I am all excited about Sundays “Classic race over the classic distance“!

“It was an August evening in 1977 that the first ever organised road race in modern times took place in Ballycotton. A five mile event, it was won by Ray Treacy, now Head Coach at Providence College and brother of John, Olympic Marathon Silver-Medalist from 1984 and twice winner of the World Cross Country title.

The following March, a ten mile race took place in Ballycotton. 31 runners (all men) took part with Richard Crowley the winner in 50:22. The rest, as they say, is history. The next year, 82 runners were led home by Pat Hooper in 49:12, with Mary Dempsey the inaugural women’s winner in 68:47. In 1980, six months before the first Dublin Marathon, numbers had increased to over 150, considered a huge field for a road race at the time.

With the advent of the Irish ‘running boom’ heralded by that Dublin Marathon, races and participants in Ireland mushroomed. Ballycotton’s numbers increased in tandem, reaching a record 848 finishers in 1984. For the remainder of the 80s, the figures competing in Ballycotton hovered around 650-750 as a lot of other races in the country fell into decline or ceased to exist.

The 1990s saw the Ballycotton ’10’ enter a new era. One thousand finishers was reached for the first time in 1993 and due to the unprecedented interest in the race, a limit had to be imposed for safety and logistical reasons. This limit was set at 1500 in 1999, which was reached in mid-January…”