Cross Country runners set to SPAR at Autumn Open


Cross Country runners set to SPAR at Autumn Open 

The SPAR Autumn Open International Cross Country Festival will kick off the domestic cross country season in earnest this Sunday (October 20).

This will start the build-up to the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon, Portugal on December 8th with many of Ireland's leading runners competing on the purpose-built cross country course at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus in Abbotstown.

There is also the added excitement for the public to participate at the end of the day and take on the challenge of the SPAR Cross Country Xperience and run on the very course that will host the 2020 European Cross Country Championships. The race distance is 4.1km (made up of 2 loops of 2.05km) with two separate categories to suit: Race 1 (Under 26 minute runners) at 3.45pm and Race 2 (Over 26 minute runners) 4.05pm.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s activity, SPAR Sales Director Colin Donnelly said, “We are delighted to sponsor the SPAR Cross Country Xperience, which gives runners of all levels the opportunity to run on the same course that will host numerous top athletes as they compete for European glory at the 2020 SPAR European Cross Country Championship.

“We are proud of our association with athletics from the European Championships to recreational races, which perfectly complements our SPAR Better Choices healthy lifestyle message, and I want to wish everyone participating the very best of luck and I hope they all enjoy the experience.”

The full event timetable is HERE and current entries HERE

Women 6,000m, women masters 35-64 and men masters 65 plus

The senior women’s race kicks off the main action at 2pm and looks quite open with entries including Catherina Mullen (Shercock), Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise), Amy O’Donoghue (Emerald), Laura Shaughnessy (Galway City Harriers), Sorcha McAlister (Westport), Una Britton (Kilcoole) and Rachel Gibson (North Down).  

The O35 looks to be headed by Fiona Kehoe (Kilmore) while Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley) heads a strong O40 entry and should also feature for the overall win if her early season form is good. In some of the other age groups, contenders include: F50 Adrienne Atkins (Raheny Shamrock), F55 Niamh O’Sullivan (An Riocht) and F60 Pauline Moran (Mayo).

Also in the 6,000m race distance are the M65 plus with regulars such as Brian Lynch (North East Runners) M65 and Pat Healy (Portmarnock) M75 seeking selection.   

U20 women and F65 plus 4,500m

There are 34 entries in the U20 women’s 4,500m which will also be combined in the women’s 6,000m with Jodie McCann (Dublin City Harriers), Aimee Hayde (Newport), and Jo Keane (Ennis) some of the leading runners.  

Men 7,500m and masters 35-64

The men’s race sees solid depth with Cathal Doyle (Clonliffe Harriers), Damien Landers (Ennis Track), Micheal Power (West Waterford), Eoin Everard (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Yared Derese (Carrick Aces) M35 as leading entries.

Derese has been in excellent form on the roads and will be looking to head the race as well as the M35 standings. He will be hard pressed.

Elsewhere, Brian Maher (Kilkenny City Harriers) M40, Phelim Glynn (Dunboyne) M55 and Pat Muldoon (Mullingar Harriers) M60 will be looking for strong showings in their respective age categories.

U20 men 6,000m

Darragh McElhinney (Bantry) and Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe Harriers) in particular will be looking to be at the head of the main senior race for 6,000m of their U20 race distance. Others who should strongly feature are Shane Coffey (Naas), Shay McEvoy (Kilkenny City Harriers) and Jamie Battle (Mullingar Harriers).    

The race programme gets underway at 11am with Dublin Juvenile Even Age Cross Country Championships. 


For more information on the SPAR Autumn Open International Cross Country Festival click HERE.

For more information on the SPAR Cross Country Xperience click HERE

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