People are familiar with football world cup finals, rugby world cup finals or All Ireland Finals. The National Senior Cross Country Championships may not have the glamour or TV coverage but for some this is their world cup final and for their club it’s the All Ireland. This years race was held in Gowran, a very familiar small town to some runners but the course was nothing anyone had seen before. The layout was similar to previous events but the ground conditions showed the continuous heavy rain that has fallen for the last few months.

Some people are into their pre race premonitions, seeing 2 magpies around the course, a double rainbow over the finish line. One thing you never want to see when you jog around a course is a pile of single cross country spikes staked beside a marshal on the course. This is scientific proof the course is going to be seriously tough, especially when any runner doing nationals knows to triple tie their shoe laces.

There was a small enough field for the womens senior XC which this year for the first time was 9km matching the men’s distance. I guess the jury is out on if matching race distances is going to work long term but the course and distance was no problem to first time national senior winner Fionna Everard of Bandan AC. There was only 63 finishers in the women’s race with DCH winning the women’s team title.

After around a 30minute delay the men’s race lined up. There were some top names in the field with Brian Fay, Darragh McElhinney or Efrem Gidey all tipped to win. Sportsworld had managed to get a team together for this important race with Karol Cronin, Paul O Beirne, Stephen O Donnell, Gavin Finlay, Michael Cunningham and Brian Conway.

Its hard to describe the race. The course was familiar, the distance was the same as the Leinster senior a couple of weeks before but the depth of the mud and the length of the muddy sections meant the 9km was more like a marathon and you almost had to constantly look at the ground to keep your balance and keep moving. There were a lot of non finishers and a lot of lost spikes. Cormac Dalton was the unexpected winner of the mens race with Kilkenny City Harriers winning the mens team. Kilkenny City Harriers had only 1 runner in the top 10 but still got the top place.

Full results on  MyRunResults