The 2nd round of the British Cross Country Challenge took place in Milton Keynes on Saturday. A group of 39 athletes and officials from D.S.D., used this race in their build up to the National C.C. Championships in Abbotstown in two weeks time. It turned out to be a real challenge for D.S.D., as many British and European champions turned out to test themselves on one of the toughest courses available.
Abbie Taylor was the stand out performer for us, with a 2nd place finish in the U.17 girls 5,000m race, which was run in conjunction with the U.20. Khahisa Mhlanga, Chelmsford A.C., (European 800m champion) set off at a blistering pace up the first hill and Abbie sat in her slipstream in 3rd/4th position for the first lap. Sixteen year old Abbie, giving away age and experience, looked at home at this tempo and maintained contact for ¾ of the journey. Ella McNiven, Liverpool Harriers (U.17 SIAB champion of last year) had to battle all the way to the line to beat Abbie for gold. An incredible 4th place finish in the combined U.20 race was the reward for a jubilant Abbie, as she claimed 2nd in the U.17 race. Niamh Carey came in a gallant 14th in this class field. It was great to see the D.S.D colours so prominent at the finish as Grace Dervan 30th; Roseanne McCullough 45; Lucy McCann 48th; Corrine Kenny 52nd and Sadhbh O’Loan 69th supported our top two finishers.
D.S.D., also had a big contingent in the U17/20 men’s race, with Paul O’Donnell leading the team home, supported by Conor Halpin 39; Ruadhan O’Grada 46; Aaron Donnelly 49; Roly Mossop 59; Luke MacGabhann 66; Liam Blackburn 80; James Lenehan 83; Brian Maguire 88; Ross O’Toole 113 and William Kinsella 123rd.
A great run from Alex Flynn and Morgan Clarkson ensured 10th and 11th placings in the biggest field of the day (U.15 Boys). Both D.S.D. boys were in contention in the top ten until the last 400m, with Muhamed Ali (Ethiopian born) showed a clean pair of heels to the 150 who finished this race. Cian O’Sullivan found the top pace a little hot, but produced a great sprint finish to come home in 27th place.
In the U.15 girls race, Eimear Maher was in the leading group from the gun, but the last hill found her out as she battled to finish in 18th place, supported by Saoirse O’Brien 24th; Faye Dervan 46th; Aimee Kenna 48th; 49th Ella O'Donohoe; Eabha Nally 55th; Emily Bradshaw 59th; Amelia Hauer 66th; Caoimhe Ni Eachain 68th and Niamh Doyle 70th.
Well done to all!