France dominate IAU World Trail Championships in Connemara
The IAU Trail World Championships took place in the spectacular
surroundings of Connemara National Park on Saturday last. The 2009 event took place over 68km in Serre Chevalier in the French Alps where a total of 54 athletes competed from 19 nations. The event was held on a mountainous terrain over 68km with 3 major peaks one of which was 2895m (Col des Beraudes) – four times the height of Croagh Patrick.
The 71km Connemara course threw up different challenges to test
strength and endurance. ‘Gruelling’ and ‘savage’ were some of the the descriptions competitors used at the finish in Letterfrack. There were 131 competitors from 22 countries at the 7a.m start near Kylemore Abbey. They ran over mountains (Diamond Hill 424m and Benbaun 729m), grassland, gravel trails, hard packed trails, bog, loose rock trails and open countryside. Heavy rain during the week made it also extremely slippery and muddy in places As in 2009, France were the dominant team – and the homework they did on the on the course last May was well worthwhile. .
Erik Clavery (pictured above) was the winner in 6:39:07 after a great battle with
Canadian, Jason Loutitt who finished second 6:40:32. France had four
finishers in the top ten.
Maud Jobert (France, pictured left) was first woman to finish at Letterfrack in
7:41:31 ahead of 2009 winner Cecilia Mora (Italy) 7:50:02
The Irish team put in a brave performance. UK based Daniel Doherty (pictured left) finished 17th in 7:19:18, Paul Tierney 24th 7:24:35, Eoin Keith 27th 7:34:27, Thomas Maguire 46th 7:58:48 They are all experienced trail and mountain runners. Unfortunately Team Captain John Byrne dropped
out after 40k, His limited experience of trail running with its heavy
demands on the body took its toll. However, he gave his best and
accepts now that there are ‘horses for courses’. He will concentrate
on the IAU World 100k race in Holland in September, as he has already
qualified for the Irish team. Keith Whyte from Gort also dropped out
at 40k and like John Byrne, this was his first trail experience. He
joins John and Daniel Doherty on the team for Holland. In all 22 of
the 131 starters did not finish and the final finisher came in after
11 hrs 44 mins.
The race was excellently organised by Richard Donovan and his team.
Not surprisingly, the logistics were very demanding. He was grateful
for the assistance of 46 members of the Army among the many helpers on
the day. It was a great event for the village of Letterfrack and the
international flavour brought both excitement and welcome business to
the local area.
Full details and results link are at www.runconnemara.com
Report and pictures courtesy of Mayo Ac’s PRO Tom Hunt