Muddy Predictions for the Intermediate Masters XC

29 January 2016

Over 500 Athletes will be competing in this Saturday’s NI & Ulster Intermediate & Masters Cross Country Championships at the University of Ulster, Coleraine Campus.

It will be a tough call this year to predict a winner of the Intermediate event, with strong competition entered the battle to claim the title will be a closely fought affair.

City of Lisburn’s Christopher Madden and Conan McCaughey of Derry Track Club looks to start as favourite’s for the NI and Ulster Intermediate Men’s Cross Country title this Saturday at 2.30pm. 

2nd place 2015 victor Conan, will be again aiming for a 1st place on the podium position. With a successful run in the Antrim International Cross Country two weeks previous and 21st in the Great Edinburgh Run the week before, Coleraine will be a perfect course for the young runner to gain a victorious time. City of Lisburn’s Christopher Madden will be aiming to challenge 2nd place 2015 victor. With great runs in the TQ10K (4th), Laganside 10K (9th) and Seeley Cup 10K (4th), the 2nd place Bobby Rea contender will be testing his limits over the 10K heavy mud prone Coleraine course and hoping to beat his last year’s position and time. With such an established pooling of Cross Country runners and Conal McCambridge (North Belfast Harriers) and Pius McIntyre (Foyle Valley AC) as hot favourites, Conan and Christopher will be hoping for a little extra steam in the reserve tank to gain the podium positions. 
There is a substantial increase in entry for the Male Masters category this year, the biggest entry to date. Again this is a strong race and with a great line of athletes entered it will be a tough 8k race to predict. Having said that City of Derry’s Declan Reed is steady favourite to retain his title, especially after his impressive 1st place achievement in the Irish Intermediate Masters Championships last Saturday and great Antrim International Cross Country run two weeks ago. In this Championship event Declan had a good 37 seconds to spare ahead of Inishowen’s Pauric McKinney. Other key runners to look out for are City of Derry fellow team mate Colin Roberts, Deon McNeilly of Newcastle AC, and Springwell’s Philip Tweedie.
In the race for the team title, strong teams have been fielded by North Belfast Harriers, City of Derry Spartans AC, Annadale Striders, Ballymena Runners and Omagh Harriers who all will be striving to top the podium.

Those athletes to keep an out for are last year’s 3rd place victor Eamonn White from North Belfast, City of Derry fellow team mate Colin Roberts, Deon McNeilly of Newcastle AC, and Springwell’s Philip Tweedie Harriers will be impressing with their consistency to maintain as front runners.

North Belfast Harriers are looking in good shape to maintain their team title again this year.  

Consistent runners Joanne Mills of Newcastle AC and fellow team mate Shalene McMurray who both recently ran a great races in the Antrim International Cross Country just two weeks ago are major podium contenders for Saturday Women’s Intermediate race at 2pm.  

In the Ladies Masters event the competition is striving, with the top runners Amanda Perry of Ballydrain Harriers looking to challenge City of Derry’s Jacqueline McMonagle, Catriona Devine of Finn Valley and North Down’s Jodie Smith.  City of Derry should retain their stronghold on the team title, however the Newcastle AC team is looking promising.

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