Sportsworld Delay Cross Country Start – Again!
Reports of an ark being constructed on the grounds of Aras an Uachtaran, presumably to evacuate the President and selected residents of the zoo, have not been confirmed. However Met Eireann have confirmed that if water levels rise any further Ireland will be transformed into an amusing archipelago of Lugnocoille, Croagh Patrick, Carrauntoohil etc.

Awaking to the, now, all too familiar sound of rain drumming against the window I was relieved not to hear water flowing around my bed. Wrapping the duvet tightly about me I pondered what was in store and secretly hoped that today’s Dublin Intermediate Cross Country Championships would be called off. Alas, it takes more then a flood of biblical proportions to stop a Dublin Athletics Board Cross Country Race.

Arriving with Mike Cunningham at Tymon shortly after 1pm, it didn’t bode well to find the Children of Lir resting on a lake formed at a bend in the course.

Paul Duffy and Ronan Merrick trotted up to tell us that we had 10mins before the mens race so with an air of controlled panic we made a bit of a dash down to the start. The great advantage of being late is you don’t need to bother about warming up and you don’t have to keep going to the toilet. One by one the rest of the mens team, Gareth Murran, Trevor McSweeney and Colm Kennedy arrived – with minutes to spare.

Unfortunately, due to our lateness, we missed the ladies race. I did bump in to Ciara, Helen and Louise, and I know that Ruth had another very strong run – well done to all on what must have been ‘Character Building’! In fact Ciara told me that she felt like she had just completed an Iron Man competition.

And so to the mens race… We are assembled ready to go when, is it a bird, is it plane – no, it’s Mark Dunne doing the 100m dash to the start line. Harry’s anxious to get this one started – there’s no messing about ‘toe behind the line’ this time – everyone just wants to get this over so we can go home. BANG and there off!

The underfoot conditions were the worst I’ve experienced over the two years of Cross Country I have raced. The opportunities to run were limited to a few short sections on the higher section of the course – but for the most part it was trudging through deep muck or standing water – up to 25cm in places.

Paul Duffy tore off with the leaders followed by Mike, Trevor, Ronan, Garret and Mark. Colm and I fought a rear-guard action – objective: Try not to be last. After a week of warm-weather, high altitude training in Lanzarote great things were promised by our elite – on reflection, perhaps a bog snorkelling trip to Yorkshire would have been more beneficial?

After the first lap I lost sight of our elite runners and settled down to run with Colm, exchanging the lead between us as the course rose and fell. We worked well together for the first two laps but then I lost contact with him and ran on my own. Passing through half way I could see Garret dropping back through the field and tried to give chase. By that stage I had developed a pretty bad stitch in the lower abdomen and was also dropping back, and was never within 30m of him.

A steady stream of runners passed me on the 3rd and 4th laps and I had nothing in the tank to stay with them. In the last 500m a Rathfarnham runner went by and I used him to take me home – just about holding off the following pack and sneaking by him on the line as an added bonus. Colm followed a couple of seconds later.

Top of the Sportsworld pile was Mike, who secretly loves running in slop, followed by an impressive Trevor in his Cross-Country debut. For full results check the Dublin Athletics Board Website – in about a month.

Thanks to Sportworld faithful for their supporter – the conditions may have been harder on you then on us. The cheers were certainly appreciated if not acknowledged.

For racepix395 photos click here.

Report By
Paul Mitchell