Race Report by Kate Kelly
February 11th was D-Day, the last cross country race of the year. The National Intermediate Cross Country Championships in Clarinbridge, County Galway, West of Ireland, familiar ground for me a diehard Rossie!
I left Roscommon in the snow, sleet and freezing temperatures with a heavy heart and dread in my veins in anticipation of what was to come.
The pressure was on today for a number of reasons, top of the list was securing a national team medal for the one and only Maria Jones on her birthday. We were down to a team of four so it was a matter of life and death for the intermediate women’s team. Next on the list was of course winning a medal for Emily and Myles the most dedicated trainers and most vocal supporters at all races. Lastly, my Mum had come along to see me for the first time in a cross country run, I couldn’t let her down especially when she had layered up for the day with three pairs of socks on and two jumpers.
My heart sank at first sight of the course, it was a scene not unlike one at the ploughing championships and it only got worse with each race.
The Masters Women were first to run for Sportsworld. The scenes of muck, sweat and strife were evident from the very start. This was going to be a tough race. The girls, as usual, did the club proud with Aoife leading the pack home, followed closely by Ruth and Catherine the trooper, dosed up on antibiotics who still managed to run phenomenally. Also part of the team was Mary Finn who helped to secure the silver medals. They really had set the bar high for us intermediate girls.
The men’s masters were next to plough up the ground. Karol ran a very strong race, narrowly missing out on an individual medal, crossing the line in fourth position.
After a quick warm up and a few heavy strides we made our way sheepishly to the line.
It was the most gruelling course imaginable with hills and muck up to our shins, that same muck later managed to engulf Maria’s spike 2K in and the Tipp girl heroically crossed the finish line one foot in and one foot out. I managed to secure 7th position followed closely by Caoimhe (10th), Maria (12th) and newbie Ciara (24th). This was Ciara’s second ever cross country run and one I’m sure one she will never forget.
I have to commend my team mates who gave it everything and really got stuck in (literally) from the very start.
With encouragement from the sideline and pure determination we managed to secure National silver medals, Maria Jones is a magpie for medals and this was a great one to add to her collection!
A great day out was had by all and a big thank you to the diehard supporters who braved the inclement weather conditions in the West!
PS. Maria’s spike will live to see another day following rescuing by Val
Women’s Masters 4K
Aoife O’Leary 24th 17.21
Ruth Kelly 27th 17.26
Catherine Bambrick 37th 17.54
Mary Finn 42nd 18.04
Stephanie Bergin 65th 18.52
Patricia Fitzmaurice 101th 20.14
Martina Nolan Jones 119th 20.49
Brenda Browne 144th 21.41
Valerie Lacey Power 148th 21.52
Irene O’Connor 151th 22.05
Aileen Melody 166th 23.29
Phil Daly 174th 28.23
Team Result – Sportsworld 2nd place
Sportsworld O50 – 8th place
Intermediate Women 5K
Kate Kelly 7th 24.23
Caoimhe Daniels 10th 24.49
Maria Jones 12th 24.55
Ciara Brady 24th 26.35
Team Results – Sportsworld 2nd place
The long awaited (by some 🙂 ) National Cross Country Championships in Kilcornan Estate, Clarinbridge, Co Galway was finally upon us.
The date of the Sunday 11th February has been on the club notice board for many months now. This race is the highlight of the club running year for many people. All the training in Kiltipper Fields (Field of Screams), around the Magazine fort, Bushy Park and the build up races have been leading up to this event.
4 teams of more than 45 Sportsworld participants (a record club entry) left Bushy Park at 9:30 sharp (didn’t it Kevin and Derek ?) on a cold beautiful blue skied morning on a coach to match the team colours.
There was good craic on the bus. There seemed to a be a nervous energy on the bus too because of the upcoming race. We had time to stop for a coffee break at Enfield .
Picture Liam Linehan and Kevin Curran discussing tactics!!
As soon as we crossed the Shannon the clouds got darker and then we got caught in a blizzard. This was like a foreboding of what was ahead of us
The chatter on the bus got less and less as we reached Clarinbridge.
Some people were regretting the coffee they had earlier as we got stuck in a traffic jam on the way into the estate.
We knew we had reached the big league when they were charging people in to see the main events
The gazebo was set up and our numbers were allocated. It was getting very real now. Where we set up the tent the ground was so muddy and wet… Luckily the sun had come out to alleviate the impending drama.
What would the course be like?The course had various laps an inner lap of 1.0 km (the black one on the map) and an outer one of 2.5 km.
