The first Run the Banner series was completed in April 2018 and was a huge success. Each run averaged 200 entrants of all ages and abilities. The feedback from the series has been wholly positive and 2019 promises to be even bigger and better!
The series was conceived in October 2017 as a result of the desire of 3 separate Clare athletics clubs Kilmurry Ibrickane North Clare AC, Kilnaboy AC and Ennis Track AC to work together for the betterment of athletics and in particular youth athletics in the county.
The key aims of the series are;
- 1. Keep two long term races alive and thriving
- – The Michael Egan 5 Mile and
- – The Sonny Murphy Memorial 10 Mile
- 2. Introduce a new, quality 10k race to County Clare – The Ennis 10K
- 3. Raise proceeds for the organising clubs to be used for athlete development
To round the series off, the New Year New You 5K was added in January. The clubs hopes were to try to break even and in such a competitive market, try to keep these community led events alive.
New Year, New You 5k
The series got off to a great start with the New Year New You 5K on January 20thand the organisers were delighted when runners from all communities came along to support the series. 185 runners and walkers completed the route in unseasonably dry weather.
Jake O’Regan of St. Johns won the senior men’s race in a fantastic time of 15.41 followed by Chris Jeuken of Ferrybank AC and Brian Murphy of Ennis Track. The women’s race was won by Selena Culligan of Fergus AC in a time of 19.59 followed closely by Niamh Hartnett from North Cork AC and Ann Marie Connellan from Ennis Track AC.
Micheal Egan Memorial 5 Mile, Quilty
The series moved on to the stunning coastline of Quilty and the Micheal Egan Memorial 5 Mile on February 25th. The day was bright, crisp and breezy. Any coldness was soon forgotten when close to 200 runners and walkers set off on this beautiful course. Both the 5 mile and 5 k routes took entrants south along the coast road before turning east and back to finish at the GAA club.
Generous team and individual prizes were given out to the winners. The women’s 5 Mile was won by Sharon Rynne of Kilmurry Ibrickane North Clare in a time of 33.32 followed by Selena Culligan of Fergus AC and Tracy Guilfoyle of Love 2 Run. The Men’s race was dominated by Kenneth Rodgers of St. Johns who came home in a time of 27.27 with Julio Cesar Castro Kilmurry Ibrickane North Clare over a minute further back and Brian Murphy Ennis Track just 2 seconds back in 3rd. Ennis Track won the Ladies team prize with Kilmurry Ibrickane taking the Mens. The 5k was won by Cillian O’Malley in a time of 20.50 followed by Ellen Carey who was the first female home.
A feast of food and tea followed in the Quilty tavern.
Attention quickly turned the first running of the new Ennis 10k and Kids 2k on March 24th. Another beautiful day greeted runners as they made their way to the magnificent facility that is Lees Road/John O’Sullivan Park in Ennis. Huge crowds turned out for the Kids 2k in the woods with numbers swelled by the Clare School girl/boys soccer league. All runners got goodie bags and medals and some lucky ones took home the Easter Egg raffle prizes.
While the kids took a well-earned break the adults assembled at the starting line for the start of the 10k. This new route brought runners downhill for the first kilometre and out on a loop towards Larchhill and Templemaley with the added bonus of not having to climb back up to finish.
Rory Chesser of Ennis Track led from the start finishing in a time of 32.17 and setting the first men’s course record, a sprint finish decided 2nd and 3rd place with Kevin Danagher of Rathfarham AC piping Dundrums Dermot Hayes. The first women home and the new course record holder was Becky Coughlan from Ennis Track in a time of 39.31, followed by Selenia Culligan Fergus AC and Ann Marie Connellan Ennis Track AC. A total of 205 runners and walkers completed the course in fabulous sunshine.
Sonny Murphy Memorial 10 Mile, Kilnaboy
The last stop of the series took runners and walkers to the beautiful Kilnaboy on the edge of the Burren for the 35th running of this historic race. The weather gods shone on the organisers once again with perfect mild, calm and dry running conditions. Over 200 runners and walkers completed the 10 mile and 4 mile course and were treated to stunning views of Mullaghmore and the Burren landscape.
Becky Coughlan followed up her 10k victory with another win coming home in 1.06.55, followed again by Selenia Culligan and Ann Marie Connellan. Rory Chesser made it a double for Ennis Track when he claimed first in the Mens race in a time of 54.55, followed by Julio Cesar Castro and Brian Murphy.
As usual Kilnaboy AC provided a huge array of fantastic prizes for all categories with some runners seen carrying large loads to the car! The welcome and support provided by the local community was evident throughout and the finishers quickly devoured the array of refreshments on offer.
And then it was all over! And it was time to recap and review and do the sums
The series like all events had plenty of overheads, tshirts, medals, prize money, timing, refreshments, advertising etc but when all the sums were calculated the final total proceeds from the series came to just shy of €6000. This was then divided between the clubs for use in athlete development such as purchase of equipment, transport and coach development.
The organisers owe a huge debt of gratitude to a range of people and as always some may be left out.
So a big thanks firstly to all the runners and walkers who choose to support the races and series, we really appreciate your help and hope that you’ll return again next year.
To the members and parents of the organising clubs who helped out during the series with organising, stewarding, and cooking.
To Joe Devane of Informedia who created and designed the website and Logo and helped with all the technical stuff!
To James Sexton and Vincent McCarthy who’s help with registration and timing was invaluable throughout.
To our first aider who attended all races and to our photographer John O’Neill.
To Richie from timing Solutions.
And finally to all the businesses and communities that supported this venture and recognised the benefits of keeping these races alive.
See you all in 2019!