Courtney’s McGuire’s Magnificent National Marathon success

The Dublin City Marathon took place yesterday where conditions were good overall despite a strong breeze against the athletes as they emerged out of the Phoenix Park. The Club was very well represented with 47 members taking part, well done to all our members who competed. It is often said that to be part of a Club, any Club is great. But to be part of Clonmel AC is not just amazing but it is also inspiring, looking at the fantastic performances the majority of our members achieved in the National Marathon Championships in Dublin. The majority of these members joined the Club as regular fun runners and through sheer hard work and consistent training they have become extraordinary athletes. Some of them were tackling this distance for the very first time while many other Club members were very familiar with the Dublin October weather, they have all got to be commended on such great achievements. The Club element was also personified by the great encouragement our competing members got from fellow Club members who cheered them on from many advantage points throughout the route, especially when people saw the Clonmel AC club singlet.

For most of our members it was the culmination of 16 weeks of training with some members having ran a few marathons while for others it was their first attempt over this Classic distance. Some of them found themselves sailing through the training to the start line. Others were relieved to get that far and anxious to get to the finish line. Unfortunately for others they got injured on the journey and no doubt it was hard for them to see all their mates heading off to the DCM. There will be other Marathons, keep the faith.

So, after months of training and fretting the big day loomed! Picking up the race number on Saturday brought on the usual mix of nervousness and excitement! After an early night and much stretching the morning dawns and reality also! No backing out now! Final breakfast and more stretching and down to the start!

This Dublin City Marathon proved to be high heaven for Courtney McGuire as she annexed the National Marathon title at her first attempt and finished a highly commendable third position overall behind two Ethiopian athletes. Going into this race, her longest race was the Larne Half marathon in August this year where she ran a phenomenal winning time of 73 mins 54 secs. On Sunday last she was in the leading women’s group and was clipping along with the pre-race favourite Irish International athlete, Anne Marie McGlynn with both of them going through 10k in 36:09, 20k in 73:03, 30k in 1:49:12. Then at around the 35k mark Courtney gradually increased the pace and soon opened a gap on McGlynn, a gap she maintained all the way to the line to win the National Senior Women marathon title very impressively in 2 hours 32 mins 52 secs. Her finishing time was not alone good enough to win the National title but also the eight fastest marathon time ever run by an Irish female athlete! This is quite astonishing running and a first individual title at the distance for any club athlete. Her half marathon performance in Larne last August raised some eyebrows but this win places her right in there with the very best elite runners in the country. It not alone heralds a new name in Irish athletics to look out for, but at just twenty-three years of age, a future for Courtney that is bright and promising. Major championship qualifying times at both World and Olympic competitions must now be within her sights after this truly incredible performance. Also, her evenly paced 76 mins splits for the first and second half of the race displays a maturity, control and excellent racing mind that will stand to her very well in her future at this demanding distance that she has now made her own. Congratulations Courtney on your magnificent run and National title as we eagerly look forward to your next outing and promising future.

Back to the race where we also had a great effort by David Mansfield in what was a very competitive race for the Senior Irish men’s title. David was well positioned throughout the race in a group that consisted of all the top challengers for this coveted title. Then in a hectic last 6k, the pace increased, but David kept the tempo going to finish a credible 5th Irishman in 2 hours 26 mins 6 secs.

This year we had a number of members making their Club debut over this Classic distance, their chip times are in brackets. Our debutants done very well with very impressive first-time performances, athletes like Mark Kehir who ran very well when finishing in 3:08:44 (3.08.10), David Lorigan in 3:31:31 (3:30:10), Aisling English 3:33:46 (3:32:27), Paul Weymouth 4:15:09 (4:15:03), Deirdre Royce making her Club debut, having competed in marathons before with Moyne AC, ran well when finishing in 4:15:35 (4:10:39), Ivan McMenamin 4:22:12 (4:20:19) and Liam Kiely 5:00:32 (4:58:57).

