Mullingar Half Marathon 2023 (17th March)
Well established now as a firm favourite on the road race calendar, the Mullingar Half Marathon took place 0n a wet St. Patrick’s Day when over 1,200 took part, though actually over 1,400 had entered the race, so it was a very successful fundraiser for TEAM (Temporary Emergency Accommodation Mullingar), a very good and deserving local cause. This is an excellent race at the right time of year to try record a good time on a mostly flat fast course. The rain resulted in lots of standing water and puddles to be negotiated, especially along parts of the Royal Canal paths, but it was also quite mild and just a little windy in places, so conditions were quite good for long distance running.
Needless to say Mullingar Harriers was very well represented with forty one taking part, delighted to be able to put all the hard work over months in training into action. The race has a great reputation and continues to grow and attract huge interest from far and wide. It was a great spectacle to see so many runners fill the main street of Mullingar and it took some time for everyone to clear the town and head out into the countryside before returning again to finish in the town park. While the race is a charity event, giving the majority simply a chance to run the distance in company, the more competitive runners ran hard from the start. Mullingar Harriers did very well, with Vinny Connolly coming in a close second, we had two master category winners in Eddie Newman and Mary Stuart, a host of PBs, and 23 finished under 1 hour 40 minutes.
Vinny Connolly’s time was 1 hour 11 minutes 5 seconds, only twenty seconds behind the winner and ten seconds ahead of third place, so it was a terrific race up at the front from start to finish. Following strongly behind came James Keegan in a fine sixth place (1:13:16), then Kedagh Geoghegan (1:18:09), Johnny Morrissey (1:18:25), Kris Foster (1:18:26), Eddie Newman (1:19:20) first in his master category, Eoin Clarke (1:19:25), Andy Boyhan (1:19:52), Tony Doran (1:19:57), Enda O’Carolan (1:21:30), James Cribbin (1:24:21) and Kieran Nolan (1:24:53). Our first woman finisher was Aine O’Reilly in 1:28:36, placing just outside the top one hundred, followed by Jacintha Reilly (1:29:10), Murty Hanly (1:30:44), James Lally (1:30:46), Susan Glennon (1:32:31), Dara O’Shea (1:33:09), James Carton (1:33:11), Mary Stuart (1:33:53) first in her master category, Aisling Corcoran (1:34:31), Colm Walsh (1:39:53), Aeilish McGovern (1:40:08), Gemma Kelly (1:41:22), Joan Hickson (1:41:29), Mairtin Savage (1:42:07), Laura Geoghegan (1:42:48), Claire Ross (1:45:40), Criona Reid (1:45:55), Orla McLaughlin (1:46:44), Niamh Spellman (1:47:11), Richie Kelly (1:47:02), John Bannon (1:47:35), Caroline Mullen (1:47:55), Marie Louise Johnston (1:49:00), Frank Lynam (1:50:12), Jane Creevy (1:53:04), Emer Savage (1:55:09), John Callaghan (1:56:14), Kevin O’Brien (2:05:14) and Ray Smyth (2:07:20). There was a number of others from Mullingar Harriers playing a vital role as pacemakers, too many to name individually, but feedback on their excellent pacing was very positive, so very well done to them on a job well done.
There was also a 5k race, the Fleadh 5k, with the proceeds going towards the cost of hosting the Fleadh again in Mullingar this summer. The half marathon started first, followed by the 5k a few minutes after and it finished in the town park where everyone could wait to welcome the half marathon runners back, which really helped to fill the gap of over an hour while the half marathon runners went out into the countryside before returning to finish in the park.
The 5k had 224 finishers, including a good number from Mullingar Harriers, led home by Michelle Bohan in fourth place, the first woman to finish, in 19 minutes 58 seconds, followed by Lily Walsh in eighth (21:26), Alex Sheridan in tenth (21:48), Marco Bertolo (23:23), Penny Bohan (23:50), Katie Bohan (24:49), Barry Walsh (25:27), Ronan Kelly (25:53), Declan Costello, Vera McCool, Paul McCool, Emer O’Hanlon and Geraldine Walsh.