Cork city marathon: 8,500 take part as heat makes for challenging conditions

Dolores Duffy dressed up as ‘Superwoman’ as she bids to complete her 65th marathon

Residents from Direct Provision centres in Cork were among the 8,500 people who took part in the Cork city marathon which got underway on Patrick Street Sunday morning.

Organiser of the initiative, journalist Graham Clifford, said he has been "overwhelmed" by the success of the Sanctuary Runner project which he set up with the assistance of press photographer Clare Keogh.

"I worked in refugee camps in North Africa, travelled across Eastern and Central Europe with refugees during the migrant crisis and have been reporting on Direct Provision for years.

“Also, I love to run so it seemed like a simple, but effective, proposal to help Irish people understand those living in Direct Provision and vice-versa through running. The success of the project has been overwhelming.”


The project has been supported by athletes Sonia O'Sullivan, Derval O'Rourke, Lizzie Lee, Rob Heffernan and Gillian O'Sullivan and well as boxer Gary Spike O'Sullivan and former Kerry player Tomás Ó Sé.

Among the individuals giving encouragement to runners from the sidelines on Sunday was Olympic bronze medallist Rob Heffernan who said the warm weather had made conditions challenging.

“It is humid. When it is twenty degrees in Cork and it is humid it is tougher than thirty degrees with less humidity abroad. But the conditions are perfect otherwise. There is no wind. There is no sun out. I am not running. I am reminiscing here.”

It is the twelfth year of the Cork city marathon and Lord Mayor, Fianna Fail councillor Tony Fitzgerald, said there was a "carnival atmosphere."

“It is a perfect occasion in the heart of our city. All the training. All the running, all the healthy food options for this wonderful occasion come to fruition this morning.”

This year the marathon started earlier to facilitate the Eucharistic Procession in the city.

The marathon was won by Co Louth native Gary O’Hanlon in a time of 2.21.

Gary (43) of Clonliffe Harriers is a national champion and has taken place in numerous marathons. Mark Kirwin placed second while Eoin Callaghan was third.

Zola Flynn was the first woman over the line in a time of 2.58 whilst Brighton AB group were the first relay team to cross the finish line.

One of the more colourful participants was Dolores Duffy who dressed up as "Superwoman" and completed her 65th marathon.

"The whole way people were shouting 'well done and go on'. It was brilliant. I am living in Ballincollig in Cork. I was delighted with the course. Everything went really well. It was really well organised. I am happy with my time too."