It is always a great weekend at the peak of the sport but when you throw in the potential of qualifying to run in a European Championship on home soil, it just gets a little bit more special.
Ireland’s best cross-country runners are preparing to lace up at Santry Demesne this Sunday in pursuit of national glory and European selection at the Irish Life Health National Senior, Junior and Juvenile Cross Country Championships.
The podium places will have all the more significance with the first three home in each of the senior, U23, and U20 races securing their place on the Irish team set to compete at the SPAR European Cross Country Championships at the Sport Ireland Campus on December 12th.
They will be sought by Olympians, national champions, and European championship medallists in one of the strongest national fields ever assembled.
Aoibhe Richardson, who was part of the Irish team which secured a team silver medal at the 2019 European Cross-Country Championships was on hand to launch Sunday’s showdown.
“I’m really looking forward to competing at nationals having raced in the US for the last few months,” she said.
“This year’s Irish Life Health National Cross Country Championships are going to be more competitive than ever with places on the European Cross Country team down for decision so it should be a thrilling day of competition.”
Sunday will complete a remarkable journey for Hiko Tonosa should he claim one of those podium places in the men’s senior race.
He became the first asylum seeker to win an Irish senior athletics title with victory in the National 10km road race in 2019, before receiving Irish citizenship in 2020.
The DSD athlete has enjoyed a stunning 2021 season in taking both the 5,000 and 10,000 metre titles at the Irish Life Health Track and Field Championships back in June.
“I have special memories from National Championships on the track and road, and I’m looking forward to the challenge on Sunday, and hopefully making all the hard work pay off by having the chance to represent Ireland in December,” he said at the launch.
The action on Sunday will get underway with the U12 girls at 11:30 am (full timetable HERE) building to a crescendo with senior women’s 8,000m and senior men’s 10,000m at 13:45 and 14:25 respectively.
The Sport for Business Perspective:
We have a great tradition in Cross Country and this will be a perfect set up for the European Championships coming here one year later than expected in only four weeks time. The top three from each category on Sunday can be feted and introduced to a sporting public through smart digital activation.
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