A: Grange, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, Ireland | E: info@mullingarharriers.com

National Senior T&F 2024 (29th/30th June)


It was cold wet and miserable in Santry on Saturday morning 29th June on Day 1 of the National Senior T&F Championships. First event on the track was the men 10,000m race walk where Oisin Lane went out hard and led from the gun, settling quickly into his rhythm. He had hoped to break the u/23 record but a few early warnings and a red card meant he had to be very careful and temper his effort but he was still more then quick enough to win comfortably with over a lap to spare to win his first outdoor Senior title in a new personal best of 40:25.99, just 10 seconds off the u/23 record. Matthew Glennon raced hard behind and was rewarded for his efforts with third place in 43:41.02 and the bronze medal, followed home by Andrew Glennon finishing strong in 4th place in 43:55.94, a huge personal best.

There was no living with the early pace of Kate Veale (West Waterford AC), the eventual winner of the women 5,000m race walk, but Aisling Lane took control of the chasing group and when the time to push for home in the closing laps she pulled away smoothly and went on to finish in 24:30.51 and win the silver medal.

Eoin Quinn and Conor Liston were drawn in the same heat of the men 800m, where only the first two plus the next two fastest times over the four heats would advance to Sunday’s final, so competition was fierce. Eoin used all his experience to time his finish perfectly, surging through the pack on the home straight to move into second place by the finish line and earn a place in the final. This was Conor’s first time competing in a National Senior T&F Championships where he looked very much at home but despite a great effort in the closing stages he finished out of the qualification places but will take a great deal from the experience.

With only to first four in each of the four heats of the men 1,500m to advance to Sunday’s final, it was always going to be very tough. Colin P Smith kept himself right up with the leading group in his heat, a very tactical heat, and was rewarded with fourth place and a place in the final. Colin D Smith was very unlucky to be drawn in the fastest heat and though he was always in contention, was run out of the automatic qualification places on the home straight, finishing in sixth place in a time that would have easily won the first two heats.

There were five heats of the men 400m, with only the winners of each heat and the next three fastest times advancing to Sunday’s final. Patrick Leydon ran an excellent race and powered strongly to third place in his heat, unfortunately not quick enough to advance to the final but he was still delighted to record a new personal best of 48.88 seconds.

It was great to see three Mullingar men in the 5,000m A final. The pace was very steady up to the 3k mark but two surges at the front in relatively quick succession broke the field up. Keeping with the breaks, Cormac Dalton stayed with the leading group of three, with Jack O’Leary close to the front of the chasing pack, and Vinny Connolly not far behind. A furious burn up over the final kilometre, especially over the final lap, sorted the medal places and Cormac had to settle for third (13:55.01) but a National bronze medal was a fine reward for his efforts. Jack finished strong in 14:11.00, followed by Vinny in 14:33.75, not far off his personal best for 5k on the track, so a very solid performance.

There was a significant improvement in conditions for Day 2 on Sunday 30th June as overnight rain gave way to clear skies and lovely warm conditions. After a slow opening lap of the men 800m final, Eoin Quinn found himself at the back of the field going through the bell, which meant he was a bit of touch when an injection of pace on the back straight left him an awful lot to do. Eoin battled hard to get back on terms, running wide on the home straight to make up ground but the line came too soon and he crossed in 7th place in 1:52.01.

The men 1,500m final started at a very cagey pace and the big field was still quite bunched coming up to the final lap, with Colin P Smith in an awkward place in against the kerb. A serious burn up over the final 400m quickly split the field but Colin dug deep and continued to work hard, finishing down the field, but in a respectable 3:50.61, and the experience of competing in a Senior final will stand to him.

We finished the day with the women 5,000m where Mullingar eyes were on Claire Fagan. Going out fast from the gun, the field quickly spread out and the pace began to hurt and several dropped out between 2k and 3k, but Claire stuck patiently to her own race plan and wasn’t drawn into the fast early pace, running steadily in the second of two chasing groups. With two laps to go, Claire made her move and earlier patience paid off as she had lots in reserve to move steadily through the field and make up a lot of ground to finish an excellent 5th place in 16:12.26 [GD].