Munster Novice XC:
The Munster Novice was held in Riverstick on Sunday the 23rd . The course was hilly and wet, a true XC test. First up the women were lead again by Annelise who had a great individual run despite battling sickness all week to get in the top 20 for 19th. Niamh O'Connor ran very strong for 27th overall just ahead of Eadaoin in 32nd. Christine completed the scoring team with another good and ever improving run for 38th. Avril was 47th but had also ran in the Rebel Run 5k earlier in the day and was 17th overall in 21.22. This got the ladies team 6th overall.
The men had a solid team that packed well. Donal was first home for the club with a decent run for 23rd overall. Matt Horrigan showed all his experience as he really came through the field in the final 2k picking off about 10 positions for 25th. Chris was next home in 33rd with Michael Furlong completing the scoring team in 42nd. John Spelman was 47th and Stephen was 52nd. The mens team was 5th overall.
Road Racing - National M40 record:
Michael took flight to Leeds to run a competitive fast 5k also on Sunday morning. In sparkling form at the moment his momentum kept on going with a superb 29.42 and with it became the first man in Ireland over 40 years of age to ever run a sub 30 minute 10k. With the speed in his legs and his proven cross country pedigree the National Senior XC will be a big target in 3 weeks time and with a strong team out with him perhaps a top three team could be on the cards! Well done Michael from all in the club.
Brian made a welcome return to racing, his first in over 3 years at the Rebel 10k. Brian was 11th in 36.31 and will most definitely kick on from here now with a good block of training under his belt.
The County Masters XC is on in Whites Cross Monday the 31st and the Munster Senior XC is on in Limerick Racecourse November 6th. Best of luck to all running and representing the club.
Autumn Open XC:
We had two athletes venture up to Abbotstown last Sunday to compete in the Autumn Open XC. This race is also used as the masters qualifying race for the British and Irish Masters International where we have had some successes in the past. Fiona was up first and the under foot conditions were set up for a fast race. Fiona used this to her advantage and ran a very strong race coming 4th master overall and 3rd F35 which qualifies her for her first Irish vest on November 12th. Congrats on a very big achievement, lots of miles and dedication over many years have gone into getting to this level.
Paul ran in the mens race but with 15 years to go before being eligible, he did not have much interest in the Masters. He was focused on the Senior position and ran an exceptional race to come 10th overall in a high quality field beating quite a few heavy weights (not literally) and really mixed it with the best in the country. It will be a great confidence builder going into the national Senior and U23 XC in Donegal next month. Well done Paul.
On Saturday Shane Harrington made his first race appearance since the 2019 National Novice XC in Dunboyne. His running certainly seems to have tapered off since saying "I do" but luckily his East Cork singlet still fits and it was great to see him back in action. He came 3rd overall and in typical island fashion the 5 miles turned into 5.25 miles as the lead car got distracted chatting to a local and went the wrong way. The times were slow in the race but the route was more akin to the Wicklow Way route with a savage hill to contend with mid way through.
Avril raced in the Defence Forces 5k in Haulbowline and broke the 21 minute barrier for the first time with a PB of 20.59. One year ago Avril ran 22.57 in her first 5k for the club so a full 2 minutes improvement in 12 months! Outstanding!
On Sunday the Munster Novice XC is on in Riverstick. We have full teams in the mens and womens races so best of luck to all.
Tough Conditions for County Novice in Ballynoe:
The county novice was help in Ballynoe last Sunday alongside the famous East Cork Road Championship route. Conditions were a bit wild. Strong winds and a lot of rain meant XC season is truly on us now. The Women's team was lead by Annelise who was 9th overall closely followed by Eadaoin in 10th. Christine and Avril had another close battle with Christine shading it this time by 1 second in 23rd with Avril 24th. Lorna was 40th. The team came 4th, six points behind Cork Track Club.
The mens team was lead by Chris Kelly who had a battling performance for 16thwith John Spelman not far behind in 20th. Stephen just back from his nice holiday was 25th with Michael Furlong, running out of steam in the final 500m, in 28th. Ollie had a solid run for 48th with Padraig improving with each race in 66th. He probably would have been higher up the rankings but only had a pair of runners, which could not have been easy in such conditions! The mens team was 5th overall.
