It was a successful afternoon for DUHAC (Dublin University Harriers and Athletic Club) in Santry on Saturday. Hosting the Irish Universities Athletics Cross-Country Championships in the Trinity Sports Playing Fields for the first time since 2018, the Trinity athletes excelled, with the women’s team claiming gold for the third year in succession while the men’s team were just shy of a medal, finishing in fourth position. DUHAC’s hosting of the event also marked 150 years of athletics in Trinity.
Taking into account the combined finishing position of each athlete in both male and female races, Trinity came second of all the colleges overall, bested only by Dublin City University. The best individual finish by a Trinity athlete was that of Celine Gavin, who claimed the silver medal in the women’s race.
Kicking off at 2pm in pleasant spring sunshine, Celine Gavin ran the 5,000m course in a time of 18:31 to claim the silver medal, second only to winner Aoife O’Cuill of Dublin City University. Jennifer Elvin was next over the line for Trinity in 6th position with a time of 19:01 while Claire Rafter followed shortly after, finishing in 8th place overall. There were a further seventeen female DUHAC athletes also competing, with seven finishing in the top 30. Of the 58 athletes in the race, 15 were Trinity students.
In the 114-strong men’s race, Pierre Murchan was Trinity’s best representative, finishing the 8,000m race in ninth place with a time of 26:08. Stephen Fay and Feidhlim McGowan were next over the line for Trinity, finishing in 20th and 21st place respectively. There were 26 male athletes competing for Trinity in total.
After the men’s and women’s races had finished, there was a mixed 4×1,000m relay, allowing teams of two males and two females the opportunity to claim further inter-varsity bragging rights. Though this was a non-championship event and there were no medals awarded, the Trinity team ran well, beaten only by DCU to come in second place.
Overall, Trinity had by far the most representatives from a single college with 41 athletes. There were 172 athletes competing across both the male and female events, up significantly from the 84 which competed in last season’s races in September.
The overall team winner is determined by a points system based on the finishing position of each athlete. The higher the athlete finishes, the less points he/she receives. The points of all of the other athletes of that college will then be added to his/her total to comprise the final team score. The college with the least points wins the overall team competition.
In a statement to The University Times, DUHAC coach Iain Morrison said: “We had a fantastic celebration of 150 years of athletics in Trinity in Santry on Saturday .. our ladies’ team really executed and did the three in a row quite emphatically, with first year Celine Gavin a really great silver individually.”
“Our men were agonisingly 4th again. Few things staked against us in the last few weeks and we needed everything to go in our favour to medal.”
“TCD initiated a new additional mixed 1k relay which was a fantastic race mirroring the overall with DCU just holding us off in the home straight.”
This is the third year in a row that Trinity have won silver overall. They have only won gold once, in 2002 Since records began in 1992, Trinity have won silver eight times and bronze six times.
The winners of the men’s and women’s races are calculated in the same way as the overall team winner described above.
In the women’s race, Trinity have won gold for three years in a row for the first time in their history. They have won gold on five other occasions since competition began in 1966.
In the men’s race, Trinity’s most recent medal was a bronze in 2020. They last got a silver in 2005 while their last gold came in 2003.