Caitriona Jennings 50km Champion
Caitriona Jennings 50km Champion06 Dec 2022
The course was a 5km loop (10 times) which is typical for a championship race. Although it had only been 6 weeks since she finished 3rd in the World 100km Championships in Berlin, she felt that she had recovered reasonably well and decided to race.
After having a target time in mind, it became clear however, after running the course on Friday morning before the race, that times would be irrelevant during the race. It would be a true tactical race with almost 2,200ft of elevation gain over the 50km distance. That suited her well as the field was stacked with girls boasting blistering marathon times. She decided to stay relaxed and feel out the race – 3 girls (from Great Britain, Romania and Czech Republic) went out hard from the gun, but she found herself in a solid group of 8 girls and working together, gradually closing the gap on the leaders. Although earlier than planned, on the 6th lap, it felt like the right time to make a move, and she cleared the group of 8. Keeping pace with another competitor, they continued to work together, passing the leader on the road and 2km into the 8th lap. By the end of the 9th lap, she had opened a comfortable gap and knew that she was in control. Although it was definitely not a course for records, passing by the timing clock at 45km, she realised that if she ran a sub 20 minute 5km for the last lap, she’d break the Irish record. Running past the country tents and collecting the tricolour from her brother-in-law who had travelled to the race with his fiancé and her mother-in-law was incredibly special. She rounded the corner to see the finish line and ran through a wall of cheering and applause to break the tape as European Champion. What an incredible feeling to be the first European 50km Champion and set a new Irish record in so doing.