Congratulations to Eoghan who ran a fantastic race to finish in 61st place. He has written a few words below about his experiences at the Championships:
The European Cross Country Championships in Budapest put the international standard of running in perspective. The trip revealed to me that every minimalistic preparation prior to the race contributes to a wider but fine balance that will in turn affect your performance and position. As always things got off to a brilliant start given the Irish team (amongst many other teams) were diverted to Vienna and had a long wait in the airport and subsequent coach journey into Budapest. This was forgotten within twenty-four hours as we had allowed for an additional rest day prior to the race. Walking the course the day before racing I understood that conditions appeared daunting; the course was narrow (when you consider 120 people were to run into a hairpin first corner), temperatures were expected to be as low as minus six and the hard-packed snow held promise of a blistering pace regardless of significant climbing. I focused on these things that evening, taking note of the other athletes around me. People were certainly enjoying the experience but they didn’t put a toe out of line and were in bed early the night before.
The race itself unfolded pretty much as expected. The pace was unprecedented at the front and stretched the field out early on. I found myself in over 100th place at the mile marker (to my frustration) and knew I had to commit to the race like I had not done previously; It was going to hurt. I subsequently found myself passing people on the climbs and cruising on the descents and was not passed until the sprint for home (six people were around me) to finish in 61st. The finish re-iterated the level of competition with twenty-four people between myself and the top Irish finisher in 37th (Stephen Kerr, Armagh AC) in a mere seventeen second gap.
The underlying theme from the weekend is to give it everything on the course (I can expect to be carried off again if I want to achieve more) and to leave nothing to chance. It is a game of inches whereby a bottle of water at hand, even an extra hour of sleep, can make all the difference. Perhaps one day, taking this into account, I might finish sixty places higher in future European Championships. Fionnoula Britton (double- European Cross Country champion) is living proof of this. I can only hope to emulate her integrity, focus and determination which has brought success to both herself and her country.
Eoghan Totten will compete for the Irish Junior mens team on Sunday (9th December) in Budapest where 539 athletes from 35 member federations will compete. Among the 30 strong Irish team is defending Champion Fionnuala Britton. The 19th running of the Championships will be streamed live here from Budapest this weekend. RTE will also be covering the event live on RTE2 from 12-2pm on Sunday, 9th of December. Timetable
Please note the below is in Hungarian time (One hour ahead of Ireland)
09:55 Opening ceremony
10:15 Junior Women
10:39 Junior Women Victory Ceremony (Individual)
10:45 Junior Women Victory Ceremony (Team)
10:55 Junior Men
11:24 Junior Men Victory Ceremony (Individual)
11:30 Junior Men Victory Ceremony (Team)
11:40 U23 Women
12:09 U23 Women Victory Ceremony (Individual)
12:15 U23 Women Victory Ceremony (Team)
12:25 U23 Men
12:59 U23 Men Victory Ceremony (Individual)
13:05 U23 Men Victory Ceremony (Team)
13:15 Senior Women
13:52 Senior Women Victory Ceremony (Individual)
13:58 Senior Women Victory Ceremony (Team)
14:08 Senior Men
14:46 Senior Men Victory Ceremony (Individual)
14:52 Senior Men Victory Ceremony (Team)
15:00 Closing Ceremony – Flag Handover
Make sure to follow the Athletics Ireland Twitter account and Like the Athletics Ireland Facebook page to keep up to date with the performances of our athletes this weekend.