Irish Mountain
Running Association

WMRA World Championship


Gerry Brady

Gerry Brady

Junior women:
Junior men:
Senior women:
Senior men:

Irish senior women team 8th in World championships

The Irish junior and senior women took the limelight at the inaugural World championships in Italy with the juniors finishing ninth team and the senior women eight team. The races were held above Madesimo in Northern Italy at an altitude of around 2000 metres. The cool morning air, steep climbs and altitude were enough to set the lungs and legs on fire on the climb up to the Statue of the Madonna.

The first race at 09:30 was the junior women on one lap of a 4,340 metres lap. Representing Ireland were Tekea Ghebrezghi (Celtic DCH), Niamh Denny (DSD) and Niamh Kearney (Greystones & District). The Turkish runners led up the climb with Ghebrezghi and Kearney just off mid-pack and closely followed by Denny. Approaching the top of the course Ghebrezghi was in mid-twenties and moving through the field. She finished strongly in 15th position just over two minutes behind Yasemin Can (Tur). With Denny (26th) and Kearney (28th) Ireland had its first ever top ten team placing and highest ever individual placing.

The junior men had two laps. Ireland was represented by Jonathan Phillips (Roundwood), Michael Treacy (Rathfarnham), Michael Dowling (West Wicklow), and Christopher O’Brien (Thurles Crokes). The Turkish runners again took up the early pace but Italian Xavier Chevrier kept them company on the climb. By the climb on the second lap Chevrier had raced clear for a convincing victory. Christy O’Brien ran in the late twenties and early thirties throughout to finish an excellent 33rd in his third ever mountain race. Treacy kept him within sight the whole way to finish 43rd which was a great run for one of the youngest athletes in the race. Both of these runners have three years left at this level. Phillips worked his way through the field catching Dowling and closing up on Treacy to finish 46th two places ahead of Dowling. The four Irish runners all finished higher up the field than our first runners home in 2006 and 2007, and O’Brien’s performance is the best individual result since Colm Turner (23rd) in 2004.

The senior women’s team comprised Edel Mooney (Lothian), Karen Alexander (Sperrin Harriers), Donna Mahon (Rathfarnham), and Siobhan O’Doherty (Borrisokane). On the first of two laps the British team were in the lead in the team race. On the climb on the second lap the Italians came through for a 1-2-3 finish. The Irish ran mid-field throughout and really spurred each other on. Mooney and O’Doherty (in her first ever mountain race) exchanged places throughout with Alexander at various times almost catching them. Mahon clung bravely to Alexander resulting in all four runners placing higher than our best position in 2008. Mooney’s 32nd was our best position since Beth McCluskey’s 29th in 1995 and our best ever in percentage of winner’s time. The team placing was our first top ten finish since 1991 and a fine example of team running.

Stephen Scullion (North Belfast), Kevin Keane (Rathfarnham), Mark Ryan (Rathfarnham), Ian Conroy (Raheny), Brian MacMahon (Clonliffe), and John Heneghan (Pudsey and Bramley) were the Irish senior men on duty. They faced into a daunting challenge with three African countries contending against the hosts. After two kilometres two Eriteans were well clear but on the climb on the second lap the 2007 junior winner Ugandan Kusoro moved into contention and eventually took over the lead from Eritrean Azerya Weldemariam. Kusoro was 19th in the 2009 World cross-country championships. Another Ugandan James Kibet came through for the bronze medal ahead of the first Italian Bernard Dematteis. The Eritreans held on sufficiently for team gold ahead of Italy while Turkey packed well to beat Uganda for the bronze medals. MacMahon started steadily and gradually worked his way up to 41st but a tired last kilometre saw him slip back to 50th. Heneghan who is based in England ran strongly throughout the three laps as did Ryan. Conroy in his debut international had a fighting performance and after passing Scullion on the second lap held on for a well-celebrated top 100 finish! Scullion and Keane battled all the way and helped the team achieve 14th overall which is the best team placing since Malaysia in 1999. Both mens teams are well capable of delivering a top ten and better in the coming years in what is a very competitive championship.

Junior women (42 finishers and 14 countries)
1. Yasemin Can (TUR) 22.18
2. Megan Morgan (USA) 22.35
3. Angelika Mach (POL) 22.56
15. Tekea Ghebrezghi 24.38
26. Niamh Denny 25.44
28. Niamh Kearney 25.58

1. Turkey (1,4) 5
2. Romania (6,7) 13
3. Poland (3,17) 20
9. Ireland (15,26) 41

Junior men (68 finishers and 16 countries)
1. Xavier Chevrier (ITA) 38.26
2. Muzaffer Bayram (TUR) 39.22
3. Alper Demir (TUR) 39.32
33. Christopher O’Brien 43.57
43. Michael Treacy 44.48
46. Jonathan Phillips 44.58
48. Michael Dowling 45.06

1. Turkey (2,3,9) 14
2. Italy (1,5,10) 16
3. Great Britain & N.I. (15,18,19) 52
14. Ireland (33,43,46) 122

Senior women (69 finishers and 14 countries)
1. Elisa Desco (ITA) 43.39
2. Valentina Belotti (ITA) 44.03
3. Maria Grazia Roberti (ITA) 44.23
32. Edel Mooney 48.23
36. Siobhan O’Doherty 49.00
38. Karen Alexander 49.23
45. Donna Mahon 50.40

1. Italy (1,2,3) 6
2. Great Britain & N.I. (4,7,11) 22
3. USA (10,13,15) 38
8. Ireland (32,36,38) 106

Senior men (138 finishers and 23 countries)
1. Geoffrey Kusuro (UGA) 54.51
2. Azerya Teklay Weldemariam (ERI) 55.45
3. James Kibet (UGA) 55.54
50. Brian MacMahon 61.48
68. John Heneghan 63.28
86. Mark Ryan 64.54
94. Ian Conroy 66.00
99. Stephen Scullion 67.28
108. Kevin Keane 68.33

1. Eritrea (2,5,6,11) 24
2. Italy (4,8,9,18) 39
3. Turkey (10,17,20,28) 75
14. Ireland (50,68,86,94) 298