Dublin Masters Cross Country 2019

By ORLA COX

It’s the first weekend in January which means only one thing for those of us born before 1985 – the Dublin Masters Cross Country. The venue as always was St Annes park in Raheny, with runners negotiating a flat 1500m loop through pitches and wooded trails. Two laps for the women and a grueling 4 laps for the men. It was a bright day with a noticeable breeze in places but nothing that could be used as an excuse. The ground was also in good condition considering the wet winter we’ve had. It was basically the perfect day for racing.

First up was the ladies race – 3k over 2 laps. With such a short race, it’s a case of going all out and hoping the legs, and lungs, hold up. Grainne Butler went off like a hare and never relented, finishing in an impressive 11th place and 1st in her age category. Congratulations Grainne! Brid and Gemma also went out strong and were shoulder to shoulder for most of the race with Brid just about getting the edge at the end. Both girls had a strong finish, picking off a few other girls in the final straight. Brid finished in 18th place and obviously left everything out there. Great running Brid. Gemma finished in 20th place, which is especially impressive given she’s been struggling with a long term injury. Great to have you racing strong again Gemma! I tried to stick with the other girls but faded badly on the second lap, finishing in a disappointing 37th place, but still an improvement over last year. Maria Pozo came home in 14:53, well done Maria.

We were mildly hopeful of a team prize but we finished just outside the medals in 4th place. A nonetheless impressive result, given the strength and depth of the field we were competing against. It’s also motivating for next year – I think we can make up the 12 places between us and third place!

30 minutes later the men were in action. It was 4 laps for most of them, but just 2 for the O65s, i.e. Vincent. Vinny was the convincing winner of this category, with almost a minute to spare over second place. Well done Vinny.

We had 9 men in action in the main race, a great turnout considering a few days earlier we were worried we wouldn’t have a team. There was a huge field in this race which caused some congestion on the first turn, including some fallers, thankfully none of our own. Gareth Horgan went out strong but couldn’t hold off the challenge of Eanna Kavanagh who was making his debut in the masters category. Eanna ran a strong, steady race, finishing in 52nd place. Gareth wasn’t far behind in 64th. Well done guys. Dave Hipwell, Brendan Healy and Sean Ryan traded places throughout the race. Dave ultimately got the edge, finishing in 100th place, Brendan was next (106), followed by Sean (118) who was 5th in his age category. Well done lads. Colm Brady was next in 120th, followed by Paul Foran (132), Nick Devery (187) and Owen McFeely (216). Great running from the guys.

A special note of thanks to the great supporters we had on the day, it really makes a huge difference. Ken, Riitta, Susan, Sonia, Bernard, Claire, Tony, Noel – it felt like you were everywhere on the course! And thanks to Patrick for the great photos.

Elsewhere…

We had club members competing in a couple of other races over Christmas and New Year. Congratulations to Siobhan Carroll who was 4th overall and 1st O40 in the Ardagh 10 mile in Longford, on a course that I’ve heard described as “mountainous”. Brian Boland competed in the same race, finishing in a new PB time of 1:10. Well done Brian.

We also had a number of club members starting the year on the right foot in the Tom Brennan 5k on New Years Day. Bren Farrell was first home in 22:45. Well done Bren – I think we’ll have to start looking over our shoulder for you! Next was Marie Norris in 25:38 and 4th in her age category. Well done Marie. Paul McEvoy was next in 27:25, followed by Andrea Doyle (29:18) and Barbara Conway (29:21). Well done to everyone racing.

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