It was a day of firsts at the Clonliffe cake race yesterday. For the first time the cake race was held as a cross country race and for the first time the race was a combined men and women’s affair. Santry Park was looking very festive indeed, a crisp bright afternoon with the frosted footpaths glistening in the winter sunshine. The course markers did a great job in laying out the 1K loop, the race taking in 3 laps resulting in a surprisingly accurate 3000m distance. There was a great turnout of athletes, officials and spectators to enjoy the race.
After a short briefing the runners were sent on their way with Aideen O’Connor first out of the stalls with groups following at regular intervals until the scratch man Ian Guiden was released just as the early starters were commencing their 2nd lap. There were runners spread across the entirety of the 1000 lap, a wonderful sight. Ian was cutting through the field faster than Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. Likewise Emma Mitchell, scratch woman, was eating up the ground like a plate of mince pies.
It wasn’t long until Aideen O’Connor was overhauled by Catherine Harvey with Catherine opening a substantial gap on the rest of the field, a gap which could not be bridged. Catherine was 1st across the line with Ciara Boulman also well clear in 2nd. 1st man home was James Dunne. The fastest athletes as expected were Ian Guiden 8.50 and Emma Mitchell 10.35.
Women’s Results: 1 Catherine Harvey, 2 Ciara Boulman, 3 Paula Prunty. Fastest – Emma Mitchell (10.35).
Men’s results: 1 James Dunne, 2 Jack Woods, 3 Ciaran Doherty. Fastest – Ian Guiden (8.50)
The new format for the club cake race proved to be extremely popular with all concerned and the plan is that this will be repeated again next year, on the 1st Saturday before Christmas.
There then followed a great social night in the club bar, the 1st such since 2019 with cake race prize-giving and the athletes of the year awards night. Club president Paddy Marley welcomed all back to cake race night, he congratulated the athletes on their performances throughout the course of what had been an exceptionally successful year for Clonliffe Harriers. Presentations were made by Paddy to Sean Cronin in recognition of his historic achievement in winning a bronze medal at the European youth Olympics over 1500 in Slovakia, the 1st such by any Clonliffe athlete. Paddy then made a presentation of the Clonliffe gold medal to Tokyo Olympian Marcus Lawler. Marcus as a Clonliffe Olympian is now an honorary life member of Clonliffe Harriers. (A similar presentation will be made to our 2nd Tokyo Olympian Stephen Scullion at a suitable time in the future).
Presentations were made by juvenile captain Gladys Cooper to our national juvenile team champions: the girls U/16 4 x 100 team Rebecca Walsh, Ciara Sheehy, Sarah McDonnell and Ava Usonova and the boys U/17 cross country team of Sean Cronin, Lorcan Benjacar, Tom Breslin, Rory Quill, Oran McGowan and Leon Brady.
Prize giving to the winning athletes in the cake race was made by women’s captain Jenny Johnston to the top 3 in each section and the fastest man and woman, along with an array of spot prizes for juniors, masters and then down through the field.
The athletes of the year were then announced by men’s captain Noel Guiden and presented by Paddy Marley:
Junior athlete of the year – Sean Cronin
Master athlete of the year – Edel Maguire
Women’s track and field athlete of the year – Leah Bergin
Women’s road/cross country athlete of the year – Laura Tuite
Men’s track and field athlete of the year – Cathal Doyle
Men’s Road/cross country athlete of the year – Efrem Gidey
Harrier of the year: Rolus Olusa
With Christmas music, Christmas jumpers, the return of some of our overseas contingent, Cathal Doyle from the US and Laura Power from Australia, young and not so young Harriers it was a great night of chat and laughter in the true spirit of a Clonliffe Christmas.