Dublin and Cork marathons: ‘I thought my two knees were going to give in’

More than 32,000 take part in runs as temperatures hit 24 degrees


That is the end of our live coverage of the Cork City Marathon and Women’s Mini Marathon, with both races passing off without incident on this hot bank holiday Sunday.

You can read Conor Capliss’s colour report from Dublin here.

Thanks for joining us and enjoy the rest of the sunshine.


Cork City Marathon has passed off safely with a senior medic reporting less than 60 people from the 12,000 plus competitors requiring any medical treatment despite the warm temperatures.

Consultant in Emergency Medicine, Dr Jason van der Velde said that 59 people needed medical treatment including some who were treated for exercise associated hyperthermia.

“Some people experienced Exercise Associated Hyperthermia which is a rapid rise in temperature – it’s relatively common on a hot day like today so it’s totally expected,” he said.

“But to be fair, given the temperatures we had and the number of runners we had between the 10k, the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon, we still had very few people requiring medical assistance.”

Dr van der Velde said that only four of the 59 runners, who were seen by the medical team at the finish line, ended up being taken by ambulance to hospital and all were doing fine.

He said that the medical team at the race were well experienced with over 100 personnel drawn from St John’s Ambulance, Order of Malta, Civil Defence, the Irish Red Cross as well as the HSE.

“We have nurses, advanced paramedics, critical care paramedics, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, first responders – we had over 100 people around the course so it’s a big team.”


This year’s Cork City Marathon had the largest ever number of Sanctuary Runners with over 600 members of the group from over 40 nationalities competing in all three events.

Organiser Graham Clifford explained that Sanctuary Runners was set up four years ago to bring people, especially migrants, asylum seekers and refugees together to foster friendship, positivity and respect.

“We were set up initially to introduce asylum seekers to running but now we use running to build sustainable bridges between communities and to show that we are all equal,” he said.

Among those participating under the Sanctuary Runners banner was Noel Adabblah (36) originally from the Volta region of Ghana but now living in Dublin from where he travelled to Cork for the race.

Originally arriving in the UK on a fishing contract, Noel found himself being transported to Northern Ireland before coming south to the Republic where he is allowed stay on humanitarian grounds.

“I have done Half Marathons before, many, many, times – I know some people found today hot out there but for me, this one was very, very, comfortable and the weather was really in my favour.”

Graham knew Noel was a good runner so when Cork City Marathon Director Eamon Hayes was looking for someone to act as a pacer, he didn’t hesitate to nominate Noel.

Noel said: “People were cheering me on and that is what inspires me to run – everybody who comes to spend their time cheering you on, you have to give them your best in return.

“I had never run as a pacer before but when Graham asked me if I would be happy to act as a pacer, I didn’t hesitate and I accepted it - I found it okay and it was good to be able to help out.”

Also enjoying the post-race atmosphere were fellow Sanctuary Runners, Thembi Tshuma (36), originally from Zimbabwe and her daughter, Sikyhanyiso Mpofu (15) from Fermoy.

“I found the Half Marathon okay because we have done a lot of training for this with the Sanctuary Runners – we used to come up and train in Cork city, so we were prepared for it.”

“I finished it in 2.10 so I was very pleased with that – the people on the streets were all very supportive all along the route so I would definitely consider doing it again next year.”

Sikyhanyiso was equally unphased after completing the 10 kilometres for the first time. “I play soccer in Fermoy - 10 kilometres isn’t a problem for anyone who plays soccer, so I finished it without any difficulty.”


‘I thought my two knees were going to give in but ... I just kept going”

Barry Roche reporting

“Go for it” – that was the advice from one of today’s most seasoned runners, 82 year old Mary Hoare when she was asked after the race what she would tell anyone thinking of taking up running.

“It was brilliant today – it was hot and at the start, I thought my two knees were going to give in but as I went along, I got into my stride and I just kept going,” Mary said, who lives in the Glen in Cork.

A native of Ballinspittle in West Cork, Mary, who took up running in her 50s, was doing her fifth half marathon and while she has run a relay marathon in Belfast, Cork holds a special fondness for her.

“I did a 10km in Killarney two weeks ago, but I suppose Cork is special because it’s the home one – I really pushed myself to go for it when I started running but on days like today, it’s worth it,” she said.

