independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

In Brief: Kerry winter series kicks off in Killarney

Up and Running. Nationwide event reports

Next Saturday sees the start of the Gneeveguilla AC Winter 5k Series which takes place in Killarney's Demesne, writes John Walshe.

Four races in all will be held, the remaining fixtures scheduled for January 25, February 1 and February 22. All are on Saturday mornings at 11am and are on a flat, accurately measured out-and-back course on tarmac paths.

Entry is just €5 per race and prizes will be based on the best three events. All age groups are catered for from U-14 up to Masters F60 and M65 and the awards include the first 10 senior men and first six senior women.

Race headquarters as usual will be at the Old Monastery (next to Killarney Cathedral) and further details can be obtained from Tom-Joe O'Donoghue at 087 9339087 or 064 7756309.

ROAD RACE SEASON GETS UNDER WAY FOR BHAA

The first Cork BHAA road race of the year, the traditional FMC four-miler, takes place at 11am on Sunday at Little Island.

One of the longest events on the BHAA calendar, entries will be taken in Little Island Sports Hall.

Last year, there was a turnout of around 530. James McCarthy came out best in a time of 19.34, 15 seconds clear of Alan O'Shea with Philip Harty third in 19.51.

Emma Murphy's 22.53 was almost a minute quicker than her winning time in 2012. Full details are on www.corkbhaa.com or from Kevin Cummins at 021 4292509.

TALLAGHT HOSTS NEXT CROSS-COUNTRY STAGE

The Business Houses Athletic Association Cross-Country season continues on Saturday with the Eircom promotion, which takes place at St Enda's GAA Club at Cherryfield Park, Firhouse, Tallaght, Co Dublin.

This is always a popular event and there is a women's race over two miles (11am) and a five-mile men's event (11.30am) on the programme.

See www.bhaa.ie for more details.

HARTNETT'S FAMOUS VICTORY REMEMBERED

With the start of the Irish indoor season, it is worth recalling a memorable indoor performance by an Irishman 40 years ago.

At the Knights of Columbus Games in Uniondale, New York, on January 12, 1974, John Hartnett from Ballyhooly in Cork ran the fifth fastest time on record for the two miles when covering the 22 laps in a time of 8:26.6.

He finished almost eight seconds clear of Grant McLaren from Canada (8:34.4) with another Irishman, Neil Cusack, third in 8:37.2. Hartnett's time was just two seconds slower than the American record at the time, held by Steve Prefontaine.

The performance by the Corkman was worth around 7:50 for 3,000 metres and it's worth noting that the fastest 3,000m by an Irishman last year, indoors or outdoors, was the 7:50.40 by Ciarán Ó Lionáird when winning bronze at the European Indoors in Gothenburg.

Hartnett's amazing form on the boards of North America continued the following month at the Maple Leaf Indoor Games in Toronto where, before 16,000 fans, he ran Canada's first sub-four-minute indoor mile.

His 3:59.6 was achieved ahead of an elite field which included Olympic 1,500m champions, Pekka Vasala of Finland and John Walker from New Zealand.

John Walshe

ENTRIES ALERT FOR POPULAR AXA RAHENY 5

It is time to send in entries for the annual AXA Raheny five-mile road race, which takes place on Dublin's northside on Sunday, January 26.

This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the hugely popular event organised by Raheny Shamrock AC. You can enter online at www.rahenyshamrock.ie.

BRITISH RUNNING STAR HOLDEN REMEMBERED

The death took place last week of one of the leading British athletes from the 1970s, Andy Holden, writes John Walshe.

Aged 65, Holden passed away after an illness and he is best remembered in Ireland for winning the inaugural Grange International Cross-Country event at Fermoy in January 1976.

Later that year he was the star of the Cork City Sports where he won a thrilling 5,000m on the grass track at the Mardyke, his time of 13:59.8 putting him well clear of Irish internationals Gerry Deegan and Neil Cusack.

Holden, who competed in the steeplechase at the 1972 Munich Olympics, set a national mark for the distance of 8:26.4 at Crystal Palace in that same year, a time which still places him 20th on the UK all-time list.

A great servant of the famous Tipton Harriers, Holden later moved up to the marathon where he had a best of 2:15.18.

PARKRUNS DRAW 1,500 RUNNERS ACROSS CITY

There were more big entries last weekend across all the Saturday morning parkruns -- with almost 1,500 taking part in Dublin alone.

The Marlay Park event had an entry of 583 and 382 runners turned out at Malahide Castle. There were 318 runners taking part at St Anne's Park, Raheny, and 202 in Griffeen Park, Lucan.

These free-to-enter parkruns are all 5ks. There are now runs in Westport and Macroom as well as across the North and more are on the way. See www.parkrun.ie.

Irish Independent

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