Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Record numbers take part in Waterford Viking Marathon event - 23rd June 2024

The 2024 edition of the Waterford Viking Marathon event was held on Sunday 23rd of June and as can be seen from the chart above, there were a record number of finishers this year. The 2756 finishers this year is about 3% up on the previous highest mark back in 2017.

The event is made up of three separate races... a) A full 42.2km marathon b) A 21.1km half-marathon and c) A 10.5km quarter marathon.

The early editions of this marathon had a relay event which never really took off. The Quarter event was introduced in 2014 and that proved to be much more popular.

Let's look at a breakdown and history of each event...

Marathon... The high water mark for the full marathon was back in the inaugural year of 2012. There was no doubt quite a buzz at the time as it was a new marathon and many people in Waterford and surrounding areas probably wanted to do a marathon in their home town.

After the first year, the novelty wore off and it settled at a figure of about 400 finishers per year. At this time, the full marathon took in large parts of the city as well as traveling south to the seaside town of Tramore and back again.

In 2018, the full marathon was cancelled due to a heatwave. It took a drop in 2019 and after 2022, the numbers have been recovering since the pandemic. In 2024, it's back up to about the 400 mark again although it's hard to see much growth for the full as June is a bad time of year to be running a full marathon due to the heat.

Greenway... One of the changes to the full course over the years is that the full marathon is now mostly on the Greenway instead of going around the city.

The map above shows the route for 2024 and roughly 80% of the full marathon route is out and back on the Greenway.

Is this a good or bad thing? On one hand, it's flat, safe and free from traffic. From an organisers point of view, there are no problems with traffic and road junctions. On the other hand, some runners might find it quite boring to just run out a path, turn around a cone and back the same path again. 

2024 Marathon turning point

I think visitors to a city marathon might expect a route to go around the city rather than out and back on a Greenway. I recently had a look at the route for the Edinburgh marathon and it seemed to be much the same i.e. Start in the city centre and then get the runners onto an out and back section of Greenway. 

The reality is that the numbers at many city marathons don't justify all the road closures and as more Greenways are developed, I can see more marathon routes getting pushed onto them. Is it only a matter of time before the Cork or Dublin marathon is like this?

Half-Marathon... Back to the numbers. After the inaugural year, the half-marathon has proved to be the most popular event. The number of finishers for the half in 2024 just barely exceeded the number back in 2017.

As half-marathons in Ireland go, just over 1200 finishers in the half is pretty good.

Quarter-Marathon... The Quarter event was introduced in 2014 and the number of finishers has been roughly a few hundred below the numbers for the half over the years. In 2023 and 2024 however, the numbers for the Quarter have been getting close to the numbers for the half.

In 2024, there were a record 1134 finishers in the Quarter Marathon, a jump of 17% on the previous record set in 2017. Considering that more people can run a Quarter marathon than a Half marathon, it wouldn't be any great surprise if the Quarter eventually becomes the most popular race in the future.

In conclusion... The 2024 edition of the Waterford Viking Marathon seems to have gone off well as the finisher numbers suggest. I was around the start line on Parnell Street where runners were gathering on what is a nice wide road. The finishing line by contrast was on a narrow road as shown above closer to the Greenway.

It probably shows how a lot of other marathons and races are likely to go in the future i.e. start in the city centre early on a Sunday morning on a wide road when things are quiet and finish somewhere else in the city so it causes as least disruption as possible. 

Looking forward, I suspect that the numbers for the full marathon will struggle to grow beyond 400 but there seems to be plenty of growth potential for the Half and the Quarter. It seems likely that the Greenway will remain a feature of the courses for for good and it will then depend on individual runners if this type of course appeals to them or not.

2024 results...

Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Results of the Dromcollogher 4-mile road race - Mon 24th June 2024

The annual Dromcollogher 4-mile road race in Co Limerick was held on Monday 24th June 2024 with 128 finishers.

All Ladies  
1 0:24:18 CAROL FINN,  Leevale A.C F 55 13
2 0:27:54 TANYA COX,  Dooneen A.C F 16 28
3 0:30:35 LORRAINE KIRBY,  West Limerick A. C. F 6 38
4 0:30:40 DELIA CUSACK,  West Limerick A. C. F O/55 65 39
5 0:30:58 VERA NAGLE,  Mallow A.C. F O/40 66 42
6 0:31:13 CHERYL CARMODY,  Gneeveguilla A.C F O/40 59 43

All Men  
1 0:21:08 AARON LYNCH,  West Limerick A. C. M 8 1
2 0:21:11 KARL LENIHAN,  West Limerick A. C. M 14 2
3 0:21:20 NIALL O CALLAGHAN,  West Limerick A. C. M 12 3
4 0:21:30 KILLIAN LYNCH,  West Limerick A. C. M 34 4
5 0:21:54 MORRIS FEEHAN,  Duhallow A.C. M 57 5
6 0:22:16 MARTIN DINEEN,  Riocht A.C M 44 6

1) Dermot Hever has a gallery HERE

Full results below...

