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Virtual Cross Country Challenge

I have been asked to write up a short piece about DSD’s recent participation in the cross-country club challenge. This was an AAI challenge to clubs throughout Ireland to provide an opportunity for Juveniles to have a cross-country time trial at a set distance for their age group: from U9’s to U17’s.

A generous window from Nov1 – Nov 25 was given and clubs were asked to then forward times for registered AAI athletes ( all of our runners are registered via membership) to build a record of results for 2020 in the absence of the usual cross – country season due to you-know-what.

Juvenile and Fit4youth coaches jumped at this initiative as it was set up to be fun, inclusive of any athlete ability or prior experience of cross-country running and to be during normal training sessions.

Three locations were used by DSD: Meadowbrook, Irishtown park and St Thomas’s. The guidelines asked that a 500M level loop was measured out and that, depending on age, athletes would run repeats of that from 500M to 2000M. We ran our athletes on Wednesday 18th, Thursday 19th and Saturday 21st November. A total of 128 DSD runners took part and had a time recorded. Traditionally DSD wins a haul of medals at the Dublin level cross-country and is also strong at a National level.

This 2020 club challenge had a great charm in that there was no stage, or any stage that was there was at a local club level. On the Wednesday and Thursday night, athletes literally ran in the dark from one torch to the next. There was a lovely sense of team about the athletes, with cheering between age groups.

The FIT4Youth event took place in St Thomas’s grounds and came as a surprise to most of the athletes who are not competitive runners. They really threw themselves into the rougher terrain and again, a great sense of fun was there. I was not in Irishtown but the photos and reports show that it was also a success.

Overall, it has been a great success for our club, perhaps it’s an event which we should hold on to into the future.

Annette Kehoe

Fit4Youth coach



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