The first cross country fixture of 2018 has rapidly become one of the biggest XC races in the country along with the National Masters XC, testament to the increasing popularity and competitiveness of masters running.
It was a cold but bright day in St Anne’s Park Raheny, now the traditional home of this race, the lap had some muddy parts but was dry and fast for the most part. Over 150 runners took part in the women’s race over 2 laps and 3k. Kim Hickey got off to a fast start and hung on to the lead group For some time but had to settle for 10th place and bronze W35, still a welcome return for this athlete who suffered an arm break in October. 13 seconds behind was Florence Curley in 18th and next in was Audrey Gahan in 37th coming back from a cold so more to come from Audrey, Sinead Graham was next in 49th, Karen Behan who had been ill all week was 53rd, more to come from her too, Julia Hackett just next in 55th. Fiona Barrins is growing in strength in her very first XC Season and was 67th and Angela Eustace racing again after injury was 102nd. Missing some of the stars of the team of last few years, the team finished out of the medals in 5th but there were 17 teams, the most ever in this race.
Next up were the men with about 300 runners on the line, it was 4 laps for most of the field and 3 laps for the M65+ runners. Barry Potts was dominant in his age-group once again and bagged the M65 gold. A great race developed upfront in the M35+ competition, Rossa Hurley was with the top group for much of the race and in the end was only 9 seconds off 3rd overall place in a powerful run, the 3 ahead were also M35 so unfortunately no age-group medal this time. Next in 15th overall and bronze M45 position was Niall Lynch (interestingly the 4th, 5th and 6th M45 positions were also Donore runners) only 7 seconds behind and in a big finish battle was Fergal Whitty bronze M40 and 18th place. In 21st and making a welcome return to championship racing was Gavin Keogh. These 4 runners scored to bring a bronze medal for the team (30 teams in all – gold and silver were Raheny and Rathfarmham). Well done to Chris Muldoon 28th, Philip Hennessy 41st, Patrick Byrne 42nd, Des Tremble 45th, Peter Nugent 50th, Alan Farrell 58th, Donal Iremonger 75th, Peter Nugent 152nd, Stephen Dawson 164th, Craig Scott 173rd. Great have such big numbers out.
It was great to see an M50 team out for possibly the first time ever from Donore in this race, kudos Des Gill for rallying the troops. He finished first of the team in 201st, then Tom Fagan 219th, Lou McCurtain (first ever championship XC) 235th, Frank McNally 239th, they finished 9th out of 12 teams.
Terrific support out there from club members , friends and family, roll on the Leinster and Nationals
Report ~ Florence Curley