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Dublin: 9 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Organisers confirm the famed Ballycotton '10' race has come to an end after four decades

Ballycotton Running Promotions released a statement explaining their decision this evening.

Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

THERE WILL BE a notable void in the running calendar after Ballycotton Running Promotions this evening confirmed that their famed Ballycotton 10-mile Road Race and the organisation’s other events have come to an end.

The organisation confirmed in a statement that they wished to end operations on their ‘own terms’, before external influences dictated so, citing logistical issues, new traffic regulations, the age profile of organisers and helpers, and the increasing demands of participants – particularly on social media.

Its flagship Ballycotton ’10′ first took place in 1977 – a year which saw a mere six other events on Cork roads, and was aided financially by local shops and businesses.

Leevale’s Ray Treacy, who had agreed to run the ’10′ having won the Ballymore Festival race a week prior, coasted to victory in the inaugural event with a time of 23:46, finishing well clear of Richie Crowley and Donie Walsh.

After 40 years, however, the ’10′, as well as the Summer 5-Mile Series and other events, will be no more.

A statement read: “It is with regret and no doubt a certain amount of sadness that we wish to announce that the Ballycotton ‘10’, the Summer 5-Mile Series and other events organised by Ballycotton Running Promotions have come to an end.

“Whilst this will be received with shock and surprise by the running community at large, the decision to call a halt to our promotions is something that has occupied the thoughts of our committee for the past year or more.

“Seven months ago we celebrated the 40th running of the Ballycotton ‘10’ and the symbolic date of Sunday March 12th – the exact date of the original race – may have given an indication of our intentions from this time of last year.

At a special and well-attended meeting in Ballycotton last night and after a long discussion the decision was unanimously agreed that our races should come to an end forthwith – on our own terms and before circumstances outside our control dictated so.

It continued: “For anyone familiar with the geographical locations of our races, the problems logistically of organising the events are all too apparent. Parking has been one of our major worries. It may come as a surprise to many that, for the past two years due to weather conditions, the possibility of the Ballycotton ‘10’ having to be cancelled was a live issue up to 24 hours before the race.

With new proposed traffic regulations on the way, the staging of an event with up to 3,000 runners in a village with just one road in and out would prove insurmountable. These problems, to a lesser extent, are also evident in the summer races where we are again at the mercy of the weather as regards parking and facilities.

“Unlike other such races which are organised by athletic clubs and the like who have a huge supply of members to call on, we are just a small promoting group. But for the assistance we have received from outside bodies over the years it would have been impossible to put on five major events each year.

“Due to busy lifestyles nowadays, help is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, the age profile of the voluntary committee members and those willing to give of their time is a lot higher than it was when we started out. Also, some participants today are more demanding than in the past and it goes without saying that social media now plays a major role in those demands.

“Since our first race, we have had a simple 100% ethos and aim which was manifested in all our races – to provide a well-organised, value for money event for runners of all abilities. Even though we are slow to sing our own praises, we can proudly say we have played a defining role in the popularity and promotion of running events so evident today.

“Road racing in general is now certainly in a far better place than it was back in 1977 when 34 runners took part in our first five-mile race, just one of four road races in total held in the Cork region that summer.

“Since that August evening four decades ago, 40 Ballycotton ‘10’ races, 156 Summer 5-Mile races, 60 Shanagarry ‘5K’ (summer and winter) events along with over 80 smaller local races from our early days have taken place.

Each of those road races had a definite start and finish line. Now, the finish line has finally been reached for Ballycotton Running Promotions and its events. It has been a long and winding road, a road filled with many memories and stories, and a road that has enriched the lives of thousands from far and near.

“We conclude by expressing a deep-felt sense of gratitude to all those who have journeyed with us along that road, in whatever capacity, over the forty years of Ballycotton races.”

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