This year many athletes were delighted to be back competing in the DCM after a break of two years due to Covid and it was great to see them all putting in impressive performances, chip times in brackets. Athletes like Eddy O Donoghue 3:06:16 (3:06:08) and a major improvement on his 2019 DCM run of 3:18:47, Niall Murphy had a brilliant performance when finishing in 3 hours 7 mins 25 secs (3:6:54) and a massive improvement on his Manchester run this year of 3:12:13 and his DCM 2019 debut of 3:44. His aim was to break 3 hours 10 mins and he smashed it, brilliant. Michael Moloney on his Club debut at this event ran very well when finishing 3:08:47 (3:08:31). Anne Maire Halpin is another athlete who put in a very impressive performance when finishing in 3 hours 10 mins 16 secs, a massive improvement on her 2019 performance over this route when finishing in 3:29:21 and a PB of over 3 mins 43 secs on her Manchester Marathon earlier this year. Anne Marie made her marathon debut in the 2018 DCM and has shown impressive improvement over this Classic distance ever since. Then we had Eelco Beckers also posting new figures for this Classic distance when finishing in 3:10:53 (3:10:11), a massive improvement on his previous best set in Limerick, earlier this year of 3:15:06. Barry Horgan ran impressively when finishing in 3:21:02 (3:19:19), a PB and a massive improvement on his 2019 DCM run of 3:31:53, Elaine Horgan ran very well when finishing in 3:25:50 (3:24:14), a massive improvement on her 2019 DCM of 3:32:33, Anthony Power ran well when finishing in 3:26:39 (3:25:10) and a major improvement on his 2019 DCM run of 3:27:46 and close to his Chicago PB performance a few weeks ago of 3:21:50. Michael Doocey was another athlete who put in a  very impressive performance when finishing in 3:29:15 (3:28:58) and a massive PB and major improvement on his 2019 DCM run of 3:40:01, Michael made his marathon debut in 2014 of 3:51:32. Mick Pender ran impressively when finishing in 3:29:31 (3:27:430 and a massive improvement on his 2019 DCM run of 4:09:51. Sean O Dea ran very well when finishing in 3:32:11 (3:30:52), a PB and a massive improvement on his 2019 DCM of 3:44:25. Rebecca Doocey ran very well when finishing in 3:45:45 (3:45:28), Rebecca made her marathon debut in 2013 when running 4:08:15 and has shown steady progress ever since. Ian Patterson is another athlete delighted with his performance when establishing a new PB by finishing in 3:50:32 (3:46:34) and a massive improvement on his DCM 2019 run of 3:59:22. Sinead Kennedy also had a very impressive performance when posting a very good PB of 4:08:48 (4:08:11) and a massive improvement on her 2019 DCM of 4:34:54 and on her marathon debut in 2016 of 4:25:30. Helen O Ceallaigh also put in an impressive performance when finishing in 4:29:44 (4:24:42), she has shown great progress since her debut over this course and distance in 2017 when running 4:41:48. Then we had John Laste also putting in a very impressive performance when race walking this Classic distance in 4 hours 33 mins 55 secs (4:32:22). This was his 50th Marathon, 18th DCM and a massive improvement on his 2019 performance which he also race walked in 4:47:08.

We also had performances from club members, some of them were going into the event with slight niggles, while others had their training hampered through injury. While not achieving a PB this time round, were still very impressive and they will have learned a lot from their performances this year to build on, athletes like Vasiliy Neumerzhitskiy also ran very well when finishing 3:10:05 (3:09:57),Shane Greene 3:13:40 (3:12:39), Jamie Byrne 3:32:18 (3:30:49), Gary Grant 3:32:39 (3:31:45), Nicola Maunsell 3:35:40 (3:35:26), Vincent McHugh 3:35:59 (3:34:32), Niall Kelly 3:44:44 (3:43:54), John Griffin 3:45:12 (3:43:070, Michael Ryan 3:53:45 (3:51:050, Brendan Coffey 3:54:08 (3:53:14), Bernard Feery 3:59:30 (3:58:45), Kenny Brett 3:59:46 (3:55:07), Niall Brannigan 4:00:15 (3:57:34), Caroline O Donoghue 4:05:34 (4:02:53), Tom Quinn 4:15:17 (4:15:05), Neil Proven 4:25:00 (4:23:39), Grainne O Malley 4:27:20 (4:23:10), Denise Donnelly 4:31:44 (4:26:42), Lizzie Ryan 4:55:45 (4:50:51), Mellissa McCarthy 5:09:10 (5:04:16) and Aoife McGrath 5:23:31 (5:22:350. We wish William Maunsell who was making his marathon debut, a speedy recovery as he had to pull out over the closing stages.