DCU athletes compete in European Cross Country Championships

Courtney Fitzmaurice

Nine DCU athletes represented Ireland at the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon on December 8th.

DCU marketing student Nadia Power, who during the summer won a bronze medal in the 800m at the U23 European Championships, helped the Irish side to secure seventh place in the mixed relay event.

Speaking before the competition, Power said she looked forward to representing Ireland again. “It always feels amazing and always slightly different to normal races. There’s no added pressure, more so just a feeling of pride and excitement that makes me want to perform to the highest level I can,” she said.

Power will compete in the mixed relay event, and she said it’s difficult to know how the team will get on. “Each country probably has different teams each year. We definitely have a solid team though and we’re all running well at the moment, so anything could happen.”

Power said at this time of year her training is very strength based. She trains eight times a week, including two gym sessions, three running sessions and three long easier runs.

“Last year I trained with a group of girls in DCU all the time, but I’m working full time this year for my Intra placement in Tallaght, so I have to train near my house in Templeogue.”

Final year education and training student Cathal Doyle earned seventh place with the Irish team,  in his third time at the European Cross Country Championships.

Speaking before the competiton, Doyle was optimistic. “I ran the U23 last year and as a junior in 2015, so I know what it’s all about. It’s relentless from the gun but I’m excited that my preparation and experience will give me a run I’ll be happy with.

“I’m feeling confident both team wise and individually wise about this weekend,” he said. “I’ve had a pretty good build up, so I’m excited to give it a lash and improve on last year.

“It’s hard to know where we will fare team wise, but there’s no reason why we couldn’t sneak a medal if everyone runs the best race they can.”

Brian Fay, also on the U23 team, agreed it would be tough, but he had confidence in the Irish side. “The standard of the U23 race has constantly gotten better and better as the years roll on,” he said. “Fortunately there’s a really good U23 Irish team coming out, so hopefully we can get stuck in and do ourselves proud.”

Fay finished in the top 30 of the race for the second year in a row as he achieved 22nd place this year. This was his third consecutive year at the European Cross Country Championships. Also on the U23 side was Cormac Dalton,  who finished in 49th place.

Claire Fagan was part of the women’s U23 side who earned a silver medal at the competition, as she came in 47th place. Jodie McCann and Aoife O’Cuill were on the junior women’s team who earned 11th place, while Keelan Kilrehill and Jamie Battle were on the junior men’s team who came in 4th place.

Courtney Fitzmaurice

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