Friday turned out to be a Leo kind of evening. As I made my way towards the start of the annual Humphrey Murphy Memorial 5K / 10K Road Race / Walk, the cheers of Leo Varadkar supporters and the announcement of his elevation rang in my ears.
I got to the Limerick Road starting point for the event and the first man I bumped into there was Leo Murphy – the late Humphrey’s father.
Leo is usually cast in the role of honorary starter in the race which commemorates the many athletic and charitable good deeds carried out by his son up to his accidental death in 2011.
Humphrey Murphy was a great supporter of Glebe Lodge Residential facility and his memory is well enshrined there and in the annual event from which ‘The Lodge’ now benefits.
Though happily settled in the green and gold heartland, Humphrey was openly proud of his North Cork roots.
In the run-up to a vital Cork V Kerry game some years ago he learned that there were people from Cork in residence at Glebe Lodge. He went over there and hoisted the Red and White flag on the chimney for them ahead of the game with the old enemy.
Humphrey raised countless thousands of pounds and Euros for a variety of local and national charities.
He was described by one local charity branch spokesperson as ‘a pleasure to deal with.’
“He went away and did the runs and arrived back with the cheque ready for presentation no more fuss or bother to him.”
He selflessly worked with and introduced many locals to the benefits and joys of running and regular exercise at An Riocht AC.
Can be Traced Back
Today’s hugely successful Couch-to-5K programme – which is still attracting huge numbers in its season and on its designated Tuesday and Thursday evenings – can be traced back to Humphrey’s initiative at the club just before his untimely death in a work-place accident in May 2011.
The numbers may have been back on other years at last evening’s event but the competition was no less fierce for that.
There were 25 entries for the 10K and 84 for the 5K. First home, and in flying form in the 5K, was Robert Purcell of Gneeveguilla AC, with DJ O’Sullivan, Meelin, and Mark Ryall, Lixnaw in his wake and in that order.
An Ríocht Athletes
The ladies 5K yielded the first three places to An Ríocht AC athletes with Catherine O’Sullivan, Fiona Kavanagh and Mary Barrett coming home in that order.
In the men’s 10K, An Ríocht AC runners, Seán O’Sullivan, Patrick O’Connor and Larry Hickey left the town closely grouped and they came home in that very formation in an evening made for outdoor celebrations of community and life itself.
Hurley and Sliotar
All the while, there was a young lad flaking a sliotar with a well crafted hurley off Tomo Burke’s wall at Dave Geaney’s Corner.
It turned out he’s a nephew of Humphrey’s and from Castlewarren in Co. Kilkenny. He intends to play in Croke Park for his county’s senior hurlers some day. Remember the name, Alex McDonald.
There were medals for those who took part and tea and coffee and biscuits for all at the Ivy Leaf Art Centre afterwards.
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