“Now I had to push myself today with the heat but there’s a great sense of achievement when you get to the finish line and hear your name being called out – it’s unbelievable.”



‘The last two few kilometres were torture’

Barry Roche reports

The michae Marathon is often billed as a family event and among the many families participating today were the Dunne family from Blarney – Michael Snr and his sons, Michael Jnr and Eamonn.

Michael Jnr (50) came home first of the three in 3.57 to be followed home about 20 minutes later by Michael Snr (76) running the half marathon and Eamonn making his debut as a marathon runner.

Eamonn told The Irish Times: “I came home in 4.13 – it was my first marathon so I was delighted- I would have had aspirations to do it in four hours but the heat out there was pretty taxing.

“After halfway, I made a mental decision just to relax a bit, so I actually enjoyed it but the last two few kilometres were torture – the heat out there was really taking its toll on people near the end.”

Michael Snr revealed that he had done 30 marathons including Dublin, Belfast, London, Berlin, Chicago as well as the full Cork marathon many times but today he opted for the half marathon.

“We have a little running group in Blarney, and I was running with the former lord mayor, Cllr John Sheehan and Victor Kiely so we helped each other along as it got pretty hot out there,” he said.

And Michael Snr still managed to be on hand to encourage Eamonn as they covered the last few miles together from the Mardyke back into Cork city centre and the finish on Patrick St.

Eamonn said: “I hadn’t run more than 20 miles before so the last six miles was a new experience for me but so it was great to have Dad by my side as we headed down the Mardyke.

“It was great that he was there encouraging me and supporting me over those last two kilometres or so when things were getting tough, and we crossed the line together which was lovely.”




‘One of those things you look at but never think you can achieve’

Conor Capplis reporting from Dublin

Nakita Burke from Letterkenny, Co Donegal, came first in the race at a time of 34 minutes and 25 seconds. She had the medal in her sights for some time, coming in fourth place last year.

“It’s a dream come true,” she told The Irish Times. It’s one of those things you look at but never think you can achieve. The one thing [my coach at Letterkenny AC] wanted me to do was believe that I could – and thankfully it did pay off. And it’s my Dad’s birthday today so Happy Birthday Dad!”


Summary of the top finishers of the Dublin mini marathon

The 2023 VHI Women’s Mini Marathon was won by Nakita Burke from Letterkenny AC in a time of 34:27. Courtney McGuire from Clonmel AC was second across the finish line in 34:33, and Teresa Doherty from Finn Valley AC placed third in 34:58.

Shauna Bocquet from Craughwell, Galway won the Elite Wheelchair Category in a time of 26:59.


For anyone wondering (like me) if they should take part in the event next year, the age range for this year’s mini marathon was from 14 to 93.




First three runners to cross the finishing line

1. Nakita Burke at 34.25.

2. Courtney McGuire at 34.31

3. Teresa Doherty at 34.56


The elite runners are finishing the race in Dublin




First to cross the finish line


Latest from Dublin mini marathon

The front-runners in Dublin have already passed the halfway mark at 17 mins 50 seconds, while crowds at the back of the queue are still rearing to go at Fitzwilliam Place. Reports Conor Capplis


Footage from Conor Capplis at the start line


The run has begun in Dublin


Almost time

A photograph from Irish Times Features Editor Mary Minihan who’s ready to start the run in Dublin.


Latest from Conor Capplis

By this time last year, crowds were thoroughly drenched, but at 18 degrees there’s nothing but smiles on faces and runners rearing to go. Crowds are slowly gathering at the start line, bananas are being eaten and the more enthusiastic runners have already started stretching out. Make sure to cream up, it’s hot out here!



Conor Cappliss reporting from Dublin

Sighle O’Toole was at the start line early with two of her daughters, and the other was supporting from afar: “My daughter, Maeve, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, she’s currently undergoing treatment. My daughter Aoife decided we should do this race for Breast Cancer Ireland. Maeve is 42, she’s a mum of three. We’ve actually raised €6,800 for Breast Cancer Ireland. It feels brilliant.

“It’s so important these charities get funding so that someday they’ll find a cure for cancer. So many young women have breast cancer.”

Maeve McBride will meet her family at the finish line after her treatment at St James’s Hospital.


