Cross CountryNews

Derry XC, 16/12/23

The Derry Cross Country, formerly the North West Cross Country took place in the grounds of Thornhill College in Derry on Saturday 16th December. This event was postponed last year due to hard frost on a weekend that saw numerous cancellations to races and parkruns and other sporting fixtures all over Northern Ireland but this year’s rainy and mild winter ensured that the going was soft and wet underfoot for the numerous North Down athletes who travelled to the Maiden City for a hard fought race. As always North Down’s junior athletes put in excellent performances, inspiring the senior runners who were soon to follow them. 

Harrison Mair was 3rd in the P4/P5 boys race while his big brother Sebastian Mair took 5th place in the U13 boys’ race. Sophie Rankin was 3rd in the U13 girls with Caitlyn Dickenson finishing 9th. James Blease finished 5th in the U15 boys  with his big sister Holly finishing 5th in the U17 girls’ event.

[Harrison 3rd]

[Sophie 3rd]

[Sebastian Mair, Harrison Mair, Sophie Rankin, Caitlyn Dickenson]

[James Blease]

[Holly Blease]

[Holly, James, Helen Byers]

The senior men and women raced together in the open 6k race. First club finisher was Chris Moran in 8th place in 23:32. Mens’ captain Steven Donegan was the next finisher in 24:41 followed by Francis Marsh in 24:52 and Aaron McAuley, deploying his elbows like a track star in a sprint finish in 25:30. These 4 made North Down AC the unofficial 3rd placed team in a 4 to score race. Jason McMinn 26:48 and Alasdair Mair 26:49 put in fine performances ahead of North Down AC’s first female, Sarah Grant, 26:59.

[Chris Moran]

[Steven Donegan]

Francis Marsh]

[Aaron “Elbows” McAuley]

[Sarah Grant]

Alan McDonnell 27:09 was the next finisher ahead of the rest of the strong womens’ team. Rachel Gibson was the second North Down girl to finish in 27:32 followed by Fiona McQuillan 28:08 and Clair Quigley 28:46. Sarah Gibson 30:36 narrowly pipped Helen Byers 30:38 to the finish line. Next to finish was Caroline Coghlin 31:41 and Lindsay Doulton 32:29. June McMinn 32:55 took first place in the F65 age group. Next to finish was Claire Scott in 33:45 then Sarah Connolly 33:48, Wendy Neely 34:42, Kim McCourt 37:10 and Lisa McMeechan 39:48.

[June McMinn]

[Rachel Gibson]

[Wendy Neely]

[Caroline Coghlin]

[Lisa McMeechan]

[Sarah Connolly]