It is a sport that revels in the kind of conditions that have come about through heavy rain and yesterday’s Irish Life sponsored National Cross Country Championships delivered a special day for one particular family.
Fionnuala McCormack hailed ‘a great day for the family and the club’ as she routed the field to win the women’s 8,000m race with her sister Una Britton in third.
McCormack ran away with it early on and turned on the class to win in 28:41 from Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise) in 30:22 and her sister Una Britton in 30:32.
It was a swift u-turn after the finish for McCormack to sprint back down the finishing straight (outside the course) and cheer on Una to a cherished bronze medal – her first senior cross country medal.
Michelle Finn finished fifth to lead Leevale home to defend their team title. Sorcha McAlister (Westport) worked through well to win the U23 race in 31:57.
There was an equally proud and emotional moment for Liam Brady from Tullamore Harriers as he won the senior men’s 10,000m crown in a mud fest on the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus.
In the U20 women’s 4,000m race, Jodie McCann (DCH) was a strong winner in 15:06 from Danielle Donegan (Tullamore Harriers) in 15:29 and Maeve Gallagher (Swinford) in 15:32. Waterford won the team title.
Sarah Healy (Blackrock) didn’t run in the end with a virus but didn’t take anything away from McCann’s smooth runner. “I’m so happy,” said McCann afterwards who sealed automatic selection for the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon on December 7th.
The full Irish team for the Championships will be named later today.
Image Credit: Tommy Dickson, Inpho.ie