U18 International Report
A young team of aspiring NI & Ulster U18 athletes took part in the International U18 Mountain Running Cup in Saluzzo, Italy on Sunday 26th June.
For many of the talented team, this was their first International Selection and their opportunity to wear the NI & Ulster vest, across the 4.35km distance, with a 155m ascent and descent. This year saw the return of the International U18 Cup, after two years of covid- related cancellations.
Race started in the town square with a temperature of 33deg, and a rapid pace was required to negotiate a 3m pinch point 100m after the line, before a further 450m loop around the centre of Saluzzo, before runners went on a long 3.8km loop into the hillsides west of the town.
Once they had climbed the cobble streets, they had the novelty of racing through the corridor of a prison (now museum), through the exercise yard and into the woods of a private estate, opened specially for the athletes.
The climb summited with a lap of a vineyard, some further switchbacks in the woods before a last dash down the cobbles and into the town square for the finish.
The Girls team, consisted of Finn Valley AC’s Eimear McCarroll; Mid Ulster AC’s Niamh Campbell, Lagan Valley AC’s Jessica Blaney and Newry AC’s Eve Welsh, who all worked together to finish in 11th place overall with a total of 111 points.
The first NI & Ulster athlete across the line was Eimear McCarroll in a time of 21:09, following by Niamh Campbell, making her NI & Ulster debut and finishing in 23:13, with Jessica Blaney finishing in 23:42. Sadly Eve Welsh succumbed to the heat in the woods and had to withdraw from the race, though she was leading the N.I. team at that point.
The boys team, of North Down AC’s Ben Acheson; East Down AC Oliver Robinson; Newcastle & District AC’s Ethan McMullan and Slieve Gullion Runners’ Joshua Muckian finished in 13th place overall with 127 points in total.
Leading the way was Joshua Muckian, in a time of 19:05, while Ben Acheson finished in 19:55, followed by Oliver Robinson in 20:03 and Ethan McMullan in a time of 21:12.
NIMRA & Athletics NI would like to thank the Italian organisers and the WMRA for making this event happen – a fantastic experience and one that will not be forgotten by the athletes.
We want to congratulate all of the athletes and their coaches, for their selections and their brilliant performances on an International stage.
*the link to the WMRA report, photos and results is here –