Ladies Report – Edel Keenehan

According to both the Oxford and Cambridge English Dictionary , the following was noted;




a person new to and inexperienced in a job or situation.

Similar:beginner, learner, inexperienced person

After competing in last Sundays National Novice XC Championships I have realised that the running world have a COMPLETELY different understanding of novice!!! I now know that amongst XC community the following definition applies

young, strong, experienced athletes who have the tenacity and ability to manoeuvre through deep muck with agility and speed, while resiliently endure the elements of bitterly cold weather conditions!

On a crisp Sunday afternoon we set out for Dunboyne. Leaving the clubhouse we were greeted with a beautiful backdrop of snowcapped Dublin mountains as we merged onto the M50..perfect XC weather!

As we came into Dunboyne the area was thronged with people from all over the country. It really was fantastic to see so many clubs, athletes, families and supporters out in force to either compete or support! The race venue was the same field that our ladies had ran in for one of the Meet and Train races, however, the field was now unrecognisable to the memory I had from it only a few weeks prior. We were greeted with the smell of charred burgers and deep fried chips from the food van, and our eyes were drawn to the array of colourful club tents, along with flags and signs from Athletics Ireland. The field was alive with energy, radiating from an eclectic mix of sources including, cold anxious athletes yet to run, layered up proud parents, coaches and supporters shouting words of encouragement to the current runners and the elated athletes high on endorphins after completing the taxing and gruelling course!

We embarked upon our warm up lap, and soon realised that the venue name “Cow”park field was aptly chosen, as we jogged along in parts ankle deep in muck! But we were well aware now that this was going to be no run in the park!

Sportsworld had a great turn out with 10 female athletes and 11 male athletes. All runners deserve a huge buladh bos for navigating themselves safely through all that muck and finishing the race in one piece. Each and every one our athletes ran with great effort and determination, and were a great representation for Sportsworld Club. A standout performance was had by Lisa Madden , finishing in a brilliant 13th place, out of a field of 134 runners. Our two female teams placed 13th, and 18th out of a total 20 teams.

The mens 6km race had a huge field of 216 participants, with our teams placing 15th and 25th out of a total 26 teams.

A huge thank you to Emily and Myles, and all the supporters we had to cheer us along the course. The words of encouragement really do help! It was also really nice to have our own tent- muchos gracias to those who transported, assembled and disassembled it for us! As always the comradery and team spirit amomgst the Sportsworld crew was a joy to be apart of and negates the cruelty that XC is!!

Definitely the girls turn next time to put up the tent

Men’s report – Brian O Murchu

The afternoon races in Dunboyne were held at the warmest part of the day; 4 degrees. This was definitely cold comfort. The course was held at Cow Park in Dunboyne and the race lived up to it’s name, absolutely the muckiest race I’ve ever done. I am reliably informed it’s not the muckiest, with Clarinbridge holding that title. I don’t like running in muck, although I do seem to go well in it but I have no plans to test out others courses on the muck-able scale.

On arrival I am greeted with the sight of a very clean Sportsworld gazebo. As a new member I am sure it takes such pride that it’s regularly cleaned, and that it is much older than it looks….
I had been given some advice beforehand to sprint the first 400m to get to the first turn early so as not to get boxed in. Once the race started it seemed everyone else had this same idea, and avoiding getting boxed in was not going to happen. The first part of the race is quite surreal, it is like being pulled along on a fast flowing river. There are so many runners surrounding me, I cannot see where/what I’m stepping on, let alone the course. People move in unison veering left or right as the course goes. Once the field started to spread out, I was able to start picking my own routes through the mud. Something that makes quite a difference as I lost 10 seconds on the 3rd kilometre with a bad route choice, which was reinforced by x3 people quickly passing me out (I also have the garmin data to back this up!). 

When I did cross country races at school I use to hate the repetitiveness of laps. Now as a club runner I really appreciate the atmosphere that can be created on courses with multiple laps as the spectators see everyone pass regularly and can see who’s moving forward/backward through the field. From encouragement, to positional information, and motivational slogans, who knew laps in the muck could create such a exciting buzz? 

With the results being held by Athletics Ireland for now, I don’t have any to report. What I can say is that each lap my split times were slight slower than the previous, however I was slowing down less than most which meant I was making up a lot of places each lap. Maybe getting boxed early on in worked in my favour…..