Preview of the Ballycotton 10 mile road race. The course is basically shaped like a spoon...3 miles out...then a 4 mile loop....and then 3 miles back.

The race starts about 800 metres from the Race HQ, right inside in the heart of the village itself.

The start line is shown in the image above and as you can see, the road is quite narrow. As you would expect, the start is congested and it can take a while for the field to open up a bit.

Packed start....Photo : John Hennessey
 The first 300 metres or so is slightly uphill but you won't notice it with the crowd.

After that, it's slightly downhill as you run through the village.....then past the National school and the road then flattens out as you run past the old church.

After this it is pretty flat until you pass the 1 mile mark. Then, you start the downhill section and you'll see the race route ahead...

As you can see, you are looking down on the route ahead and you can see where the race crosses the marsh before climbing slightly up to the 2 mile mark. The first 2 miles are largely downhill and fast. When you are returning here and they are the last 2 miles, they won't be so easy.

After this, it's largely flat and you will reach Mullanes Cross at the 3m mark. This also doubles up as the 7 mile mark and you will find plenty of water here....usually in plastic cups. You turn right here and continue on what are largely flat roads. There is a slight pull before the 4 mile mark but it's nothing really serious. As you finish the loop, you're back to the 7 mile mark and then retracing your steps back towards the finish. It's flat as far as the 8 mile mark and then it's slightly downhill to the low point next to the marsh and you can see the lighthouse and finish way off to the left..

As you get closer, you can see the hill ahead....

Now, this is where it starts getting interesting! There is no getting away from the fact that the Ballycotton 10 has a tough finish. It's a reasonably long climb and you are going to lose time on it. If you don't care about what time you will do, then that's fine but if you have a specific target, you will need to have a cushion built up before the 8.5 mile mark. After this, it flattens out after the 9 mile mark and then you head in towards the village and pass the old church....

In past the National school and then you start the last little hill....a lot easier than the previous one but it can have an impact on tired legs...

At the top, you pass the church entrance and the 400 metres to go mark. After this, it's flat and then slightly downhill to the finish.

Overall, a reasonable course. Just remember to have a cushion for the hills at the end if you are trying to beat a target time. If you want to have a look at the route in closer detail, it's up on the MapMyRun website.