Marathon latest from Cork

Barry Roche reporting

Polish athlete, Pawel Kosek (31), from Tychy won the Mens Marathon in a time of 2.28.24 while duo of Gary O’Hanlon in 2.28.58 and Tudor Mircea in 2.29.01, who are both from Clonliffe Harriers.

Meanwhile, Georgie Bruinvels from Aldershot and Farnham AC in the UK was the first woman home, winning the women’s event in her first ever visit to Cork in a time of 2.42.15.

Kosek revealed he has run more than 25 marathons and this was his fourth time running in Cork. He was delighted to accept the Cork City Marathon cup from Lord Mayor of Cork Deirdre Forde.

“My English is not very good but I am very happy,” Kosek saidas he made his way to find his parents, Tadeusz and Grazyna, who had travelled from their home in Tychy in southern Poland to support him.

Second place, Gary O’Hanlon, who is originally from Dundalk Co Louth but now lives in Dublin where he runs with Clonliffe Harriers, said that the heat made it a tough challenge for all competitors.

“It’s the only race that I’ve ever struggled in from very early hour- it doesn’t feel too bad in the shade but when you are out there, it was really warm – it was really tough from around mile 16 to mile 22

“We were only 15 seconds behind the leaders right up to the last mile but your legs are shot – I though I might catch up but if I made that burst, there’s no guarantee I’d have finished.

The 49-year-old, who only took up marathon running when he was 38, was happy with his performance in the conditions, improving on his fourth place last year to take the runner up spot behind Kosek.

“Pawel, the Polish guy, was very strong – he has very good times as has my friend Tudor who won the Limerick Marathon – they were the guys to watch,” O’Hanlon said, whose best time is 2.17 in London.

Meanwhile, the women marathon winner, Georgie Bruinvels from Surrey, was looking forward to meeting up with her family and exploring Cork where she has family connections.

“It’s my first time in Cork even though my grandfather William Henry Hill has connections with Cork – I also have connections with Villierstown in Waterford so we hope to go there as well.”

Georgie came home more than 15 minutes ahead of Zola Flynn from Calry AC in Sligo who took second in 2.58.00 while Niamh Cronin from local club St Finbarr’s AC took third in 2.58.40.



A reminder of the starting times for Dublin

11.00am: Participants begin to arrive

12.30pm: Start (Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2)

1.05pm (estimate): First finisher (Lower Baggot Street, Dublin


‘It’s very hot’

A reminder for everyone today across Ireland to take care in the hot weather today.

The temperature is currently at 20 degrees in Cork and 17 degrees in Dublin city, according to Met Éireann.

We have expert tips on how to how to avoid sunburn, food poisoning, skin rashes and other summer ailments during the warmer days.

You can check out the forecast for your area here.



‘This is the world’s largest race for women’

Conor Capplis reporting from Dublin

David O’Leary, race director and general manager, was out and about early to oversee the huge logistical undertaking across the capital.

“This is the world’s largest race for women, it’s in its 41st year, over a million individual women have taken part over the years and nearly a quarter of a billion euro has been raised for charities and causes throughout the country,” he said.

“It’s almost impossible to assess what is the secret sauce behind this event. It’s just a magical day. I think it’s part of our culture and long may it continue.

“I’m already planning next year’s event and have been for two months. We have a core team of 10 people who work in the office year round and that grows to nearly 800 people today.”

Last year, organisers got a hefty bill from the gardaí of €21,000 for policing the race in 2022. Has this been smoothed off this year? “Oh yea, we get a fantastic service from An Garda Síochána and we have a fee agreed with them”

“I hope everybody has a great day, enjoys the sun and gets their personal target, whether that’s raising money for their charity or cause, or meeting up with friends and family. Whatever it is I hope their day is a success.”


‘It was very, very, hot out there’

Barry Roche reporting from Cork

Irish Olympian Lizzie Lee has just added to her hat-trick of Cork City titles – already a winner of the full, half and relay marathons in Cork, she now can count the 10km title among her achievements.

Leevale runner Lee came home first in the Ladies 10km in 35.15, almost a full minute ahead of Keeley Tideswell of Clonmel AC who came home in 36.11 and Dee Grady of Ennis Track AC in 36.48.

“It was very, very, hot out there, so I just focused on the win, I’ve won the marathon, the inaugural half marathon and the relay marathon so it’s great to add the 10km to the list,” Lee said.