 Dromcolligher Co Limerick - 4 mile Monday 24 June 2024. 7:30 
Results for All Competitors in finish order.
1 0:21:08 AARON LYNCH, West Limerick A. C. M 8 1
2 0:21:11 KARL LENIHAN, West Limerick A. C. M 14 2
3 0:21:20 NIALL O CALLAGHAN, West Limerick A. C. M 12 3
4 0:21:30 KILLIAN LYNCH, West Limerick A. C. M 34 4
5 0:21:54 MORRIS FEEHAN, Duhallow A.C. M 57 5
6 0:22:16 MARTIN DINEEN, Riocht A.C M 44 6
7 0:22:27 TIM O CONNOR, Riocht A.C M O/45 22 7
8 0:22:42 NIALL O RIORDAN, An Bru A.C M O/45 45 8
9 0:23:02 MIKE O CONNOR, West Limerick A. C. M 51 9
10 0:23:55 DECLAN MULLANE, Limerick AC M 38 10

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Training programme for the 2024 Dublin Marathon

The 2023 Dublin Marathon is coming up on Sunday the 27th of October 2024. If anyone would like to optimise their training then I will be starting individualised training programmes soon. 

The marathon programme is 18-weeks and it starts on the 24th of June. The cost is €135.

The length of programme really depends on where you are as a runner and what your initial endurance fitness is like.

After an initial consultation and we agree on what days you can train, a programme is sent out every week by email and weekly feedback is required. That will determine what the programme is like for the following week.

If interested, send an email to johndesmondrunning AT gmail DOT com

If you have another event in mind then send an e-mail to the above address.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Notice: Coillte 10k road race, Dundrum, Tipperary - Wed 3rd July 2024

This popular 10k race in coming up in the village of Dundrum, Co.Tipperary on Wednesday the 3rd of July 2024. In terms of fast 10k courses, this must surely be one of the fastest in Munster if not the country.

ENTRIES - You can enter online HERE

From Dundrum AC... "Our 38th Annual 10k Road Race returns on Wednesday, 3rd July at 8pm. Quality Embroidered Souvenir Hand Towel for all Online Entries. €20 online entry: "


Dundrum is a small village just 9 miles / 15kms or so west of Cashel in the south of Tipperary...

Organised by Dundrum Athletic Club, this race is noted for being a flat fast course. As well of there being no hills, the course consists of multiple long straight sections rather than the more usual twists and turns. I've previewed many courses on this site but this one is really fast.

The map below shows where everything is. For spectators...note the points A, B and C. If you move between these points which are just over 100m apart you can see the athletes at approx. 0.25miles , 2.4miles, 3.2miles and again at 5.4miles.

Course Preview......The 10k course is essentially two laps of a 5k loop. A full preview of the course with maps, description, photos, etc can be seen HERE

Many races have different traditions. Some give out t-shirts, some mugs. In the case of the Coillte 10k, they give out a quality embroidered hand towel given to every finisher. and they have been doing this for over 20 years. Even on years where they had run out of towels on the night, they hand delivered them to these people in the following weeks.

The Tim Crowe Trophy is presented on the night to the first Tipperary Athlete in honour of his 24 national titles won in the early 1900s, who was from the village of Dundrum.

There is also a large spread of refreshments after race.

Useful links...
Updates on club Facebook page

and on the club Twitter page

Course Record Holders
Senior Men Daniel Gidumbanda Tanzania 1997 29:45
O/40 Men Michael Harty East Cork 2022  30:13
O/45 Men Kieran McKeown Watergrasshill 2021 33:39
O/50 Men Vivian Foley Eagle AC 2023 32:58
O/55 Men Michael Hassett St Catherines 2015 35:51
O/60 Men John Collins Leevale 2019 39:38
O/65 Men  Joe Gough West Waterford 2022 39:12
O/70 Men  Joe Gough West Waterford AC 2023 41:40
Wheelchair  Cillian Dunne Borrisokane 2019 28:20
Junior Men 5k Darren Dunne Nenagh Olympic 2016 15:12

