WITH no actual cross-country championships for the foreseeable future, an initiative by Athletics Ireland of a virtual club challenge competition was enthusiastically taken on board by a number of Cork clubs, including Midleton AC.
“The cross-country challenge was a much welcomed initiative by Athletics Ireland’s Regional Development Officers Grace Lynch and Colin Byrne and it proved a nice diversion from training for our U9 to U15s in these unprecedented times,” said Midleton coach Joan Hough, who organised the challenge.
Clubs were to hold their club trials on training days between November 1 and November 24.
A flat as possible 500m grass lap was set up at the club’s training venue of Midleton College’s Cricket Field. Depending on the age groups, the athletes ran one, two or three laps with all athletes awarded with a race time.
“The longest distance of 1500m closely replicates the ‘Daily Mile’ which a lot of our primary schools participate in and the distance is within the reach of every athlete,” explained Joan.
“This helps to keep young people active, building up their stamina and immune system over the winter months.”
There was a great turn-out over the three Tuesdays with a total of 74 in all participating.
And if this wasn’t enough for the eager young athletes, after recovering from their races a number of relays and fun novelty events took place.
“The overall results were extremely good with each athlete going for their own personal best and making a great effort to take part.
"It showed that all our athletes have clearly benefited from continuous training during this lockdown period,” said Joan.
The results were forwarded to Athletics Ireland for collation with the other clubs throughout the country and Midleton await the overall results, once they have been collated.
All the athletes will receive a certificate for their participation in the Virtual Club Cross-Country Challenge and the top 10 individual times and the top three teams combined times in each age group will also receive medals.
“Our thanks must go to all the parents for their support.
"We also want to thank all the volunteers at the check-in, to our transition year students who helped steward and officiate and last but not least to our coaches, all of whom combined together to make the Cross-Country Challenge happen and congratulations go to all.
"It was a great success and it was great to see so many athletes participate in this online event,” conclude Joan Hough.