OCTOBER traditionally heralds the start of the cross country season and while road racing continues to feature prominently on the athletics calendar, there are a few early season country dates of interest to local club runners in October and November.
The first of these is the N. I. Masters Open meeting on the Queen’s University grounds on Saturday, October 12th with places on the NI teams for the mid-November Masters International in Cardiff, at stake.
A sizeable contingent of local club runners will target this event with several expected to challenge for places in the various age group squads for Cardiff.
Interestingly the NI ‘Master athlete of the year (2012/13)’, Declan Reed (left) is due to be presented with his award at a post Queens race function.
However, the City of Derry Spartans star has already ruled himself out of contention for the Cardiff International in favour of running the National Senior Inter Counties cross country which is on the same weekend as the Welsh race.
He will be a major loss to the NI M40 squad who may well still expect to challenge for medals, with clubmate James Brown hopeful of forcing his way onto the selected team.
The NI cross country League kicks off in Coleraine a week later, Saturday, October 19th and should attract attention from right across the spectrum of ANI clubs and beyond.
The Coleraine University course is a real cross country circuit and with an extensive race programme catering for all age groups looks set to give participants a challenging start to the season. The progressive Springwell club are the event organisers and should put on a good show.
It’s Rostrevor in County Down on Saturday, October 26th for race two in the N. Ireland League plus the N. Ireland/Ulster Even Age Group Championships.
Another great venue and, again, it should be well supported with hopefully a good turnout from the local clubs, both underage and seniors.
The popular McConnell Shield Races are in Ballyclare on Saturday, November 9th, another N. Ireland league race for the seniors and it’s N. Ireland/Ulster Championship action the next day, Sunday 10th in the local Gransha Grounds, as the Uneven age groups and Novice Championships should bring big numbers to the Clooney Road venue.