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.