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Sorcha McAllister recent achievements leads to Irish selection for the European Cross-Country Championships

The athlete discusses how she finds a balance between her sporting and academic career

Published: December 4th, 2019

Sorcha McAllister’s recent selection for the Irish team for the European Cross-Country Championships is the latest in a string of successes after a historic win at the Intervarsity Road Relay Championships with DUHAC’s Ladies A team and a U-23 Cross Country title at the National Cross-Country Championships.
Athletics wasn’t her only sport as a teenager as she dabbled with camogie and had a brief career in boxing, Sorcha recalls “these tethered out at around fourteen years old when they clashed with athletics training. I first became interested in running around the age of ten as my neighbours used to head down to the track on Monday evenings and I started to tag along. I always had an influence growing up as my Mam was a runner in her teens and twenties also.”
Sorcha’s first major achievement was at the under 17 National Cross-Country Championships where she came away with an All-Ireland medal “I generally finished in the high seventy’s so a jump up to twelfth really spurred me on to stick with athletics!”. Chatting about her career highlights thus far, Sorcha mentions, “a major highlight was DUHAC ladies taking gold at the Varsity Road Relay Championships this year. We were the first trinity team in history to take gold at these championships which made the success sweeter! Athletics, particularly endurance running is brandished as an individual sport yet often, it can be a team effort that gives the most rewarding success.”
McAlister acknowledges that it can be a balancing act to excel in both her academic and sporting career commenting, “it certainly makes me more organised, balancing the two can be tough at times! Running is a great stress reliever, particularly during exam season, it can be a great way to think things out and plan. Overall athletics is a balance between making me more diligent towards my academic career and acting as a break from study. The key is plenty of rest so that it's possible to both run and study!”
Sorcha was delighted to be selected for the Irish Cross-Country team to compete at the European championships commenting, “it is always a great honour to represent your country at a major championship. This year I managed to qualify automatically by winning the National U23 Cross Country Championships, which avoided the suspense of waiting for the team to be announced. As always, I will be nervous for the European Championships. It's a tough race with some serious names competing, my aim is to just run the best I can, enjoy the experience and soak up the atmosphere!” Continuing, “My key points of preparation over the next week or so will be plenty of sleep, food, and a final hill session with DUHAC before I head to Lisbon.”
Sorcha has a lot to look forward to in 2020 commenting, “my main goals for the track season are PB’s in both the 3,000m and 5,000m. I missed the entire track season this year due to injury so I can't wait to get back onto the track and race. I will still be eligible for selection for U23 European Cross-Country Championship’s next year so that is another major aim of mine. Next year, Ireland is hosting European Championships in Abbottstown, I would love to be selected to represent my nation on home soil!”
Best of luck to Sorcha McAllister who competes at the European Cross-Country Championships on Sunday, 8th December in Lisbon, Portugal.