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Running shorts: All change for cross-country season as Worlds put schedule in jeopardy

All change for cross-country season as Worlds put schedule in jeopardy WHILE Donore Harriers did a great job on the Phoenix Park last weekend, and Mark Kenneally and Linda Byrne were worthy champions, we may well have seen the last of the traditional cross-country season.

With the world championships now biennial, moves are afoot to alter the date of the European Championships. This will inevitably have a knock-on effect on the season here. In the meantime, ideas being tossed around include an amalgamation of the intercounties and interclub races and abolition of the intermediate grade.

The model for the future could well be the English 'Nationals', a race which no self-respecting club athlete would dare miss. Standards may not be as high these days, but this year's races in Leeds attracted a total of 4,049 finishers.

In the senior men's race alone, 1,428 athletes from 107 clubs took part. Of the six juvenile races on offer, biggest was the girls U13 with 404 finishers from 51 clubs. Junior races weren't as well supported. Plenty there to think about.

Kyle to speak at middle distance squad day

Maeve Kyle, the doyenne of Irish coaches, will speak at the middle distance squad day on Sunday March 21 at Tullamore (11.0).

Info Brian Dowling, 085-2545579 or Jim Davis, 087-9537637.

Brilliant Barrett bags trio of indoor medals

Star of the Irish team competing at the World Master Indoors in Canada was Loughrea's Mary Barrett, who took silver in the shot and bronze in both the high jump and pentathlon while competing in the tough over-50 class. Other medal winners were Dorothy McLennon second W70 pole vault; Ger Hensey second M40 60m; Lucy Moore-Fox third W50 weight pentathlon; Anne Gormley third W45 both 3k track walk and 10k road walk; and finally Geraldine Finnegan, who was first W40 javelin, hurdles and pentathlon and third 400m.

Travers on track for spectacular double glory

After his gritty win in the junior 8km race at the Woodies DIY National Cross-Country, John Travers now aims to make it a double in the senior boys race at the Irish Schools Championships in Cork on Saturday. Also competing will be Emmett Jennings of Oatlands, third behind Travers and Liam Tremble on Sunday. Leinster champion Liam Brady from St Brendan's Birr and Jayme Rossiter of Belvedere, who finished fourth and fifth last Sunday, will also run.

In the girls' senior race, Ciara Mageean would be favourite if she ran. Leading the Leinster entry is Maire Aine Ni Shuilleabhain from Gael Coláiste Ceatharlach.

Ballycotton race packages are ready to go

If you were lucky enough to get an entry for this year's Ballycotton "10", you should receive your race package by early next week at the latest. Upfront, the race looks like the most competitive in years, with members of the "Marathon Mission" all entered. Nominated charity is the Marymount Hospice. Each entrant will receive a card in their race package and they are invited to make a contribution.