Race report – Easykit Cross-Cup Series at Hannut, Belgium 21/01/2018
 
Article by Gerry Naughton
 
Last weekend, the Donore Harriers Juvenile Development Programme made  it's first foray into international competition, sending a juvenile distancerunning  team to compete in the Easykit CrossCup event at Hannut in Belgium.
 
The Easykit CrossCup is a series of 6 high-profile cross-country events,  hosted in different provinces of Belgium, that attracts some of the best  athletes from across Europe. This was a perfect opportunity to give some of  our juvenile athletes their first taste of high-level European competition.
 
Ruby Kelly was the first Donore Harrier into action in the Under 15/16 Girls  race over 2km. She completed the mud-laden route in a time of 8 minutes  and 30 seconds (8:30) to place 39th.
 
First-season athlete Abdel Laadjel, displayed his exciting potential in  the Under 15/16 Boys race. Laadjel bravely chased the lead group in the  early stages of his 2.5km race, before falling back at the half-way point. But  his natural strength saw him battle back in the final 250 metres and he  crossed the line in an impressive 8th position. His time of 8:51 compared well  against that of the winner Tom Delrez (8:22), the top-ranked Belgium athlete.
 
13 years-old Sean Kinsella, the youngest team member, placed 68th in the  same race.
 
Roisin Brady (13:37) took 26th position in the Under 17/18 Girls race over 2  circuits of the 1.5km course.
 
The Under 17/18 Boys race over 4.5km had 4 Donore athletes on the start  line. The fast and frantic start saw all 4 badly boxed-in as the melee of  athletes sprinted the first 200 metres towards the bend that led onto a narrow  and dangerously-sloped part of the course. Louis O’Loughlin had to battle  his way from the middle of the pack to gain ground on the leaders. He  eventually settled into 6th position but found himself detached from the lead  group of 4 athletes. As the race progressed, he put in a big effort to close the
gap, but he had to succumb to the demands of the soft underfoot terrain and  the constant tight turns of the meandering course and settled for 6th position.  The race was won by Abdullah Dubad (15:42), with O’Loughlin (16:25) in 6th,  middle-distance specialist Jack Raftery (18:08) putting in a solid effort to  place 41st, Barney Kelly (18:12) stepping up an age-group placed 43rd, with  Keenan McDonnell (19:02) in 61st.
 
In the Junior women’s race over 4.5km, Suzanne Masterson (21:42) came a  very creditable 12th, with Eliza Ni Thighearnaigh (22:33) in 18th and Ciara  Murphy (25:52), in her first club race after a long injury lay-off, in 21st. 
 
Sekeriye Ahmed (23:30) led the early stages of the Junior Men’s race over  6km, but the quality athletes soon came to the fore as Ahmed struggled to  maintain a steady pace. He eventually had to settle for 20th position, whilst  an improving Daniel Brady (25:17) ran his best-ever cross-country race to  take the 37th spot.
Michelle Clancy
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