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Dublin 2009


from A.A.I With only 250 days to go for the 2009 SPAR European Cross Country Championships, the Local Organising Committee have preparations in full swing. The event will take place on Sunday 13th December in Santry Dublin and is the next major cross country fixture on the calendar following the World Cross Country Championships in Amman last weekend where reigning European Champion Hilda Kibet of the Netherlands was the best among European athletes finishing sixth (26.43) and the Portuguese women clinched a team bronze medal. They are all certainly warm favourites to win in December in 250 days.

However, Ireland’s top middle distance athletes are firmly focused on Dublin 2009. A squad session held in Santry on Saturday was a stepping stone towards building a strong team for the Championships. With European bronze medalist Mary Cullen and Half Marathon record holder Martin Fagan no doubt being central to both the Men’s and Women’s Senior Teams. Cullen finished second in the Great Ireland Run in a time of 32.25 while Fagan finished behind Rui Silva and Paul Tergat for the third spot (28.47) despite a niggling injury. Fagan broke the long standing half marathon record last month in The Hague with a time of 1.00.57.

The official timetable has also been confirmed for the day (subject to change) and will commence at 10:15am with the Opening Ceremony. A full programme of events will follow during the day with the Senior Women at 13:30pm and the Senior Men at 14.25pm.

Traditionally, the event attracts athletes from over 30 European countries and over 20 million TV viewers, but LOC director Liam Hennessy insists that because of the attractiveness of the city and the proximity of the course to the airport, he hopes that Dublin 2009 sets a new record for participation.

Liam Hennessy said:
“With the confirmation that the opening ceremony will be at 10.15am, it is clear that the 13th December will provide an early start for athletes, spectators and officials. Now that we have reached the 250 days to go mark it is gratifying that all the strict timelines set by the Local Organising Committee have been met to date. For this I would like to thank all the LOC members and their individual teams for all their hard work.”

The schedule (subject to change) can be viewed on www.dublin2009.ie
• Opening Ceremony 10.15
• Junior Women Race 10.30
• Junior Men Race 11.15
• Under 23 Women race 11.55
• Under 23 Men race 12.40
• Senior Women Race 13.30
• Senior Men race 14.25