Great Mullingar Run 2020 (25th July)
Great Mullingar Run is a great success
The Great Ireland Run has played host to the National 10k Road Championships for a number of years, but the 20th annual running of the event, along with every other road race scheduled over the last few months, was postponed due to Covid-19. In an effort to keep athletes active and motivated over the summer months, the organizers of the event arranged a “virtual” competition, where runners time themselves over 10k with a GPS device and submit proof of their times online.
To coincide with the virtual event, Mullingar Harriers organized a 10k for club members on Saturday morning 25th July, dubbed the “Great Mullingar Run”, and almost 40 seniors and masters took part. The race was held on the Royal Canal Blueway and the Old Rail Trail Greenway, under strict social distancing measures, and it included a 5k event in which over a dozen of the clubs juvenile members participated. Ross Killalea led the 5k runners home with Grace Byrne first of the girls.
The Great Ireland Run has always been well attended by Mullingar athletes and with our senior women winning the team competition last year, along with both our over 50 men and women master teams finishing on the podium, there was a big effort by Mullingar athletes to feature in the virtual version of the event this year. James Keegan was first over the line on Saturday morning in 35:16 followed just a few seconds later by Gerard Gavin in second and Maurice Looby third. The effort invested by Harriers was soon evident with a number of race finishers gasping for air while lying on the ground exhausted and a handful more recording personal best times for 10k.
Liz Carr, who last year led our women home to the team title, was the quickest of the women on Saturday in 38:18 followed closely by Áine O’Reilly in second and Amy Mahony third. But racing at the Dublin Graded Meeting in Santry on Wednesday evening 22nd July it was Claire Fagan who recorded the most impressive time for a Mullingar athlete over 10,000m when she crossed the finish line in just 34:46.8. Joan Flynn was unable to run in the Great Mullingar Run but that didn’t deter her from recording the second fastest time of our women members, clocking a solo 38:08 ensuring that before our own Great Mullingar Run the women team was in contention for the win.
The cut-off to submit times for the Great Ireland Run was midnight Sunday and when the results were confirmed, Claire Fagan finished first woman, and with Joan Flynn (third), Aine O’Reilly (fifth) and Amy Mahony (tenth), led the Mullingar Harriers women to team victory, more than nine minutes clear of second place. The men’s team race was a closer affair, where Gerard Gavin (seventh man), Maurice Looby (twelfth), Tom McGrath (fifteenth) and Alan Crowley (sixteenth) combined to finish second men team, only two and a half minutes behind first place. These are fantastic results from the club for a competition that was open to all athletics clubs in the country.
After the race, runners and volunteers had the chance to share war stories and catch up over a cuppa at an outdoor socially distanced social morning back at the club grounds. With drinks provided by Bell Lane Coffee and more than enough treats to refuel after the race, the post event catch-up completed the structure of a typical road race, helping to fill a large void in the athletics calendar caused by the cancellation of so many races.