Six of our masters made another of those long day trips to Dublin – to the Phoenix Park, out and back. A misty still grey day ideal for running. We stopped for the traditional coffee break at Ballinalack, creaking and stretching at the picnic tables, and comparing aches and strains. And for balance remembering that it’s great to be able to do it. Check in at Donore Harriers to pick up two numbers – bib number on front, age category on the back. That’s how the British & Irish Masters Cross Country trial works. It’s incorporated in the open Autumn Open races organised by Athletics Ireland. This year there were lots of extra masters in the fields as Ireland hosts the annual Home Countries event on November 14th at Santry Demesne. It’ll be another busy sporting week-end with play-off international football matches on Friday 13th and 16th, and 50th Hollymount celebrations and races on the Saturday and Sunday.
All six of our runners ran in the first Open Autumn race over 5.3k (according to Mrs Garmin) – two long laps and one short.
Conditions underfoot were good and dry – suitable for both racing flats or spikes. The long lap had tough ups and downs, rough sections through tree roots, long grass cut and left in dry clumps on top, and a familiar long stretch to the finish arch on firm ground.
Norah Newcombe had her first experience of the event, finishing a creditable 4th in the W35 category in 19:19, with just forty seconds separating the first four. Colette Tuohy improved on her 2104 time when she was first in the W45 category in 20:44, and finished third this year in 20:13, a great performance. Angela O’Connor had a great run in Breaffy last week and is new into the W50 category. She came home in an excellent third place in 21:10.
Pauline Moran was our star of the day finishing 1st W55 in 22:23, nearly a minute faster than last year and great satisfaction in that she put clear daylight between herself and familiar age category rivals. Mags Glavey also improved her 2014 time by almost a minute to finish a clear first W65. Tom Hunt finished in 22:51 almost the same as last year, but was well outside this year in 7th place in M65. These results are based on provisional sheets published on Athletics Ireland facebook.
So all in all another very successful day. Teams of four will be selected to represent Ireland in Santry, with the first three in category getting automatic places. So it looks like Pauline, Mags Angela and Colette are well placed, while Norah will have to wait on the ‘wild card’ process which allows those who cannot run to furnish the selectors with recent performance details. We’ll update here when official teams have been published during the week by the Irish Masters Athletics Association.
Thanks to our Dublin members and supporters – Paula Prendergast had just completed her final serious run in the morning ahead of Dublin Marathon. keeping active ahead on the marathon, and the usual vocal support from Seamus Gaughan and other ‘heard but not seen’ c’mon Mayo shouts out on the course. Thanks also to Caitiona Moran for support and taking the pic.
On Saturday, we had a two competitors in the Connacht Cross country first leg in Leitrim. Congratulations to Brendan Hession who finished finished 5th overall and first Novice, and Anto Devaney sixth overall and third Masters. 26 finishers – Senior, Novice, Masters. Scroll to page 16 results file: Connacht School XC 2015
Last week we forgot to mention John Byrne who was second in the Termonbarry Half Marathon in 75 minutes (at marathon pace) in preparation for Dublin. He came over to Breaffy 10k afterwards to help out with stewarding and get his National Half marathon medals. John and Paula will once again be leading our men and women off in Dublin on Bank Holiday Monday. Best of Luck to them all.