Having somehow made it to December with outracing in any of the cross country events I finally ran out of excuses and put my name down for the Dublin Intermediate in Tymon Park. “It’s only 8km, you’ll be grand”, “it’s a handy course, flat as they come”, and “your marathon training will really stand to you” were a sample of the words of wisdom which were gifted to me by the likes of Paul & Myles.

The week beforehand was spent living my life vicariously through those who were in Lanza. The constant stream of photos and the stories of Looby throwing out his back whilst twerking were enough to make any make any man, woman or beast jealous. As it happened I ended up having the week off work myself which helped ease the suffering so a few days away were in order to recharge the batteries and regain some motivation. An almighty session, the drinking variety as opposed to the running, on the Friday night put an end to that!

Come Sunday it appeared the weather Gods were in our favour. Maybe this might not be as bad as I feared! After a losing battle with my spikes (first I just couldn’t find them and then I humiliated myself with my feeble effort at taking out the track spikes that ran a combined total of 800m last summer) I decided to jog up to Tymon as a warm up. It was like a Sportsworld conference up there such were the numbers between runners and our adoring fans. A few of us decided to do a lap of the course to get our bearings and this was around the same time the women’s race started. We did a quick lap and got in position to cheer on our club mates who brilliantly won team gold and also individual gold & bronze through Lisa & Ciara.Bravo!

 Then the men were off! It was four laps of the2km course which meandered around three different fields. As is the way with cross country there is a wide start which quickly narrows into a tight space and a sharp first corner. There were nearly as many elbows here as there wereat the cake sale although to be fair Diarmuid was a lot more civilised in Tymon Park and there were no reports of him biting anyone. The course itself is actually very fair. There are no proper hills and the ground itself was in fairly good condition for the most part.

The enjoyable thing about cross country is that the field settles very quickly and you then spend the race battling people for places. I decided to sit on the shoulder of a runner from Raheny and let him pace me. There was another Raheny guy in front of him and a Brothers Pearse guy on my tail. The 4 of us had a bit of a see saw battle over laps 2 & 3before we dropped the Brothers Pearse guy. When we got into the 2nd field ofthe last lap I said I’d make a move on the Raheny guy who was in front of me.The other Raheny guy was behind me at this stage and I felt that if I pushed on he wouldn’t follow. I was wrong. The plan worked to an extent that when I overtook the guy in front he didn’t push to keep up, but the guy behind me followed and overtook his teammate. There was going to be no gentle saunter to the finish. My new plan was to stay in front of him and then make a strong push for the finish as soon as I saw the roof of the National Basketball Arena which was roughly 300 metres from the finish line. To be fair to him he didn’t give up and he pushed me all the way but thankfully i pipped him. Then only a few places back was Stephen who was followed closely by Mark and then Karl. Great efforts all around especially considering Stephen & Mark had the 4 Lanza races in their legs!

Unfortunately we were the bridesmaids once more with a 4th place team finish, but nonetheless it was an enjoyable day outwith the Sportsworld army in full flow. Roll on the National Novice in a couple of weeks ……

With the lanzarote trip, injuries and runners ineligible due to previous race wins new runners had to come through to make their mark. The first lap was set at a blistering pace with the top 10 places changing each lap and the top 4 girls on the Sportsworld team changing each lap too.

The Team race looked like it was going to be a close result but in the end the girls had a large 20 point lead with great individual 1st and 3rd medals with 3 runners in the top 10. So the next push for the girls team is for 3 team golds in a row at the national novice cross country in a couple of weeks