British & Irish Junior Champs

If you have been reading the posts you will know that we sent a top quality crop of junior runners to the Championships. The report below is from Colin Brennan on how it went. Many thanks to him for a great report – enjoy:

At 7.00 am reveille was sounded by the blows of a hammer on a length of rail hanging by the camp commandant’s office.  Actually rumour has it that the fire alarm was deliberately triggered by Phil Hodge to ensure the teams got to the mess hall before the bacon rolls ran out.

Meanwhile in Coach Hut B75, S854 and S855 aka Decky and Colin were hoping to avoid the constipation inducing interrogation suite.

It had all seemed so different the night before as the teams were being processed in the reception hut and issued with one pillowcase, sheet and duvet cover taking care not to exit by way of the door they entered by.

In the mess hall a rising tide of anguish spread through the teams.  There would be no bacon rolls just porridge and toast. No amount of remonstrating from our tallest team coach procured a single bacon butty.  It is to their credit that the trustees who staffed the kitchens held their ground in the face of such a ferocious onslaught.

And so to the races and as the team bus pulled away you could sense that it wouldn’t be long before the rain and assorted fungi reduced the camp to mulch – A time lapse camera has been installed to record same.

After much deliberation over the merits of google maps and Tom Tom the bus as seen from the ISS traced a near perfect circle of radius 12 miles before finally depositing the runners at Peebles High School where the night before it had all started so well with piping hot dinner in a cardboard box.

First off for Northern Ireland were the U17 Men.  As they lined up nervously craning their necks skyward to take in the notorious Cademuir Rollercoaster a lone piper filled the valley with a mournful lament or was it a call to battle.  The U17 men’s course undulated for 5.8km with 321 metres of ascent and with the recent heavy rains the going was soft to firm.  Conall McClean led the way for Northern Ireland with a battling 28:23 to finish in 16th place.  Next to finish in quick succession as if joined by an invisible thread were Jamie Anthony 24th in 30:21, Callum McCabe25th in 30:28 and running for St Colmans, Miceal McCaul ,26th in 30;31. In 28th place a determined Tony McCambridge who only recently came out of plaster following a fractured foot finished in 31:27

Over the same course it was the turn of the U20 Women.  Leila Ponziani was to the fore for Northern Ireland pulling away strongly from a trio of team Ireland runners to finish in 16th place in 34;27.  She was ably supported by Molly Brennan who found herself in her own private tussle with same trio of runners to finish  in 20th place in 36;14

And finally it was the turn of the U20 Men.  They would run the far loop of the 5.8km course twice with the distinct privilege of ascending the steep 127  m climb to the ancient fort at the summit of Cademuir Hill  twice.  Oisin Brennan found himself as the race progressed renewing acquaintances with Team Ireland colleagues from the recent U20 World Championships and finished in 20th place in 40:06.  Ethan Dunn battled his way over the toughest of courses to finish in 24th place in 44:58.  Team Northern Ireland scoring was completed by Tom Magee bravely fighting the undulations to finish 25th in 45:56.

And so B&I Junior 2017 came to a close with cups of soup so thick you can stand on it and enough cured and dried meats to satisfy a committed paleo.

With little flexibility on race dates it may be Wicklow the teams head to in 2018 to meet old friends and do battle on Camaderry or could it be Wales or, if the dates don’t suit  maybe England ,or if there is such a thing as Groundhog Day and if the fungus doesn’t finish it off back to Bromlee

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