Corkbeg 2009 was my very first road race and a night out to remember. I could have written the following synopsis myself, but in the interest of fairness and impartiality, I thought it more appropriate to give you an honest and independent appraisal of this charming little road race.
This was my first time doing this race and I was very pleasantly surprised. Corkbeg has the reputation of a connoisseurs road race, something a bit special, and I was not dissapointed. Unfortunately, in recent years it is held the day after the EMC 5km at Ovens, which means that it gets a much the smaller crowd. Many of those at Ovens have never been to Corkbeg. Speaking for myself, as a wonderful racing night out Corkbeg wins hands down.
The dressing room facilities are at the Corkbeg Sports and Social Club. This lies down a leafy wide lane half a mile from Whitegate Village. The clubhouse and bar are sited just above the pitch and putt greens, beyond which lies the Lower Harbour in all its beauty. The 13th was a glorious evening, and I have never yet come across such a beautiful race headquarters with such a stunning view. Liam O’Brien describes Corkbeg as ‘an informal little race’, to which one can add ‘charming’ and ‘atmospheric’.
The course had been described to me as being a bit hilly, but this really was not the case. The race leaves the clubhouse and goes gently downhill for maybe one third of a mile, into Whitegate, a lovely harbour front village. A bit beyond the village the only real hill of the race is encountered, but this is not very big or long and the downhill on the other side is lovely. Then sharp left and back the way we came, helped along by the cheers of the bemused populace of Whitegate, and finishing fast up the hill to the clubhouse in the welcome shade of the trees. This is a classic five mile course, a fast start, mostly level apart from the short hill, and a gentle drag at the finish.
This year 67 ran the race. It was won in 26.16 by Cathal O’Connell. This was about all the Barr’s had to shout about, however, as it really was Eagle’s night. (Oh please, give us a break – jcbarrs). Part of the charm of the race is the marking system, which gives age category prizes to older runners who have better times than younger athletes in the relevant category (if I understand it correctly). All in all, it was a wonderful evening in high summer, and a race to be visited again and again.
(Paul MacCotter, Eagle A.C.)