Moldovan native wins Cork marathon


A native of Moldova who is the reigning national marathon champion in Ireland was first over the finish line in the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon today in a time of 2:25:54, beating the official record for the event by 1 minute 42 seconds.

Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers is the reigning national marathon champion in Ireland, achieving a personal best of 2.22.06 last October in the Dublin Marathon. Today, Sergiu Ciobanu smashed the official race record in Cork set in 2007 by Alan O’Shea of 2:27:36.

Ciobanu (26) was born and raised in the small town of Marculesti in Moldova and moved to Ireland four years ago. He came to Ireland mainly in search of work, but also with the ambition of keeping his running career alive.

Sergiu, who lives in Co Clare, said he was pleased with his performance particularly given the wet weather conditions.

“I am very happy to be in Cork. It is my first time here. I really enjoyed it but the weather was a little bit tough and windy. Half way I started to really enjoy it because it (the course) was flat and without wind and rain. The course is not a big difference than Dublin. But it was nice and perfect weather in Dublin (marathon) unlike here so I think that is why I ran in a bit slower time than Dublin. I am looking forward to the future.”

Meanwhile, the first woman over the line was Lucy Brennan (51) from Sligo, with a finishing time of 2:54:41. She has been the first woman over the line for the last three years.

“The rain is ok but the wind was particularly strong. Three in a row in Cork and three wins in Cork is very special.”

The first relay team to complete the race was the Metric Milers from Cork who recorded a finish time of 2:21:21. The team was made up of last year’s marathon winner Michael Herlihy (North Cork AC), Ravis Zakis (West Waterford), Cian Murphy (Iveragh AC), Donal O’Callaghan (Roicht AC) and Ed Murphy (Gneeveguilla AC).

The persistent wet weather wasn’t enough to deter the 10,000 participants who turned out to take part in the marathon with a record number of people taking part in the individual race this year.

Irish athletics legend Sonia O’Sullivan joined the participants at the start line to run the first leg of the relay race with her team made up of former Cork hurler Joe Deane and World Championship Silver medal winner Gillian O’Sullivan.

Sonia says that Cork City Marathon is by far one of her favourite places in the world to run.

“It is always a thrill to come back home and the revised course this year is the best yet. It is much flatter and I think the runners today appreciated the changes that have been made. The Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon is now very much considered an international marathon event by participants including elite athletes like today’s winner Sergiu and that’s a fantastic achievement by the city.”

The marathon kicked off on St. Patrick’s Street at 9am with Sonia O’Sullivan joining Cork’s Lord Mayor Cllr Dara Murphy to officially start the race and give some words of encouragement to those on the start line.

The 26.2 mile route then winded around the four points of Cork from North to South, East to West to include Blackpool, Jack Lynch Tunnel, Blackrock, Bishopstown and The Lough before looping back to the finish line on St Patrick’s Street.

The entire route was lined by thousands more friends and family of the competitors and local Cork people enthusiastically cheering and encouraging participants to the finish line and helping to raise their spirits in the wet weather.

The ‘marathon for everyone’ saw individuals of all levels participate – from first timers to professional athletes, with athletes running either the full marathon or the relay event as part of a team of up to five people. Up to €3 million was raised for charity arising out of the marathon.