22 October 2017
Ethiopian Tiko Tonosa was the winner of the Athletics Ireland’s Autumn Classic Cross Country at Abbotstown, Dublin. Running in the colours of the Dundrum South Dublin club, the 13:31 5000m man made a break on the penultimate lap that was to prove decisive. Derry Track Club’s Kenyan Gideon Kipsang mounted a late challenge but ended up three seconds in arrears at the tape as club colleague Adam Kirk-Smith filled the last place on the podium another four seconds back.
Slieve Gullion’s Paddy Hamilton was the first Master to finish with City of Derry’s Declan Reed in the runner-up spot. North Down’s Craig McMeechan and Newcastle’s Patrick McNiff were sixth and seventh resepctively in the Junior race won by Bantry’s Darragh McElhinney.
Kerry’s reigning national champion Shona Heaslip was a convincing winner of the women’s event by 20 seconds from Scotland’s Mhairi MacLennan with Leevale’s Olympic steeplechaser Michelle Finn back in third spot. Cathy McCourt, in ninth, was first northern finisher in the Masters’ race.
A day earlier Allan Bogle and Catherine Diver had dominated their respective Northern Ireland Masters’ Cross Country trials at Upper Malone. Over 130 hardy veterans turned up in the hope of gaining a place on NI teams for next month’s British & Irish Cross Country International to be held in Derry.
Bogle struck the front from the gun in ideal running conditions and had already put 40 metres between himself and Chris McGuinness by the end of the first lap. Omagh’s Marty Cox in third was leading the main field. The City of Derry Spartan kept the pressure on during the second lap and had doubled his advantage by the halfway point with McGuinness equally safe in second as a battle raged for the bronze medal position.
Bogle did not falter over the final two laps of the soft and giving surface to come home in glorious isolation a massive 40 seconds ahead of the Foyle Valley man who in turn had a ten second over Enniskillen’s Stephen Cassidy who finished strongly for third. North Belfast Harrier Eamon White, in fifth overall, was the leading M45 while clubmate Andrew Considine, in tenth, was the first M40. Willowfield’s Duncan Bell was the leading M50 with another North man David Clarke taking the M55 accolade and English visitor Peter Gray the M60 top spot.
Catherine Diver was equally impressive in the women’s race, holding off the reigning provincial Masters’ champion Amy Bulman to seize a narrow but emphatic victory by six seconds. The Willowfield Harrier in turn had a six second buffer over Gerrie Short who continued a rich vein off form to ensure two of the three podium places went to Beechmount Harriers ladies.
Diver was the first F40 while Bulman had the consolation of being leading F35. Ballydrain Harrier was the top F45 just ahead of clubmate Amanda Perry who led home the F50s. City of Derry’s Anne Paul was top of the F55s and Lagan Valley’s Kate Montgomery won the F60 category.
Newcastle’s Jim Patterson warmed up for a defence of his M70 title in Derry with a solid win in the M65 and above race where Terry Eakin made a welcome comeback to win the M65 age group. Springwell’s Jim Platt was first home in a surprisingly competitive M75 race.