With the preliminary stages of the Schools XC Championships well and truly underway, the last of the regional district qualifiers took place today in a windswept, rain beaten Phoenix Park. Remnants of Storm Jonas persisted throughout the course of day’s proceedings, the unsheltered north of the park bearing the brunt of severe gales and heavy showers. The ground itself, already softened by the season’s almost continuous downpours, was promptly torn up by the some 500 young aspiring athletes participating. Competitors had to endure the arduous, long winded 2 km lap, added to the battering deterrent of roaring westerly wind.
Clad in the black and white of Belvedere College, from a club perspective we had but two runners vying for the top spots today. Ben Guiden ran a strategically challenging Intermediate Boys race today, Ben recording a terrific yet somewhat unlucky 4th place finish after rallying on the final lap to gain vital places. Meanwhile Kevin Loftus towed the live in the Senior Boys race, moving well though out to place a good 10th in a tightly packed field. All eyes now look towards the Leinster Schools XC Championships due to be held on 10th February, where contestants will aim to propel themselves into the All-Ireland Schools XC Championships by securing a top 15 place finish or with their school team placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd. More to come for those who anxiously await!
Report by Kevin Loftus