8 October 2015 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan welcomed hundreds of visitors over the weekend as marathon runners from all over Ireland and the UK gathered to take part in the Monaghan Phoenix marathon festival. On Saturday 75 athletes took to the start line in the first Marathon in their back to back challenge. Conditions for running were perfect with fine weather and Rossmore Forest park in excellent condition. The competitors didn’t seem to be fazed with having to cover 26.2 miles on consecutive days as the pace was fast from the outset. Jonathon McSorley from Donegal was the early leader but seemed to struggle with a slight injury which slowed him down and he was soon passed by eventual race winner Thomas Shanahan from Limerick. Thomas finished in a time of 3hrs 8 Minutes with Rolando Espina and Paul Murphy finishing in second and third places respectively. All runners finished in reasonably good health as they went off to recover and prepare for day Two.

On day Two the back to back runners were joined by another 100 marathon runners and 176 athletes there to complete the half marathon. This event brought the runners through Monaghan town before heading back to Gortakeegan and Rossmore forest Park. Again the weather was perfect as the runners set off. Monaghan Phoenix athlete Leslie Crawford was on the line for his landmark 100th Marathon and it was great to see the large crowd who came to run with him and those there to support him as he completed this fantastic achievement. A full list of results is available on our Facebook page and at Some Notable results for local runners were Alo Grew 1st in his category in the Back to Back events with a total time of 6hrs 49 minutes for his two marathons, also in the back to back were Breda McFaddden 1st senior Lady followed by her sister Fran with Ann Marie McCleary (back to back) and Mark Macklin (Half marathon) winning category prizes. Conor Duffy was the winner of the Half Marathon with Donna Evans first Lady. The single marathon was dominated by visitors with Dublin bays Ger Copeland and Donna McLoughlin from Achill first Male and first female home.

The event was a huge success but this would not have been possible without the large team of volunteers who gave up their time and put in huge effort over the weekend. Monaghan Phoenix would like to thank our juveniles who manned the water stations and kept runners motivated with their encouragement also presenting medals to the finishers, Parents who baked and made sandwiches and those who served the wonderful food during the event on both days. All our marshals who manned the course, the competitors commented on how friendly and encouraging they were. We thank the registration team and those who prepared the course. Monaghan Brass band, who played in the diamond and created a wonderful atmosphere,. Dara and Sean from Emyvale cycling club,Thanks to the chairman of the Monaghan municipal district, Councillor Robbie Gallagher, Monaghan Municipal council, The Red Cross, Monaghan United FC, Monaghan Gardai, MC Graham, Rory Geary and John Nutley photographers and Caoilte.

We thank our sponsors McArdle Cassidy McQuaid Limited, John Bogue Monaghan, Michael McQuaid Upstairs downstairs, Gerry Mullan, Ronaghans chemist, Car L Parts, Peader Treanor, Gormley PVC, Doran & Sleater, Jim McConnon, Maguire transport, LIDL, An Poc Fada, Traynors butcher and poultry, McCarrons, Noel Larkin, Adrian McConnon, M&S electrical, Harold Finegan, K McMahon, Etiquette dress hire, Monaghan Plant hire and any other sponsors whose names we have not mentioned here.

Finally we would like to say well done to all who participated and especially well done Leslie on your 100th marathon achievement. Competitors commented on the warm welcome they received in Monaghan and are looking forward to their next visit. Back to normal now as coaches and athletes prepare for the county cross country championships, see you all at Training Tuesday!

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