Juniors brave the clag on Croob

On Saturday 18th March, 22 talented junior athletes travelled to Slieve Croob for the U18 Trial, to select the team for the International in Annecy, France on the 27th May. 

This race has for the last couple of years incorporated a Time Trial, with the benefit of allowing travelling athletes the opportunity to recce the course at pace, thus to some degree negating the ‘Home advantage’, an important consideration in a selection race. 

As Tracy Savage (Newcastle AC) and myself marked out the course, it quickly became apparent, that the weather was dictating some radical changes to the days racing. 

A second set of waterproofs later, the course had received minor adjustments, and lots of additional markers – in excess of 400! To ensure no athlete would get lost in the fog and rain coating the hillside. 

A quick phonecall to John Rogan, member of the Junior Mountain running subcommittee, to hold athletes in the carpark, rather than bring them up into the weather! 

Numbers and pins were brought to the cars, and registration was completed there, with the instruction for runners to gather beside the cars before embarking on a group recce of the course rather than an individual Time Trial. 

Once complete, after a pre race briefing, the rain slowed sufficiently for a start 15 mins later, with one single race. 

Despite the steepest descent being modified, the course was still extremely slippy, which played to the advantage of the more experienced mountain runners. 

Joshua Muckian leading the field

Joshua Muckian, showed why he has been awarded U17 Athlete of the year (twice) to win again, with Ciaran McCarroll hot on his heels. Third placed Tiarnan McManus, 4th Oliver Playfair and 5th Krzysztof Sokol were only separated by 8 seconds, all new faces which bode well for the future of Junior Mountain Running. Patrick McDaid of Newcastle AC was 16 seconds back in 6th, before a tightly packed group of Luke O’Doherty, Philip McGee and William McCauseland crossing the line 7th – 9th, with Charlie Fleck from the Glens of Antrim rounding out the top 10. 

Anna Russell first girl home

Meanwhile in the girls race, newcomer and talented XC racer, Anna Russell, lead the way in a fantastic 14:11 with Jessica Blaney back to flying form in 2nd in 14:40. Two of last year’s NIMRA athletes Eve Welsh and Niamh Campbell came in next 3rd and 4th, with first mountain race for Alannarose Farley in 5th

A big thankyou to all the parents, coaches and helpers who marshalled, marked out and cleared the course, to make it such a success – even more appreciated in such challenging conditions. 

The selected athletes will now embark on a series of training events, also incorporating the first couple of Hill and Dales races in their preparation for France on the 25th May. 

We wish them every success in their preparations. 

PositionNumberFirst NameLast NameTIME
71322LukeO Doherty12:52
91309WilliamMc Causland13:04

You may also like...