National Novice XC:
The National Novice XC was held in the fantastic local hinterlands of Conna last week (on December 4th). Clubman Frank Hayes was the mastermind of the event along with the wonderful St Catherines AC and local volunteers everything ran smoothly despite monsoon like conditions in the days leading up the the race.
It would be remiss to start anywhere else but with the superb run of Paul Hartnett. Paul won in very convincing fashion in 18.57. Bustling with all the other leading contenders for the first 3k of the 6k race, Paul then decided to make a long push from home. He extended his lead with every step to the finish line and won one of the most coveted titles of the Cross Country season. This victory for Paul has been years in the making. He has been a wonderful consistent trainer since he turned about 16 and joined in with the training group. He has made incremental improvements each year and has not let any disappointments set him back. After just missing out on selection for the U23 European Championships by 6 seconds he bounced back in the way that we have come to expect of Paul. Congrats Paul, this is a wonderful achievement to have on your CV at such a young age.
Not only did we have the excitement of Paul winning the day was made extra special with Frank also grabbing 2nd place. Frank also had an amazing run and having slipped back to 5th place at the halfway point it looked like he might be out of the medals. But a strong surge and plenty of determination brought him through the field to take 2nd place and cement a day that will be remembered for a long time in the clubs history. Obviously Paul and Frank were instrumental in the clubs silver at the Senior championships recently and now with this exciting one two the new generation have truly broken through for the club. The future is bright!
Next home with another great run was Nicky. Running a very strong race he placed 38th overall. Donal also had an excellent run to crack the top 50 for the first time with 50th place on the nose. Michael Furlong had a breakthrough performance with an excellent 64th place and looked very strong in the closing lap! The finish line came a lap too early for Matt. He was just getting going and making up good ground but the last lap was already upon him, still a good run for 70th place. Club Captain Stephen was next home in 100th place having cruelly outsprinted training partner John in the closing meters.
At the finish line there was a lot of excitement as Paul and Frank were getting their medals presented on the podium and told they are to be drug tested. But also we knew it was a very close result for 2nd, 3rd and 4th teams! As phones were refreshed to see the results it came through it was 4th team! Only 1 place behind Raheny in 3rd and 3 points behind 2nd team. So close!! Paul, Frank and Nicky all scored on the winning Cork county team.
The ladies race was also fast and furious and we had a team for the first time in a good few years. Annelise and Eadaoin had a big battle on the final lap but Annelise had the extra gear in the last 200m to pull away and finish 63rd with Eadaoin 4 seconds back in 66th. Niamh had a good race for 79th overall. Christine running her first National Cross country race will have learned a lot in 97th with Lorna just behind her in 101st. This got the ladies 13th team overall. Well done.
The Waterford Half marathon was on Saturday December 3rd. Brian Harty ran a strong race to finish 23rd in 77.30. Avril had a great run with a 15 minute PB in 95.03 and Chris McGrath was next home in 99.29.
Tim went foreign to run the Valencia Marathon. Going through half way in 67 minutes he was on track for a very good result but unfortunately the wheels fell off a bit in the closing stages so had to settle for a "disappointing" 2.20:52. It shows the level Tim is operating at if that is now a poor run. Roll on the spring for another attempt!