UCD and Clonliffe Harriers were the big winners at the Irish Life Health National Road Relays Championships held on Sunday afternoon in Raheny.
The senior races featured numerous household names which led to fascinating battles as teams fought for national silverware. The race started and finished on Wades Avenue, with athletes who have competed at these Championships in recent years being very familiar with the course.
Amongst the big names in action was Tokyo 2020 Olympian Sarah Healy. Healy spearheaded a formidable UCD team which also contained multiple times National medallist Ellie Hartnett and Kate Nurse. Nurse ran the first One Mile leg for UCD, handing over to Healy in 5th place at the outset of the Two-Mile leg. Healy made up the ground gradually and by the time she had completed her leg and Ellie Hartnett took up the running they had built up a sizeable and ultimately unsurmountable lead.
UCD’s B team were also strong, with Danielle Donegan, Fiona McKenna, and Alanna Lally representing the Bears. They put on an impressive display to take the bronze medal just ahead of a gutsy Clonliffe Harriers team.
Rathfarnham W.S.A.F AC separated the two UCD teams, with Carla Sweeney, Louise Gaffney, and Laura McDonnell delivering a superb performance to secure silver medals.
The Senior Men’s race was enthralling from the get-go with a titanic tussle emerging between Clonliffe Harriers, UCD, and Raheny Shamrocks who have an incredibly impressive record at these Championships.
Up until the penultimate lap the race was very close, with Donore Harriers also in the mix. When Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe) and Darragh McElhinney (UCD) took over for their teams they began to pull away from other contenders. Both athletes have won European medals in recent years and their class shone through.
McElhinney handed over to Luke McCann who started with a narrow advantage over Clonliffe’s Ian Guiden. Guiden produced a scintillating final leg to cross the line ahead of UCD. The Clonliffe team of Sean O’Leary, Mark McDonald, Gidey, and Guiden had ensured that the title would return to Clonliffe for the first time in 14 years.
A very exciting Ennis Track team finished in 3rd place with Donal Devane, Dean Casey, Dylan Casey, and Niall Murphy representing the Banner men.
Sportsworld Running Club won the Women’s O35 title ahead of Finn Valley and Raheny Shamrocks.
Raheny once again came out on top in the Women’s O50 category, who saw off the challenge of Brother Pearses. Lucan Harriers won a well-earned bronze.
East Cork AC made the long trip to Dublin very much worthwhile in claiming the Men’s O35 title, with Brother Pearses and Clonliffe Harriers winning silver and bronze, respectively.
Inishowen AC won the Men’s O50 title, with Donore Harriers in second and Metro St. Brigid’s AC finishing in third.