Local legends.

Stablemate Suzanne Neilan sliced through the wind, like Coach Stazza’s teeth through hot pastry, at the Munster Masters Cross-Country Championships 4K! 

Neilan stormed to victory in the F45 category and earned third-spot overall in a muck churning 14’02”.

The Stable News XC contributor, Ally “the Chin” Smith, threw on his wellies and grabbed Neilan at the finish:

Ally: Suzanne! Fancy giving me a few words for The Stable News? It’s blawin’ a hoolie oot here! 

Suzanne: No worries, Ally; it’s only a 20km/h breeze—nothing major. First off, I need to thank Coach Stazza. This is a much tougher course than my last Munster Masters, and I was 1’38” faster! 

Ally: Fantastic! So everything went to plan? 

Suzanne: Ha-ha, sort of! A lot went well, a little went wrong … I learned loads.

With all Coach Stazza’s training, I was flying. We were the first race after the relays, using a different route, and at the top of the field, we were directed down the wrong lane (a short loop that the relays were using), and I had to slow down and duck under tape while leading.

On the second loop, as the marking tape had been dropped from the first, incorrect loop, I wasn’t sure where I was going for part of the lap. At that stage, I was just gonna walk off the course. But I put my toys back in my pram and kept going. Lesson learned … Run the course before you race. I assumed it would be marked clearly and stewarded, but you know what they say about that word “assume.”

Ally: Ha-ha, I sure do! I’m surprised the markings didn’t blow away completely! Good on you for keeping your head and finishing strong. What’s next? 

Suzanne: Newmarket 5K on December 19. 

Ally: Brilliant! I’ll be back in touch then for a few words from the winner! 

Suzanne: I’ll do my very best! 

The Stable News put a call through to Coach Stazza, who was kitesurfing in Tralee Bay: “Perfect weather for crashing through the waves! And real XC racing conditions! Suzanne ran a blinder of a race, kept her cool when things went awry, and got the job done. She’s coming on brilliantly!”