IT WAS A DAY of history on Stranorlar’s Millbrae, on a morning when winter still wore its summer’s mask for the 48th running of the Donegal Senior Cross Country Championships.
The sun arrowed down as Teresa Doherty of Finn Valley AC and Inishowen AC’s Pauric McKinney won the respective races.
For Doherty, the former Teresa McGloin, it was a day that saw her etch her name into the history books.
In coasting to the women’s senior title in a time of 18 minutes and 37 seconds, the Kinlough woman won the event for the eighth time.
Since 2007, she has won all bar one – her sequence broken only by Michelle Harvey’s win in 2008 – and she now goes about the legendary double Olympian Danny McDaid at the top of the winners’ list.
McDaid won seven Donegal Senior Cross Country titles in his time, but Doherty has gone above the flying Glenswilly postman.
The bank official from the shores of Lough Melvin won by over a minute and a half from her club mate Catriona Devine, who completed the 5k course in 20:12.
Picture caption: Teresa Doherty, centre, with Catriona Devine (right) and Donna Evans. Picture courtesy of Kieran Carlin.
“It’s nice to get that,” Doherty told Donegal Sport Hub.
“The conditions were perfect. I just went out for a hard run and I just pushed it on.
Finn Valley have dominated the womens event down the years. Today, they claimed their 36th team title in the 48th version of the event.
Devine is a former winner of the women’s event here and, when she was Catriona McGranaghan, was part of several of those epic National Senior Cross Country wins during a time when the blue and white singlets won eight-in-a-row.
Donna Evans and Marie Harper were their others scorers today and they actually had the first six finishers with Catherine Dooher and Eimear Gallen coming home just behind the scoring bunch.
The results perhaps could come with a slight cavaet given that there was no representation from Letterkenny AC for either race meaning the likes of Ann-Marie McGlynn and Ciaran Doherty were absent from the starter’s list.
The 2014 version was shrouded in controversy after what were described at the time as ‘unsavoury incidents’ marred the men’s race with accusations and counter-claims that athletes had been involved in pushing and shoving in the early part of the race.
There could be no disputing today’s events, though.
McKinney (pictured below), just six days after running 2:33:51 at the Dublin Marathon – where he won the M50 gold medal with over eight minutes to spare – on Bank Holiday Monday, took the men’s race and also takes a nugget of history home, as the oldest winner of this event, run over 10k for men.
The 50-year-old Inishowen AC man came home in 34:12, 16 seconds faster than closest rival, Eoghain McGinley, a Kilmacrennan native now running in the Rathfarnam singlet.
At the half-way mark, McKinney kicked away from the pack and pulled clear.
The last loop was like a lap of honour with McKinney comfortable and he cruised to victory, the gap widening with every stride of legs that belied their 50 years.
“To do that at 50 is a dream come true – I must be the oldest Donegal champion,” said McKinney, who ran a 2:30:50 marathon in Berlin at the end of September.
“I knew I had a chance. My recovery from Dublin was so good and I felt brilliant all week. I was intent on winning it. As the group disintegrated, I found myself at the front and when I put the foot down, the boys dropped away.
“I really enjoyed that and I’m delighted to win. I was very comfortable and I had more in the tank if I needed it.”
McGinley was second in 34:28 with Rosses AC’s Ciaran McGonagle third in 33:00.
Finn Valley took the team title, led home by Gerard Gallagher, who was fourth overall in a time of 34:57.
He was followed by fellow scorers Mark McPaul, Dermot McElchar and Adam Speer.Tags: