Moldovan native wins Cork marathon


A native of Moldova who moved to Ireland for work four years ago won his second Bord Gáis Energy Cork City marathon in a row today beating his time for 2010 by twenty seconds.

Sergiu Ciobanu of Clonliffe Harriers crossed over the line in a time of 2:25:34 setting a course record. The first man ever to achieve back to back wins in the Cork City Marathon said he was pleased with his run particularly as he has been struggling with flu in recent weeks.

“I took it easy over the last two weeks. I knew that if I could be well rested I would run a great race today. I am pleased to break the course record. Conditions were better than last year. I really enjoyed the last few miles because they are flat miles and I checked my time and I knew I could go for a course record. The last two miles I ran as fast as I could.”

Sergiu is the reigning national marathon champion in Ireland. He hails from the tiny town of Marculesti in Moldova.

Meanwhile, the first woman across the line of the 26.2 mile marathon was Angela McCann from Clonmel, Co Tipperary. Ms McCann recorded a time of 2:53: 33 which was her personal best on the course having come in six minutes later last year.

The Clonmel AC runner who has competed in six marathons said conditions were perfect for the race.

“It wasn’t windy or raining today and it wasn’t too hot either so it was perfect. About mile twenty I started to struggle. There was a bit of a hill. Once I got to mile 22 it was plain sailing all the way home. I am delighted.”

Among the participants in the race were eighteen women who were taking part in the marathon in order to help raise funds for their friend who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease last year.

Emma Miller Fitzpatrick (43) needs round-the-clock care at her home in Kinsale, Co Cork. Arising out of her condition Emma cannot speak very well and uses an iPad to communicate with her two young children.

Also taking part yesterday was Tim Lucey, Manager of Cork City, who runs with Bandon AC, who finished in a time of 3:01:03 and Colm Moore producer of the Neil Prendeville show on 96FM who recorded a time of 2:47:00.

The winner of the inaugural 2011 Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Half Marathon event was TJ McHugh of Mayo AC who recorded a time of 1:12:51. The ladies winner of the Half Marathon was Lizzie Lee of Leevale AC who recorded a time of 1:19:45.

The first relay team to complete the race was The River Gold Road Runners who recorded a finish time of 2:19:57. The team was made up of five runners including Alan O’Shea from Bantry, winner of the full marathon in 2007.

The 26.2 mile race raised more than €3 million for charity. In the region of 8,500 runners participated in the marathon which got underway at 9am yesterday at St Patrick’s Street. Thousands also lined the route of the race to cheer the participants on.

The route 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 Half Marathon started on Skehard Road and winded around the Marina before joining up with the full marathon at the 15-mile point at the Marina.

Major traffic restrictions were put in place in Cork city centre throughout the day to facilitate the race.

Bishop of Cork and Ross Dr John Buckley and Olympic silver medallist Sonia O’Sullivan greeted the runners prior to the race and wished them luck on the course.

Sonia said she was delighted to take part this year along with those who signed up to run with Team Sonia to raise funds for the Children’s Leukaemia Association, which supports and assists families during the course of their child’s treatment at the Mercy Hospital, Cork.

“This was my first full marathon in a decade and I enjoyed myself hugely. The atmosphere on the course was extraordinary, a huge buzz. Thanks to everyone for coming out. My congrats to Sergiu and to Angela on coming first in the men’s and women’s marathon.”

Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Michael O’Connell said he was very pleased with the planning of the marathon.

“It is a fantastic event. There is great organisation involved. I just want to congratulate all the teams involved in it and particularly Bord Gais as well for the marvellous sponsorship of this event.”

Jim O’Donovan, Race Director, said the marathon was a triumph. He added the ‘marathon for everyone’ saw individuals of all levels participate - from first timers runners, joggers, walkers and athletes running in the full marathon, half marathon or relay team events.