Mayo in national masters competition

Fog runner: Mayo AC athlete Brendan Gill runs downhill through the fog at the National Intermediate and Masters Cross Country championships.

Fog runner: Mayo AC athlete Brendan Gill runs downhill through the fog at the National Intermediate and Masters Cross Country championships.

Mayo AC went over the border through the fog to Tuam on Sunday for the National Intermediate and Masters Cross Country championships. Tuam AC hosted the event at the Palace Grounds Park with the assistance of local clubs. They did an excellent job overall, providing a good testing course with some technical twists and cambers, and a firm grassy surface. The heavy chilly fog never lifted despite the best efforts of the February sun, but conditions were perfect for running.

John Byrne and Colette Tuohy led the club's masters teams last year as they battled to medal success at Dunboyne. They were back again to lead teams of eight men and seven women, including o35 teams and all challenging in individual age categories. The course had two adjoining laps of 1k and 1.5k to make up the women's and men o65 race over 4k, and master men over 7k. Competition was very keen and the big fields provided an exciting spectacle up and down hills and through trees, a unique atmosphere in cross country events. Medals were thin on the ground this year though all the Mayo AC competitors put in their best efforts.

Colette Tuohy finished 13th overall and fourth F45 in the women's masters race, a courageous run as she endured an energy draining bug in the previous few days. Angela O'Connor, Chris Gallagher, Joan Walsh, and Ann Murrray battled hard too. Pauline Moran had another ever-changing tussle with Sheelagh Jones, but was edged out of the medals when the DSD athlete finished third o55. Margaret Glavey came up trumps again with a well deserved gold in o65 category. This was her first national cross country race and her training and racing in recent weeks certainly paid dividends. She has added to a formidable medal collection in the past year. All o65+ men categories ran in the same 4k race as masters women, and Tom Hunt won his first national cross country medal finishing third o65.

John Byrne led the o35 squad finishing 20th overall - Brendan Gill, Anto Devaney, Sean Murphy, Tom Charles, and Danny Green - all put in a great effort. Val Glynn in o60 had his first cross country experience, starting out in trainers and finishing barefoot.

Mayo AC start their National championship tally with two individual medals. They will be hoping to add to it in less than eight weeks at the National 10k on Saturday April 11 in the Phoenix Park. There were other noteworthy performances around the province. Sarah Doohan (Corran AC, Ballymote ) won bronze in the Intermediate women's race. Doolan is from Doocastle, and with Mags Glavey from Swinford, and Tom Hunt from Carracastle, made it three east Mayo medal winners in Tuam. In addition, Matt Bidwell (GCH ) won bronze o40, Lucy Brennan (Sligo AC ) silver o55, while local hero Roger Rushe (Tuam AC ) won silver in o75. Full results and photos at www.mayoac.com

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