Cross-country season begins in Adamstown
The athletics Wexford cross-country season for 2015 kicks off on Sunday, October 4, next in Adamstown, with the Mr Oil Novice and Juvenile even age county championships.
Since 2009 there has been cross-country championships held in Adamstown every year, including Leinster and national events. This year the return of the county championships to the club will see top-class Wexford races on the sod.
Following a number of open events including Adamstown and Taghmon and inter-club leagues in Kilmore, Kilrane, Craanford and Coolgreany, Wexford athletes are well prepared for the over-grass races.
Last year's Novice races attracted huge numbers, particularly for the ladies' 3k. The Novice is an excellent starting point for athletes and with the shorter distances in a graded race, it is the perfect opportunity to try out cross-country running.
The first race is the ladies' 3k which will kick off at 12 noon sharp under the watchful eye of starter Pat O'Leary. This will be directly followed by the men's 6k.
It is impossible for observers to make any predictions as to who will prevail in either of these events, as year after year, it is often a newcomer that takes the county Novice titles, and these same athletes are the ones who progress to Intermediate and, in many cases, Senior grade within the same year.
Those who had excellent form in this year's road races may likely dominate as they will be eligible for the Novice grade until the start of the 2016 season.
The Juvenile even age races will start directly after the men's races, with the possibility of the girls Under-18 running with the Novice women, depending on numbers declaring for both races. Clubs will be notified in advance.
The first of the championship races is the Under-12 girls over 2,000m, advancing up through the age groups thereafter. With both the boys and girls in this age group qualifying for national finals in 2014, there is bound to be serious competition in these younger age groups and standards will undoubtedly be high, particularly in the boys' race which saw five Wexford boys take individual medals at Leinster level last year and the county team taking gold.
The Under-14 boys will also see strong competition with United Striders, Adamstown and S.B.R. all having strong athletes with experience at national level, as do the Under-16 boys. There are some promising girls coming through at Under-18 level in particular, and this should provide for some tactical races with better standards than have been seen in recent years.
The course organisers have advised all clubs to follow the directions from the village of Adamstown to the course in Knockreigh, where parking is not allowed on the course. Plenty of hills are guaranteed on the new course, which is approximately a mile past St. Abban's Church.
The following week will see the action switch to John F. Kennedy Park for the Mr Oil Intermediate and uneven age championships, hosted by United Striders on the ever-popular course.