Thursday, July 4, 2013

Race notice...Dromcollogher 4 mile road race - Mon 8th July 2013

The Dromcollogher 4 mile road race is coming up on Monday evening, the 8th of July at 8pm. Or to give it it's full title, it's the Christy Brown Markie O'Shea Memorial 4 mile road race. This will be the 2nd race of 7 in the current Ballyhoura Limerick Series.

This 4 mile road race starts at 8pm in the town of Dromcollogher in south Co.Limerick. As a race, it may not be as high profile as say those located closer to say Limerick or Cork City but it is an event with a lot of character and a long history.

The race was originally started back in the time of the original running boom in the late 70's and early 80's by Christy Brosnan and Joe Quaid of North Cork AC. The original idea was for it to be part of the Dromcollogher Carnival which has been going since the 1940's and for the race to take place on Monday evening, a tradition that survives to this day.

In it's heyday, the race used to attract some of the top runners from all over Munster even though the prizes were always modest in comparison to other races at the time. On one occasion, Liam O'Brien from Cork won the race the day after winning the National 3000m steeplechase title! The triangle shaped course started and finished in the main square of the town much to the delight of the crowds. This did however mean that the race was in fact 'slightly' longer than the advertised 4 miles ;o)

One of the other unusual features of the race at the time was that the winner received a small porcelain figurine. One of the biggest employers at that time in the town was Irish Dresden, a German company which made high quality collectable porcelain items in the town which employed over 60 people, a huge number in what was and still is a rural area.

Since becoming part of the Ballyhoura Active Series in 2009, this race has been given a new lease of life. From a figure of just 52 runners in 2009, the numbers were up to 144 in 2011 and 207 in 2012. West Limerick AC are helping out with the organisation of the race and they are putting up a cup in memory of Christy Brosnan who unfortunately has now passed away. This replaces the old cup which was named after Marky O'Shea who used to run in the local races of the late 70's and early 80's barefoot, a long time before minimalist running and Vibram Five Fingers became all the rage ;o)

Getting there.....

Dromcollogher is located to the west of Charleville near the Limerick - Cork border. If you are coming from say Limerick city then the easiest way is probably to head south towards Cork and turn off at Charleville and follow the directions for Newtownshandrum, Milford and Dromcollogher. If you are travelling north from Cork then turn off at Buttevant and go via Liscarroll.

As you enter the town from the east then you should see that the road forks into two where the central square is. Take the right here, drive a few hundred metres on what is a very straight road and you will pass the start line just opposite a service station. The GAA hall where the entries will be taken is just beyond this on the left.

€10 in the GAA hall (walkers €5). Registration opens at 6:30pm. Prizes for the top 3 runners and the top runner in each category.

Refreshments and prize giving later in the local community hall which is about 400m away.

The modern course has been measured properly with a Jones Counter so there is no more starting in the town. As for the start line, it's hard to miss it with a big yellow line across the road with 'START' painted on the lampost ;o)

The course is basically in the shape of a triangle and is unusual from most races in that a lot of the route is dead straight. From the start, the road is straight and flat for the 1st mile. On straight to about 1.4 miles and you turn off left...

This road is now narrower but is still largely straight and level. At about 2.6 miles, you hit the next junction and it's left again....

From here, it pretty straight again with only a few bends and some very minor pulls. As you re-enter the town, you pass the church...

...and from here, there is only few hundred metres and the only really hill in the race to finish in the square.

Overall.....A short race in south Co.Limerick with a lot of history. If you want a fast 4 mile course then this is the one.

There is also a walking event and this starts at 7:45pm.

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