Cork City Marathon 10km – My road to recovery

Guest blog

Jonathan Kenneally

  • Club St Catherine’s AC
  • Instagram profile jk_tri_run_travel
  • A triathlete that hates the bike
  • Injured more than not

Signing up and beginning of the journey

My 10km journey started when I used the Runners Diary Podcast discount code to sign up for the 10km on January 27th, I said it was a realistic target and gave me plenty of time to be ready. In the end it was a close call  with plenty of moving targets. To give you a better idea of my journey I should go back to last year. Between May and November a shoulder problem kept me out and only minumun exercise was done, my comeback came with Cloyne 4 km in November followed by All-Ireland Novice Cross Country hosted by St. Catherines in December. I was delighted with the race, felt strong and confidence was back. A week later on December 11th it was all to change when I put my back out getting out of the car, definitely a sign I’m getting old. It made for an interesting Christmas and New Year where I struggled to walk and majority was spent in bed. In my head I was thinking I’d be back running in a few weeks but as weeks passed I continued to struggle. It wasn’t until March 26th that I ran again. I did a test run to see could I take part in some running at an ASICS FrontRunner meet up the following week. I managed a slow 4km, I was stiff afterwards but at least I got it done. I survived 2 runs during that weekend and it gave me some confidence.

April and progress

I started April with saying 50 minutes for the 10km would be great. I got some confidence with the runs while over ASICS meet up so I said I’d slowly start to get some more in. I managed to get up to 8km by the end of the month, there wasn’t any real pace in these runs but it was great to be out enjoying running again. St Catherines had a session with Pat Hanly from APC physio in Fermoy also one evening. I headed down to that and straight away he could spot many imbalances. Having been to Pats fitness revolution classes in the past he was no doubt surprised how far back I am now. That started a plan with Pat which hopefully brings back some of the core fitness.


Finished with 62kms of running in April

May and the races

May saw me thinking of maybe trying for 45 mins for 10km.

With a week away with the family in Cambrills it gave me a chance to get some running in. Not being stuck at my desk all day was a huge benefit as I felt a lot looser when getting out for a run. In total I got 4 runs in and a few swims. The runs were partly tourism running but nothing wrong with stopping to see the sun set on a way summers evening.

Once back I decided to give Eagles Cheeath Run a go. I went in with no goal and if anyone asked me my response was 25 mins. I set off at the start of the race and felt good. I completed it by getting faster and with a time of 20:14. No way did I expect that and I felt strong. I followed this up with my 1st “long” run in 6 months and hit 10km before heading to John Buckley 5km the following Tuesday. Talking to St Catherines teammate Chris before the race we settled for sub 20 and with him close by the whole time we both hit the goal of sub 20. I was delighted with that. From breaking 18 mins for the 1st time last year in the same race to being happier to break 20 this year showed that progress continued.

Finished with 99kms in May

Almost race day

A week of stiff legs and just general tiredness from increasing mileage leading into the race meant I wasn’t sure what my goal was. Could be 40 mins, could be 45 mins or anything in between.

Race day

As is tradition, I stayed back in my parents house the night before Cork. Makes for an easier morning and a short “taxi” spin in from my dad. I bet he thought he’d surely be rid of us by now but we just keep coming back. The city was buzzing in the morning and a lot more people around compared to other years. St Catherines were meeting at 8am for a photo which eventually happened at about 8:15 and after that we went for a short warm up. I moved my way to just behind the 40 minute pacer but that was probably the closest I got to him all day.

KM 1 to 3 – I can do this

I started off with 3:56, 3:59 and 4:00 splits and from the start I knew it was bad idea as I was already feeling the heat and new I was at my limits. Any time we hit some shade it was a relief.

KM 4 & 5 – Lets hang in there

Splits of 4:07 and 4:11 followed but I was just hanging in there. The 4th km was tight in parts and I witnessed one guy take a bad fall after tripping over the base of cone. It is funny that the smallest bump feels like a mountain when you are running a flat course.

Km 6 to 10 – Lets find a realistic pace and stick with it

I decided from here I’d have to be realistic and pull the pace back. Right now its about getting fit again and there was no use killing myself to get a time and end up injuring myself so I decided I’d try around 4:25 pace for the rest. I found 6 and 7 the hardest out of the lot as there was a few sharp turns and I felt I was turning like a bus just past Blackpool church and again at the small out and back.

The splits weren’t so bad once I made my mind up as I finished out with 4:23, 4:27, 4:18, 4:24 & 4:25. Once we passed he bus station and along the quay the heat was really picking up, I was glad it was getting to the end. Was delighted to be able to pick it up a small but heading towards the line.

I ended up with a time of 42:30. I was delighted with this. Again its a long way off my PB but I have plenty of time to get back to there.

After watching the half and full in a few areas around Cork it was time to head to Deep South for Runners Diary Podcast after party. Well done to them for putting on great entertainment and it was great to see huge crowds enjoying themselves.

I’d see myself going back next year depending on my goals for 2024 but at the very least I will be out there supporting.


  • Cost was reasonable and inline with other events of that distance
  • Course was flat
  • Support was excellent throughout
  • Great to cross the finish line on Patricks Street. If I was doing relay I wouldn’t have have had the chance to do so

Improvements needed

  • The start was too crowded and too many people placing them in wrong places which lead to congestion
  • The 3km to 4km mark is very tight and may need to be looked at
  • Better placement of water for the 10km
  • Medal was cheap and tacky. There is all talk about sustainability but maybe take a look at less plastic bottles if there is a concern. It feels more like cost saving rather than sustainability
Posted in Guest Blog.