TWO thousand runners and walkers braved an early start on Saturday morning to compete in what organisers promised to be the ‘world’s most beautiful road race’. Molls Gap provided a misty start line for the half marathon which got under way at 8.30am.
In the Half marathon the first male home was former underage hurling and basketball star, Niall Shanahan from Crecora (Limerick) who set a new course record of 1hr 13m 39 sec. 2nd Christopher Murnane (Cork) 1hr 15mins 49 sec and 3rd Donal White (Kerry Crusaders) 1hr 16mins 2 sec. The first female home in the half marathon was Teresa Diaz (Spain) 1hr 24mins 35 sec followed closely by local lady Alison Kirwan (Star of the Laune AC) 1hr 26mins 08sec and Deirdre Nagle (Eagle AC) 1hr 26min 19 sec.
The weather brightened up for the start of the 10k race at 10.00am. First across the line in the 10K was Donal O’ Callaghan in 33m 59 sec, followed closely by the first female Siobhan Daly (Gneeveguilla AC) 41m 26sec.
The Gleneagle Hotel was the center of activity where competitors were treated to a well-earned massage, Japanese hot tubs, custom made medals and hot food at the finish line. Spectators and participants basked in the summer sunshine at the finish area.
The route encompassed Ladies Views, Killarney National Park passing iconic land marks including Muckross House and Abbey. Competitors enjoyed stunning views of the Lakes of Killarney and the unspoiled beauty of the Park.
Now in its 7th year the event saw competitors from all over Ireland and international athletes from America, Austria, Japan, France and the UK compete in a competitive field.
Event organizer Oliver Kirwan said ‘events like this are brilliant for the town promoting a healthy lifestyle and showcasing the best that the Killarney has to offer. Sporting events in Killarney are becoming increasingly popular and plans are under way for an even bigger event in 2017. Events of this size are not possible without huge support of all the volunteers, Killarney Rugby Club, Killarney AC, Killarney town council, Killarney Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, the Civil Defence and the Killarney National Parks.’