Aoife Cooke, Eagle AC, finishing first in the women category at the Cork City Marathon.

Beyond the finish line

As Cork catches its breath after last weekend’s record-breaking marathon, a handful of runners have shared their own personal reasons for taking part.

More than 10,000 people ran in last Sunday’s Cork City Marathon which raised a record €150k for various local and national charities.

The full marathon saw newlywed and second time winner Pawel Kosek from Poland claim the title as the first male finisher with a time of 2:23:54, while Aoife Cooke from Eagle AC Cork emerged as the fastest female finisher, clocking in at 2:56:33.

80,000 bottles of water and Lucozade were available to participants, along with 15000 bananas and 120,000 jellybeans!

For some, the famous Leeside marathon is purely a sporting event, but for many others, it also carries with it deep personal meaning.

For three members of the same family, Robin Foley, Peter McGahan, and Julie Anne Rispoli, the marathon marked two special milestones. Originally from Cork, the trio travelled from Pensacola, Florida in the US so that Dad Robin could fulfil his dream of completing the full marathon on his 80th birthday. Robin had previously completed the half marathon for his 70th birthday in 2014.

Conor Somerville from Dublin ran the full marathon and raising funds for MND Ireland as an uncle of his from Cork, who was an avid marathon runner, has been diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease.

For some, completing a sporting feat is a way of marking overcoming a health challenge and announcing to the world that they are back to full health.

Such is the case for Alan McCarthy who took part at the weekend after recovering from Burkitt's Lymphoma, and Robert Jeffers who survived both cancer and a stroke.

Shane O’Connor from Cork ran the half marathon in honour of his father, an avid runner in his youth.

“I am following the steps of my father who ran marathons in his youth. He was diagnosed with a rare eye condition which has left him legally blind and unable to drive or run anymore. I am running this half marathon for him,” Shane said.

Christopher O’Connor, 20, is ran this year’s full marathon in honour of his father,

James O’Connor who passed away suddenly from altitude sickness while climbing Kilimanjaro on 5 Decemeber which was both his and Christopher's shared birthday.

His dad James was a much-loved family man who loved running and was well known in the community.

The O’Connors also donated two cups which were presented to the first male and first female finishers of this year’s 10k race.

Trevor Casserly from Galway took part in an effort to complete 7 marathons in 7 months from April to October in memory of his friend Cathal Hynes who died suddenly this year.

The Cork marathon was number 3 of 7 in his attempt and so far, he has raised almost €18k for this nominated charity, Galway Hospice.