Stranorlar, Co. Donegal 05/11/17
Muddy and wet conditions at the Finn Valley Leisure Centre greeted the competitors in the Donegal Senior Cross Country Championships. Mostly sunny skies mixed with some showers provided some winter sun to keep temperatures up. Over the 3 laps, (1000m, 2000m, 2000m) of the Senior Women's 5000m Teresa Doherty (Finn Valley) made her intentions very clear from the beginning, immediately opening up a lead and setting a quick pace. The rest of the field remained bunched for the opening 1000m then began to spread out with the Letterkenny duo of Nakita Burke and Noeleen Scanlon remaining fairly close together for most of the race in the remaining two podium positions while Lifford AC's Claire McGuigan chased hard for the whole 5k. At the end, it was Doherty who crossed the line almost a minute and a half ahead of second place Burke in a time of 20:10. Burke and Scanlon lead the winning Letterkenny team in 2nd and 3rd positions respectively.
In the Men's 10,000m the longer distance made the opening couple of laps a much closer affair with many of the potential race winners up the front with a sea of blue and black vests foreshadowing the imminent battle for the team title between Letterkenny AC and Finn Valley AC. It was Letterkenny's Karol Duggan and Eoghain McGinley up the front for the first few laps before Karol began to pull clear of the field and stretch out a lead through the muddy and wet sections of the back part of the course. Chris Johnstone of Finn Valley was soon in pursuit of the leader and fought hard to try and close the gap but could not decrease it during the middle third of the race and looked to eventually settle into his own running and leading the Finn Valley team home. A pack remained further back for 3rd place for longer however over the 10,000m distance it was the strength of Ciaran Doherty who pulled into 3rd place and the gaps throughout the field began to grow with almost everyone now running alone. The course got muddier as the race went on with some sections becoming very slippery. Duggan held his lead and opened it some more throughout the closing stages of the race and came home first in 35:22. Johnstone continued to work hard coming home second 30 seconds behind and leading the winning Finn Valley team. Doherty of Letterkenny completed the top 3 however it was the 5 Finn Valley runners from 5th to 9th which completed the team and showed the true strength of numbers.