Some people think Cork is the true capital of Ireland, the best county in the world and home of pretty much everything that is perfect with Ireland. What it is not is close to Dublin. So on Sunday morning the long trek to Cork began on a freezing cold morning to the National Novice Cross Country in Coona Cork. If your not sure where Coona is, your not alone.(Its beside Fermoy.)

After a quick stop for food on the way down we arrived to a busy field with one Liffey Valley stowaway on board. Luckily unlike Dublin there was no rain or hailstones but the course was ‘soft’ in places.

The ladies race was up first with 4km , 2laps. The top field was a simple sweeping circle but the bottom field had a number of twists and turns leading you to the bottom of the field. You then had to run a 400m climb back up to the top field through the water feature and a thick mucky section before staring the lap again. There was a full girls team for the race and strong race performances but like a lot of ‘Novice’ races the standard in the National Novice is high.

The men’s race was 6km, 3 laps, and like the ladies race there was no slow build up to the race it was a sprint from the start. Paul O Berine is getting getting stronger with each race and with Trevor Sweeney they both made it in to the top 100 which is great going in the National Novice. Olympian gold medalist rower Paul O Donovan only just made it in the top 100 as well just ahead of Trevor. We had enough for 2 teams for the race and I think everyone got something out of the race. A tough course, large running field, high standard and fighting for your position for 6km.

With the races over we cleaned off as best we could and got back on the bus for the trip home. Thanks to Paul and Myles for taking the entire Sunday to go to Cork and back.

Full race results below