Monday, May 2, 2011

The Great Limerick Run - Sun 1st May 2011

Liz Hussey of West Limerick AC winning the womens race
 in the 2011 Limerick City Marathon

Some 6,600 people took part in the Great Limerick Run on Sunday, the 1st of May on what was a bright fine day.

Some 750 athletes took part in the full marathon, which was won by Freddie Keron Sittuk, from Kenya, followed by his compatriot Liezan Kimutai. Moldovan Sergui Ciobanu, a Cahir, Co Tipperary, resident for the past two years, came third.

The women’s marathon was won by Liz Hussey, from Monaleen in Limerick, followed by Maria McCarthy from Kerry, and Deirdre Flynn, also from Limerick.

Outside of the Marathon event, somewhere around 1500? took part in the Half-Marathon while the 6 mile run attracted several thousand.

Start of the 2011 Limerick Marathon

Having run this as a Marathon pacer in 2010, I was back again as a 3:45 pacer again this year so I was able to make a direct comparison. These are some of my own observations...
  • There seemed to be more stewards this year. Last year I remember running through the University Campus and if it wasn't for the fact that there was some runners ahead, it wasn't obvious what the actual Marathon route was. Much better this year.
  • The Marathon route was too narrow early on, roughly around the 4 mile mark when the runners were expected to run inside half of one lane with cones as a barrier. More often than not, the cones were a trip hazard. If the organisers / city council want this event to grow and attract numbers then they will have to make the route wider.
  • The route was better than last year. No jumping up and down off really narrow choke points. There seemed to be plenty of small hills, especially early on although I'm not sure if it is possible to get a flat route in Limerick. I certainly wouldn't say Limerick is a flat fast course but I don't know if it is any slower or harder than say Cork or Dublin.
  • From where I was, there was no shortage of water and gels. Some small points...the volunteers handed out some of the bottles with the tops probably makes perfect sense from their point of view....hand the runner an open bottle of water ready to drink........the reality though is that you can't run with an open bottle and drink slowly from it over the next few miles. Minor detail but it makes a difference. fairness, you could have OD'ed on then ;o) I never saw so many gels given out at any city Marathon. Full marks on this.
  • Medals......personally, I have no interest in them but it's an issue to some. They gave the same medal for the Marathon, the Half-Marathon and 6 mile. Some might feel that there should be a special medal for the Marathon. I'm not sure if it's a big issue though.
  • T-Shirts......cotton as opposed to a dry fit top......same one for all 3 events as opposed to a special Marathon top. Considering that this was only the 2nd year of this event, perhaps this will change in future.
  • Mile Markers......some of the mile markers were out.....way out! I think the 10 mile mark was out by around several hundred metres. Not really acceptable......put the markers in the right spot.
  • My main memories of the Limerick Marathon are.......the old Georgian buildings in the heart of the city.....those huge flag posts by the University of Limerick with the banners waving in the wind.....the out and back section around 6-8 miles where you could watch the front runners of the Marathon......running across the bridge in the University campus.....the church where the bells were ringing out as the runners went past.......and the finsh line with the crowds.
Overall, the Limerick Marathon seemed to have been this year what it should have been last year. It got slated by a lot of people in 2010 for a lot of mistakes and it's very easy for an event to get a bad name. It's seems to me that the 2011 event made up for a lot of the failings of last year. As one of the main Irish cities, Limerick has been crying out for a big event of this nature for years. For a city that gets a lot of bad press, the Great Limerick Run really shows Limerick in a postive light. It has the potential to attract a lot of foreign runners and tourists to the city especially when it coincides with a weekend festival.

That was my own experience, you own may be different? Did you run the Marathon? Half-Marathon? or 6 mile run? What did you think? How did it compare to last year? Click on the comment link below and give your opinion.

1) There is a small gallery of photos of the Half-Marathon by Sean Ryan HERE

2) Another selection by John Garrett HERE

3) Commercial photos HERE

Results......The Irish Times are a major sponsor of this event. The full results will appear in a special supplement with the paper on Tuesday, the 3rd of May.

In the meantime, you can search HERE for your individual time

Start of the 6 mile run...


Anonymous said...

Re: water - yes the screw caps were a nuisance but the volunteers were really fast to get an unopened bottle if you asked as you were coming up to them - 500ml a bit too heavy to carry along though.
Would be nice to get a technical shirt - at least it would be worn again and would advertise the event.
Definately not a flat course - well done on the improvements to last year though - keep it up!
RE: distinguishing medals for the different events - although I did do the marathon, don't forget we all started with 10k's and we should remember that finishing a 10k for some is as much of an achievement - well done to everyone who got out there!

Anonymous said...

