West Cork roads open to all

Posted on: 4th August, 2015

Category: Sport & Fitness

Contributor: West Cork People

Above: l-r Sandra and David Kerr with their son Aaron and Rick and Dick Hoyt, with family friends Bryan Lyons and John Canty, are pictured with MCI runners crossing the line in Courtmacsherry. All photos by Liz Cardoso of Global Click photography.

Saturday, July 25 marked the third year of the Keith Whyte Waterfront Ultra Marathon in Courtmacsherry; with 371 participants, the race was a resounding success. This year, Keith was joined by Boston Race icons Team Hoyt, Ireland’s Team Kerr, ‘Jerry The Legend’ Forde and many more unique runners, walkers and wheelchair participants.


It was a beautiful sunny day with inspiring presentations given by Team Hoyt on both Thursday and Friday evening. The Ultra run, with five race distances, kicked off the festival week in Courtmacsherry on Saturday.

Twenty runners competed in the 100 km race; the winner, Fozzy Forristal of Kerry Crusaders completed the race in a time of 8:31. The female winner was Anne Jennings in a time of 11:22. All 100 km finishers will be listed on a bronze plaque placed in Courtmacsherry village. Keith Whyte sub 4 won the 36 miles in a time of 3:59. This was Keith’s training run, as he is representing Ireland in the 100 km Championships in Holland on September 12. The female winner of the 36 miles was Col Conway sub 5 in a time of 4:54. Killian Deasy of Clonakilty Roadrunners won the 26.2 miles in a time of 3:10; the female winner was Anita Barry, 3:32. Tony Kelleher Togher AC won the 13.1 miles in a time of 1:16; the female winner was Collette O’Donoghue, 1:40. Ronan Wogan from Precision Timing won the 10 k in a time of 35:55; the female winner was Hillary Galway, 44:59. Paul Mulcahy won the 18 mile in a time of 2:19.

A safe, sunny and happy running event was had by all and the organisers Ia and Bob Hilliard, in association with the MCI, would like to acknowledge and thank the Red Cross, all the fantastic volunteers and marshalls (collectively known as the Clon crew), the great community of Courtmacsherry, all of the runners, walkers and wheelchair users and of course the awesome International Team Hoyt crew who took turns in pushing Rick Hoyt while he made everyone’s day with endless smiles.

“We were honoured to have Team Hoyt and Team Kerr as our guests this year and would like to emphasise that our races are all-inclusive. Team Hoyt and Team Kerry are planning to return next year and will have 30-40 Team Hoyt wheelchairs racing on the roads of West Cork,” says Bob.

The inspiring story of Team Hoyt

Rick was born in 1962 to Dick and Judy Hoyt. As a result of oxygen deprivation to Rick’s brain at the time of his birth, Rick was diagnosed as a spastic quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. Dick and Judy were advised to institutionalise Rick because there was no chance of him recovering, and little hope for Rick to live a ‘normal’ life. This was just the beginning of Dick and Judy’s quest for Rick’s inclusion in community, sports, education and one day, the workplace.

Dick and Judy soon realised that though Rick couldn’t walk or speak; he was quite astute and his eyes would follow them around the room. They fought to integrate Rick into the public school system, pushing administrators to see beyond Rick’s physical limitations. Dick and Judy would take Rick sledding and swimming, and even taught him the alphabet and basic words, like any other child. After providing concrete evidence of Rick’s intellect and ability to learn like everyone else, Dick and Judy needed to find a way to help Rick communicate for himself.

With $5,000 in 1972 and a skilled group of engineers at Tufts University, an interactive computer was built for Rick. This computer consisted of a cursor being used to highlight every letter of the alphabet. Once the letter Rick wanted was highlighted, he was able to select it by just a simple tap with his head against a headpiece attached to his wheelchair. When the computer was originally first brought home, Rick surprised everyone with his first words. Instead of saying, “Hi, Mom,” or “Hi, Dad,” Rick’s first “spoken” words were: “Go, Bruins!” The Boston Bruins were in the Stanley Cup finals that season. It was clear from that moment on, that Rick loved sports and followed the game just like anyone else.

In 1975, at the age of 13, Rick was finally admitted into public school. After high school, Rick attended Boston University, and he graduated with a degree in Special Education in 1993. Dick retired in 1995 as a Lt. Colonel from the Air National Guard, after serving his country for 37 years.

The Beginning of Team Hoyt

In the spring of 1977, Rick told his father that he wanted to participate in a five-mile benefit run for a Lacrosse player who had been paralysed in an accident. Far from being a long-distance runner, Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair and they finished all five miles, coming in next to last. That night, Rick told his father, “Dad, when I’m running, it feels like I’m not handicapped.”

This realisation was just the beginning of what would become over 1150 races completed, including marathons, duathlons and triathlons (six of of them being Ironman competitions). Also adding to their list of achievements, Dick and Rick biked and ran across the US in 1992, completing a full 3,735 miles in 45 days, which they still hold a record for.

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.

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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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