All eyes on Britton as cross country kicks off in the Park
All eyes will be on Fionnuala Britton tomorrow as she returns to action at the Autumn Open Cross Country event at the Magazine Fort in the Phoenix Park.
The cross country season begins in earnest with athletes eager to impress as they build towards the European Cross Country Championships in Bulgaria on the 14th of December.
There will be a choice of an open 5km race starting at 2.15pm or an open 8km race starting at 3pm open to both men and women. Britton, who has just recently returned from an altitude training camp in Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees, will contest the 8km race. The Kilcoole AC athlete will be joined by fellow internationals Sarah Mulligan (DSD) and Ann-marie McGlynn (Lifford AC).
National cross country champion, Mick Clohisey (Raheny Shamrock), is one of the lead entrants in the men’s section but many of the lead runners are looking to delay their season before preparing for the GloHealth Inter County Cross Country Championships on the 23rd of November on the Dundalk IT grounds. Mark Christie and Conor Dooney should put up a stern test to Clohisey who has also returned from altitude training.
Last year’s winner Michael Mulhare (Portlaoise) is on the comeback from injury and won’t run with runner-up David McCarthy (West Waterford) opting not to overly focus on cross country this winter.
The junior cross country squads under the tutelage of the National Junior Team Coaches Steven Macklin, Joe Ryan and Geraldine Nolan will be out in force on Sunday as they aim to show form ahead of the Inter counties. The junior women will contest the 5km open race running a lap less than the seniors and the junior men will do likewise in the 8km race.
Athletes to watch out for on the day in the junior races include Andrew Coscoran (Star of the Sea AC), David Mulhare (Portlaoise AC), Isabel Carron (Skerries AC) and Rhona Pierce (Leevale AC).
The races will also incorporate the Master Cross Country Trials for the British and Irish Master Cross Country Championships.