On Your Marks – Herald Feb 6

* Stop press: A team may now be sent to the World Cross-Country Championships in March. Full team? Senior women only? 
Interesting facts on the current road racing boom have emerged from  the John Treacy Dungarvan 10 mile  and the Axa Raheny 5 ten days ago. 
Of the record breaking entry of 1,434 finishers in Dungarvan, 73 defied the windy conditions to run under 60 minutes, with 407 under 70 minutes – that’s sub-seven minute miling.
Three women were under the hour with winner Lizzie Lee finishing 34th overall. Of the entry, only 463 weren’t attached to any club, although many of the finishers were members of triathlon rather than running clubs.
As host club, West Waterford had the biggest entry at 146 finishers – not bad for a club with a total membership of 218. A total of 98 clubs from 17 counties were represented, although most of the finishers came from the nearby Munster counties.
When it came to gender, women made up almost 45% of the entry. The most dramatic increase came in the women’s over 45 bracket, with an increase from 53 in 2012 to 178 this year – that’s more than the senior entry! Indeed women finishers over 35 totalled 495, compared to just 146 women under that age.
When it came to the men, 423 were over 40 and 462 under. Most of the master men were in the over 40 age group (194); the over 35 age group wasn’t measured. 
In Dublin, at the shorter AXA Raheny 5, 2,070 runners finished, with 45 home in under 28 minutes, including three women.
Of the overall total, 876 were women – that’s 42%. Of these, 191 were over 40 and 114 over 45, with 473 under 40. Only 11 were under 20. 
From the total of 1,190 men who finished, 219 were over 40 and 136 over 45. In the higher age groups, five men over 75 finished the race, as did six women over 65 and one woman over 70 – step forward Terry Blake, who, like many of the older women still in action, was inspired to start running by the Women’s Mini Marathon.
Conclusions? Women continue to run in greater numbers than ever and age is no barrier, either for women or men. As for the younger generation, around 400 turned out for the children’s races at Raheny. The future looks bright! 
When Linda Byrne ran 32 minutes 52 seconds to win the Enniscorthy 10km, last year, the course was firmly established as one of the fastest in the country. Behind her, Maria McCambridge ran 33 mins 7 secs, while the men’s record set by Mark Christie in 2009 stands at 29 mins 35 secs. Thanks to generous local sponsorship, a course record bonus of €250 is again on offer this year, also with €200 cheques for the first teams, plus prizes in all age categories and and medals for all finishers. A feature of the event is the sumptuous post-race spread which will send everyone home happy!
Peter Matthews of DSD shrugged off the years to regain the men’s title at the Woodie’s DIY National Master’s Cross-Country in Derry. Matthews, who finished third in his first year as a master in 2009, went on to win the race in both 2009 and 2010. Just seven seconds behind for second place was Declan Reed of City of Derry, while third was Annadale’s David Morwood, the winner in 2008 and 2009.  A year ago in Boyle, Pauline Curley, Mary Scully and Colette Tuohy were the top three in the women’s race and they finished in that exact order again last Sunday. For Curley it was a fifth master’s cross-country title since her first one in 2006. Winning the intermediate titles were Maria O’Sullivan of Raheny and Letterkenny’s Chris Johnston.
DSD’s Siofra Cleirigh Buttner lost out on a medal by just one second when she finished fourth in the junior women’s race at the European Clubs Cross-Country in Castellon Spain. The 17-year-old Dubliner had finished sixth last year when DSD was third team. This time the team finished fifth. The senior team, led by Ava Hutchinson 9th and Linda Byrne 11th, finished sixth. In the senior men’s race,  Sergiu Ciobanu led Clonliffe home in 36th place. 
After a successful Marathon Mission squad session in the Phoenix Park last weekend, the next stop is Carlow, where St Abban’s will host a session on Saturday February 16 (10am). All ambitious distance runners are welcome. Good news for the group is that Athletics Ireland will consider B standards for the World Championships next August. These stand at 2 hours 17 minutes for men and 2 hours 36 minutes for women. 
At the Leinster Indoors in Athlone, Barry Regan of St Abban’s won both 60m and 200m sprints, while David McCarthy of Le Cheile opened his season with a win in the 400m. Darren McBrearty, a guest in the 800m, clocked a time of 1:50.53. Sarah McCarthy of Mid Sutton won the junior 60m in 7.80, the 200m in 25.14 and the long jump with a leap of 5.77. In the master’s age groups, Joe Gough of West Waterford set a new M60 record of 59.08 seconds. Athlone is the venue this weekend for the masters championships on Saturday and juniors and U-23 men and women on Sunday. 

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