“Great atmosphere” expected as Cork City Marathon returns for 2023
The popular Cork City Marathon returns next month on Sunday June 4th with thousands of runners expected to descend upon the city on the Bank Holiday weekend.
Last year it was two athletes from the rebel county who took victory with Tim O’Donoghue (East Cork A.C.) and Lizzie Lee (Leevale A.C.) taking the men’s and women’s titles respectively.
Ahead of the 2023 race organisers have added a new 10k race that is expected to be a hit amongst participants. This will give runners three options, with the half marathon returning this year.
Excitement is building in advance of the race which looks set to be a success.
Amongst those set to toe the line is Conor O’Keefe, who has completed numerous ultramarathons and last year ran 32 marathons in 32 days visiting every county in Ireland along the way in aid of Pieta House.
O’Keefe also made it to the end of popular RTÉ TV show ‘Ultimate Hell Week’ having appeared on the programme in series four.
He completed his first marathon on the streets of Cork in 2018 and this year returns to take it on again with a different goal in mind.
“I'm going to try and run a sub three-hour marathon if I can,” he says.
“That's what I've been training for the last seven or eight months.”
O’Keefe is also an ambassador for the event having been asked by organisers to weigh in behind it.
“I've been helping to promote the race itself and sharing my story, my training and journey through the marathon.
“I've also been talking about the races and bringing more information to people that might want to know what the route is like or whether it's a hilly or flat course.”
The route itself starts and finishes on the iconic St. Patrick’s Street and takes in locations such as the Cork Opera House, Jack Lynch tunnel, Blackrock Castle, Páirc Uí Chaoimh and the Sonia O’Sullivan track.
“One of the reasons I'm going back to Cork City to run is just to finish in front of the home crowd.
“There will be hundreds of people on Patrick's Street wishing people well and helping people finish out strong. The cheer of the crowd really gets you going so I'm really looking forward to that.”
O’Keefe says people should expect a “great atmosphere” on the streets of Cork.
“There's a lot of people standing out on the roads, cheering you on, having slices of oranges or jellies at the side of the road to help keep you going in between the aid stations.
“One thing about running and sport in general is that it has this ability to evoke a bit of emotion in people,” he adds.
“When you do get a bit of a cheer when you're going through a hard part of the race it does get that kind of emotive response. It spurs you on that bit more.”
Having ran many a marathon and ultra-marathon before O’Keefe has some words of advice for people for whom Cork will be their first.
“Well there's probably two words that I've used a lot a lot of times, ‘back yourself’.
“Don't quit on yourself. I've quit on myself throughout my life many times and I kind of made a promise to myself a few years ago that whatever happens, I'm not going to quit on myself.
“If there's people that are toeing the line for the marathon for the first time, back yourself. You've done the training; you've prepared yourself and now it's time to go have some fun.”
Conor O’Keefe is an ambassador for the Cork City Marathon. The event takes place on Sunday 4th June.