Bronze Sunset in Ambleside

Photos courtesy of Dave Woodhead

Back to Ambleside two years in a row, though last year was for the scaled back Home Countries International U18.

No complaints from us, Duncan Richards puts on a great event with the help of Niki Rylance, treating the team to excellent accommodation and a fantastic course.

Joining the IMRA team in Dublin to share our travel costs, proved not just a good idea from a budget standpoint, but the chat and craic had while travelling on the bus and ferry certainly made the long journey much more bearable.

The Course – Starting in Rothay Park before climbing sharply up steep tarmac, the athletes need to manage their effort to ensure the frantic pace doesn’t cause them to go too deep and pay for it later in the course. The summit breaks out onto a long rolling section, leading to a final scramble for the U17, before the return leg. The descent got a small tweak from 2021, with athletes following a wall before descending the initial climb. This made the course more technical, but more enjoyable and challenging to race.

In a two race format, the U17s started first, with Joshua Muckian of (Slieve Guillion Runners) leading the N.I. & Ulster contingent over the first climb, closely followed by Ben Acheson (North Down AC) and the four International debutants of Ciaran McCarroll (Finn Valley AC), Jacob Crawford (East Down AC), Ethan Isles (North Down AC) and Yasin Brannigan (Newcastle AC). This order stayed the same throughout with the exception of Jacob and Ethan who battled to and fro throughout the race, with Ethan getting the upper hand in the final descent, making his attack which gained a few positions in the final stages as they raced for the finish.

The girls were lead in the early stages by Katie Graham (Lagan Valley AC) making her debut for N.I. & Ulster, followed closely by another debutant Poppy Hastings (Mid Ulster AC) before the two girls who had competed in Italy passed, Eve Welsh and Niamh Campbell. Niamh sadly took a fall at a turn, which curbed her enthusiasm somewhat, but she gained a spot when her team mate Eve unfortunately took a wrong turn,  being chased by spectators to call her back to the route.

Katie Graham in full flight

Poppy struggled to find a space to pass the girls in front, but finally made her move on the descent to finish a fantastic 12th.

U17 JHI NI & Ulster Results
Joshua Muckian13th23:56Poppy Hastings12th27:21
Ben Acheson15th24:19Katie Graham13th28:05
Ethan Isles18th26:05Niamh Campbell15th29:11
Jacob Crawford19th26:21Eve Welsh16th29:35
Open Competiton – not counted towards team score 
Ciaran McCarroll25:06 
Yasin Brannigan 29:03    

The U20 started 45 mins later, with just shy of a 1km extension to the farthest point of the course. Sean McGinley (Finn Valley AC) set a blistering pace, sitting close behind the lead 4 through the middle section, with Tom Crudington (Newcastle AC) fresh from his stunning 11th at the European Championships next, before Ryan Smith (Annadale Striders) and the two Ethans, Ethan O’Kane (Unattached) and Ethan McMullan (Newcastle AC) came through. Sean kept the pace to finish really strongly in 5th, Tom, moving up to 8th, though frustrated in a race with energy levels lacking on the day. Ryan Smith came next achieving 14th, the 3rd counter, to add to the team result with Ethan McMullan, achieving Team Bronze in the process. Ethan O’Kane in his debut race, finished extremely strongly, gaining places in the latter stages of the race, showing real promise for next year in the mountains.

Bronze medal winners! L-R Sean McGinley, Tom Crudington, Ryan Smith & Ethan McMullan

Eimear McCarroll had finally seen off the injured ankle that had held her back in Italy, allowing her to put her fearless descending skills to good effect, finishing a fantastic 9th. Ciara Savage back for another year on the Ambleside hills ran strongly throughout, finishing in a really pleasing 37:30 on the long U20 course.

NIMRA would like to thank the coaches and parents who travelled over for the event, and who continue week on week to give these young athletes all the support and encouragement they need.

In particular, a huge thankyou to Tracy Savage (Newcastle AC) and John Rogan (Finn Valley AC) for all their support, help and advice as Team managers to this young and talented team.

Wishing the athletes every success in their Cross Country season, before trials for the U18s next Spring.

The team (minus Tom) on a cool down

Dates for the Diary –

Two local races for a final little bit of uphill training before the Cross Country Season –

6th September – Mill Hill Mile

10th September – Slieve Croob Challenge (times will be taken by Phil Hodge at summit to allow athletes to race the climb and walk back to the start.

2023 INTERNATIONAL Opportunities

  • International U18 – Annecy, France – 28th May 2023
  • B&I U20 and U17 – Peebles, Scotland – 10th September 2023
U20 JHI NI & Ulster Results
Sean McGinley5th25:02Eimear McCarroll9th32:16
Tom Crudginton8th25:37Ciara Savage16th37:30
Ryan Smith14th27:40 
Ethan McMullan20th29:58 
Open Competiton – not counted towards team score 
Ethan O’Kane29:09 


Link to Individual Results and Team Results – see tab at top left to click between individual and teams.

Select Advanced filter to select International A…etc to remove the none score Open Individuals.

Link to photos –



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