The main Athletics season may be at an end so let’s enjoy the Cross Country season in the months ahead. Two of our leading women athletes already preparing for a busy Winter are Fionnuala Britton and Kate Veale.
Kilcoole A.C’s , Britton ran an impressive season opener to finish 6th in the very competitive VIII Cross de Atapuerca in Burgos, Spain yesterday. The race was won by former World 10,000m champion and multiple World Cross medallist, Linet Masai, with Britton the first European across the line when completing the 7.8km course in 25:32.00 minutes. This is ideal preparation for the Wicklow woman for the upcoming European Cross-Country championships in Slovenia next month, an event she finished 4th in last year. To top off a great weekend for Britton, she was also awarded the Irish Endurance Athlete of the Year at the Athletics National Athletics Awards in Santry on Saturday evening. Kerry Harty finished 22nd in the same race while Michael Mulhare was the best of the Irish in the men’s race when finishing 34th.
The McCain UK Cross Challenge in Bristol also saw a strong Irish representation with World Youth Walk champion, Kate Veale (West Waterford), switching to the cross-country and finishing a very encouraging 3rd in the Junior women’s race. The St Augustine’s, Dungarvan student had been voted Ireland’s Emerging Athlete of the Year at Saturday’s awards ceremony . She was strongly backed up by Mary Mulhare (North Laois) and Emma Mitchell (Banbridge) in 6th and 10th respectively. Liam Brady (Tullamore) was the best of the four Irish top ten finishers in the Junior men’s race when finishing an encouraging 2nd. Stephan Kerr (Armagh) 4th, Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrocks) 5th and Sean Tobin (Clonmel) 9th rounded off a very strong event for the young Irish team.