National Masters XC:
The National Masters Cross Country was held in Gowran Demesne at the weekend. In a wonderfully rare result we had the individual winners in both the masters mens and womens races! Fiona took the honours in the 4k womens races and was followed straight away by Tim winning the mens 7k. The mens team also got the bronze team finishing behind Leevale and Rathfarnham.
Fiona took the lead early in the womens race and showed she was the class athlete of the field by pushing the pace out front on her own for the full 4k. There was still pressure being put on her from Fiona Gettings and Edel Gaffney but as they got to the top of the hill by the castle on the final lap Fiona made her final move, showing her track speed, down the hill to the finish and win with a margin of 8 seconds in the end. Eadaoin running her first master race was second scorer on the Cork county team and 42nd overall.
Tim regained his title that he won in 2022 in Castlelyons. Mick Clohisey pushed the pace early on but at about 2k Tim turned the screw and left him and the rest of the field for dead. Tim opened up an insurmountable gap at the 5k mark and held that all the way to the finish winning by 20 seconds. Tim also lead the Cork team to Gold and the East Cork team to bronze. Kevin had a good race coming through well to finish 11th. James ran his fist cross country race in 12 months and was brave in the top 5 for the first few laps. He slid back a little in the end for a 16th place finish to match his result from 2022. Donal was next home in a good positive run for 30th improving on his 47th from last year. Stephen was next home in 72nd and Kenneth, who had shoe problems, finished 78th. Tim and Kevin also scored in the Gold winning Cork M35 team.
So overall a great day for the club with both individual master wins and great support up in Gowran as well.
The 4th race of the Cloyne series was on Sunday as well. John Spellman was 2nd overall in a time of 13.37. Sean was 5th in 13.48. Ollie was just outside the top 10 in 11th in 14.29 with Martin Hennessy in 22nd in 15:58.
Avril was our first lady home in a great time of 16:23 with her shadow Christine ghosting in behind her in 16.24, they were 5th and 6th. Conor ran a great PB of17.05 so will be looking for his first sub 17 at the final race in the series. Lorna was 11th lady in 17.34.
Performance of the day goes to young Zach Swords who broke 18 minutes for the first time with an excellent 17.51. This got him 3rd Junior Man. Zach is only 10 and has another 9 years at this grade so what out for him in the next few years! Dad Graham kept a close watch in 17.51 with Denis keeping a close eye on Graham in 17.54. Frank Cashman ran a solid 18.25 with Lavinia also on the way back with a 21.38.
European Club Cross Country:
The European Club Cross Country was held in Oropesa del Mar, Spain at the weekend. We are the first male Cork senior club to ever qualify for this prestigious event that dates back to 1962. The course was very different to what we are used to however. Instead of cold, wet weather with long grass, hills and cow droppings it was warm, dry manicured course next to a beautiful beach with the sea lapping close by. Despite the scenic views the course itself was actually tricky enough. There were three soft sand sections, lots of winding twists and turns and three jumps to negotiate each lap.
The race started off fast and furious with Paul in the front group leading the charge. Tim, Frank and Kevin were bunched in the middle of the pack for most of the first 2k. After that Tim started his customary meandering up through the field, Frank stayed were he was and Kevin drifted back a little. The speed at the front of the race was relentless. Rodrigue Kwizera, 11th in the 2019 World XC Championships, and Oscar Chelimo, bronze in the 2022 5k at the World T&F Championships, were at the head of the race keep things honest! Paul wisley decided that maybe he should ease off the gas a bit and settled back into the main pack. The race was billed as an 8.7k distance but ended up being 8km exactly. By the end Tim had worked his way up to 42nd place and could have done with another 2k as he was really starting to make up ground as the going got tough. Paul was valiant for the first 5k and then dropped some places in the closing laps for 66th. Frank racing his 2nd cross country race in less than 24 hours (and 1,300kms away) was 72nd with Kevin just behind in 85th.
Overall it was a great novelty for East Cork AC to qualify for this race. With an active membership of approx 30 athletes male and female it is a testament to the dedication of all involved.
Our top four runners for the year of Frank, Paul, Tim and Michael were obviously the key to this success but interestingly we had 9 different scoring members through the Seniors races from East Corks all the way to the Europeans. Paul, Frank, Donal and Eric won gold in the East Corks. Michael, Paul, Tim and Frank won gold at the Counties. Kevin, Donal, Matt and Nicky won silver at the Munsters and of course Tim, Paul, Michael and Frank won silver in Rossapenna at the Nationals. Also Denis, Fergus and Chris also ran on the Senior team during the year
Link to the stream - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKNpJQOe84A
Senior Mens race starts at 2 hours and 20 minutes.
The other big race of the weekend was the Dungarvan 10. With Ballycotton long gone now this has turned into the big race post Christmas to target. We had a very successful outing on hte day with lots of PB's helped by the great running conditions and of course the hundreds of training miles in the legs. Donla and Brian had a ding dong battle for top East Cork spot. Donal got a small gap at thte 7 mile mark and held onto it for dear life, the fear of Brian got him to a massive PB of 55:01. Brian was just behind also in a massive PB with 55.12. That got the lads 24th and 27th places. Michael Furlong was next home in 58:30 with Chris Kelly taking it as a training run in 60:14. Our club captain Stephen ensured things went smoothly for everyone and had a birds eye view of proceedings running 61:19. Chris McGrath in the middle of a big block of marathon training showed his strength with a super 67:15. Annelise smashed her PB by well over 2 minutes with 67:35 and Christine and Avril both comfortably broke the 70 minute barrier for the first time with 69:00 and 69:54. Congrats to all on fast running!
Our top three men of Donal, Brian and Michael also got the bronze team
All roads lead to Gowran this weekend for the National Masters XC. We have the defneding champion Tim racing again and will hope to put a good team around him to challange for the team prize too. Also Fiona will have sights on the big prize after her great masters running earlier this season. Also on Sunday is the 4th Cloyne 4k event of the series, starting as usual at 9.30am sharp.