Irish Mountain
Running Association

European Champs: Zell am Harmersbach, Germany


Unknown Gerry Brady


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<a href=""> Photos link </a>

The seventh European mountain running championships were held in Zell am Harmersbach in south-west Germany. The weather alternated from warm to overcast and rain, and on race day remained dull but without rain. The course started in the town and ran uphill for 650m to join the 4 km lap. Athletes from 26 countries competed in the event with full Irish teams in all four categories.

First off were the junior women. Their race started on the 4.1 km loop which had 238m of climb and descent. The British team had won the inaugural European junior race last year and were hopeful of another good showing. However it was the Turkish trio that slipped away at the front and looked comfortable team winners with a kilometre to go. However all that changed and Mariya Bykova (Russia) came through from fourth to win on the uphill run-in and her teammate came through for the individual bronze and team gold. Michelle Finn ran prominently throughout and finished 16th and 87 seconds behind the winner. Gayle Finn (27th) and Eimear Tangney (30th) have two years left in this age group and can run better as they get stronger. The Irish team finished 9th of ten teams.

The junior men?s race started at the sports hall in the town. Turkey had won easily last year and they took all three individual and team medals this year. Hasan Pak was a convincing winner by 35 seconds. He had placed 35th in the World junior cross-country in Edinburgh in March and ran 14:38 for 5000m in May. Michael Dowling ran strongly throughout the race to finish 35th and can do better again in his remaining two years at this age group. The rest of the Irish team suffered after the fast pace of the first lap and ended up in 42nd (Conor Moore), 43rd (Kian Jennings). Eoin Rowan suffering from a sore throat eventually called a halt on the last lap. The Irish team finished 10th of ten teams.

The senior women were next-up over the same course as the junior men. The British team were to the front of the race from the start and won the team from France and Italy. Sarah Tunstall had led on the first lap but Italian Elisa Desco went clear on the second lap to win by 18 seconds from France?s Constance Devillers. Desco ran 2:36.54 in the 2008 Turin marathon. The Irish women fought well with Angela Speight and Mags Greenan having a great tussle between them before finishing in 45th and 46th places respectively. Donna Mahon held on well to finish close behind in 51st. Aisling Coppinger picked up an illness earlier in the week but battled through it to finish in 61st. The team were 15th of 17 teams.

The last race of the day was the senior men over three laps. Tom Hogan was 25th when the leaders made their way up from the town with the other Irish runners in close attendance. A lap later and Barry Minnock had worked his way into 34th around half a minute ahead of Stephen Duncan. A lap later Stephen had come through and he finished strongly in 35th place. Barry held on for 53rd. Behind them Tom and Peter O?Farrell were running well together with Tom finishing 64th and Peter 70th. The team were 12th of 19 teams which is the highest placing since 6th in 1996 when the race was not yet an official championship. Up front Ahmet Asslan of Turkey followed Italian Dermatteis at a distance for the first half of the race before coming through strongly for a convincing win.

<b> Stephen Duncan 35th </b>
1. Ahmet Assian (Tur) 50:01
2. Bernard Dematteis (Ita) 50:29
3. Marco De Gasperi (Ita) 50:57
35. Stephen Duncan 55:12
53. Barry Minnock 58:02
64. Tom Hogan 61:41
70. Peter O Farrell 62:49

<b> Senior men team 12th </b>
1. Italy 11
2. Spain 32
3. France 32
4. Turkey 32
12. Ireland 152

<b> Angela Speight 45th </b>
1. Elisa Desco (Ita) 40:00
2. Constance Devillers (Fra) 40:18
3. Sarah Tunstall (GBr) 40:48
45. Angela Speight 46:49
46. Mags Greenan 47:26
51. Donna Mahon 48:22
61. Aisling Coppinger 52:04

<b> Senior women team 15th </b>
1. Great Britain 17
2. France 21
3. Italy 22
15. Ireland 142

<b> Michelle Finn 16th </b>
1. Mariya Bykova (Rus) 18:45
2. Esra Gullu (Tur) 18:48
3. Tatiyana Prorokova (Rus) 18:54
16. Michelle Finn 20:12
27. Gayle Finn 22:03
30. Eimear Tangney 22:46

<b> Junior women team 9th </b>
1. Russia 4
2. Turkey 8
3. Great Britain 17
9. Ireland 43

<b> Michael Dowling 35th </b>
1. Hasan Pak (Tur) 35:23
2. Alper Demir (Tur) 35:58
3. Emrah Akalin (Tur) 36:09
35. Michael Dowling 40:49
42. Conor Moore 45:14
43. Kian Jennings 47:16

<b> Junior men team 10th </b>
1. Turkey 6
2. Italy 31
3. Russia 32
10. Ireland 120

Gerry Brady

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