On a wet and windy morning in Stranorlar, Co Donegal(middle of nowhere) the junior swifts took on the best in NI and Ulster in the uneven age categories, and after doing so well in Comber XC a few weeks back the coaches were expecting some good runs. The course was what can only be described as farmers fields had a strong head wind in both the start and finish straights that made the running conditions tough but it didnt stop the kids from having a ball.
First up was the U11 girls and all eyes were focused on Cassie Curran. She set off from the gun and settled to the first bend in around 20th place but worked her way through the field nestling in about 6th place with a lap to go. Parents and other junior runners chased her at various parts encouraging her to keep going and she did just that. With about 100m to go she had battled her way up to third place and had an epic contest down the home straight just getting dipped on the line. Well done kiddo on your bronze medal.
Confidence was now high after a first race podium and it was now the turn of the U11 boys. We had 4 runners in this race and as the gun went off they all galloped up the field like something resembling a scene from Braveheart. Brave running in really tough conditions from Senan 18th, Naill 42nd and Pearse 79th but the hats off moment must go to young Cormac who went hard from the off and with about 300m metres to go looked to be spent. However, he rallied well and coming up the home straight managed to pull away to be crowned NI and Ulster U11 Champion. Take a bow young man.
Next off was the U13 girls and in this dust up we had new recruit Cliona McGinley. Great run from her 62nd and im sure she will learn from the experience. A few more months of specific running training and you will climb those listings. Trust in the process.
The U13 boys were next and it was the turn of Alex Reid. Under coaches instructions he was told to go off steady and hold his position which he done well and even had enough left in the tank for a sprint finish. A 50th place finish.
The course at this stage had taken punishment and was starting to churn up. The U15 girls had to work their way through 4 different farmers fields covering roughly 3200m in distance. We had 3 runners in this race that was dominated by young running inspiration Emer McKee who led from start to finish. First NHB junior home was Holly in 14th. Her first experience of tough conditions and she came through the field well passing runners to entire way to the line. Next home in 31st was Caoilann who actually lost one of her shoes half way round in a muck pie. Super running from her with literally no grip for half the race she battled her way to the finish. In 62nd was Treasa who ran steadily throughout the race holding off and beating some much older and physically stronger runners.
The U15 boys now had to endure the same route as the girls and the race started like a 100m sprint with both NBH runners Eoin and Max getting swallowed up at the first corner. They didnt panic though and both woked their way through the field getting into the top 20 after the first mile lap. Eoin stayed in that position until a 100m to go then passed a few while racing hard up the home wind tunnel to finish in 18th. Max managed to work his way into the second pack on the course as the front 3 had already pulled out a 20m lead. He front ran from about 1000m to go managing to break away with 300m to go and held his position finishing 4th overall.
The U17/19 girls went off together and after winning a few weeks ago in Comber Roise was one of the favourites in the field. The lead pack off 6 girls quickly went away from the rest of the field and ran together until around 1k to go of the 4k course. At this point the leader pushed on and Roise couldnt on the day follow her but she came home in 2nd place and will have her chance again at the all Ireland Championships in a few weeks time to reverse the standings.
Last but not least was Matthew in the U19 who along with Roise has just returned from a weeks warm weather training in Portugal. Its well for some. As usual Matthew sprinted from the start and got into first position and never gave it up. He had company from 1 other runner for the first 2 laps of 4 then pulled away to become NI and Ulster Champion. A smile as he crossed the finish line summed up a great day for the junior stags.
The club would like to thanks all the runners and parents that made it all the way up to Donegal. Its great to have runners, supporters and a club atmosphere at these events. The future is bright!
Waterworks Parkrun results
Well done Thomas and Eva on your new PB’s!
Waterworks Junior Parkrun results
Click the link to see this weeks results