There is no better way to get the new year off to a positive start than to stretch the legs and take part in the annual Liffey Valley AC Tom Brennan Memorial Trophy 5k in the Phoenix Park on January 1. The event kicks off at noon, starting on the Furze Road, just off Chesterfield Avenue.
For more information, see www.liffeyvalley ac.com or register at www.precisiontiming.net. Late entries will be taken on race day, but such entrants are encouraged to arrive an hour before the start.
HIGH-CLASS FIELD EXPECTED FOR THIRD NEWMARKET 5K
The north Cork town of Newmarket is the setting for the third annual 5k on Sunday, promoted by Duhallow AC.
With a substantial prize fund (which includes €300 for first man and woman, with €200 for second and €100 for third), the race is sure to attract some high-class athletes.
Last year saw 3:55.75-miler David McCarthy coming home first in a fast 14.15, with Jason Fahey (14.49) and Sergiu Ciobanu (14.51) also under 15 minutes.
Local girl Michelle Finn, home from Western Kentucky University, won the women's race in 17.05, just three seconds outside Orla Drumm's time from the year before.
The race headquarters will be at the James O'Keeffe Institute, where entries costing €10 will be taken up to 12.40pm, with the race getting under way at 1pm.
You can also enter online at www.corksports.ie, and more details can be had from Donie Shine on 086 8149970.
THORNTON COMES BACK IN FROM THE COLD WITH VICTORY AT 10K
In what was somewhat of a rare appearance, Gary Thornton of Galway City Harriers (GCH) returned to the roads in style on Sunday to win the Ballinderreen 10k in an impressive time of 30.29.
The 34-year-old school teacher, who has a marathon best of 2:17.29 from Rotterdam in 2012, also made the headlines earlier this year when he took victory in the extreme conditions of the North Pole Marathon.
Conditions were somewhat milder for the South Galway AC promotion at Ballyinderreen, where Thornton finished well clear of GCH clubmate Matt Bidwell (32.54), with Julio-Cesar Castro of Kilmurry-Ibrickane North Clare third in 33.05.
Maria Carey of Ennis TC took the female honours in 40.09 from Fionnuala Keane (Loughrea) in 40.43, with Siobhan Egan (GCH) third in 41.33.
FARRANFORE AMONG HIGHLIGHTS OF ST STEPHEN'S DAY CLASSICS
Two long-standing events mark the St Stephen's Day running action in Munster, with the oldest undoubtedly the Farranfore road race in Kerry.
First held in 1961, the traditional out-and-back course to the village of Firies, which varied in distance from four to four-and-a-half miles, will this year be replaced by the shorter 5k distance.
Starting at noon, entry fee on the day is €10 (U-17 and national school age €5) and will be taken in the local community hall. The Fr Browne Memorial Trophy goes to the winner and there is an extensive prize list, plus a medal for all finishers.
The Dick Copithorne Memorial four-miler takes place in the village of Belgooly, which is on the main Cork to Kinsale road.
Start time is also noon and half of the €10 entry fee will go to the Bowel Cancer Treatment Fund at Cork University Hospital.
Since its inception in the late 1980s, the event has attracted many top athletes, with the likes of Sonia O'Sullivan and Mark Carroll featuring among the winners.
Organised by the local club, details can be had from Rose Walsh on 086 8411193 or email email@example.com
GET IN EARLY TO GUARANTEE YOUR PLACE FOR MALLOW RACE
Although it doesn't take place until March 23, entries are now open for the Mallow 10-mile road race, which this year is sponsored by The Edge Sports & Skins.
The fee -- payable online or by post -- is €18 up until January 31 and €20 thereafter. Given that the Dungarvan and Ballycotton races at the same distance filled up in record time, demand for Mallow should also be high, with a limit of 1,200 entrants.
There will be a prize fund of €5,000, which includes €250 for each winner plus a bonus of €500 if the course records (49.40 by Gerry Ryan; 56.53 by Fiona Roche) are broken.
More information can be found on the club website at www.mallowac.ie
ANNUAL CLONLIFFE 5K WILL BE REAL CHRISTMAS CRACKER
One of the last road races of the year, the European Recycling Platform 5k, will take place on Sunday at Morton Stadium in Santry.
Known as the Christmas Cracker Race, this is always a very popular end-of-year event. There are some great prizes to be won and, for a chance to win one, entrants should bring along a used battery-operated appliance or 10 used batteries.
You can register for the event at www.runireland.com.