THE popular Duhallow Athletic Club Road Race entails a Classic 5km run and a record number of entries are expected for the Newmarket showpiece on Sunday commencing at 1pm.
Previously, the Duhallow promoted event covered the 5- mile distance from Newmarket to Kanturk but the 2011 event offers a shortened 5km circuit of Newmarket town that met unaminous approcval and the format returns on Sunday.
Amongst those successful in the previously run 5-mile race in the past were American Jeoff Scott who succeeded former Olympian and European champion Noel Berkley. Other winners include Latvian native Sandis Bratilis, Alan O'Shea and Mark Hanrahan from Leevale made a productive outing to Duhallow in 2008 with a record breaking time of 22 minutes 53 seconds.
From 2009, Muldovian Sergiu Ciobanu confirmed his liking for North Cork routes and defied snow showers to grab outright victory. Arctic conditions did prove a spoilsport in 2010, the re-arranged five months later where local Ed Murphy wearing the Gneeveguilla singlet unleashed a powerful finishing burst fend off a strong and representative field.
Twelve months ago, Bantry's Alan O'Shea maintained a consistent run of performances on capturing the 5km category.
A strong and representative field added an international dimension to the hosting. Run over a relatively flat and fast course, O'Shea alongside Moldovian Sergiu Ciobanu (Clonliffe Harriers) and Michael Herlihy (North Cork) were amongst the front runners in the initial thrust.
But in the favourable conditions, O'Shea upped the tempo a mile from home, a dash of pace confirmed his class to brush the tape in impressive fashion in a highly creditable 15 minutes 1 second time.
Likewise, another top class entry is expected for the ladies field in the aftermath of cracking outcomes over the years. In 2001, USA based Michelle Scott Murphy from Carrig Na bhFear confirmed her reputation to earn victory in the senior ladies. Her hopes of completing a husband and wife double twelve months later was denied by former world cross country team medallist Valerie Vaughan from Blarney/Inniscarra.
Subsequently, the versatile Olympian and former national senior cross country champion Rosemary Ryan (Bilboa) and Mary Sweeney (St Finbarrs) sampled success with Scott Murphy adding back to back wins. And former winner Sweeney (St Finbarrs) demonstrated her talents to enjoy a decisive victory in the 2010 staging with Orla Drumm (UCC) emerging to the fore last season.
"We've a tough task to repeat the outstanding success of previous quality fields and hopefully the weather will be favourable. Plans for this season's race were set in motion a number of months ago", said Donie Shine, Chairman of the host Duhallow AC club.
Some of the foremost athletes from across the province and beyond are expected to be amongst the entry listing for the race over a fast course.
"To meet popular demand, we've again reduced the distance to a 5km event over a measured circuit of Newmarket town," said Mr. Shine.
Entries will be taken on the day from 11.30am. in the Hi - Land. First man and female home will each receive €300. All category prizes will be catered for including, junior boys and girls. This year we are holding a separate draw for all Fit 4 life members who participate on the day. Entry fee is €10.
Included on the programme are category prizes in senior, vets, junior and u16 age categories.
Senior race organisers are Donie Shine (086-8149970), Ger Murphy (029-60719), Jerry Twomey (0868050821) or John Sexton.