After a week of storms and event cancellations it was back to competitive business for members on Sunday. We had six runners representing the club at the Open Autumn Cross Country Festival today at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin.
The event also serves as a trial for selection on the Irish team for the upcoming annual Home Countries Cross Country International at Gransha Park Derry on November 18.
The Abbotstown course has all the challenges you’d expect for a cross country event – wide grassy spaces, muddy sections, and half way round the two kilometres lap a section twisting up and down through a heavily sanded area. The adult races were preceded by half a dozen junior races and despite the effects of recent wet weather the course was good with firm conditions in grassy areas. There was a fair breeze in the open areas but the rain held off. There were two races for masters triallists. Our competitors ran in the first of these races – all women from u20 upwards to F60 completing four laps (6k), while M and F65s+ ran three laps – 4.5k.
All masters competing in the trial wore a second bib on the back of their vests indicating their age category, adding another ingredient to the excitement.
There was brilliant support all around the course with easy viewing points for spectators – a big thank you to many who gave Mayo AC encouragement.
Finishing places are more important than times. The first race was at 2pm. Colette Tuohy was our first finisher in the 6k race and first F45 – another trademark strong run heading home ahead of a number of contenders in this competitive category. Angela O’Connor ran a brave race despite a niggling hamstring strain and won the F50 section in a close fought finish. Pauline Moran was also in very competitive company and ran excellently to finish third F60 behind seasoned masters winners Carmel Parnell and Christine Kennedy. Mags Glavey was our third category winner running brilliantly as usual and she had 30 seconds to spare at the finish of the F65 race over 4.5k.
We have just received verification from the Irish Masters Association that Colette, Angela, Pauline, and Mags all qualify their age categories to be the Irish teams who will compete in Derry next month on the day before Hollymount. Great news for the club and well done to all on a magnificent performance.
We were all delighted to see Breege Blehein back in action after a recent lay off from competition. She made the Irish Masters team a few times over the years but was outside the qualification places in her F50 category today. However, she enjoyed the experience and hope to train up and compete in the upcoming Connacht League. Tom Hunt ran in the M65 category and finished seventh.
It was another successful and proud day for the club competing at national level.
The first race in the Connacht Cross Country League is on Sunday next October 29 at Calry, Sligo. Entry deadline is Tuesday next October 24 at midnight. Contact Trisha Carty giving her time to ensure your entry: firstname.lastname@example.org 087 418 0590