Tipperary cross-country athletics season begins on Sunday

Newport the venue for county novice women's 3k and men’s 6k championship races

Cross country

All participants must follow strict Covid-19 guidelines

Newport, nestled at the foothills of the Silvermines, is the venue for the opening fixtures of the County Tipperary Cross Country season on this Sunday, October 4, when the county novice women’s 3k and men’s 6k championship races will take place. 

This year’s championships are different, as they are being promoted under strict Covid-19 guidelines, which are there for everyone’s health and safety.

The county board has drawn up these guidelines, which were circulated to all clubs. All clubs are asked to follow these guidelines fully so as to ensure that we can promote the cross-country season at county level and give all our athletes an opportunity to compete under these new normal circumstances. 

For involvement in these events, participants must 

∙have entered for the event. 

∙not have been off the island of Ireland in the last 14 days. 

∙not have been a close contact of someone diagnosed with Covid-19 or someone waiting on a Covid test or test results in the last 14 days. 

∙not be in a period of self-isolation and/or cocooning under the current health policy rules. 

∙not be displaying Covid-19 symptoms. 

∙adhere to any domestic travel restrictions in place.

A link to contact tracing and health screening questionnaire will be sent around before the event to all clubs.

Everyone who attends the venue will have to complete this online and this includes all club members, officials, first aid personnel, juvenile and adult athletes, parents, team managers and anyone else who will be attending the venue.

Participants must refrain from handshakes, hugs and high fives; keep two metres away from other people at all times; cover their coughs and sneezes; try not to touch any surfaces at the event; wear a facemask before and after the race; have hand sanitiser and their own drinks bottle.

All athletes will be expected to leave as soon as they finish their race and adhere to egress signage. 

If an athlete becomes unwell after competing, they should first contact their GP and read the HSE guidelines and then inform the competition organisers. The competition organisers will then follow advice provided to them by the HSE on the next steps to take.

There will be no spectators allowed onto the cross country course. Parents and guardians will be instructed to stay in their cars in the carpark and view the races on livestream at this link - https://youtu.be/JSN4TfuifhA

The programme in Newport will be a long one to ensure everyone’s safety at all times.

The Novice women’s race is down to start at 4pm while the Men’s race will start at 4.30pm. Athletes are asked to arrive not earlier than 40 minutes before their race time to collect their race numbers and pins. They then return to their cars and can get ready to change for their event.

They will be able to access the Cross-Country course 20 minutes before their event time and not any earlier and be ready to compete. Then three minutes before the race start time, athletes will be called to the start and the races will start on time, regardless of who is there.

Please adhere to the stewards’ instructions at all times, they are acting in everyone’s health and safety interest. These are unusual times so we need everyone’s cooperation to ensure that this fixture goes smoothly. If not, then the rest of the County Athletic fixtures could be in danger of cancellation. 

The eligibility for these two championship events is that athletes must be registered with their clubs and they must be over 19 years of age by December 31. They must not have won a higher championship event in any county or have finished in the top three at county senior Cross-Country level. 

As this is the first opportunity for many athletes to compete since last March, previewing such events would be just guesswork as we have no form to go on.

Also, as this is the only avenue open for club members to compete at the moment, with the Dublin City Marathon cancelled along with other major road races, this year we may witness a bigger entry than usual. 

As athletes will have an opportunity to try competing in Cross Country events during October and November at county level, it’s a different challenge.

At the moment all the usual clubs such as Dundrum, Mooreabbey Milers, Thurles Crokes, Ballynonty, Moyne, Moycarkey Coolcroo, Coolquill, Templemore, Carrick-on-Suir, Clonmel, Nenagh Olympic and the host club Newport, that have strong roots in cross country, will have athletes competing.

Competition will be very keen and there could be a couple of dark horses emerge onto the scene, which will make both the individual and team events in both races interesting and competitive.

The women’s 3k race will see the athletes running two small laps and three big laps while the men will negotiate two small laps and five big laps.

For more Tipperary sport read Maura Lyons wins Lady Captain's prize at Clonmel Golf Club