Looking at the course it seemed a very long undulating lap.
The route was badly cut up from the previous day’s wet weather, snow and the couple of hundred juveniles running their races. The surface was so muddy, wet, sticky, squelchy, pot holed (there are not enough adjectives to describe it) it looked like a scene from a World War one film
John Flaherty and I went for a short warm up around the perimeter of the lap. We cut it short to try and conserve our energy. It was so energy sapping…. And this was outside the lap 🙂 .We were in shock at the state of the course and wondering how we were going to get round.
First off was the Masters Women. All the Sportsworld participants did really well in the really difficult conditions. Congratulations to all
The Men’s Masters were up next at 2:00pm. There was a big group of Sportsworld runners (approx 20)in this race (approx 250 runners total). Looking from the start line up at the long incline it looked liked a grand national horse race. This 7 km race consisted of one inner lap and three outer laps. The start gun sounded and we were off. The usual jockeying for positions commenced whilst also looking down at your feet to try and find a good running line….. there were none! It was very difficult to run or get a rhythm going as your feet were trying to avoid shin height mud and your neighbours spikes that were slipping towards you. It was unbelievable.. And no words could describe it. The first “short” lap felt like an eternity.
After a while the race settled down and we found our pace (snails). The long incline up by the woods was very sticky followed by a short level section, a short decline and then a nasty dog leg up hill to the crest of the hill again. Then a long decline (all mud)i a few short bends in the lowest and wettest soggiest part of the lap before starting up again. There was no solid ground anywhere to get a run going …. Believe me i tried all possibilities on the route.
A lot of things were going through my mind like “what am i doing in here in the middle of a freezing cold quagmire on a Sunday afternoon in East Galway when I could be having a latte in Dublin looking at the world going by” Some of the other participants must have thought similar thoughts and just stopped mid track and pulled off to the side. It was quite noticeable the amount of people who didn’t complete the race.
One of the things that was brilliant and gave me and the other participants great encouragement to go on and on was the amount of enthusiastic support from the other Sportsworld runners, Myles and Emily, and the vocal Sportsworld supporters (injured runners, well meaning people, partners etc ) who came to Galway to stand on the freezing sidelines to support the team. It was fantastic .
Joe Byrne and I had a good tussle during the race and we eventually crossed the line within seconds of each other. The finish line was the best thing about the race, I was so relieved to cross it. It seemed to take forever to reach it. It was the hardest race I ever ‘ran’ on a course that no words could do it justice
Next up was the Intermediate Women’s team. They had a great race. See results above.
Finally there was the Intermediate Men’s race an 8.0 km circuit. The course was even more cut up from the previous races. So much so, that Conor Keating lost one shoe in the race and ran in socks for the main part of the race. Congratulations to the 8 man team on finishing the last race of the day with dwindling freezing supporters.
After showering etc we returned to the coach, defrosted and headed for a great meal at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe where we well looked after by the staff. A few pints were taken on board too which went down very well. Everybody was in great form after the day. It was hard to leave to get back on the snowy bus. Again we had a good laugh on the bus. We eventually arrived back in Bushy Park at 9:30, wrecked but in good spirits. Some people continued the celebrations into the night in Terenure… no details to hand 🙂
All in all it was a great day for the club and it’s members
Intermediate Men Results
37th Mark Hogan 35:34
54th Kevin Curran 36:57
57th Karl Chatterton 37:03
60th Conor McCarthy 37:17
65th Stephen O’Donnell 37:49
69th Diarmuid O’Sulleabhain 38:24
77th Ronan Masterson 42:04
78th Conor Keating 43:07
Team Result – Sportsworld 8th place
Masters Men Results
4th Karol Cronin 26:58
36th Gareth Murran 29:16
51st Phil Kilgannon 29:57
90th Michael Cunningham 31:33
108th Derek Saville 32:36
148th John Dwyer 34:10
150th Joe Byrne 34:28
155th Liam Lenehan 34:41
163rd Wesley Harrison 34:57
166th Martin Doyle 35:12
178th Noel Tobin 35:46
196th Karl Shevlin 36:46
197th Padraig Loony 36:57
204th Declan Brady 37:20
206th Adrian Lanigan 37:26
207th John Flaherty 37:29
215th Aidan Curran 38:16
224th Jose Chapa 40:16
237th Mark Heffernan 43:25
Sportsworld A2 6th place
Sportsworld A3 21st place
Sportsworld – 8th place