‘The last mile was hell’: Over 12,000 people take part in Cork City Marathon

Tim O’Donoghue from East Cork AC set a new course record and placed first in the full marathon

Olympian Lizzie Lee was the first woman home in the Cork City Marathon on Sunday as more than 12,000 runners took part amid heavy rain and inclement conditions.

Lee from Leevale AC who came 57th in the marathon in the 2016 Olympics in Rio, ran a time of 2 hours 44 minutes and 54 seconds. She said it was a hotly contested race between her and Government press officer Sorcha Loughnane from Donore Harriers in Dublin.

“I only won by 30 or 40 seconds. The last mile was hell. I am a very proud Cork woman. I have been to the Olympics, and maybe the international stuff is waning and maybe it’s over. Days like this are so special.”

The Olympian said she was “pretty overwhelmed” having run the race in memory of her friend Kevin O’Riordan from Bishopstown in Cork who died from brain cancer in 2020.


Tim O’Donoghue from East Cork AC set a new course record and placed first in the full marathon. Mr O’Donoghue from Midleton, Co Cork, who crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours 18 minutes and 37 seconds, said the hard part involved getting to the start line of any marathon.

“You do the hard works week before the start. And then you are tapering and wrapping yourself in cotton wool. I was nearly afraid to bring the rubbish out. Any sort of niggle or injury you pick up. You are nearly relieved when you get to the start line even though the hard work still has to be done.”

He said he was delighted with the win on a home course. Mr O’Donoghue added he was only confident of being the first across the line in the last few miles.

“You are never really sure of it [the win] until the last couple of miles because with a marathon anything can happen. I felt fairly comfortable until mile 21 or 22. Legs fairly shot then but I managed to keep it going at a reasonable pace,” he told Cork’s 96FM.

This was the first in-person event since 2019 with the marathon being impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic. The Cork City Marathon is a 42.195km (26 miles, 385 yards) marathon course and serves as a Boston qualifier. It is overall a fast and flat course. Traffic restrictions were in place in Cork city centre until Sunday evening.