Grassroots Club of the Week: Ballymore Cobh AC
The members of Ballymore Cobh AC are planning a race for club star Sonia O'Sullivan,Writes Frank Greally
Ballymore Cobh Athletic Club, which has long been associated with the Irish distance running icon Sonia O'Sullivan, was founded in 1967
Since its foundation, the club has maintained a strong junior division, managed by the late Phyllis Kidney. And in recent years, the club's Little Athletics leaders have continued to develop the junior division through the Little Athletics programme, which caters for children between the ages of five and 10.
May of this year saw the relaunch of the club's adult section, which has already proved to be a big success. In just a few months, the club has attracted more than fifty new members. Complete beginners, as well as more experienced runners, are now joining every week.
Club members come together to complete speed sessions on Wednesday evenings at the Cobh Community College track, and they also meet for training runs on Saturday and Sunday mornings at Cuskinny, where the delight of running through the island's leafy lanes is rounded off by some with a swim in the bay.
A number of club runners are training for the SSE Airtricity Dublin Marathon, and the annual Cork to Cobh race is also high on the agenda.
The club colours of black and yellow and are now a familiar sight as they are worn by members at local road events such as the Ballycotton 5-Mile Summer Series.
Following on from the great success of relaunching the senior section, the club committee members are now building up the juvenile membership.
Sonia O'Sullivan has always maintained a great interest in the club from where she launched her hugely successful international career, which culminated in winning a silver medal in the 5,000m at the Sydney Olympics. Of course, Sonia also won European and world titles on the track .
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of her European 3,000m record, and Ballymore Cobh AC members are now busy organising a special 3K road race to mark this special time.
The 3K event will take place in Cobh on Monday evening, August 25, and Sonia will be guest of honour at what should be a memorable and exciting night.
The club's steering committee has also been greatly encouraged by the allocation of a grant for €800 from the Irish Sports Council. It was only club in Cork to receive this grant.
Ballmore Cobh AC coach Robert Doherty recently tasted success when taking part in his third iron man contest in Nice last month, and he is a great inspiration to all club members, dispensing advice on training, nutrition and other running-related topics.
The Sonia O'Sullivan 3K Road Race is open to walkers, joggers and runners. It promises to be an evening of special celebration in Cobh and a unique homecoming for the woman who achieved world fame for her native town and country. More information about the event can be accessed on the Ballymore Cobh AC Facebook page or on twitter @ballymoreCobhac.
Chairperson - Grace Kidney
Vice Chair - Terry Murphy
Treasurer - Catherine Hickey
Secretary - Ruth Phelan
Development Officer - Helen Devery
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