A record number of 43 countries will compete in the uphill World championships in North-Eastern Italy on Sunday. South America, North America, Asia, Oceania, Africa, and Europe will all be represented. The senior men’s race has the largest entry with 152 runners from 40 countries. The Irish junior men’s team is probably the strongest Irish team having finished fifth in the European championships in July and this time being strengthened with the addition of Sean Tobin. Jake O’Regan was tenth in the Europeans and these two could set the team up for a good result.
Sarah McCormack was eight in the Europeans and recently ran 15:49 for 5000m. She will be competing against a strong American quartet who are probably favourites for the team title. Laura Shaughnessy will be making her debut at this level. Stephen Scullion makes a return to the team and together with Brian MacMahon could run well. Louise Hill-Stirling has delayed travelling to America to take up a scholarship and her strength could get her into the top 15.
The senior men’s race starts at 1,130 metres above sea level. All races finish at 1,900 metres so the runners will be facing a challenge from altitude as well as the gradient as they approach the finish.
Senior men: Stephen Scullion (North Belfast); Brian MacMahon (Clonliffe Harriers); Eoin Flynn (Rathfarnham); Tom Hogan (Sliabh Buidhe Rovers); Ian Conroy (Raheny Shamrock); James Kevan (Clonliffe Harriers)
Senior women: Sarah McCormack (Clonliffe); Sarah Mulligan (DSD); Laura Shaughnessy (UCD); Emma Donlon (Metro St. Brigid’s)
Junior men: Jake O’Regan (St. John’s Clare); Sean Tobin (Clonmel AC); Hugh Armstrong (Ballina); Killian O’Connor (Sligo)
Junior women: Louise Hill-Stirling (Clonliffe Harriers)