2010 British and Irish Junior International - Preview
This weekend sees the British and Irish Junior International mountain running champs over in Glendalough, Ireland. The role call of champions is impressive, with World tri champ Ali Brownlee amongst past winners, and the 2010 location will prove both challenging and stunning…
IMRA man Gerry Brady previews:
The annual British and Irish Junior Mountain Running International will be hosted by Ireland in Glendalough, County Wicklow on September 19th. Teams from England, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will participate. An open under 14 race will begin proceedings at 9:15 with the under 16 girls international race at 10:00 am. The final race, the under 18 boys, starts at 10:50.
The event has in the past featured some runners who have performed well at World level. Best known of these are probably the two Brownlee brothers who became elite triathletes and are medal contenders for the 2012 London Olympics. Alastair Brownlee (ENG) was runner-up in the under 18 boys race in 2005 when the event was held in Carlingford, County Louth. The previous year he won the under 16 race. Jonathan Brownlee (ENG) won the under 16 boys race in 2006.
Karrissa Hawitt (ENG) won the under 16 girls race in 2001 and 2002 and the under 18 girls race in 2003. She also won the junior girls race at the World Mountain Running Championships in 2003. Laura Park (ENG) is the other runner who has won at both British and World levels: British and Irish under 16 in 2006 and 2007 followed by the World Mountain Running Trophy junior girls race in 2008.
Kate Bailey (ENG) won the under 18 girls races in 1998 and 1999 and finished third in the World Mountain Running Trophy in 1999. Hannah Bateson (ENG) was third in the 2007 European Mountain Running Championships and won the under 18 girls race in 2008.
Among the boys, Iain Donnan (SCO) has won three British and Irish junior titles (under 16 in 2001 and under 18 in 2002 and 2003) and was 4th in the 2003 World Mountain Running Trophy. Another British and Irish champion (under 18 boys in 2000) to finish 4th in the World Mountain Running Trophy was Joe Symonds at senior level. A compendium of results for 1997-2009 is available here: http://www.imra.ie/ad-hoc/B&I_results.doc
England has traditionally dominated the event. However their grip has been loosened in recent years by Scotland in particular and Wales. Ireland has only ever provided one individual winner in Peter Dalton in 2001 when he also led the under 18 boys to a team win.
2010 International Youths Challenge winner Ffion Price (WAL) is a strong favourite to retain her title in the under 16 girls race. Ireland were third in the under 17 Youths Challenge in Italy and two of that team (Meghan Ryan and Claire Brennan) are competing on Sunday. Clare McCarthy will join them and could provide a surprise. Halina Rees (SCO) and Emma Spencer (ENG) will also be in contention for individual medals.
In the team, England has always won this category but this year they will have to fight for it! The under 16 boys race is one of the most open and all four Irish runners will be hoping for a high placing. Graham Power (IRL) may prove the strongest of the Irish on what will be a tough climb up and down Camaderry.
Laura Riches (ENG) was third in the 2009 under 16 race and will be hard to beat in the under 18 race. She edged out Beckie Taylor (ENG) for fifth in the international Youths challenge. Scout Adkin (SCO) was fifth last year and won the Scottish trial race. Rachel Jefferson (ENG) who was third in 2009 is still eligible. Wales (2007), Scotland (2008) and England (2009) are the most recent winners. Niamh Denny and Catherina Mullen are likely to make the top six and should lead Ireland to team medals but the gold may be a step too far.
The under 18 boys race is always a very competitive battle. Jamie Stevenson (SCO) and Billy Pinder (ENG) were third and sixth last year. They will be joined by Marc Scott (ENG) who was runner-up in the under 16 race in 2009 and ninth in the Youths Challenge. Kevin Dooney (IRL) was sixth in the International Youths Challenge and is a very competitive runner. Scotland won the team in both 2008 and 2009. As in the under 16 boys race, the team is up for grabs.