10 February, 2014Last Sunday, the 19th January saw over 100 runners take to the starting line in the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Park. It was fantastic to see so many people turning up to the first race of the year, and in particular, so many new faces. We hope you all enjoyed it. The racing day was topped off by a fine spread at The Greenwood Inn, where warm soup and apple pie were a welcomed treat. The legendary John Lenihan gave quite the motivating talk, leaving us some powerful insights to take away regarding the pig and the chicken and whether we are involved or committed. Some food for thought there!
Tom Blackburn planned out a new route for us, taking in a mixture of forest road and trail and plenty of ups and downs to keep us all entertained. The scenic route was just under 7km and took in over 300m of climb, giving us some fantastic views to look out at as we huffed and puffed up hill. This race was the first race of a 5-part trail league, designed to get us all into the trail running mode early in the year and to also serve as a platform to some of the tougher hill races to come in 2014. It is a great stepping stone for those new to running and those making the transition from road running to trail and hill running.
Sundayâ€™s race also saw the inclusion of a junior race of 2km. This race was open to young flyers of all ages, though only those over the age of 10 could officially run the race through MMRA. All other youngsters could run the race in the accompaniment of an adult. It was great to see so many juniors tearing around the course, with plenty of mammies and daddies being left behind as they sprinted up the final incline of the day. Where possible, MMRA will add in these shorter races, but that will be assessed on a race by race basis, so keep an eye on the emails for further details.
Now to the all important results; starting with the most impressive race, the juniors. A tight battle was fought up front between 3 strong runners to watch for the future. Ciaran Oâ€™Regan emerged on top, closely followed by Joe Bossonet and Ruairi Manning. The talent didnâ€™t stop there, with the cailini showing the lads they arenâ€™t to be messed with. Emily Rodgers took first Female Junior, with Sophie Kelly and Ellen Gantley hot on her heels. Well done to all juniors.
After being shown how it was done by the youngsters, it was then to turn of the adults to brave the hills. Mike Curley Cunningham showed no let up after the festive season, powering home in a time of 27.30. Willie Walsh and Paul Deane were in close pursuit but couldnâ€™t catch the infamous Curley. The ladies race was once again a close contest, with some impressive times run. Ide Kelleher took first place in a time of 33.51, keeping her comfortably inside the Top 30 overall. Laura Schwirz and Denise Twohig rounded off the podium. A full set of results are included in the bottom of this email.
The large turnout for this event shows the growth in hill and trail running and we hope that 2014 will continue as it started. However, these races cannot go ahead without the support of volunteers and I would like to thank all those who took time out from racing and their busy schedules to tape routes, stand at junctions, take photos, handle registration and of course, record those all important results. In particular I would like to mention Robbie Williams, race director on the day for a superb job in organising both races. Also, I would like to thank Tom, Brian, Jane, Ger, Edel, Ted, Kevin, Maeve, and all those who were out on the course and those who took additional photos for us. These photos can be found on our Facebook page: MMRA - Munster Mountain Running Association