RACE REPORT – EASYKIT CROSS-CUP SERIES at HANNUT in BELGIUM (21.01.2018)
Report by Gerry Naughton
Photos by Darren Kinsella
Donore Harriers sent a juvenile/junior distance-running team to compete in the Easykit CrossCup event at Hannut in Belgium last weekend. The trip was part of an athlete development programme, funded through a sponsorship deal with the 123.ie insurance group. The Easykit CrossCup is a series of 6 high-profile cross-country events, hosted in different provinces of Belgium, that attracts some of the best athletes from across Europe.
Ruby Kelly was the first Donore Harrier into action in the Under 15/16 Girls race over 2km. She completed the mud-laden route in a time of 8 minutes and 30 seconds (8:30) to place 39th. First-season athlete Abdel Laadjel, again displayed his exciting potential in the Under 15/16 Boys race. Laadjel bravely chased the lead group in the early stages of his 2.5km race, before falling back at the half-way point. But his natural strength saw him battle back in the final 250 metres and he crossed the line in an impressive 8th position. His time of 8:51 compared well
against that of the winner Tom Delrez (8:22), the top-ranked Belgium athlete. 13 years-old Sean Kinsella, the youngest team member, placed 68th in the same race.
Roisin Brady (13:37) took 26th position in the Under 17/18 Girls race over 2 circuits of the 1.5km course. The Under 17/18 Boys race over 4.5km had 4 Donore athletes on the start line. The fast and frantic start saw all 4 badly boxed-in as the melee of athletes sprinted the first 200 metres towards the bend that led onto a narrow and dangerously-sloped part of the course. Louis O’Loughlin had to battle his way from the middle of the pack to gain ground on the leaders. He eventually settled into 6th position but found himself detached from the lead group of 4 athletes. As the race progressed, he put in a big effort to close the gap, but he had to succumb to the demands of the soft underfoot terrain and the constant tight turns of the meandering course and settled for 6th position. The race was won by Abdullah Dubad (15:42), with O’Loughlin (16:25) in 6th, middle-distance specialist Jack Raftery (18:08) putting in a solid effort to place 41st, Barney Kelly (18:12) stepping up an age-group placed 43rd, with Keenan McDonnell (19:02) in 61st.
In the Junior women’s race over 4.5km, Suzanne Masterson (21:42) came a very creditable 12th, with Eliza Ni Thighearnaigh (22:33) in 18th and Ciara Murphy (25:52), in her first club race after a long injury lay-off, in 21st. Sekeriye Ahmed (23:30) led the early stages of the Junior Men’s race over 6km, but the quality athletes soon came to the fore as Ahmed struggled to maintain a steady pace. He eventually had to settle for 20th position, whilst an improving Daniel Brady (25:17) ran his best-ever cross-country race to take the 37th spot.
Gerry Naughton, the team coach, described the weekend: “as a great opportunity for young athletes to experience cross-country running at a European level – and to, hopefully, feel inspired to give a long-term commitment to athletics”