Thursday, January 17, 2013

How many races were there in Munster in 2012???

Back at the end of December, I had a post up on the Running in Cork site which looked back at the year and I had mentioned that were approximately 88 events in Cork in 2012. This basically included everything from cross-country to road races to charity races to fun runs.

In addition to putting up the results of every race on the Running in Cork site, I also updated the Running in Munster site with results for all of the races in Kerry, Limerick, Clare, Tipperary and Waterford. In 2012, I had as far as I know links or results up for practically every race. Between the two sites, it came to a total of 239 events!

The graph below shows the number of events broken down by county...
As you might expect with it's population, Cork County has the largest number but some of the other counties aren't far behind.

Using the same order, lets have a look at the population of each county in Munster based on the 2011 census...
As you can see, the population of Cork is way bigger than the rest. Notice how Limerick has the second largest population yet it has the lowest number of races.

To get a proper picture, I put together a graph showing the ratio between the number of events and the population of each county....

In this case, the lower number, the better. Based on the stats above and having followed every race in the province, here are my observations...

Waterford........Waterford has the highest number of events per available other words...for 2012, there was one race in Waterford for every 2,200 people in the county. Considering the relatively small local population then it might suggest that there isn't much scope for holding too many more short races in the county?

Tipperary.......For 2012, there was one race in Tipperary for every 2,500 people. Possibly the number of races in the south of the county is enough but there is probably scope for more short races in the north of the county.

Kerry.......One race per 2,750 people. Essentially there are two main population centres, Tralee and Killarney. Despite the fact that Tralee is bigger, Killarney has a lot more races. There is probably room for more short races in the north of the county. There also seems to be almost a complete lack of any race in the far south-west of the county. Anyone living in say Cahersiveen / Waterville / Sneem has a long drive to get to races on a regular basis.

Clare.......One race per 2,800 people. There are no shortage of events in Co.Clare although a lot of them tend to be of the fun run / charity run variety rather than a proper road race over an accurately measured distance. There is probably room for more short races in the south east of the county especially near Limerick city.

Limerick........One race per 4,700 people. Despite the fact that the county has the lowest number of races, it's actually an improvement over a few years ago! I know when I first started to look at the races around Munster back in 2008, the one obvious thing was how quiet Limerick was compared to Cork. The Limerick Sports Partnership then introduced their Feet on the Street series in 2011 which has helped a lot but there is probably scope for a lot more races in or near Limerick City.

Cork.........Despite the fact that it had the highest number of races in 2012, it also had the lowest number of races compared to the available race per 5,900 people. When compared to other counties, there are no shortage of people available for races especially in or near Cork City. This is borne out in the race numbers as well. In a typical short race in Cork, some 300+ people might turn out. Elsewhere in Munster, 150 or so might seem more common.

While it might initially suggest that Cork City itself might support a lot more short races, the problem of a limited number of suitable free dates on the calendar might however be another issue?

Overall........Whatever about last year, it was certainly pretty hectic in terms of the number of races on offer. As to how does Munster compare to the other provinces? I don't really have any hard facts but I'd imagine it must be one of the most active in Ireland. When I look at 237 events in 2012, I think back to an old article here about an Australian who came to Ireland and was amazed at the number of races available. That was a few years ago and it's got busier since! Looking forward, 2013 looks likely to be another bumper year for races in Munster.

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