1500m man takes Irish European Trial
While the wider IMRA membership rested after their efforts at the Wicklow Way Relay, those IMRA runners with international aspirations came out for battle on Sunday morning.
A Noon showdown beckoned with no less a prize than places at the European Championships at stake.
Connoisseurs of Irish hill running would have been missing many familiar names from previous Trials but Gerry Brady, IMRA’s High Performance Officer, noted the high standard of the field, a comment speaking positively of Ireland’s current breadth of running talent.
The course in Crone Wood consisted of two laps (for the ladies and juniors) and three laps (for the men) each featuring more than 200m ascent. Gerry Brady reports:
Debutante Sharon Bird ran an excellent race to beat Karen Alexander by 23 seconds. Given how well Karen has been running, this performance puts Sharon straight in at the elite end of Irish mountain running.
American and soon to have Irish citizenship Gladys Ganiel O’Neill was third. Gladys ran 2 hours 41 minutes in London this year. Denise Ryan finished fast to overtake Suzanne Kenny on the run-in.
Gary O’Hanlon also won his first ever mountain race. He ran 3:53 for 1500m last weekend and this speed was put to good effect on the downhill stretches. Philip Harty ran a tough race from the start to ensure his selection for the Europeans. Six seconds behind him was Brian Furey and then a minute back to James Doran. Next home were first-timer John Harkin who caught Colm Hill on the last lap.
Sinead Cronin, Celtic DCH, won the junior women’s ahead of club-mate Claire Brennan and Breda McDonald, North Laois, while Omagh’s James Speight won the junior men’s race with Shane Walsh and James Griffin next.
Full report, photos and results here