The Ward, Saturday November 30th – There was a healthy Sportsworld turnout at the NSRT/SMART BHAA XC held on farmland just off the N2 on Dublin’s northside. Beneath tremendously cold conditions and a thick fog lay an enterprising farmer that had built a fine indoor astro park facility on his land that could hold full sized football matches. After registration we jogged around the course, which consisted of land that had maize harvested recently; and the ground was very soft due to both heavy rainfall and the fact that some of the land had been recently ploughed. From mid morning, a crowd of people including volunteers, photographers, journalists and on lookers had assembled at the drama point of the course – an almost waist high stream that had to be briefly waded through en route to completing the course. The river wasn’t as bad as one’s mind could lead it to imagine – what was a bigger test was the short steep hill up the valley straight after it when your momentum had been absorbed by the river. If anything it served as a well needed wash along the way! This clip from last year will give you an idea:

Onto the action, and 24 competitors toed the line for the girls race (4k), won by the brilliant Raheny based Pole Patrycia Wlodarczyk. Our own girls didn’t disappoint either, with Helen battling through the thick mud and fog for a podium finish; and Stephanie finishing a magnificent 4th.

For the men’s race, the sluice gate was opened to allow a greater volume of water to enter the stream (which before that was below knee height). The 6k race of 130 men was won by one of Meath’s finest runners Rory McDonnell. Performance of the day went to Paul O Connell, who had got back from the canaries well after midnight and a few hours before the starting gun. Completing four races in four days (including a half marathon) during his ‘holiday’ in Lanzarote was not enough to deter Paul from a top 6 finish.

Having run the Dublin marathon less than five weeks previously, Eoin ran his first cross country in a little over a year and did very well indeed. Elsewhere in the field, Packie, Billy and Brian put in some decent performances ahead of next week’s national novice.

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Womens 4km
1 Patrycia Wlodarczyk 19:33
3 Helen White 20:36
4 Stephanie Bergin 21:03

Mens 6km
1 Rory McDonnell 23:14
6 Paul O’Connell 24:40
17 Packie Enright 26:05
26 Billy Tyrell 27:01
72 Brian Conway 30:45
77 Eoin O’Brien 31:34

Report By
Packie Enright