The team bronze medals won by the Irish senior women’s squad, captioned by Strabane-based Anne Marie McGlynn, at the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria on Sunday were clearly the big weekend athletics story.
A huge last lap charge by McGlynn and others pushing the ‘green vests’ past the French and onto the podium by a narrow one point margin.
Led by twice former individual gold medallist Fionnuala Britton in sixth place, the Irish squad performed brilliantly to medal, behind the GB and Spanish squads.
Indeed two Britons Gemma Steel and Kate Avery finished a clear one, two in the individual standings but the fighting Irish produced a collective effort especially on the final lap, to grab a podium spot, for the seventh time since the inauguration of these championships, a success fully deserved.
McGlynn had pre-race, tipped the squad to feature and with no little thanks to herself, that proved to be the case with Britton sixth, Sarah Treacy 12th, Michelle Finn 23rd and with the vital fourth scorer McGlynn herself 46th, it was the Irish celebrating and the French disappointed.
The Irish men’s squad was sixth in their championship race with Annadale Strider Paul Pollock leading them home in 23rd place.
Perhaps going for a top twenty finish he my feel somewhat disappointed but in a top quality field his recent return after a long term injury, may have left him a bit short on the day.
Back home and Omagh Harrier Martin Cox won Saturday’s Eskra Ruldoph 10K Run with a 35 minutes and 23 seconds clocking, ahead of the 36 minutes and 30 seconds effort from Carmen Runners Michael Kerr.
Third place went to Oisin Donnelly, another Omagh runner, on 37 minutes and 21 seconds.
The female winner was Grainne O’Hagen of Knockmanny Runners on 40 minutes and 42 seconds. Second spot went to Foyle Valley stalwart Denise McElhone in 43 minutes and 05 seconds, with Enniskillen Running Club’s Karen Dolan on 43 minutes and 17 seconds claiming third spot.
Sunday’s annual Letterkenny Turkey Trot attracted some 100 or so runners and this one asks participants to declare an estimated time for the 5K distance and then without reference to their watches run the course.
Amazingly the winner Shaun McBride finished in 25 minutes and 30 seconds, exactly the time that he had predicted.
Catherine Whoriskey was the sixth best in this prediction lottery, her 19 minutes and 51 seconds actual time a mere two seconds off her predicted 19 minutes and 53 seconds and she was the best of the women in that regard.
Finn Valley’s Teresa Doherty nee McGloin, ran a super swift 16 minutes and 42 seconds to claim the quickest female clocking of the day.