Athletics: Starters orders for cross-country season
ALTHOUGH the cross-country season is only weeks away, some of the innovations expected this season are yet to surface on the calendar.
The biggest change sees the National Club Championships scheduled for the late autumn, rather than the spring.With the World Championships now taking place only every second year, the race has lost much of its glamour and fields have dwindled in recent years.
This year's date is Sunday November 22, when presumably it will act as a qualifier for the European Championships. The venue is as yet unnamed.
Scheduled for Sunday October 18 in the Phoenix Park is the Autumn Open, previously organised by Metro St Brigid's, but now taken over by Athletics Ireland. As well as being a seasonal pipe-opener for elite athletes like Fionnuala Britton, the race serves as a trial for the British and Irish Masters International, this year hosted by Ireland in Santry on Saturday November 14.
At Dublin level, the novice championships are scheduled for October 4; the seniors and juniors for November 1 in Santry and the masters for January 10. As yet, no venue has been named for the National Novice Championships scheduled for Sunday December 6. Finding venues for cross-country races has become increasingly difficult in recent years.
One date and venue that is certain is the Spar European Cross-Country Championships, taking place on December 13 in Hyeres in the south of France.