This is usually one of the busiest weekends on the athletics calendar, the European Cross Country Championships taking centre stage, and many events taking place on the home front also.
This year was no exception, and the weekend got off to a good start with the Floodlit Cross Country event at CIT on Friday night. This novel event is a welcome addition to the athletics calendar as there are relatively few open cross country races in Cork. Leevale athletes filled the first two places in the men’s 5K race, Ben Thistlewood taking the honours ahead of James Grufferty who is coming back into form. Carol Finn had a good win in the women’s 3K.
Yesterday the main event was the Clonakilty Marathon, which also included 10K and half-marathon events. Lizzie Lee won the women’s half in what was for her a relatively pedestrian 86:32.
Lizzie was also in action today, but in a different arena. While not competing at the European Cross Country Championships this year, she did join Jerry Kiernan and Peter Collins in the RTÉ studios to provide commentary and analysis on the event. In doing so, she followed in the footsteps of another Leevale star, Ailis McSweeney who did similar media work at the Olympics last year. Just like Ailis, Lizzie was excellent, totally at ease in front of the cameras, providing insightful analysis throughout. In the women’s race, Fionnuala Britton finished 4th, while the Irish men’s and women’s senior teams both finished 6th. The men’s U23 team put in a great performance to finish just outside the medals in 4th.