BIG surprise on the Irish team announced for the European Cross-Country Championships is the inclusion of Mary Cullen on the women's senior team. Cullen came 27th at the World Cross-Country Championships last March when the Ireland team finished fifth, but has struggled with a calf injury since.
With Ireland the defending team champions and three members of last year's team unavailable, Athletics Ireland is taking a gamble on Cullen's fitness.
More contentious is the decision not to send a women's U23 team. As Fionnuala Britton pointed out after the Inter-counties in Santry, her European U23 silver medal was an important stepping stone in her career. "I know there's a lot of debate about sending U23 teams, but once I won that medal I wanted more," she said.
HAYES VICTORIOUS AT BHAA 6KM
At the Irish Life BHAA Combined 6km Cross-Country in Santry, Thomas Hayes and Fiona Mahon led home more than 200 runners who revelled in the perfect conditions.
Hayes won the men's race with Kevin Maunsell beating Neil Witoski for second place. Mahon came in ahead of Jean Wilson and Emilia Dan. The final BHAA race of the year is the Vodafone 5km Cross-Country in Marlay Park on Sunday, December 15.
COLLINS' PROVIDENCE WIN NCAA
Sarah Collins, whose family hails from Cork, was part of the winning Providence team at the NCAA Cross-Country Championships in Terre Haute.
Collins was in third spot after 2km, but faded to finish 38th in the cold, wet and windy conditions. It was a first win for the Providence women since 1995. Best of the Irish in the men's race was Shane Quinn, 42nd for Providence.
RUNNERS RALLY FOR FILIPINO CAUSE
A SUPERB TOTAL OF MORE THAN &EURO;2,600 WAS RAISED BY EAST OF IRELAND MARATHONS IN A SPECIAL RACE FOR THE RED CROSS'S EFFORTS IN THE PHILIPPINES. INSPIRATION BEHIND THE RACE WAS ATHLETE PAULO MARGELINO, PART OF THE LARGE AND MUCH-RESPECTED FILIPINO COMMUNITY IN IRELAND.
RAHENY WINTER LEAGUE KICKS OFF
Raheny Shamrock's annual Winter Road League begins tonight (8.0) with four "divisions" catering for runners of all abilities. The league takes in 11 rounds over distances varying from one to three miles from now until next April, with the top eight results to count for overall awards. All welcome – bring a high-vis jacket and leave the headphones at home! Entry fee is €7, or €50 for the series.