Michael also ran the Rosscarbary Steam Train on Saturday in a fine PB of 17.01.
Michael wins gold, Fiona bronze and mens team dominate!
The county senior XC was on in Carrignadrohid again last Sunday. It was a very warm and calm October day with the ground in perfect condition for running. The course lap changed quite dramatically from past years, this time the course organisers decided to make it hilly...and they did!
The mens race was an interesting tactical battle with a large contingent of Leevale singlets leading the way for the first few laps. Micheal and Paul were sitting in the bunch watching and waiting. The three time champ Tim was at the back of the group testing out the body after a few months of easy running after a hamstring injury with Franko running his first County Senior race also in the mix. Kevin, Donal, Fergus, Chris and Denis were further back having their own battles!
As the race progressed the leading group whittled down to three with Gavin O'Rourke of Leevale taking on the pace. He was stalked by Michael and Paul who were just behind him watching and waiting. Frank and Tim were in the chasing group with Leevale duo John Shine and Conor McCauley. Nathan O'Leary was coming strong just behind so over half way through the race the top 8 positions were held by East Cork and Leevale. It was primed for another classic dust up for the team title.
A unique feature of the Carrignadrohid course over the years is the 1500m laps for the 10k. Here it was 1 small lap and 6 big laps. So for tired minds there is a lot of counting. Leevale lost the 2019 team title to North Cork due to this and lightning struck twice again last Sunday. Gavin O'Rourke pushed hard on the 5th 1500m lap, most thought it was a long run from home to break Mike and Paul but when they passed the turn off for the finish funnel and were directed for "one last lap" that unfortunately was the end of his race. It didn't effect the East Cork lads at all both were there to win and were still very comfortable and cruising at this stage. For the record Mike is twice the age of Paul so it was set up for a great classic last lap of youth v experience. The previous 6 weeks Mike has been training in Iten, Kenya and he showed that he didn't just pick up a nice bronzing tan over there but some fitness too! Over the final 1000m Mike put a spurt in that showed he was a class apart on the day and in the end won with 20 seconds to spare and joined Liam, Donnacha and Tim as County Senior XC champions.
With the battle for 1st and 2nd taken care of just behind them Tim was steaming through the field and finished a comfortable 3rd. Frank had a great battle with the Leevale lads to finish 5th over all and sowed up the team title for the club, one we have not won since 2017. Kevin was next home in 19th, Donal 25th , Fergus 27th, Chris 33rd and Denis 44th. Paul and Frank also were 1st and 2nd U23's.
This was Denis' 40th running of the County Senior XC championships. He has been on the scoring winning team twice. Rumour has it this could be his final running of the event and if this is true it was a fitting finish to such a great servant of Cork athletics by receiving a loud round of applause as he crossed the finish line from a large group of East Cork athletes and also many other clubs. To put it in perspective this was Franks first County Senior XC, for him to emulate Denis the earliest he could match this tally is in 2062!
John Spelman ran in the combined U18 and Junior Mens race and was 16th overall.
Spoiler - the womens team took the bronze team medal behind Leevale and St Finbarrs.
Fiona had a storming race to finish 3rd overall. Sinead O'Connor always looked a big favourite to win but Leevales newest memebers, transferred in from Tipperarey last month, were looking to make it a clean sweep of the podium. The race set of with Sinead and Fiona Everard (Bandon AC) taking a lead with a large chasing pack including Fiona. The womens race was 6k so four hilly 1500m laps. Fiona sat at the back of the group knowing the hills would play to her advantage and as the race went on and people were dropping back and dropping out, the group whittled down to a battle with Martina Kiely, Michelle Kenny and Shona O'Brien. With just over 1500m to go Fiona (who did count the laps right) made her move and went hard up the long hill and down into the final lap pushing strongly to open a gap and break those eager to get their hands on the last remaining individual medal. Her half marathon strength showed as none of the group behind could close the gap and Fiona powered on to extend her lead and take 3rd overall.
Annelise had a good run to beat training partner Eadaoin with Avril and Christine also having a great battle just behind them. In the end the ladies team score was 57 points to take the bronze team medals. Well done all.
Thanks to Ray and John too for taking some great photos of the action.