by Ann-Marie Clyne
After a Covid induced break, the Meet and Train league was back for another year. It started with a meeting in Crusaders clubhouse in September 2022 where a number of clubs came together to agree dates, venues, hosting clubs, and a name change of the league. Despite many suggestions, the Meet and Train name has stuck (although it is not representative of what the league is these days). I guess it’s hard to put a good thing down, and the same can be said for all the Sportsworld ladies who competed in the league for the 22/23 season. We had 30 of our female members sign up back in November, it is a big ask as you have to commit to at least 3 of the 4 races whilst ensuring that you have a full team scoring on any given race day. This league is not about the individual and is a true testament to teamwork as every score counts. The teams were selected by our coach Emily and a what’s app group was set up (did someone mention another what’s app group …ahem, ahem).
The first race in November was hosted by Dunboyne and ran on the famous cow field. Sportsworld along with Brothers Pearse hosted the second race in January in Tymon Park at very short notice due to a late change of venue request. Thank you to Anna Carrigan, Michael Cunningham and Aileen Melody for helping with the paperwork to get the permit application into the Council on time and approved. A lot of preparation went into measuring and marking out the course on the Saturday which was not without its challenges but that is a story for another day. Thank you to all the volunteers for helping out on the Sunday. It was a very successful race and we were commended for a well organized event. I believe it was the first race ever where rabbit holes had to be covered over in advance! The third race was hosted by Crusaders at Irishtown, and the final race was held on the national cross-country course at Abbottstown. This final race was organized with the combined effort of all clubs. (Check out the race reports for all four races in previous newsletters and thank you to the report writers for their contributions).
Sportsworld went over and above by hosting the prizegiving event at our clubhouse last Sunday 16th April. The event started with a fun run lead by David Saunders and Val Power over a 3K route of Bushy Park. We did hear of runners getting lost on the route, but I have a feeling they were looking for a quick way back to the fine spread that was laid on by our members for the visiting clubs. The home bakes were exceptional, and everyone was very generous with their time and donations. Special mention to the men who came along and helped on the day, showing we are truly an inclusive club. Anthony Gillen provided AV equipment which made a big difference in putting the finer touch to the event. The weather played its part too and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the outdoors for the first time this year.
Crusaders won the overall trophy as winners of the Platinum division. (We’ll be back next year to get our hands once more on that trophy!). In the Gold division, Sportsworld B came third and in the Silver division, Sportsworld D also came third. Our very own Aoife Carroll was overall individual winner, having won all her three races. She received a yet to be named perpetual trophy. Special mention should go to Ann Woodlock from Donore who many club members know. She received the Paddy Craddock trophy for her loyalty to the Meet and Train leagues over the years, and also for her recent wins in the Masters Indoor World Championship in Poland where she received a gold medal in the W80 3000m and a bronze medal in the 1500m. Congratulations to Aoife and all the prize-winning Sportsworld teams but more importantly, congratulations should go to all those who were brave enough to put their names down on the sign up sheet and compete for their team and club.
You may ask what the standout moment was for me, they were many but I’m still laughing about the final race in Abbottstown and getting Darina to the line on time. It involved navigating her from the M50 at 10:45 (bearing in mind the race was starting at 11:00) and sending her up a one-way road to ensure she got to the start line on time. She barely had time to put her spikes on and away she went having one of her best races across the league. Well done Darina but I’m bringing you to the race venues in future!