Ray Allan will run his first marathon this Sunday in support of two charities. Photo: Adrian O’Herlihy Photography

On your marks!

More than 12,000 runners will descend on Cork this Sunday for the 14th Cork City Marathon, including 100 runners from Ukraine.

Last year’s virtual event saw more than 4,000 people taking part from 70 different countries.

According to Cork City Council Marathon Event Manager Gina Johnson, the number of entries for this year’s full marathon is almost double what is normally expected.

“I think people are just so anxious to get back out running for real. They are chomping at the bit waiting for the start line on Sunday,” Ms Johnson told the Cork Independent.

She continued: “The fact that it starts and finishes on the main street is very unusual. We're probably the only Irish marathon that really does take over the whole city centre. It's a lovely route that goes north of the city, south, east and west, and we really do take people on a journey. It's a great showcase.”

This year’s race will see the return of the Sanctuary Runners in association with Direct Provision who hope to have up to 1,000 current or former residents running on Sunday.

They are a super organisation. It fits so well with our ethos in getting people involved from all walks of life. This year they have taken the Ukrainian displaced contingency in Cork under their wing. We’re going to have up to 100 Ukrainians running on the day,” concluded Ms Johnson.

Taking part in his first marathon is Ballinlough native Ray Allan who took up running during the lockdown.

Ray, 46, is running to achieve a personal goal and to raise money for Cork Arc House and the Shine Centre for Autism.

“I just went out one morning for a run and I enjoyed it so I kept tipping away. My first time running 20 miles in my life was in April this year, I never ran that far before,” Ray told the Cork Independent.

He added: “It’s amazing what you take in when you’re running, and you’re at 16 miles and the legs are telling you, ‘what are you doing?’. There’s something there in the back of your head saying, ‘no, I’m not stopping’.

He also said: “I think it’s down to the people and how we welcome people into the city. We’re a very proud county and we’re the real capital, like. It’s a beautiful city but it’s the people that make the city what it is.”

The full 26 mile (42km) race and relay will start at 8.30am on St Patrick’s Street with the half marathon set to start at 10.15am from Monahan Road.

The route will take runners around the city, taking in Blackrock Castle, the Lee estuary, the old Passage railway line, and passing through the Jack Lynch Tunnel before returning to Patrick Street.

The course time limit is 6 hours but the finish line will stay in place for 7 hours and St Patrick’s Street will be closed to traffic for the day.

Traffic restrictions

A garda traffic management plan will be in operation on Sunday.

There will be traffic restrictions on the day in Cork City and Suburbs between 6am and 6pm.

For travel into and around Cork City on Sunday, the general advice is to use the Ring Roads (N25 South; R635 North) and Link Road (N27).

St Patrick’s Street and adjoining streets are closed to traffic all day, from 5.30am to 6pm.

North Main Street will also be closed to traffic from 10am until 3pm.

For full traffic details and road closures, and more information, visit