Most of the runners who join the club have never done a championship race and feel that just getting through the weekly training sessions they are already champions. When you listen to the news or read the paper and they are talking about county hurlers or all Ireland finalists it sounds so impressive. But runners have the chance to compete at the same level as them but Athletics it’s but more accessible than other sports. Most people don’t get a chance to compete in Croke Park but a lot of club runners have chances to compete in Championship races and get Championship medals.
Championship races are races where your county, province or country awards medals. The top-level is National Senior. You have National Senior Cross Country, Marathon, Indoor/Outdoor track and a number of road distances like 5km, 10Km, Half Marathon. As well as county, province, and national you can also have Novice, Intermediate and Senior. Novice is open to everyone once you have not got individual or team gold medals in the past. Intermediate is a step up again and certain medals will prevent you from competing in Intermediate races.
Is it possible for club runners to get championship medals? Yes. There are a lot of different race distances and levels the championships medals are awarded but what makes championship medals accessible is the team medals. Every club struggles to get full teams together with their best runners who are on top form at the right time, not injured, not away with work or sick. Some clubs have national champions on their teams but fail to get team medals because they don’t have a full team or their best team available for a race. The club has won several novice, immediate and national team medals over the years but it’s all dependent on getting full teams for championship races.
The race calendar is finally coming back to normal following the Covid disruption. Some confirmation of race dates are only confirmed a few weeks before the event which doesn’t help get teams together but in the next couple of weeks, a general calendar of when each of the championship races is reading Leinster held will be made for the website so people can know what races are coming up and can ask how they get ready.
Below are a couple of examples of Championship races and medals won.