Some went for the sun (and fast competition) in Valencia, others stayed at home and braved the cold. Lindie Naughton reports.
Efrem Gidey of Clonliffe Harriers knocked a second off his previous best – set at the same race last year – when finishing 17th at the Valencia 10km in Spain on Sunday (January 14) with a time of 27 mins 56 secs.
Other Irish athletes in action were Clonmel AC’s Sean Tobin who finished in 29:36, John Travers of Donore Harriers in 29:58 and Jamie Battle of Mullingar Harriers in 30:00.
Another fast race overseas was the Houston Half Marathon in Texas, USA. Fearghal Curtin opened his account for 2024 with an excellent 61:44 for 10th spot.
Road racing in Ireland
Locally, and also on Sunday, Dermot Cummins of West Waterford AC was a clear winner of the Ferrycarrig 5-Mile in Co Wexford in 24 mins 41 secs. Evan Fitzgerald was second in 25:23 and Sean Doran of Clonliffe Harriers – running his second race in two days – third in 26:39.
Finishing eighth overall and first woman was Ciara Wilson of DMP AC in 27:41. Second and first W40 in 32.00 was Louise Morgan of Ferrybank AC, with Sabina Williams of Croghan AC third and second W40 in 32:33.
In a Leevale AC double, Conor McCauley and Hannah Steeds were the winners at a well-supported Tom Walsh 10km held in Caherconlish, Co Limerick. McCauley had a comfortable overall victory in a time of 31 mins 58 secs with Damien Madigan of North Cork AC second in 32:20, and John Kinsella a close third and first M40 in 32:22.
Steeds crossed the finish line in 35:24 followed by Dympna Ryan of Dundrum AC in 35:34 and Dee Collins of Ennis TC in 37:03; Ryan and Collins are both in the W40 age category.
In Co Louth, junior athletes dominated the 5km R-Ace, held in Termonfeckin, with Danny Nugent of host club Ace AC the race winner in 15:23 and Dearbhla Allen of St Peter’s AC first woman in 19:04. Second and third overall were Dublin raiders Oran O’Hare of Dublin City Harriers and Niall Carbery of Clonliffe Harriers, both of them senior athletes.
Cross country at the grassroots
A record turn-out for the second round of the current Meet & Train Women’s Cross-Country League on Sunday (January 14) was led home by Caroline McCarthy of the Donore Dawdlers team, who had missed the opening round of the league. She led from the start, completing the 3.5km distance in 14 mins 25 secs.
In her first Meet and Train race, Deirdre Lyons of Dublin Front Runners was second in 14:37 with Lisa Gaughan of DSD Perfect Pacers third in 14.43.
A day earlier, Sean Doran and Claire Sullivan were the winners of the Bank of Ireland BHAA 6km held at Tymon Park.
Doran, of Harrier Products, who finished in 21 mins 35 secs, had eleven seconds to spare on Stephen Kelly of Express Side Gates who finished second in 21:46. Third in 22:06 was Colm Costello of Allianz.
O’Sullivan, representing the CSO, finished in 25:02, with guest runner Ciara Brady second in 26:15 and Sharon Tighe of South Dublin County Council third in 27:28.
Best of the Grade 1 men’s teams was the ESB, led by Fionn Griffin in eighth place. Winners of Grade 2 was the Engineering Group with Teachers best in Grade 3 and Revenue winning the women’s category.
BHAA races are getting entries of well over of over 300 in the Cork.
In Dublin, where many of the races are cross-country, numbers are not quite as high. Yet with their combination of friendliness, superb organisation and great value, these races – like the women’s Meet and Train League- are hugely enjoyable. Give ‘em a try – if you haven’t done so already!
Celtic Cross Country back in action
At underage level, Harry Colbert of Waterford AC proved the star of the Irish team at the revived Celtic Cross-Country Championships held in Renfrew, Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday (January 13).
Colbert won the U20 men’s race out-sprinting Scotland’s Logan Beagley in the chase for the line. In a good race for the Irish, Sean Lawton of Durrus AC was third, David Williams of St Senan’s AC fourth and Cian Hodgins of Nenagh Olympic fifth.
In the women’s senior and U20 race, Lucy Holmes of Waterford AC was sixth followed by Aoife Coffey of Lucan Harriers 11th, Alex Murphy of Suncroft Kildare AC 15th and Roisin O’Reilly of UCD AC 16th.
In the women’s U17 race, Anna Gardiner of East Down AC, running for Northern Ireland, finished second.
Winner of the Art O’Neill 60km challenge from Dublin Castle to Glenmalure which started at midnight on Friday, January 12 was Leitrim ultra runner Ricki Wynne.
His time of 5 hrs 46 mins 36 secs was a new course record.
Wynne, aged 40, made the Irish mountain running team for the first time last year. His major target in the coming months is the TDS 145km in the French and Italian Alps next August.
With long gaps between the finishers, Andrew Tees finished second in 6:05.32 and Jordan Noonan third in 6:45.50. First woman was Suzanne Kenny in 7:47.05, followed by Joanne Rice in 8:36.37 and Shauna Gowan in 9:18.27. A total of 69 men and 14 women completed the 60km race.
Leading home 168 finishers in the shorter Art O’Neill 25km from Dublin Castle to Kippure Estate was Michael Costello in a time of 1 hr 50 mins 45 secs. He was followed by Michael Bagnall in 2:01.07 (also first M40) and Keith Browne in 2:02.40.
Michelle O’Neill and Miriam McElvaney both finished in a time of 2:15.16 to take first and second places in the women’s race with Jenny Hogan third in 2:26.02. Fourth and first W50 in 2:26.50 was Helen Marie Maher.
Rhasidat Adeleke of Tallaght AC began her professional indoor season at a meet in Louisville hosted by the University of Kentucky over the weekend.
As part of an elite 4x400m quartet, Adeleke ran a split of 51.74 secs for the second leg; the team failed to finished. Top target this year for Adeleke is the Paris Olympics. She is also likely also to compete at the European Championships in Rome next June six weeks.
Shane Healy of Metro St Brigid’s AC proved the star of the show at the Irish Masters Indoor Championships in Athlone on Saturday (January 13) when he set a new M55 world 800m record.
Healy’s time of 2:01.46 knocked over three seconds off the old record time of 2:06.04 set by the Italian Francesco D’Agostino. Healy was running in the M35 race, where he finished second overall, coming from fifth place to second over the final two laps.
Last week, the 1996 Olympian set an M55 3000m world indoor record of 8:47.71 in Dublin. His next target is the indoor 5,000m mark.
Cillian Kirwan of Raheny Shamrock had a notable victory over John Fitzsimons of Kildare AC when winning the open 1500m at the National Indoor League second qualifying round held in in Athlone on Saturday (January 13).
Kirwan finished in 3:43.73, with Fitzsimons on his heels in 3:44.08 and Philip Marron of Dublin City Harriers third in 3:47.71.
Overall, defending champions Clonliffe Harriers finished top of the table with 152 points. Ratoath AC was second with 131 points and Nenagh Olympic third on 112 points. Defending women’s champions DSD also qualified for the final easily finished top of the table with 184.5 points.
Ratoath with 164 points finished second and Leevale third in 147. The top eight men and women’s teams progress to the final on Saturday February 3.