IRISH ATHLETICS legend Sonia O'Sullivan raced back to her home town today to officially launch the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon. The event takes place on bank holiday Monday, June 7th, 2010. Entries are now open and with 180 days left to race day, Sonia advises it's never too early to start training."
Back for a fourth consecutive year the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon expects to raise over €3m of vital funds for charity and attract a record number of 10,000 entries in 2010, a 10% increase on last year. The official charity beneficiary for 2010 is the Irish Cancer Society - however, all those taking part are welcome to run, jog or walk for a charity of their choice.
The 'marathon for everyone' encourages individuals of all levels to get involved - from first timers to professional athletes, with the option of running the marathon as an individual or as part of a relay team made up of up to five people.
Speaking at the launch, Cork Lord Mayor Cllr Dara Murphy, who is already in training himself to run the relay event, said: "Cork has a proud sporting history and the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon gives participants, and supporters lining the streets, an exhilarating opportunity to participate and enjoy one of Ireland's great sport and community events.
"The event is going from strength to strength - year on year our entry numbers have grown by 15%, which is a real achievement and in particular, it's a credit to our title sponsor Bord Gáis Energy's fantastic commitment and support for the event. This year we want to hit our personal best of 10,000 entries and I'll be out there myself running the relay hoping to achieve a personal record of my own!"
John Mullins, Chief Executive of Bord Gáis said: "Bord Gáis Energy is delighted to be on board for the second year. Fundamentally, the marathon is a fantastic event that brings volunteers, charities and communities from all over the country together. It's a massive boost for the economy in the area, it showcases the city looking its best in early summer - and the relay event allows colleagues, friends and runners of all abilities come together and take part for a good cause."
Speaking at the launch, Bord Gáis Energy Ambassador Sonia O'Sullivan said: "This will be the third year I will be back for the marathon and I'm really looking forward to seeing it go from strength to strength. The marathon stands up against any international event and hopefully we will see more and more athletes from at home and abroad travel to take part.
"This is the perfect time to start training for the big day, even if it is six months away. You don't get into shape to run a marathon overnight and by gradually upping your fitness levels and distances you can have the perfect preparation to give it your best."
The Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon is open to everyone over 18 years and welcomes people from all walks of life and from different countries around the world. Participants can download and post their entry form or enter online at www.corkcitymarathon.ie.
The team relay event is the jewel in the Bord Gáis Energy Cork City Marathon crown and has become hugely popular - over 1,200 teams took part last year. With stages between 3 and 7 miles long, the relay event is open to teams made up of between 2 and 5 people. It offers runners, casual joggers and walkers of all abilities an opportunity to run the exact same course of the marathon without having to sweat it for the full 26.2 miles! It's a great way to enjoy the marathon with friends and family and raise money for a chosen charity.
Starting and finishing in Patrick's Street, Cork City Council's Race Committee is working with marathon experts to improve the course to make it flatter and more enjoyable for all those taking part in 2010 - whether it's the full marathon or the hugely popular relay event. The 26.2 mile route takes in some of Cork's most iconic landmarks and scenery including the North Quays of the River Lee, Blackrock, Jack Lynch Tunnel and the Carrigrohane Road. Race organisers will announce the new 2010 course map early in January when details have been finalised.