I ran the marathon and had the feeling that it was an after thought. I am a tourist that saw the event on marathon guide while in Ireland and was fit enough so I had a go. The hills seemed worse than advertised and the chuncky pavement around 17 was bad on the old knees, the cones separating runners from traffic early was bad as I was shoulder to shoulder with a group at that stage. The mile markers were so off that I ran a 7:07 followed by a 8:14 at the same pace.

Like many the medal goes in a drawer never to be seen again but I will wear a good tech shirt until it falls apart. 70 euro should get a decent shirt. I would also like to see the results in a proper format. Did this crowd not consult with any of the established clubs/races for some pointers?

I did email the organisers to give them a heads up on my concerns. The volunteers and the runners I ran with were outstanding.

Larkin said...

It's definitely hillier than Cork. For an average runner like myself (who did Cork last year), probably 2 or 3 minutes slower. I'm not too bothered about the medals, but there should definitely be a separate t-shirt for the marathon. I don't mind cotton ones as these are fine for short runs - but they are a badge of honour and it might be a bit of vanity, but it's nice to show off that you are a marathon runner to all those weekend joggers - no real offence intended to weekend joggers :-) You do earn that badge in the final 10K!
Otherwise enjoyed running with the 3:45 pace group as long as I did (about 20 miles). I scraped home in 3:57 and was happy enough with that.

Anonymous said...

i ran the half marathon and my garmin read 21.35k dats 250m long did anyone notice this??

John Desmond said...

If your Garmin measured 250m too long then that's a good sign.

1) GPS watches are NOT super accurate
2) The course is meaasured by taking the racing line...i.e. corner to corner. You would have taken many of those bends wide and when you add them up, they amount to a fair bit extra.
3) They add on a very small percentage to the course to make 100% sure that it is at least the correct distance.

If you run a Half-Marathon with a GPS watch and you measure 21.1 kms exactly then you should be worried that the course is too short.

Anonymous said...

I felt the 6m route was long (or short for 10k) by about 200m. The mile markers seemed to be out on the 6m route also, which was annoying. The route of the shorter race joined the routes of the half marathon and marathon and 6m runners seemed to spend the entire race weaving in and out of the slower runners in the longer races: the coned off area was too narrow for this to be done comfortably and many of the 6m runners ended up outside the cones and in the line of traffic at times. After all that, my name didn't appear in the results. All in all I can't say I enjoyed the event and I certainly won't be doing it again.

Larkin said...

There is an issue with results. According to John D here, there were about 750 runners in the marathon, yet only 459 of them are in the results database. I'm one of the many missing ones and I hope we don't miss out on inclusion in the Irish Times. Still waiting on my official time...

John Desmond said...

The figure of 750 runners was what was printed in the Irish Times. It didn't seem like that at the start though. I'd say sub 500 might be more accurate.

Larkin said...

Quite a few complaints on the facebook page about missing finish times, though. My name was announced coming across the finish line, so I know I'm in some system somewhere... I'll just have a few friends searching for me who'll be wondering if I made the whole sub-4 thing up :)

By the way, John, thanks for the pacemaking efforts. Maybe next time I'll hang on to your coat tails till the last corner and have you carry me over the line for the sub 3:45 ;)

Aoife said...

I ran my first half marathon yesterday and thought the whole thing went off really well, I have to agree however with the point made about distance markers, they all but disapeared the further along the route we went!! Delighted with my achievement, just finishing maternity leave and returning to work!! Well done to all for organising this great event in Limerick!

MANDY said...


Regina said...

i agree .. at the end of a hilly marathon, they could have had some bananas or some food... the goodie bag was poor...
the powerbar drink was good .. but had to ask around to find baggage hall. as start and finish were different and i dont know limerick.

rebelted said...

Did The half Marathon,course was very good, i felt sorry for the marathon runners we met when we joined their course being overtaken at speed,but i suppose their is no other way around that problem. I will be back next year

Anonymous said...

This was my seventh marathon and was glad it wasnt my first.It was so lonely for seventeen miles;at times was wondering if I took wrong turn. Cork better with relay starting at same time.Plenty of fluids and gels but it would have been nice to have different medals and shirt.Dont think I will repeat experince

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the race even though i hit the wall pretty hard around 20 miles and never recovered, The bottles were a nuisance but the volunteers did work hard, there seemed to be a lack of lucozade sport at some stops and the finish line wasnt very evident coming over the bridge i ended up pleading with a steward to find out were it was!! I had an issue with the same medals being given out to all runners and the T-shirts left a lot to be desired!!
To end on positive note the names on the numbers was a great idea.

Anonymous said...

running is good for the mind, body and soul. meant to make you positive and appreciative. I hope when i get up to the marathon level I will be more positive than these lot....whingers