To foster a love of running (and indeed jumping and throwing), preparation is crucial so that when it comes to competition, the athlete is ready and can feel they can compete without being disheartened. Since the inception of our fledgling club, all athletes have been prepared very well and this was borne out at the Mayo cross country championships held on the rolling Ballinrobe Race Course on the 9th of October. It was clear to see that all athletes could compete with the best in Mayo – some were even the best in Mayo!
Our team of athletes were supported by their parents and coaches on the day and while all athletes deserve great praise for their dedication to training, willingness to learn and improve; parents and coaches should be commended for the quiet support and reassurance required in calming the pre-race nerves and uncertainties.
Our youngest team members set the tone for the exploits of the club athletes that took to the line in succeeding races.In the U8 girls race, cousins Aoibhe Gallagher and Aisling Clarke battled from start to finish with Aisling pipping Aoibhe to 4th with a very strong finish. Mark Conroy truly set the tone with a commanding win the U8 boys race. He eased into the lead and was not going to be caught with a blistering finish to the line leaving all in his wake.
In the U10 girls race, Niamh McNulty put in a gutsy run taking 3rd followed closely by the ever improving Rebecca Fleming and Eimear Collins. This is the third race these girls have run in as many weeks and their finishing order has changed in each one demonstrating the strength of the team. In the U10 Boys run both Seamus Clarke and Luke Williams put in good runs and looked at home on the cross country course.
In the U12 girls team event Alannah Canavan lead from start to finish to take 1st and was followed home by team mates Arianna Loughran, Sarah Feeney, Rachel Foley and Katie McNulty taking a well deserved team silver. In the U12 boys, Richie Shelley also lead from start to finish taking gold followed closely by team mates Diarmuid Fox, Tiernan Tighe, Oisin Mullarkey, Jamie O’Malley and Graham McLoughlin taking the team gold medals.
The U14 girls, racing over 3k packed well from start to finish, they were brought home by Clodagh McDermott followed closely by Cathy Timlin, Aishling Mullarkey, Catherine O’Reilly, and Ellen Feeney to take the team Gold. The U14 boys used the same tactic and were brought home by debutants Daniel Winters and Paul Williams followed by Barry Gaughan and Brian O’Malley winning team Silver.
In the U16 girls race Bridget Mills had her first outing on her favourite surface putting in a great run to take Silver followed by team mate Aishling Gaughan. Leo Hopkins who continues to improve put in a very good run taking 6th in a very competitive race and has a very bright future in the sport. In the U18 boys Cormac McDermott took Gold continuing his good form from the summer while Conor McLoughlin put a great performance to take Silver.
Special mention must go to Rachel Foley, Sarah Feeney, Ellen Feeney, James Williams and Daniel Winters who put in great debut performances and all left with medals. Thanks to all the athletes who prepared so well and to their parents who are very supportive and always willing to help out. Finally thank you to Lake District Athletic Club on a well run event and the two young helpers giving out the coffee.