The annual Antrim IAAF International Cross Country event will take place on the slightly earlier than usual date of Saturday 4th January 2014. Once again the event will encompass the NI & Ulster Senior Cross Country Championships. This great all-round event is a key fixture in both the British Athletics Cross Challenge Series and the Athletics NI Cross Country League. Awarded one of only 12 IAAF World Cross Country permits the event is the highlight of the Cross Country calendar in Northern Ireland. A number of top class UK and Irish athletes are expected to confirm their attendance over the coming weeks in addition to the international athletes already committed.
Organised by Athletics Northern Ireland and supported by Antrim Borough Council and Sport Northern Ireland, the races will be held in the picturesque surrounds of CAFRE at Greenmount Campus in Antrim. $15,000 prize money is once again on offer, with $7500 for each of the men’s and women’s races.
Annadale Striders’ athlete, Ryan McDermott joined Alderman Sam Dunlop, Chair of Antrim Borough Council’s Development and Leisure Committee and Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of Sport Northern Ireland to launch the 2014 event. Ryan was part of the strong Irish team that competed at the Lotto Cross Cup in Antwerp earlier this month and finished first in the Under 23 category in the Woodies DIY AAI Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships last weekend.
The Antrim IAAF International Cross Country is one of the largest and most popular events in the Northern Ireland athletics sporting calendar, with more than 1,200 competitors taking part and race categories ranging from Under 13s to Masters. This year Athletics Northern Ireland will also play host to the Celtic Cross Country International in which teams from Ulster, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will all compete for the coveted Individual and Team Trophies.
Alderman Sam Dunlop said, “We are delighted that Athletics Northern Ireland has chosen to return to Antrim for the IAAF International Cross Country. CAFRE, Greenmount Campus is an ideal venue for this world class competition. With its central location and ease of access it is ideal for the many competitors who will travel from overseas.”
Alderman Dunlop continued, “Antrim Borough Council is proud to support this prestigious event, which will no doubt contribute significantly to the Borough, particularly with the inclusion this year of the Celtic Cross Country Championships. We wish Athletics Northern Ireland, CAFRE and the runners every success for January 2014.”
Sport Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown, welcomed the event saying “I am delighted that Sport Northern Ireland is supporting this event through the International Sports Events programme and we look forward to welcoming international athletes here to compete with our home grown talent. By hosting this event, Northern Ireland athletes will have the opportunity to compete at a high level and I have no doubt this will encourage and inspire them and provide an excellent opportunity to showcase their skills. It will also help Sport Northern Ireland to achieve one of its main aims – developing improved performance pathways for Northern Ireland athletes, players and sports.”
Online Entry is now available at www.athleticsni.org