Saturday 29 October witnessed the Dublin University Harriers and Athletics Club (DUHAC) host their fiercest rivals, UCD, in the Colours Road Relays – the long-standing 1-2-2-1 mile races around the half-mile loop of campus.
This year’s event saw the traditional half-mile campus circuit change due to weather and parking reasons, adding approximately five to seven seconds onto athletes’ mile splits.
Sporting three teams on a slightly blustery day, Harriers captains Paul Ervine and Rebecca Egan demonstrated the potential of their squads ahead of the upcoming intervarsity road relays in Maynooth, with several impressive debutants racing among the regular performers.
Trinity women’s teams finished first, second and third, demolishing UCD in the process. Mile debutant Lucy O’Sullivan led her leg of the relay impressively (6.28), with DUHAC stalwart Bryony Treston returning to race action with a solid two-mile run (12.41). Sorcha Prenderville also notched up a 6.33 mile to stamp her mark on proceedings.
Trinity men’s teams had a tougher time: the A team narrowly lost out to UCD in an epic battle for first, though the B and C teams placed third and fourth in a strong overall performance. The ever-improving Donal Foley hammered home his two-mile run (10.18) with a superb finish to cement his intention on fighting the élites of UCD and DCU at intervarsities.
Consistent times were also recorded by club regulars Gerard Claffey and Darragh McCashin over the mile (5.13 and 5.12, respectively). Over two miles, captain Paul Ervine and colours debutant Sean Lewis showed how the Harriers training sessions are providing dividends (10.49 and 11.02 respectively).
A word of praise should also be extended to the Trinity sprinters Garrett Dunne (track captain), Lauren Holmes and Kieron Sexton (both returning to the sport) who braved the mile’s lactic acid challenge! Despite some confusion at the start, Trinity’s track captain clocked 5.31 for the mile as part of Trinity’s sprinters’ hectic training schedules, alongside Kieron Sexton (5.50) and Lauren Holmes (7.15).
Both teams offered a variety of athletes from beginners upwards, continuing the trend of impressive turnouts at such events. Both Harriers captains will have the tricky task of piecing together several teams to compete against all the colleges in Ireland.
Training for DUHAC is held every day with runs from three to six miles twice a week, circuits and core, intervals and much more, all in preparation for this year’s big races.
The Maynooth road race relays are up next for Dublin University, and Trinity will be hoping for a strong performance in the increasingly tough environment of student athletics.