Curley holds her Longford crown
BETWEEN the Longford Marathon and the Warriors' Run, a healthy 1,300 men and women were racing long distances in tough terrain over the weekend. Clearly there's no sign of the long-distance running boom vanishing any time soon.
In Longford, it was girl power all the way. Tullamore's Pauline Curley, winner of the half marathon as far back as 2005 and a Longford regular since then, won the women's marathon for a second consecutive year in a respectable time of 2 hours 47 minutes 39 seconds.
Finishing second for a remarkable fourth year was Irish 100km record holder Helena Crossan from Donegal.
In the half marathon, Linda Byrne of Dundrum South Dublin showed a return to form with a victory in 73 minutes 48 seconds.
With three-time winner Sergiu Ciobanu just back from altitude training, it was left to Wieslaw Sosnowski to make it a third victory.
He previously won in 2005 and 2007 and was second behind Ciobanu in 2009.
Sosnowski, a long time member of the Eagle club in Cork, returned to his native Poland a few years ago but hasn't forgotten his Irish friends.
He still turns out in the Eagle vest and finished fourth in the Cork Marathon last June.
Maintaining his remarkable record in Longford was Peter Mooney. After finishing second in the 2004 half marathon, Mooney moved up to the full distance. He was 11th in 2006 with a time of 2:53.39, sixth in 2009, fifth last year and third this year in 2:40.52.
Making it around in 5 hours 48 minutes was the race founder, Liam Fenelon. With the help of family and friends, Fenelon organised the first Longford Marathon in 2002, so that he could run his 100th marathon in his home town.
Out on his own in the half marathon was West Waterford's Raivis Zakis, second in 2007 and 2008. His time of 70 minutes 55 seconds put him over four minutes ahead of second-placed Mike Yelverton, with Richard Gorman a close third.
At the Warrior's Run (15km), up and around Knocknarea, Co Sligo, local Emmett Dunleavy finished in 55:16 seconds, with mountain runners Owen Gahan and Brian Furey less than a minute behind. Emma Donlon, another experienced mountain runner, was first woman.