Almost 500 students from 19 Secondary Schools across Co. Wexford took part in the first ever Wexford Schools Cross Country on Wednesday, November 26th, in the scenic surroundings of John F. Kennedy Park outside New Ross.
With perfect weather and underfoot conditions, many of the students were experiencing their very first taste of Cross Country running.
The event was the brainchild of Linda Rogers of United Striders AC, who works as a PE teacher in Ramsgrange Community School, and was backed by the County Board of Athletics Wexford. Local clubs provided officials and the technical expertise to keep the eight-race event running smoothly.
Minor Boys and Girls ran a 1000m lap to start the day off. There were 73 competitors in the girls race, with 60 Minor Boys competing. With a gradual increase in the distances, the finale was the Senior Boys running 3000m.
The Donna Foley Memorial Cup was awarded to the school with the most winning teams and at the end of the day the boys from Good Counsel College, New Ross were victorious.Team manager, Kevin Bates, received the cup from Anna and Denise Foley, mother and sister of the late Donna Foley – an extremely talented cross country athlete whose athletics career was cut short in a drowning accident with her brother, Derek, while they were just teenagers in the early 1980’s.
As part of the initiative, all participating schools were given an information sheet with details of where their local clubs were, training times and contact numbers. Athletics Wexford is hopeful that the club-school contacts developed through the event will unearth new cross country talent in Wexford. There was an immediate impact, with many clubs receiving inquiries on the day.
The competition is now set to become an annual event with the last Wednesday in November already marked in next year’s diaries.