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McCormack set for GloHealth Nationals and Euro Cross

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McCormack set for cross country

Two-time European Cross Country Champion Fionnuala McCormack will run the GloHealth Inter Clubs Cross Country Championships this Sunday and compete in the European Cross Country Championships in Hyeres, France on December 13th.

McCormack (nee Britton) finished 13th in the Chicago marathon in 2:33:15 on October 11th to comfortably get inside the qualifying time (2:42) for the Olympic Games.

She will transfer from the roads to run the national championships in Santry Demesne this Sunday and the Europeans in December. It is set to be a great women's race on Sunday with Ciara Mageean (UCD) also set to compete along with the other top female distance runners in the country. 

The Kilcoole athlete who is currently altitude training in Font Romeu in the French Pyrenees finished 6th at the European Championships in Samokov, Bulgaria last year leading the Irish women’s team to bronze medals.

A rich history and team management expectations

Over the last four years Ireland has won four medals at these championships.

Leading the team in the build-up to this year’s championships on the women’s side is Teresa McDaid, Paul McNamara on the men's side and Steven Macklin in the junior ranks.

Teresa McDaid has a long history of cross country witnessing many medals for Ireland at cross country including double European Gold in 2012. “I’m pleased to be back working with Euro Cross again and excited about the prospects from the senior women’s competition,” said McDaid who was coach of the year in 2011 and 2012.

“The senior women have had a remarkable history in Euro Cross and to date I have met with enthusiastic engagement from all of our best athletes and their coaches.  Individual athlete’s preparations are diversified somewhat this year with other targets in pre-Olympic year, however the potential of a team podium finish is maintaining a focus for the girls. The U23 panel is starting to come together with positive outcomes from some earlier injury concerns."

Men look to build on Samokov

On the men’s side the team will be put in the hands of coach Paul McNamara who competed at World and European Cross Country Championships as an athlete and more recently has coached AIT’s endurance athletes to regular success at intervarsity competition. “We have quality on the U23 men’s panel and, even though competition in Hyeres will likely be more intense than in Samokov 2014, a full strength U23 men’s side won’t be far away from team medals. 

"As is often the case, many of our leading U23 athletes are currently studying in the US, but have given a strong commitment to targeting the European Cross Country Championships.  The senior men’s team will be targeting an improvement on last year’s very solid 6th place showing in Samokov. There are a large number of athletes vying for places on the senior men’s team with the recovery and transition from recent marathon success likely to have a bearing on the final team make-up."

Junior panels progressing

"The junior panels have been progressing well over the first phase of their training with all athletes participating in physiological testing and races," said National Junior Endurance Coach Steven Macklin. "This has allowed the junior coaching team which includes Joe Ryan and Geraldine Nolan to see where each athlete is at in terms of their preparations. 

"Our focus is on keeping everyone consistent in their training and injury/illness free and to make sure that following the trials we have our best teams selected to compete at the championships. We believe we can make an impact at the championships but only with our best athletes on the line."

Overall High Performance view 

High Performance Director Kevin Ankrom said: “The European Cross Country Championships are one of my favourite competitions of the year as we get to see a lot of athletes that we don’t get to see on the track and also we get to see some of our best endurance athletes come together as a team to have a shot at winning a European Team medal. 

"I believe cross country is a great stepping stone and a great way for many athletes to develop their endurance base and for those running on the track we usually see those athletes have had a good cross country season end up having a good track season.  As the Olympic Games are a focus of the 2016 season I will be excited to see how our teams and our athletes fair at this year’s championships.” 

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