00:00 Saturday 26 November 2011 

Gearing up for Waterfront Marathon in Clonakilty on December 10th

TIME flies when you run - the second-ever Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon is coming down the track fast. Just before Christmas, December 10th.

Last year's inaugural event saw 1,300 runners brave December chills and icy spells in a good-humoured run up to the festive spell.

Now, getting the stages set for its second year, the event has gathered pace, adding to numbers and has the wind behind it.

Although it is generally the time of year when road-racing tails off in Ireland, its organisers have urged runners at all levels not to put their training on ice - 'Give it a last lash for Christmas,' urge the clearly energetic organising team, with a collective 50 marathons in various spots around the world under their own belts.

Making it a bit easier on the athletes (it is Christmas, after all), the energetic Clonakilty Waterfront event again offers three different lengths of course, for all fitness levels: there's a full 26-mile Marathon, a Half-Marathon, and a Mini-Marathon of six miles - all in stunning West Cork and coastal scenery.

Most races usually offer only one course distance, two at best. From the get-go, Clonakilty aimed to offer something for all comers and runners. Incredibly, it managed to successfully pull off the races across all three distances on its fledgling outing, proving that it could run just as it began to walk.

Walkers invited

The Full Marathon is hilly, but spectacular, and for those just keen for a participative day out, route walkers are also being invited on the shorter course. With the town's first ever running club set up only last month (early October 2011), there's even more positive energy behind the small town's Big Run.

With just weeks to go to the 2011 three races, the organisers say that despite economic chills, the reaction to last year's inaugural event was so warm and positive that numbers registering on-line are heading up above 2010 figures, when a surge of interest saw the numbers committing to last December's challenge soar past their hoped-for 1,000 runner goal to top 1,300 hardy finishers. Target for 2011? 'Just good-vibe running on all courses,' say the organising crew, aided by about 80 local volunteers, services and supporters on the day.

On-line registration closes on November 27, but for those running late or just deciding at the last minute to run one of the distances, entries are being taken at Clonakilty's Waterfront the weekend of the race itself.

It kicks off at 9am on Saturday December 10th, with the town's businesses right behind the throng of visitors: last year's successful weekend saw a pre-Christmas boost for the seaside tourist town's shops, bars, businesses and accommodation providers.

'We don't do recession in Clonakilty, and we don't do negativity,' they add as Year Two gets into gear.

Those running this year include those who normally only visit in summer, as well as Clon's business owners, local school children and even local UDC staff and members.

For last year's kick-off, the most popular race distance was the 13.1 mile half-marathon, with over 500 finishers. The six-mile Mini-Marathon attracted almost 350 runners, and many more are expected this year in this 'entry-level' distance. The gruelling 26.2 mile Full Marathon course saw just over 200 finishers, and was won by a West Cork man, former amateur soccer player Georgie Waugh from Bandon, who finished in a time of 2:34:01 - an incredible win as it was only his second-ever marathon.

The Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon 2011 has confirmed entries from all over Ireland, north and south, from the UK, the USA, as well as Israel. One man, Ken Beggs from East Antrim Harriers AC will run his 100th marathon, while his wife Ann is playing catch up - Clonakilty will be her first full 26 mile race. Wheelchair athlete Jerry Forde plans to make Clonakilty his 201st marathon.

Further details: see www.runclon. Media contact: Fiona O'Donnell 086 6603630.

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