“Every runner in Cork runs the Cork City Marathon – you don’t ask ‘Are you running on Sunday?’, you ask ‘What are you doing on Sunday’ because everyone is doing the full or the half or the 10km.

“There’s a fantastic atmosphere here and what was wonderful was as we were passing the other runners coming back in by the brewery, they started shouting my name, which was brilliant.

“And then when we were coming down along the quays to see thousands of runners heading out on the other quays was fantastic – it’s a great event and it’s really well marshalled from start to finish,”



VHI Women’s Mini Marathon 2023: Everything you need to know

Conor Cappliss has all the details on start times, course route, traffic restrictions and more

The largest women’s race of its kind in the world is back on the streets of Dublin today. The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon is taking over streets across Dublin 2 and 4, with organisers expecting more than 20,000 participants this year.

With that many women running a 10km-route across the city, there will be road closures. So whether you’re racing yourself, supporting a friend or trying to avoid the sheer chaos of it all, we have all you need to know here.



Winner of the event’s 10km race

Barry Roche reporting from Cork

It was a first all round for 10km winner – Denis Hegarty from Watergrasshill AC – the first time he ever ran the Cork City Marathon and the first time he ran a 10km and he came up trumps.

Hegarty (26) came home in 32.12 (32 minutes 13 secs) ahead of Brian O’Kelly of Crusaders AC in 32.38 in second and Tony Forristal of east Cork AC who came home in 32.45.

Hegarty said: “To be fair a lot of the route was fairly sheltered so the temperature wasn’t too bad – after 5km, you’re in around the city so there was good shade and you were sheltered.”

“It was a fantastic race – there was support everywhere and there were marshalls and water stations everywhere – it’s the first one I’ve done but it’s a fantastic race and I’ll definitely be back next year.

“I’ve only been running seriously for about two years but 10km is a strange distance – it’s not a distance I run too often,” Hegarty said as he waited for his girlfriend, Sarah O’Halloran to finish.

And we’re off!

Barry Roche reporting from Cork

Close to 5,000 runners set off at 8.45am on the 10km section of the Cork City Marathon – it took eight minutes for all the 10km runners to clear the start line on Patrick Street in Cork city centre.

Many of the 10km participants were running to raise funds for charities such as The Irish Sepsis Foundation, Cork Cancer Care Society, We Are Fighting Blindness, and the Parkinsons Association.

This year also sees the greatest number of Sanctuary Runners participating in the event – more than 600 drawn from 43 different nations – and many were taking part in the 10km event.

Many of the Sanctuary Runners are living in Direct Provision facilities in Cork city while others have come from Direct Provision Centres in Fermoy and Mallow to participate in the event.

It was 14 degrees when the 10km competitors headed off but temperatures are predicted to hit 19 degrees later in the morning with organisers urging participants to make sure they stay hydrated.

Some 4,000 are doing the half marathon while almost 2,500 are doing the full marathon along a route which sees runners circle the city and cross the two channels of the river Lee several times.

The route will bring runners from the city centre out to Blackpool on the city’s northside and back down the quays north of the river before crossing to the city’s southside via the Jack Lynch Tunnel.

The route will see runners head through Mahon and Blackrock and up the Marina by Pairc UI Chaoimh before crossing up to Turners Cross and Ballyphehane and out the Model Farm Road.

The home stretch will see runners come in along the Carrigrohane Straight and on to the North Main Street before finishing up on Patrick Street with the first runners expected home around 10.45am.


In Cork, more than12,000 runners are taking part in total- 2,500 doing full marathon, more than 4,000 doing half marathon and about 5,000 doing 10km


Good morning. Thousands of people are hitting the roads today in the scorching heat to take part in the The VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin and Cork City Marathon.

We will have all the latest action from the events during the day. Our reporters Barry Roche and Conor Capplis will be sending updates from the runs.

Organisers expect 20,000 participants in Dublin and 12,000 in Cork.

If you’d like to get in touch, send your photos or let us know how you found the run, you can contact me, Rachel Flaherty, at rflaherty@irishtimes.com or on Twitter @rachelfl

Corkonians have had an early start with the full marathon runners kicking off at 8.15am. Dublin runners will begin from midday 12.30am.