After long trips to Dundalk 2016 and Waterford 2017, our Mayo AC masters teams had just one county border to cross to represent the club and compete at the National Masters Cross Country championships.m
The venue was the Kilcornan Estate near Clarinbridge Co Galway. Conditions were tough as we left the county. Snow flurries and icy local roads – safety first got us all there in time. Great to see John and Shane Timothy there on arrival with all our numbers and pins and directions to the facilities. Their support was brilliant during the race as was the mutually supportive spirit of camaraderie between members competing in the two masters races. It’s always a very competitive event, and more challenging as the age category mileometer clocks up.
The first race was at 1.30 with all women plus men 65+ competing, with eleven of our 18 strong masters squad were on the start line – all women and men 65+ ran 4k – 2 x 2,000 metres laps. The second race was over 7k for masters men 35-64 . – three and a half laps
There were individual, club team and county medals up for contention. The usual mad rush over the first couple of hundred metres to get a good place in the field can lead to an unsustainable pace. So experience, tactics and race awareness are vital attributes from there to the finish line. The course one of the toughest many of had experienced. It was soft, sticky muddy to the ankle all the way round with a few testing inclines. The same for everybody – but as we know some go better than others in these conditions.
In the first race our champion finisher once again was Colette Tuohy. What a phenomenal athlete she is. Colette arrived without her spikes and there was a stressful pre race exchange of shoes thanks to spares from Pauline Moran and Joan Walsh.This adrenaline rush appeared to help Colette as she had a fantastic race finishing 9th overall and gold W45. And inspiring all who followed he through to the line.
Among the eleven were a few members running their first cross country – Yvonne, Kelly, and Paula ran their hearts out and came up smiling. They probably won’t race on a more challenging course again for a while. All downhill from here.
Pauline Moran led the women and the W50 team home in a tough W60 category and won a well deserved silver medal.She was well supported by Breege Blehein who stepped up to make the team, and regular team member Ann Murray. Mags Glavey found it hard going towards the end but her resilience and experience saw her through win a silver medal in the W65 category. The W50 team won bronze.In the same race. Tom Hunt finished his first M70 race with a bronze.
Our magnificent seven men in the second race over 7k had a more difficult task on an increasingly churned up course. Some of them ventured boldly into new territory in their first cross country event. Darren, Emmett, Eugene, and Stephen stuck in there and completed the task brilliantly. Fair play too to Anto, Padraig and Ronnie who ran with great courage.
Congratulations and well done to all our runners especially to the four individual medals winners and the W50 team.
It was certainly a day in the life, but what a day.
Look out for more photos during the week.
.Mayo AC Masters Cross Country 2018:
Womens +35 Team – bronze
Congratulations to Sara Doohan (Corran AC, Ballymote) who was the women’s race winner and first W35 again this year. She obviously thrives in these conditions and was second overall last year in Waterford. Well done also to Paddy O’Toole (Westport AC) who won a bronze medal in the M40 category.
Thanks again to all our supporters around the course.
The next National Masters Championships are the Indoors in Athlone Arena on March 4. See event calendar for details. No entries on the day.