Race reports by Padraig Looby & Caroline Conway
Photos thanks to Anna Delaney
Dublin Novice XC 2018; Going; dry to firm > hard underfoot, 12° Broken Clouds, winds 26km/h, 93 brave women togged out in Total, 11 Sportsworld.
Sunday midday: 12 bells, it’s time to get up and get ready! Under strict instructions from Myles to be there for 1pm. Even though I was dropped from the team; that didn’t dampen my spirits. I donned on my brand spankin’ new singlet and rocked up to the Magazine Fort with high hopes that there would be a spare number flying around. Being a glorious autumn day, albeit a tad windy, what else would you be at. Once I got there, the group were easy enough to spot or if I had any doubt I headed for the gathering of people dressed in red and hoped for the best.
The team omission “issue” was quickly rectified and Emily miraculously found a number for me. “Excellent” I said to myself as I looked around suddenly realising how ill-equipped I was for the situation. Anyway, the call of time to do a warm up distracted me with “off yiz go and do a bit of a lap”. We headed off around the course in a nice group. When we got back, the distance had only clocked 1.5km, we knew we had 2 laps to do but the race was down as a 4km. Somethings wasn’t quite adding up. “Ah pity we didn’t have the full 4km to do” said no one E.V.E.R! Either we had clocked the right distance or we had missed some pig of a 500m hill somewhere. Thankfully it ended up being the 1st case, phew!
Race reporter Caroline
1:45pm: To the start line we go, nerves building, the anticipation of the unknown pace, we get a test round of ammunition and then the real thing. Bang. We’re away.
Whatever it is about the shot fire; I just hare off uncontrollably (to the 1st bend at least!, maybe in a previous life I came from the hood). It was clear even at this stage who the main contenders were, the pack of the top 5/6 had formed and Lisa was up there with Ciara in her shadow. The course was relentless, not in terms of the terrain….. ok it was undulating which pulls the legs off you anyway but in terms of the support/spectators. We had support all over the course, cheers and words of encouragement came out of nowhere; just when I think I might ease up to catch my breathe. There was nowhere to hide! Which obviously is fantastic and much appreciated, might I add.
Over the rolling hills and down towards the trail under the trees onto some single track; we were pretty much all lined out at this stage. We continued on back around to the start (and the main crowd) again. Ok, one more of these laps and then we’re done……I think…….considering there was some debacle over the distance. Lorna, followed by Naoise pass me by as we head onto the final lap. I look up and notice Lisa shuffling sideways and looking back. I thought to myself, is she waiting for someone so we pack well as a team? very considerate. Thankfully I was too far in distance back to start shouting at her to “Go on, save yourself”. <Later it transpired that Lisa had taken an unfortunate tumble that ended in a pile up duo. It would have been easier to drop and roll like a soccer player, staying down, with the visible marks of spikes on ones leg but in the true battle of cross country; both got up and ran on.>
Onto the back stretch and every place is up for grabs on a team run. The cheers of “close THAT gap”, “you’re nearly there”, “pick her off” ring all around the Magazine Fort. The only thing that’s on my mind is Damage Limitation and Survival, trying not to let another rival club jersey go by. Pain etched across most of the runners faces and now is time to empty the tank and go for it, if there was anything left. With prayers that we didn’t have to go around again to make up the additional kilometre, the course started to narrow which was a welcome sight. A sure give away that the finish line was nearing. The funnelling into the placings shoot was imminent. And just like that; it was all over; 11 to 16 minutes of work and the rest of the day to debrief.
Huge thanks to all the support.
October means a number of things in Sportsworld. It hearlds the start of the winter sessions for all. It’s the culmination of marathon training for some. And it also means Cross Country. And as Emily doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of the world ‘no’ I found myself chalked down to run the season opener men’s novice 6km race in Dublin’s Phoenix Park last Sunday, October 7.
The pre race routine is a well worn path at this stage, full of the usual “why am I doing this?” and “you’re not fit enough” to “todays the day you get found out”. Putting the demons aside I arrive in good time to find the usual large Sportsworld contingent limbering up.
Conditions were pretty decent overall, good firm ground and just a medium strength breeze (new meteorological term I just invented). The gun went bang on (pardon the pun) the 2.15pm start time and we were off for the first of 4 laps (despite Myles having earlier looked me in the eye and promise me a 3 lap race!!)
For an inexperienced Cross Country-er like myself, the first lap was always going to be about surviving, staying upright (unlike the unfortunate Lisa Madden in the ladies race) and finding some kind of rhythm. The course was a 1.5km loop which quickly drops down out of the wind where I tuck in behind a group to take me round lap 1. I am well settled and reasonably content as we complete the first lap – though perhaps I am too well settled and content for Margaret Crowley’s liking who issues me with a stern rebuke for ‘smiling’ as we commence lap 2. Sorry for enjoying myself Margaret!
With that raucous disapproval ringing in my ears I pick it up slightly for laps 2 and 3 where the field is well strung out and space is plentiful. I overtake one or two bodies and tuck in behind the next group, biding my time and saving some energy before repeating the trick. As I commence the long home strait for the final time, I am more or less all on my own so I focus on retaining my position and staying strong to the finish. I clock 24 mins for the 6km course.
For anyone who might be considering running the Cross Country season, I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this race – the team scoring system means even if you are down the field like myself, there is every chance your performance is the one that clinches the medal for Sportsworld. Plus plenty of support on each lap (notwithstanding the aforementioned unpleasantness) and a couple of other races to watch & enjoy. Hospitality and medals were served up post race by the welcoming people at Donore Harriers clubhouse.
Hat tip to our top male finishers Wes, Martin, Sadanand and Brian!
See you all in Navan for the next installment on October 27th.
Womens results – 3rd Place team!
1st Carla Sweeney Rathfarnham WSAF 10.53 (Daughter of Ann Sweeney!)
4th Lisa Madden Sportsworld A.C. 11.17
7th Ciara Brady Sportsworld A.C. 11.36
13h Lorna Quinn Sportsworld A.C. 11.49
18th Naoise Waldren Sportsworld A.C. 12.03
22nd Caroline Conway Sportsworld A.C. 12.11
31st Louise Jackman Sportsworld A.C. 12.24
40th Patricia FitzmauriceSportsworld A.C. 12.41
47th Katie Nugent Sportsworld A.C. 12.55
6nd Jess Kennedy Sportsworld A.C. 13.29
87th Marie Bradley Sportsworld A.C. 15.12
91st Orla Greaves Sportsworld A.C. 15.47
Mens results – 5th place team
18th Sadanand Magee Sportsworld A.C. 21.24
25th Brian Byrne Sportsworld A.C. 21.49
29 Stephen O Donnell Sportsworld A.C. 21.53
38 Wesley Harrison Sportsworld A.C. 22.12
44 Adam Moss Sportsworld A.C. 22.38
59 Conor Keating Sportsworld A.C. 23.11
62 Martin Doyle Sportsworld A.C. 23.13
65 Ciaran Long Sportsworld A.C. 23.18
72 Will Martin Smith Sportsworld A.C. 23.30
79 Ronan Masterson Sportsworld A.C. 24.15
91 Anthony Gillen Sportsworld A.C. 25.02
95 Alan Hynes Sportsworld A.C. 25.24
107 Neil Purdy Sportsworld A.C. 26.32
110 Noel Lyhan Sportsworld A.C. 27.12
111 Peter Knaggs Sportsworld A.C. 27.20