In a cold, brisk day which was perfect for running the national Masters and Intermediate Cross Country Championships were held in Wexford on Sunday.
Individual Success for GCH
In terms of Galway success, the only medals were taken home by GCH, with both Martin McCevilly and Orla Ni Mhuircheartigh winning their respective categories.
Both these runs were outstanding achievements, and you are probably better off checking out the GCH website for more details and pictures, and also on the womens vet team that I won't mention here because I was warming up while they were running so didn't catch much of it.
In Martin's case he probably felt that he didn't run as well as in Dartfield. He got off to a blistering start in the 7k course, but then seemed to fade slightly in the middle and finished strongly again. He was still a full half minute ahead of his nearest rival when he finished which is absolutely incredible given that this is his last time running as an M55. This is his 5th year in a row winning the all-ireland in his age category. Next year he will be an M60 and injury permitting I would bet my house on him winning it again.
Orla's race was very exciting to watch with a large group bunched together for the first lap of the 4k course. Orla kept to the back of the leading group for most of the first lap and in the second lap pushed up into second place. We were warming down after our race when we saw them coming in to finish and were really surprised and excited to see a Galway singlet clear of the field leading the pack home and looking so comfortable. Martin McCevilly ran home with her shouting dementedly in her ear like the guy from the lucozade add. A great performance: Orla is obviously very talented and can probably be as good as she wants to be.
Craughwell Involvement in the Veterans
In the veteran event Craughwell had two competitors – Mark Davis and Martin Corcoran. TJ White of Tuam AC also travelled down with us to the race to meet up with the rest of the Galway team….
A 3.5 hour journey, so in total we talked non-stop about running for at least 8 hours on Sunday – great fun!!
When we got there we dissapointingly found out that there weren't enough people to make up a Galway team. We ended up with 5 runners – Myself, Martin C, Martin M, TJ Whyte and Frank Ward of GCH. This is a really poor show given that now the M35 category is open so Galway should have a potentially strong team. Of course the fact that it was such a long journey is a definite factor, but Martin Corcoran said he is 5 years travelling to this event and has not seen a full galway team yet. Hopefully next years event is a bit closer and we can see if we can get a team in.
The race itself was tough – 7k which was 4 laps of a very hilly, bobbly course. The ground was dry and therefore a totally different discipline to Dartfield's Glastonbry-like mudfest. I am still pretty new to cross country, but am enjoying it more and more with each race. I think I was a bit timid for the start and fell well back in the pack leaving me with a lot to do, and slowing me down for the first lap. The good part about this is that I was able to steadily pass people until I found my level in the second lap and was rarely passed from there on in.
I ran most of the second two laps with a chap called John Donegan (I knew his name because he had a huge amount of support). I think most of us were barely hanging on in the last lap, and with about 400 metres to go I "pulled the trigger" and sprinted for the line, passing about 4 people at the finish which is always fun though it feels a bit like cheating. It was a longer finishing sprint than I have done before and I felt quite ill for a few minutes.
As usual, Martin Corcoran was there waiting for me at the finish – he had come in 27th in a time of 24:18 – 6th in his M45 age category. I had arrived home in 41st in a time of 24:56 – 17th in my M35 age category. Next home was Martin McCevilly (63rd) – 1st in his category, followed by Frank Ward (76th) and TJ Whyte (86th). My first mark is set as a veteran – now I know what I have to beat next year!!
No Galway Involvement in the Intermediate Men
Again – a bit dissapointing to see there were no Galway entrants in the Intermediate men. Clare had a smashing team out and did really well – Ennis track seem to have targeted this race. Mind you I am not surprised at people wanting to pass on this race – it was absolutely savage being 10K long – 6 laps of the course. We had to do 4 and were finding it hard going on the last lap. Apart from Dan Mulhare who won it, the whole field looked battered and empty of energy for the last two laps. Kudos to anyone that did it.
Oi! Lads!!! How about some Singlets!!!??
Another small thing I noticed was that though the women had singlets, there were no male singlets available. It sounds silly but it was probably the first race I have run where I didn't get to hear one of the Porters advising me the "relax the shoulders" and I missed the support. I think that wearing a Galway singlet would have brought a few more shouts from the onlookers. I got the odd "come on craughwell", but the Galway singlet is more instantly recognisable and probably has wider support. Plus there is something about pulling on the county singlet that is motivating.
For full results check out athletics-ireland:
p.s. excellent results from Scotland the weekend.. Well done to all the Juvennilles that took part – I can't wait until Mike manages to type up the report.