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Sunday 25 August 2019

O'Hanlon and McCann take Cork Marathon in their stride as 8,000 runners pound city streets

Thirsty work: Brendan Loughnane, Galway, at the 2019 Cork City Marathon. Photo: Jim Coughlan
Thirsty work: Brendan Loughnane, Galway, at the 2019 Cork City Marathon. Photo: Jim Coughlan

Ralph Riegel

More than 8,000 runners took part in the 2019 Cork marathon, with Gary O'Hanlon notching up his second on the trot.

The Louth and Clonliffe Harriers athlete captured the marathon yesterday in race conditions which were described as near perfect.

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The race was officially started by Lord Mayor Mick Finn with more than 70 nationalities represented in the overall entry.

Relay runs began from 8.30am.

A number of competitors took part to raise money for a host of local charities.

Motorists had been urged to avoid the city centre with Patrick Street closed for most of the day. Gardaí stressed traffic through the centre was not expected to return to normal until after 6pm.

Runners: Elaine O’Driscoll, Aherla, with Linda Hawes,Trish
Lyons and Oonagh Buckley, all Ballincollig. Photo: Jim Coughlan
Runners: Elaine O’Driscoll, Aherla, with Linda Hawes,Trish Lyons and Oonagh Buckley, all Ballincollig. Photo: Jim Coughlan

Delighted

However, traders were delighted with the large number of revellers, shoppers and marathon fans flocking to the city centre.

The marathon - in its 13th year - has grown each year in terms of entry and fan attendances. It has now become exceptionally popular with overseas athletes.

The race has also become a major feature of the June Bank Holiday tourism attraction programme for Cork and the entire south west region.

Mr O'Hanlon won in a time of 2hr 21min 43sec - and was visibly thrilled by his victory.

"I am delighted - I knew it was going to be a very tough battle," he said.

"I knew it was going to be a very, very tight battle.

"There was never going to be more than the width of a vest in it."

The Louth runner had set a course record with his impressive victory in the 2018 Cork marathon.

Angela McCann won the women's title and proved a hugely popular winner with the large crowd.

The victory meant she finally completed a hat-trick of wins on Leeside.

Tough

She had also taken Cork marathon honours in 2011 and 2012 but admitted the 2019 victory was arguably the sweetest of the lot for her.

"It was tough - I struggled a bit at times," she said. "But I'm thrilled - this is a huge achievement for me."

"I'm not quite as fit as I used to be," Ms McCann joked.

Gavin Sweeney of Togher AC won the half-marathon title.

He said he was taken aback by the win.

"I just went out there to do the best personal time I could," he said.

"I went out just to do a good time. Winning it was a bonus, to be honest. I knew if I got my best time, I would be there or there about."

Cork tourism chiefs said the marathon has now become a major part of the local visitor programme.

Hotels and guest houses reported close to 100pc booking rates over the weekend for Cork and its adjoining towns of Blarney and Kinsale.

Irish Independent

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