Senior Women Lizzie Lee Leevale 2021 33:45
O/40 Women Lizzie Lee Leevale 2021 33:45 National R
O/45 Women Rosaleen Mackeown Leevale 2021 38:56
O/50 Women Angela McCann Clonmel 2021 37:21 National R
O/55 Women Dorothy Ryan Country Club 2016 45:01
O/60 Women Kathleen Cronin Mallow 2022 47:06
O/65 Women  Sally Jeyes Ivanhoe 2018 56:47
Junior Women 5k Niamh Cunneen Nenagh Olympic 2022 18:28

5 Fastest Times

29:45 Daniel Gidumbanda  Tanzania 1997
30:13 Michael Harty East Cork AC 2022
30:19 Sergiu Ciobanu Clonliffe Harriers AC 2021
30:26 Evan Fitzgerald Clonmel AC 2022
30:33 Evan Fitzgerald Clonmel AC 2021

33:45 Lizzie Lee Leevale AC 2021
33:47 Sinead O'Connor Leevale AC 2022
34:05 Mary Mulhare Portlaoise AC 2023
34:28 Rosemary Ryan Bilboa 2003
34:43 Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane 2010

List of Previous Winners
1986 John O'Halloran Tipp Town // Kathleen Maher Ballytrasna,
1987 John Fitzgerald Clonmel // Mary Lonergan Reenavana,
1988 Toddy Finn Raheny Shamrocks // Kay O'Sullivan Upperchurch,
1989 Bernard Feery Clonmel // Martina Dorney Thurles Crokes,
1990 Robert Costello Limerick // Kay O'Sullivan Upperchurch,
1991 Michael Hassett Thurles Crokes // Mary Sheehan East Cork,
1992 Robert Costello Limerick // Mary Sheehan East Cork,
1993 Michael Hassett St. Catherines // Mary Sheehan East Cork,
1994 Michael Hassett St. Catherines // Gaile Culleton Thurles Crokes,
1995 Michael Hassett St. Catherines // Marcella Moloney Tullamore Harriers,
1996 Michael Hassett St. Catherines // Siobhan McCormack Emerald A.C.,
1997 Daniel Gidumbanda Tanzania // Mary Sheehan Grange Fermoy,
1998 Michae1 Hassett St. Catherines // Mary Sheehan East Cork,
1999 Colm Burke St. Abbans // Mary Sheehan Grange Fermoy,
2000 William Harty K.C.K // Mary Sheehan Grange Fermoy,
2001 Robert Wade Waterford A.C // Mary Sheehan Grange Fermoy,
2002 Pat Byrne Tinryland // Mary Sheehan Grange Fermoy,
2003 Tom Carey Limerick A.C // Rosemary Ryan Bilboa,
2004 Mick Kelly Gowran A.C // Siobhan O'Doherty Borrisokane,
2005 Sandis Bralitis Ballynonty A.C // Siobhan O'Doherty Borrisokane,
2006 Tom Carey Limerick A.C // Rosemary Ryan Bilboa,
2007 Dermot Kearns West Limerick // Madeline Dorney Thurles Crokes,
2008 Jason Fahey Olympic Harriers // Rosemary Ryan Bilboa,
2009 Tommy Evans Gowran // Siobhan O'Doherty Borrisokane,
2010 Seamus Power Kilmurray Ibrickane // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane,
2011 Kenneth Rogers St John’s // Rosemary Ryan Bilboa,
2012 Michael Shannon Kilnaboy // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane,
2013 Chris Bracken Thurles Crokes // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane.
2014 Kevin Moore Dundrum // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane.
2015 Stephen Hunter St. Michaels // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane.
2016 Declan Moore Bilboa AC // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane.

2017 David Mansfield Clonliffe Harriers // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane.
2018 Freddy Keron Sittuk Kenya // Siobhan O’Doherty Borrisokane.
2019 David Mansfield Clonmel AC // Siobhan O'Doherty Borrisokane AC
2020 Kevin Moore Dundrum AC // Dymphna Ryan Dundrum AC (Virtual)
2021 Sergiu Ciobanu Clonliffe Harriers AC  // Lizzie Lee Leevale AC
2022 Michael Harty East Cork AC // Sinead O'Connor Leevale AC
2023 Kevin Moore Dundrum AC // Mary Mulhare Portlaoise AC

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Notice: Dromcollogher Carnival 4 mile road race, Co.Limerick - Mon 24th June 2024

The annual Dromcollogher Carnival 4 mile road race is coming up on Monday evening, the 24th of June 2024 at 8pm...

You can pre-enter online HERE

You can also enter on the night (€10 for runners and €5 for walkers).

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.

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.

Course Preview.......A full preview of the course with maps, directions, photos, etc can be seen HERE