4 Newcastle & District athletes make the Irish Team for the World Mountain Racing Championships
The Irish Mountain Racing Association (IMRA) hosted trials throughout the weekend for athletes wishing to be selected to represent Ireland at the upcoming Mountain Running World Championships being held in Innsbruck-Stubai, Austria, between the 6th and 10th June (https://www.innsbruck-stubai2023.com/en/).
The trial races were held over Seefin Mountain, near Ballyhoura, County Limerick. First up on Friday evening was Áine Gosling in the Uphill only race trial over 4km with ascent of 350m. Gosling suitably impressed, coming second in 21:27 to leading Irish female hill runner over many years, Sarah McCormack. Fellow Down athlete, Aaron McGrady of East Down AC also ran really well to win the men’s race in 17:17.
Gosling stayed on in Limerick until Sunday, to race the Classic Up and Down race, where she was joined by three more Newcastle & District athletes, all U20, also vying for a place on the squad.
Top Drawer Junior Performances
The U20 trial started 15 mins before the seniors, doing 1 lap of the 7.7km, 350 ascent course, while the seniors completed 2 laps.
The course consisted of a section of uphill tarmac, then onto a short road descent, before moving to trail for the rest of the course. The single track path gave good running in most part at a steady gradient, before the final steeper ascent on loose stones, which many athletes found more efficient to walk, as progress here was frustrated by feet frequently slipping back on each stride. Cresting this climb, running was smooth, before descending onto more technical, but very runnable single track down through the woods.
First to crest the summit was Newcastle & District’s Tom Crudgington, who had opened a significant lead, one that allowed him to pace his descent to avoid any risk of a trip or stumble on the rocks or roots. This cemented Crudgington’s position as Ireland’s number one junior mountain runner, despite the frustration of having to spend two months (mid-January to mid-March) on the sidelines, not running with injury. At the European Championships last year in the Canary Islands, Crudgington has come home first Irishman in 11th place overall.
Next Newcastle athlete in 5th place was Ethan McMullan, who at the summit was around 20 seconds behind fellow Ulster runner Tiarnan McManus. Patrick up next had judged his pace well, allowing him to pass 2 athletes on the final difficult section of climb, before 3 more overtakes on the descent – considering this was a field of 12 of the top male junior athletes in the country, this speaks volumes to Patrick’s pacing ability and mental strength mid-race.
Both Ethan and Patrick were to pass runners on the descent, moving Ethan into 4th, and with it team selection and Patrick up to 6th – stunning efforts by all three athletes and testament to all the consistent training and coaching that has taken place within the club over the last number of years.
Gosling Strolls to Victory
Fifteen minutes later came the men, leading the mixed field, but it was our own Áine Gosling that was leading the ladies’ field at the first summit, a lead that she was to maintain until the finish, with Gosling winning the Classic trial, over 2 laps, 13km and 700m of climbing and descent, by 13 seconds ahead of Tullamore Harriers’ Sarah Flanagan.
So this brilliant Sunday victory by Gosling led to her selection for both the Uphill and Classic Races at the World Championships in 5 weeks time in Austria. She is joined by club mate Zak Hanna, who had been preselected for the team. Hanna will compete in the Uphill race only, before travelling to California for the opening World Cup races – first the Broken Arrow Vertical Kilometre on the 16th June and then the 25km Sky Race on the 18th June.
Irish Team Selections
Selection has been confirmed for the following Newcastle & District AC athletes at the World Championships taking place between the 7th and 11th June:
- Uphill (Wednesday) – Zak Hanna & Áine Gosling
- Saturday U20 Classic – Tom Crudgington & Ethan McMulan and Senior Women’sClassic – Áine Gosling
They will be joined by Newcastle & District AC’s Phil Hodge as the U20 Assistant Team Manager.
Links to results and photos from the Trial Races:
Vertical – https://www.imra.ie/events/results/id/2371
Senior classic – https://www.imra.ie/events/results/id/2373