Womens intermediate race report by Emma Meade

Mens intermediate race report by Conor Keating

Masters were too tired to write race reports.

National Intermediate Women’s Cross-Country

Race Report by Emma Meade

I will start with a disclaimer that this is my first race report and that I feebly attempted to get out of writing it with no success. However, with some brief guidance from José and Naoise over tea, and a look back at previous reports, I now feel more prepared to write the report than I did prior to running the race itself.

After coming down with some sort of flu/throat infection on Saturday morning I was struggling to breathe while standing still not to mention while tearing round a mucky field. Sunday morning came and the worst of it had cleared apart from the odd coughing fit/bout of nausea. Despite this, I felt there was no way I could miss the last cross-country race of the season. I was back at home with the parents, so I missed the anxious bus ride down to Dundalk and got a lift with my Dad landing in Dundalk with an hour before kick-off. For once the weather seemed to be in our favour with no high wind or rain!

Fast-forward to the start-line, and after a brief explanation of the course (1 short lap, followed by 3 larger laps to make up the 5km course) the gun was sounded, and the relatively small field was off at a fast pace. I stuck on Jess’s shoulder for about the first kilometre and a half but had to drop back to a slower pace as the longer hill on the larger lap took its toll on me. The field had stayed relatively close together for the first half of the race, around this point Margaret passed me and I kept her in my sight as something to aim for for the next two kilometres. The last kilometre was the toughest. This was my fourth cross-country race and two of the previous three had been 4km, so when I reached the fourth kilometre, I really wanted to be done!

Margaret was practically out of sight and I had a stitch in my side as I couldn’t quite get my breathing right, but the support from everyone there was amazing (especially Emily and Myles) and spurred me onto the finish line. Despite feeling a bit lightheaded at the finish, and once I got my breathing back under control, I was delighted I had completed the race and hope to be a bit more consistent in my training for next season!       

2019/2020 cross country Ladies Gazebo is being upgraded

National Intermediate Men’s Cross-Country

Race Report by Conor Keating

With the weather forecast the last few weeks predicting snow in ‘the next few days’ the lead up to the National Intermediate was filled with trepidation that it might be ‘a bit of a slog’ again this year.  However by around Thursday it  became increasingly clear that the East was having the fairer of the weather and there would be no repeat of the shinanings of Clarenbridge 2018. To get over any lingering trauma I suggest watching the Netflix documentary ‘The greatest party that never happened’ about the infamous Fyre music festival which as you know was supposed to be the most awesome festival ever on a private island in Bermuda. One of my favorite parts of the documentary was when there was no proper transport organized from the airport so a local bus driver drove the attended to the ‘venue’ and politely informed that them on the way that ‘Oh people, I’ve seen this site and your in for a shit storm here’. Brings back memories of the bus journey to Galway but at least I didn’t have to pay 3k minimum (before expenses) for the experience! Joe.ie was funny when stating ‘Netflix releases the first horror movie of 2019’ – Rated R for Retared (I may have made up the last bit).

Therapy over I made my way to the clubhouse for just before 10:45 Sunday, bumping into Brian Conway on the way. Once there there was only Michael there quickly followed by Emily who declared that a lot of people were making their own way and it would be a half empty bus. However the feeling of being bus wackers only lasted a few minutes as a great crowd materialized and once on the bus a roll-call ensued. Karol, who was sitting next to me, had his name called out twice by Emily – you don’t however have to be nearly as good as Karol to take part in these XC races and it was great to see such a crowd from the club on this road trip. Conor McCarthy had text to say he was making his own way, but his lift didn’t work out, and he ended up taking the public bus to Dundalk but still arrived in good time.

We had a  few hours wait for our race which gave us plenty of time to warm up and cheer on our colleagues in the other races. Both the ladies teams packed well and each came away with the team bronze. Special mention to Lisa Madden on a fantastic 5th place finish in the women’s Intermediate. The Masters men’s race had a huge crowd of nearly 250. There was a few cluster of Sportsworld runners which required a quick tongue to say c’mon to each as they passed by. Apologizes to the few women who had to make do with ‘C’mon Sportsworld’ – I’m bad at names, I don’t know how Emily and Myles do it. Karol had a great run to finish 10th closely followed by Gareth in 14th – well done to both for winning a Gold county medal on the Dublin team. 

Finally it was time for the Men’s Intermediate which comprised 2 small laps and 4 larger laps. There was only 57 in this race and the race started at a lightning pace – Justin said he ran the first mile in just under 6 minutes and was nearly last. Justin was soon past me and I tried to keep a good steady pace, not helped by a strung  out field and the fact there were few behind me. The race commentator could be heard at all points on the course and we were informed that a group of 9 made up the leading pack half way through the 3rd lap. Shortly after the  commentator then declared that one athlete was falling off the lead group and even named the athlete and his club – a little bit of a low blow I thought. As I commenced my penultimate lap I knew that the leaders were closing so I gave it an extra push – determined not to get lapped and avoid an unwanted mention on the commentary. I had just passed the bell when I saw the leaders heading to the finish straight. This sense of achievement was quickly quelled by the realization that I still had a lap to go having treated the 2nd last as a ‘final push’. Ronan was a little bit ahead of me throughout the race and even though I closed the gap in the last lap he finished a few seconds ahead of me with Justin circa another 30 mins better off. Further up the field and not far off mid pack finishes were Stephen, Conor McCarthy and Sadanand – great running in a high class field. I was 14mins quicker than this race last year, my time this year would have won last year’s race by over a minute and I finished ahead of twice as many people as last year – in other words I finished 5th last.

I enjoyed the XC season – I did 7 out of the 9 races that I can compete in; only missing the Dublin senior (we club had no participants this year) and the national senior – I was in Lanzarote. Nearly constitutes ‘full attendance’ – My lack of medals has me really clutching at straws.  We were quickly back on the bus home with a quick stop in Applegreen for coffee and in some cases Burger King – you’ve earned it lads. There are a few more BHAA XC races coming up which I intend to do and would recommend. If you’re busy those weekends don’t despair – it’s only 7 months to the Dublin novice XC in Phoenix Park.

Summary of Results

Intermediate Women’s Team Bronze – Lisa Madden, Ciara Brady, Jessica Kennedy, Adelie Reinaudo

Dublin silver county medals – Lisa Madden, Ciara Brady

National Women’s team O/35 Bronze – Catherine Bambrick, Ruth Kelly, Mary Finn, Naoise Waldron

National Women’s team O/50 8th

Dublin team gold medal – Catherine Bambrick

Intermediate men’s team 6th

Masters men O/35 6th

Dublin team gold medal Karol Cronin, Gareth Murran

Masters men 0/65

Dublin team gold medal Ray Carpenter

Full race results can be found here