Maam Cross, Co Galway
Not long until April 1st!
I really must be one of the early ones in the long queue of congratulation emails you will get. To all involved in the organisation of this race THANK YOU. Can I enter yet for next year????????
I had a very slow run due to a pre race illness but didn't mind as it gave me an excuse to have even more time on the lovely course and to chat to some of my fellow participants along the way. will have to come back next year to bury the demons!
This was my first ultra and I had an absolutely fantastic weekend. Myself and 18 friends from Nidd Valley Road Runners came from Harrogate to run the marathon and all agree how great it was, we're all still buzzing from it.
All things Italian was the order of the dayWed, 25/03/2009
All things Italian was the order of the day at this years Buitoni Connemarathon
This year Buitoni extended their commitment to the Connemarathon by becoming title sponsor and Italian Simone Grassi took the full marathon title for the second time,; completing the course in a time of 2 hrs 40.24.
It was also two in a row for Kenyan Lezan Kimutai who took the half marathon title in a time of 1 hrs 08.09. Following Lezan over the finishing line was Andy Norman from the U.K. The winner of the Ladies Half Marathon was Eilis Connery from Carlow in a time of 1:25:40 and the winner of the Ladies Full Marathon was Shirley Coyle from Dublin. The ladies Ultra title stayed local with Athenry A.C's Valerie Glavin coming over the finish line in a time of 5 hrs 25.33 and the mens Ultra title went to Russian Vasiliy Neumerzhitsky.
Now in its ninth year the Connemarathon attracts entrants from over 40 countires; from as far away as Japan and New Zealand, making this a truly International event. Over 3000 people participated, embarking on the scenic and rugged course around the Maam Turk Mountains, through Leenane and finishing at Maam Cross. The event compromises of a grueling ultra marathon (39.3), a full marathon (26.2 miles) and a half marathon (13.1 miles), appealing to people of all ages and fitness levels. That is 53,000 cumulative miles completed – which equates to around the world twice with an 3,000 mile warm down!
This year entries for the Connemarathon sold out in early December, proving once again the race's popularity and its unique appeal. Witnessing crowds and the odd sheep transcend upon the rugged roads of Connemara, “it is easy to understand the appeal” said one spectator. Graced with unseasonal weather conditions, the West of Ireland was at its most breath-taking. “The atmosphere was electric and there was a definite sense of determination and camaraderie in the air”, remarked another participant and similar comments were to be heard all day long. In total, to keep these athletes fueled it took - 5000 bowls of Buitoni pasta, 5000 Yorkie bars, 40,000 bottles of Galway Irish Spring Water, 1,500 oranges and 1,500 bananas.
Race director, Ray O'Connor, was particularly pleased with the days results 'After nine years, I'm still amazed at the atmosphere in the Connemarathon. This year was our biggest yet and I was honoured to have one of the greatest distance runners of all time, Ron Hill participate in the half marathon.' A former world record holder and winner of the Boston and European marathon championships, Ron Hill, now aged 70, is equally famous for having run every day since 1964.
'There is a social element to running that forges lifelong friendships - it's the camaraderie built through a shared challenge and the personal achievement and related emotion of succeeding that creates this bond,' continued Ray. 'I was delighted to have six of the 'Brathay Challenge' Ten Marathons in Ten days team at the Connemarathon this year including Steve Edwards the World Record holder for ten marathons in ten days and John Dawson who completed his 300th Marathon in Connemara'. Ray completed the Brathay Challenge last year and is heading off to the Sahara this week to run the Marathon Des Sables - running 150 miles across the desert in six days taking all his food and provisions on his back.
The Connemarathon is one of Ireland's sporting success stories; good for both the health and wellbeing of our nation and with the help of Fáilte Ireland is now making a significant contribution to the tourism industry.
Watching people run, jog, walk and in some cases hobble over the finish line there really was a sense that everyone achieved something great. Bookings for the 2010 marathon are now open and for more information log onto www.connemarathon.com
Press Contact: Mary Walsh – Proactive Design & Marketing.
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