Sara Louise Treacy (Moynalvey-Kilcloone AC) won her first senior All Ireland Inter County Cross Country title on a very tough course at Sligo racecourse last Sunday. The heavy rain in Sligo on Saturday made what was already a tough course even harder but the Loughborough University student made light of the conditions with a faultless display of cross country running. From the gun Sara was with the leading group as they made their way around the course on the first of their 4 laps of this 8k race. Going out on their second lap the leading bunch of Treacy, Aoife Culhane (Dublin), Claire McCarthy & Lizzie Lee both from Cork and Kerry Harty (Down) had eked out a slight lead on the chasing runners. As they reached the far end of the course on their second lap gaps were starting to appear in the field but all the while Sara was running very smoothly and looked to be very much in control of the race. Going out on their third lap there were four athletes still together but with 4k left to race it was still too early for Sara to make her move.
As the athletes came around to take the bell going out on their final lap there was no doubt that of the leading quartet of Treacy, Culhane, McCarthy and Harty, Sara was going to be the ultimate winner of the race. The question was when would she make her decisive move. Then with about 1k to go Culhane fell and with that Sara seized her opportunity and opened up a gap on the other title contenders. As Sara made her way up the final hill to the cheers of the Meath supporters present she continued to press home her advantage to take the title with seventeen seconds to spare over Claire McCarthy and completed the 8k in a time of 31mins10secs. Aoife Culhane came in third place.
Meanwhile down the field Ann-Marie Smith (Navan AC) was battling hard to finish in 31st place in a time of 34mins59secs. Ann-Marie who lives and works in England but is originally from Navan came home specially for this race and was delighted with her performance as she is just back racing after recovering from injury. Emilia Dan (Dunboyne AC) finished in 39th place in a time of 36mins47secs and was the third Meath runner home. Ann Hunter (Dunshaughlin AC) was the fourth scorer for Meath when she finished in 48th place. Ann who was asked at the last minute by county board chairman Brendan Meade if she would run as on Saturday we had not got a complete team because so many of the athletes cried off due to injury or illness. Ann obliged and was not found wanting and because of her good run the team finished ahead of Galway to take the bronze medal in the Inter County event.
Sara will now lead the Irish team at the European Cross Country Championships next month.
Report By Brendan Meade, Chairman of Meath Athletics Board