Winner of the Women’s Small Echo Marathon sets a new course record

Leval runner Sinead O’Connor won the women’s Echo Mini Marathon this afternoon, setting a new course record of 20.33.

This is the second time Sinead has won the Echo Women’s Mini Marathon, taking the title in 2019 as well.

Sinad, speaking to The Echo after the race, said she did not expect to break the record.

“I went quite comfortable, the first two miles, so I’m surprised it was a track record, so obviously we picked it up a lot in the last mile. I had Lizzie all the way to push me, so it was a great race.”

The sprinter was followed up by her teammate Lizzie Lee who said she was very comfortable spinning on the track.

race winner Sinead O’Connor of Leevale AC setting a new track record, with (left) third-placed Hannah Steeds, of Bantry; secon Lizzie Lee of Leevale and (right) Lord Mayor Cllr Deirdre Forde lay down at the finish line medal display of the Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon at Sundy 18th September 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins

“It was a great day, I’ve won this three times and now I’m second twice and we broke the course record, which is Michelle Fein’s. Sinead gave me an excellent race and I knew she was going, I didn’t have the speed for her at the end.”

New training buddy Hannah Steeds, who is currently relocating from Clonmel to Leval, took third place after returning to her hometown.

Speaking to The Echo, Hannah said her tactic was to hold on to Sinead and Lizzie for as long as possible.

“I got stuck behind them and tried to stay there.”

    Race winner Sinead O'Connor of Leevale AC who sets a new world record in the Echo Women's Mini-Marathon at Sundy 18th September 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins
Race winner Sinead O’Connor of Leevale AC who sets a new world record in the Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon at Sundy 18th September 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins

Mayor Lord Deirdre Ford said she was honored to award the medals to the winning female athletes.

“It’s such an honor to support women in Cork and beyond, run to raise money for so many charities, I think it’s great and I want to thank The Echo, this is a great contest that started 41 years ago and it raised a lot of money for charity. Everyone comes together and it’s great Shining a light on women for change.”

Lisa Hegarty, another Leval athlete, placed fifth. “I ran in 2019 and one of the virtual games, and I’m really happy to be able to get back up and running again this year.” Mary Sweeney, 62, is a strong participant in The Echo Women’s Mini Marathon and is still competitive, placing 20th.

    (middle) race winner Sinead O'Connor of Leval who set a new track record with (left) third-placed Hannah Steeds of Bantry;  and (right) runner-up Leevale's Lizzie Lee at the Echo Women's Mini-Marathon's finish line medal presentation Sunday, September 18, 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins
(middle) race winner Sinead O’Connor of Leval who set a new track record with (left) third-placed Hannah Steeds of Bantry; and (right) runner-up Leevale’s Lizzie Lee at the Echo Women’s Mini-Marathon’s finish line medal presentation Sunday, September 18, 2022. Pic: Larry Cummins

“I run it every year, except for one year, I had a chest infection. I was in second place three times, and I was winning for a year, but I finished second.

“It’s a great day, it’s a pleasure to be here, meet all my friends, meet old and young.” Marie said she hopes to be back again next year.

“I’m not a spring chicken, but I’m in great shape and I’m glad I’m running and I’m grateful. I work at work and the parkrons at Ballincoolleg are great.”