After a frustrating four months of injury, Sean McGrath returned to winning form at the 16th annual Corkbeg road race, this year held over the shorter distance of four miles.
McGrath, of the promoting East Cork club, picked up an injury at the AAI National Inter-Clubs at the end of February which ruled him out of the early season road racing action.
Apart from two top four positions in the Ballycotton Series, this was his first serious test and he came through in flying colours, covering the twisty course in 20:42 for a 14-second victory over defending champion, Roy Fahy.
“I only got away over the last half-mile on the downhill section and overall I felt ok, it’s great to be back running again,” said McGrath.
Cathal O’Connel (St Finbarr’s) – now just a year away from the M50 category – showed his remarkable powers of recovery in finishing third, 24 hours after a fourth-place finish at the EMC 5km.
Helen Leonard made it three wins in the past couple of weeks when taking the women’s title in the fine time of 24:40. Second last year and the first the year before, the Rathfarnham-WSAF athlete was well clear of Eadaoin O’Neill of East Cork, who had also ran the night before at EMC.
In third place was Anna Doris of Midleton, another athlete returning from injury, and it was a good night all-round for the Midleton club who provided 51 of the 132 runners taking part.
Compared to last year’s conditions, the weather was ideal both for the race and accompanying walk and the barbeque afterwards in Whitegate which raised a fine sum for Enable Ireland, the charity which has benefited considerably from the events over the past 12 years.
S McGrath (East Cork) 20:42; 2 R Fahy (East Cork) 20:56; 3 C O’Connell (St Finbarrs, M45) 21:23; 4 K McKeown (East Cork) 22:40; 5 J Walsh (Youghal) 23:06; 6 E Meade (East Cork, M45) 23:11; 7 D O’Dwyer (East Cork, M40) 23:26; 8 C O’Herlihy (Eagle, M40) 23:32; 9 D Kelleher (Midleton, M45) 23:50; 10 T Cody (Midleton, M55) 23:53.
M40: 3 P O’Connor (Eagle) 24:01.
M50: 1 J Kelleher (unatt) 24:03; 2 M McGrath (Eagle) 23:36; 3 D Leddingham (Youghal) 27:27.
M55: 2 P O’Sullivan (unatt) 26:29; 3 J Quigley (Eagle) 28:14.
M60: 1 P McGrath (East Cork) 26:36; 2 TJ Buckley (Donoughmore) 27:48; 3 J Walshe (East Cork) 30:18.
Women: 1 H Leonard (Rathfarnham-WSAF, F40) 24:40; 2 E O’Neill (East Cork) 26:27; 3 A Doris (Midleton, F40) 26:56; 4 S Buckley (Midleton) 27:07; 5 M Kenny (Midleton) 27:41; 6 M Jones (Midleton, F40) 28:06.
F35: 1 S McGrath (Youghal) 28:24; 2 D Hickey (Midleton) 31:26; 3 M McCarthy (unatt) 33:02.
F45: M O’Keeffe (Midleton) 29:09; 2 M Morrison (Midleton) 33:34; 3 F Steele (Midleton) 34:13.
F50: 1 M McNamara (Midleton) 32:03; 2 M Mulcahy (St Finbarrs) 32:55; 3 J McCarthy (Midleton) 39:16.
F55: 1 K O’Brien (East Cork) 31:35; 2 V O’Farrell (unat) 49:13.