BY JOHN WALSHE
FOLLOWING her victory at the national novice cross-country in early December, along with a number of other impressive performances, Bandon athlete Fiona Everard has been selected to compete in the prestigious Cross Cup de Hannut in Belgium on January 22nd.
Everard will compete in the senior event along with Mary Mulhare (Portlaoise), Fionnuala Ross (Armagh) and Laura Tinkler (DCH). Two other Cork athletes have also been selected – Avril Millerick from Youghal who will run the U20 race and Paul Hartnett (East Cork) who competes at U23 level.
The Belgium event is part of the World Cross-Country Tour and athletes can expect top-quality Belgium opposition plus entrants from across Europe and beyond. It also provides a chance for athletes to familiarise themselves with Belgium cross-country conditions ahead of the 2023 European Cross-Country championships which take place in Brussels next December.
The international selection is a just reward for the 24-year-old Everard who put two years of injury frustration behind her with a number of highly impressive performances over the country this season.
Having not run a cross-country race since March of 2000, the Bandon athlete took the silver medal behind Sinead O’Connor at the Cork championships at Macroom and this was followed by a tenth spot at the Autumn International and ninth in Donegal at the national seniors a few weeks later.
At the national novice over a tough course at Conna, she eased away from her opposition after the first of the two 2000m laps and at the finish had over a half-minute to spare from Kate McDonald (Ballyroan Abbeyleix & District) with Laura Buckley (Dunboyne) taking third spot.
On the local scene, this coming Sunday (January 8th) sees the traditional ESB Cross-Country Challenge at Beaumont Park in Blackrock. This is the first of a comprehensive calendar of events organised by the BHAA (Business Houses Athletic Association) for 2023. Details of Sunday’s race can be had from Tim Murray at 086-1091782.