Drogheda & District AC's Colin Leonard on his way to taking second place in the Annagassan 10K.
Following last week's exhilarating showcase of athleticism internationally, Drogheda & District A.C. unleashed another wave of excitement this week as their dedicated runners took on a challenging mix of road running and cross country events, namely the ever popular Annagassan 10K and the National Senior, U20 & Juvenile (even age groups) Cross Country Championships which took place in Gowran, Kilkenny.
After another ferocious week of merciless weather, from the battering winds of storm Debi to the long downpour on Friday evening, both had a part to play in creating challenging conditions for our athletes to contend with in both events.
The Annagassan 10K, a highlight on the local racing calendar, saw a remarkable turnout of 46 DDAC athletes on Saturday morning. The course, a thrilling blend of fast descents, demanding uphills, and scenic country roads, proved to be the perfect canvas for our runners to paint their prowess.
The 2km downhill start set the pace, leading into a gruelling 3 to 4 km uphill battle. As they navigated the turns and twists, tucking into hedges at 5 and 6 km to escape the wind, the runners faced unpredictable road conditions.
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The coast road from 7 to 9 km provided a scenic respite before the climactic 10th kilometre, where a roaring crowd spurred our athletes to the finish line.
Colin Leonard led the charge for DDAC with a stellar 33:06, securing 2nd place, not far off the leader Declan Toal of North east Runners in a time of 32:32 and closely trailed by Paul Smith at 33:53, claiming 5th place and 1st in his category and Rodney Thornton with a remarkable time of 34:26.
DDAC’s leading ladies, Mary Leech blazed through with a time of 40:01, earning her a well-deserved 3rd place in her category followed by Eimear Knowles and Anna Isgro who showcased their running prowess with fantastic times of 43:00 and 43:25, respectively.
The saga continued with notable performances including Brian Martin at 35:55, Johnny Breen at 36:13, Martin Duffy at 44:14, Helen Dillon at 45:32, and Gerry McGeough, securing 2nd place in his category at 58:33. For a full list of athletes and times, check out Drogheda & District A.C.'s Facebook Page.
The exhilaration continued as the club’s runners turned their focus to the National Senior, U20 & Juvenile Cross Country Championships at Gowran A.C. The challenging course, replete with twists, turns, and formidable hills, demanded both speed and endurance. Despite the tricky, slippery, and muddy terrain post Friday evening's downpour, the resilience of the athletes shone through.
Competing against the nation's elite, DDAC’s Christopher Keenan and Matthew O’Shea. delivered a stellar performance that resonated with grit and determination. Keenan blazed through the challenging course, clocking in at an impressive 20:01, showcasing not only speed but tactical prowess. O'Shea, displaying tenacity and skill, secured a commendable time of 20:57, further adding to DDAC's impressive showing on the grand stage of the National Cross Country Championships. These exceptional performances against the best in the nation affirm the prowess of DDAC's runners, setting the stage for even greater triumphs in the future.
The exhilaration continued as the DDAC runners turned their focus to the National Senior, U20 & Juvenile Cross Country Championships at Gowran A.C. The challenging course, replete with twists, turns, and formidable hills, demanded both speed and endurance.
Despite the tricky, slippery, and muddy terrain post Friday evening's downpour, the resilience of our athletes shone through. Amidst a field of 197 participants, the competition was fierce, with the nation's top runners converging for a showdown of unparalleled intensity.
The U20 Men's race unfolded as a gruelling 5K, pushing our athletes Christopher Keenan and Matthew O’Shea to their limits as they navigated the challenging course. In the face of such tough competition and adverse weather conditions, our young DDAC’ers rose to the occasion, delivering a stellar performance that showcased not only their physical prowess but also their mental fortitude.
Christopher Keenan emerged as a standout performer, surging through the course with determination and tactical acumen, ultimately clocking in at an impressive 20:01. His strategic approach to the race demonstrated not only raw speed but also a keen understanding of the demanding terrain.
Matthew O'Shea, another formidable force in the DDAC lineup, exhibited tenacity and skill, securing a commendable time of 20:57. In a race where every second counted, these athletes held their own against the best in the nation, leaving an indelible mark on the challenging landscape of cross country running.
And finally in an exciting development for DDAC, John Reilly received thrilling news over the weekend, emerging as the Leinster Gold medallist in the M55 category for this year's Dublin Marathon. This accolade comes on the heels of John's remarkable performance a few weeks ago, where he clocked a personal best time of 2:57:18, showcasing not only his endurance but also a relentless pursuit of excellence.
John's dedication to the sport is truly commendable, as he continues to defy expectations and set new personal records, we look forward to seeing what he has in store for us next year.