Mike Griffin

Mayo Cross Country, Leg three

Leg three of the Mayo Cross Country League was in Swinford, a challenging hilly course spread over four fields. This was run off with the uneven ages kids races, which meant that my oldest Éabha was able to run in the U9 race.

We got there as a family and parked up. I headed off with Éabha and we started off on a bot of a warm up before seeing the field line up. Slightly panicky, I brought Éabha over to the start and got her lined up beside her friends. They had one lap to do, 1000m, which took in all of the hills. I ran around cheering on the girls and was so proud to see her running so string over a tough course. She finished it really well and was delighted to be given a medal.

I had some time then between that race and mine, which I took to do a couple of warm up laps. There was a big rain shower at this stage, so Louise took the girls back to the car so they wouldn’t freeze.

My race came around and they ran off the Women’s, Mens O65, Junior, Senior and Masters men all at the same time, all doing different distances. I didn’t envy the marshals trying to decipher that one!

The race started and four juniors raced off into the distance, I was in the next group. By the end of the first lap, I was catching up on the guy in fourth and feeling good. I was really enjoying the downhills, even if I almost landed on my face on one of them!

By lap three, I was up on the shoulder of the guy in fourth and passing him on the downhills. He caught and passed me on the uphills, I didn’t want to push too hard on these, I was scared I’d blow up. I had to run the last two laps on my own, and tried to keep pushing on as best I could. I felt like I finished it strongly and was glad to get across the line as the first master runner.

This was a great day of running, seeing all the kids run around and enjoying things even with the lousy weather was brilliant and it was topped off seeing Éabha run her first cross country race.