finish is the Cobh Community Centre on Orelia Terrace. From the finish line at Casement Square, you go under the archway and head uphill on West View past the iconic deck of cards houses. You turn right at the top of the hill and then left at the crossroads and up Midleton Street. The Cappuccino coloured Community Centre is further on up the road on your left.
After the Cork Half Marathon, Cork to Cobh is the next logical step in your preparation for the Dublin Marathon. You’ll have four weeks to recover for Dublin, more than enough time should you decide to run at Marathon pace or try for a P.B. on the day. The race itself starts on Lower Glanmire Road outside St.Patrick’s church and takes in the scenic coastal route to Cobh Harbour passing Fota Wildlife Park and finishing in Cobh town centre. You’ll need to allow plenty of time to bring your gear bag up to the Montenotte. It’s a 1.5km round trip from the start area. Last year, I was fortunate enough to get a lift back down in the very same van taking my gear bag to Cobh. On the way down we picked up other late arrivals red faced and panting.
The roads will be open to traffic during the race. Runners should stay close to the left margin and exercise due care and caution. Despite the obvious dangers and requests to the contrary, some runners continue to wear headphones during races. If you listen to music with your back to oncoming traffic, you trust your life to the actions of drivers while knowing nothing about their disposition or state of mind. Cats may have nine lives, but you alas have only the one. Don’t gamble with it! Switch off the music and switch on to your surroundings.
The first 3.5M follow the route of the Cork City Marathon to the Dunkettle roundabout. At the roundabout however, you go straight ahead; don’t sleepwalk into the tunnel. Just beyond the roundabout, you take a left off the N25 and onto the R623. This is the old Youghal road running parallel to the railway line past Glounthaune.
This road is slowly falling into disrepair and is quite rough at the margins. Those old cat’s eyes can also be a bit of a hazard. At 7.5M you’ll cross over the railway bridge and on towards the Carrigtwohill roundabout. Just after 8M you’ll cross over the N25 (pity we can’t run on it) and onto Fota Island skirting the eastern perimeter of Fota Estate. At the 10M mark you’ll cross over from Fota Island onto the Great Island with some spectacular views of the inner harbour. At 11.5M you’ll meet up once again with the railway line and run parallel for the last few miles into Cobh.
There are only two significant climbs on the route. Unfortunately, both of the 10m twin peaks come very late in the race at 11.5M and 13.5M. Remember this is a 15M race not a Half Marathon. Newcomers to the event often time their run-in after the first peak and run out of steam on the second. Keep a bit in reserve and you’ll really enjoy the applause on that fantastic downhill onto Westbourne Road.