Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: Fionnuala Britton of Ireland wins European Cross Country Championships!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fionnuala Britton of Ireland wins European Cross Country Championships!

Fionnuala Britton from Wicklow took the gold medal in the Senior Womens race in the European Cross Country Championships in Velenje, Slovenia. She was in the leading group from the start and halfway through the race, she began to crank up the pace and gradually burnt off her opponents. By the finish line, she was a clear winner with Portugal’s Felix overtaking Steel to win the silver.

Two photos above courtesy of James Veale

Fionnuala's winning time was 25:55 over the 8 km course. For anyone wondering, that works out as 5'13" per mile pace. On a 5k circuit, that would give a time of 16'12".

Race report from European Athletics site...
After finishing fourth in this race last year, Fionnuala Britton of Ireland ran away with the race from the half-way mark and was never seriously threatened, clinching Ireland’s second senior women’s gold medal in the history of these championships. Portugal’s Dulce Felix was second with Britain’s Gemma Steel securing bronze.
After 1km a group of nine had already formed including Britton, Felix and Italian hope Nadia Ejjafini who was to look like a possible medallist for over half of the race before she was to pay for her effort to finish just out of the medals. At 2km in 6:35, it was Britton in the lead from Felix and Ejjafini with Turkey’s silver medallist from last year, Binnaz Uslu, in attendance. After nine minutes of running a group of three containing Britton, Felix and Ejjafini had broken away with Uslu dropping back and destined to drop out.

With three laps to go, Steel had moved into fourth and set about reducing the gap to the leaders. At this stage, it was Felix who appeared to be having difficulty as Britton and Ejjafini opened up a slight gap on the Portuguese. After 15 minutes of running, Steel was now in third and going away from Felix and making clear inroads on the leading duo. Up front Britton was making Ejjafini suffer while Steel was gaining in confidence.
Half way round the penultimate lap, Steel slipped into second with Ejjafini starting to struggle. Coming up to the bell-lap, Britton was gamely holding off Steel and the gap of 30m did not appear to be closing. There was another gap to Ejjafini as Felix was getting her second wind and moving into third six seconds down on the Irishwoman. Any sign that the Irishwoman might falter was dispelled in the final lap as Britton summoned her forces for the final push while Steel was suffering for her effort to get on equal terms with the leader and finally had to settle for bronze.

Mens Race........In the senior mens race, Joe Sweeney finished an impressive 5th and was in the leading pack for most of the race. One to watch for the future...

Irish Results.......
Irish Senior Men:Team 6th/5th Sweeney, Pollock 26th, Ledwith 35th, Hanrahan 50th & Thornton 54th.
Irish Senior Women:Team 8th/ 1st Britton 43th McCarthy, 44th Kelly, Harty 45th, Byrne 46th
Irish Men U23: Team 13th /Mulhare 31st, Jennings 54th, Tremble 73rd, Fitzmaurice 81st & Flynn 84th Team 13th overall
Women’s 23: Treacy 18th, Britton 38th
Junior Men:Team 12th/ J.Byrne 23rd, S.Tobin 45th, R.Finnegan 65th, K.Dooney in 81st and L.Brady in 96th.
Junior Women Team: Team 12th/ S.Clerigh Buttner 49th, C.McCarty 51st , K.Veale 57st, M.Mulhare 71st, M.O’Sullivan 80th.

Video of the race......


Anonymous said...

Gutted I missed this. Does anyone know if it is going to be replayed on any tv channel? Maybe even RTE player? What a woman!

John Desmond said...

I've just added the link to the relevant RTE Player and the times.