The Palace Grounds Tuam is the venue for the National Intermediate & Masters Cross Country on Feb 8. It’s the first time in 16 years this event has taken place in Galway. Following their successful recent 8k, Brendan Monaghan and Tuam AC team are busy preparing the ground. He says it’s a decent course, a bit of up and down with some technical turns but nothing like Westport last November. It may be familiar to some who ran in Connacht championships there in the past.
So I went to Fermanagh Cross Country on Saturday to tune up for Tuam. It was my fifth xc race since October. Mottled snow patches on the flanks of Benbulben and Truskmore on the way. Through Beleek, Boa Island and Kesh and by some real great lakes to Irvinestown. It was the seventh of eight races in the Northern Ireland 2014/15 XC League designed to improve participation. Points given according to finishing place and extra points awarded to clubs based on number of members taking part. Acorns AC (Cookstown) formed just 9 months ago had 30 men/women there. The course at Necarne Estate is very good with a complete view of the almost one mile lap. Some testing up and down but no real muddy bits.
Seniors and masters raced five laps and with with only one o65 at the start I was given the option to run three laps with Junior men – my GPS read 4.3k, at finish line in 19:13. Good to meet up with Rory Connor and Shane Hayes of Sligo AC who completed the five laps.
Registration and presentation took place at the adjacent Bawnacre Centre. Excellent facilities there – soup, sandwiches, tea, coffee and biscuits all included in the £5 entry fee. Now that’s real value for money. Excellently organised by Enniskillen RC with the support of the District Council. It’s puzzling why more runners don’t take part in cross country, but it is encouraging to see the NI initiative is paying off.
Results at http://www.nirunning.co.uk/news
Entry for Tuam is still open and members who intend running should tell Trisha Carty by Thursday next.
The 31st Raheny 5 was the week-end’s big race on Sunday. The winner was Martin Fagan (Mullingar Hrs) 23:36, and first woman home in a PB by 59 secs was Lizzie Lee (Leevale) in 26:34. Norah Newcombe Pieterse (Ballina AC) was 10th woman in 29:09. Paula Prendergast finished in 32:06 having run 19:29 in the Marlay Park parkrun on Saturday morning