Three of Mayo AC’s masters athletes represented the club on the Irish team in the 31st Annual British and Irish Masters International Cross Country Championships in Singleton Park, Swansea, on Saturday.
Three club members in Irish vests is a great achievement and their inclusion in the Irish team continues Mayo AC’s wonderful record in the event over the last twenty years. Pauline Moran W60, Mags Glavey W65 and Tom Hunt M70 were joined by a number of athletes from other clubs in the west and there was a great sense of excitement and pride when they all met up at Knock Airport on Friday afternoon.
The whole Irish team ran their hearts out on an exciting day of cross country racing. There was a wonderful atmosphere at this excellent venue as masters runners from England, Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland battled it out on Welsh home turf.
The overall top prize is between the five nations, but there is keen competition between age category teams and individuals from o35 to o75 with medals for the first three on each. England have dominated the event in both men's and women's sections over the entire span of the event.
However, there were some outstanding performances by the Irish in individual and team categories. The 250 acre Singleton Park is a regular venue for cross country events, including the Welsh championships, with Tom Hunt competing there a decade ago as part of the Irish M55 team.
Racing conditions were ideal, warm November sunshine all around this lovely tree-lined park in Sketty by the shore of Swansea Bay. In the first race at 11:30, all women plus M65/70/75 ran 6k over 3 laps – The 2k lap course was remarkably good underfoot with a number of testing undulations.
The other two races were over four laps : M50-64 and 35-49. Pauline Moran is in the form of her life and she displayed it on Saturday with a great run, winning gold individual – first W60 in the field. She also led the Irish W60 team to silver - Sheelagh Jones, Noreen Bonner and Mary Jennings.
Mags Glavey also trained hard ahead of this race with the benefit of cross country training on Mellet’s Hill, accompanied by Tom Hunt – sessions as directed via coach Matt Bidwell. Mags also had a powerful run on the day and was joined on the W65 team by Mary Lynch (medal winner in Dublin Marathon a couple of weeks ago in 3:31.27 ). The W65 team won bronze – great reward for Mags who finished fifth in her category.
Regular Irish team member, Martin McEvilly (GCH ), led the M70 team with a textbook strong run, finishing silver individual in the category. He was followed by Tom Hunt 5th, Dick Mullins 11th and Pat Healy 12th to win M70 team silver.
So a great day for Mayo AC with all three members coming home with medals and Pauline Moran's gold the icing on the cake. Full results can be checked at www.mayoac.com