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

Q4, 2019 News & Reports – October to December




Leinster Star Awards for 2019

Athletics Leinster announced on 31st December the winners of the Leinster Star Awards for 2019. Based on the results in Leinster Championships in 2019, the award winners for Westmeath are Mullingar’s Vicky Harris (senior athlete), Shauna Leydon (juvenile girl), Charles Okafor (juvenile boy), and Oisin Lane who will receive the race walk Award for Leinster.

Congratulations to Vicky, Shauna, Charles and Oisin and they will be presented with their Awards at a Gala Dinner in February.

Ardagh Challenge 10 Mile & 5k

The well established Ardagh Challenge 10 Mile & 5k in Co. Longford on Saturday 28th December drew a good entry for both races on a mild dry morning with little wind. Andrew Nevin was the best by far of the 136 finishers in the 5k race, winning in 16:24, nearly three minutes ahead of second place and was so far clear that he ran most of the race on his own in what was effectively a time trial. Also running was young Luke Greene, finishing in 20:47. The longer 10 mile race was run over a point-to-point course, the first two miles on a route around Ardagh village before heading up and over the mountain, including a brutal Category 5 hill – a long steady climb to sap the energy from the 229 participants – before heading back down and finishing at the village green. Leading the strong Mullingar contingent home in an excellent 25th place overall was Joan Flynn in 1:08:00, the third woman to finish. Following in behind was Amy Mahony in a new best time for the distance of 1:13:50, then Sean Liston (1:15:00), Michelle Bohan (1:15:24), Emer O’Hanlon (1:20:28) first in her master category, Terri Greene (1:21:39) second in her master category, John Bannon (1:24:04) and Michael O’Sullivan (1:27:39) third in his master category. Well done to them all and after such a tough race they definitely earned the post-race refreshments and chance to recover in the Community Hall.

Rita and Robbie 5k

Continuing to grow year by year, the Navan AC Rita and Robbie 5k on Friday 27th December attracted a very large crowd of 452 finishers who competed in good running conditions on local roads, starting and finishing in Claremont stadium. Among the big entry was Mullingar’s Enda Seery who finished 58th in a good 19:49, so was pleased with his final race of the year.

Fields of Athenry 10k

Running his first short race since the summer, Eddie Newman competed in the annual Fields of Athenry 10k on St. Stephen’s Day, which attracted nearly 1,300 entrants and was very satisfied to finish well up in 37:13 to take 1st prize in his master category.

Shane Brennan 5k

A regular favourite of Mullingar athletes and a great way to run off the Christmas turkey and pudding, the annual Shane Brennan 5k in Newtownforbes, Co. Longford on St. Stephen’s Day, a charity event for the Ollie Cox Injury Fund organised by Fr. Kieran McGovern, a long time friend of Mullingar Harriers, attracted a big entry of over 400 runners, joggers and walkers including a small group from the Club, led home by Patrick Muldoon (18:18), followed by Gerard Flynn (21:09), Brigid McCabe (24:17) 1st in her master category and Nicky McCabe (25:00) 1st in his master category.

Kilbeggan 6k

The Kilbeggan 6k in aid of Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin on St. Stephen’s Day attracted a big entry of nearly 400 runners and walkers from far and wide looking to work off the Christmas excesses and support a worthy cause into the bargain. Leading the big Mullingar group home in 2nd place was Euan Lagan (19:58), followed by James Keegan in 4th place (20:25), Matthew Glennon (21:38) 1st junior man, John Whitelaw (21:48), Kieran Nolan (21:53), Ian McCormack (21:57), Ger Brady (22:25), Barry McDonald (22:59), Paddy Daly (23:01), Enda O’Carolan (24:13), Lorcan Mullen (24:26) 3rd junior man, young Cian Corcoran (24:55) doing a great job pacing his mum Aisling Corcoran (24:57) to 1st place in her master category, Andrew Glennon (27:05), Caroline Mullen (28:22) 3rd in her master category and Martin Mullen. A local race like this deserves local support and it was good to see Mullingar Harriers out in good numbers.

NIA Live Indoor Series – Round 2

The second night of the NIA Live Indoor Series took place on Tuesday evening 17th December at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown. Colin Smith was Mullingar’s sole representative and competed in the 1,000m where he battled hard to finish second in a very good 2:31.12, as he continues his preparations for the indoor season proper in the New Year.

AAI National Novice & Juvenile Uneven Ages XC

The final cross country event of the year, the AAI National Novice and Juvenile Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships, took place in Dunboyne, Co. Meath on Sunday 15th December when the absence of many athletes due to illness was keenly felt by Mullingar. The absences were particularly noticeable in the older age groups, where not only were we missing some athletes from teams but in some cases we couldn’t even field a team. On what should have been our stronger day and one to reinforce our grip on the trophy for best Juvenile Cross Country Club in Ireland, the one Club gold and one Club bronze that we won is unlikely to be enough, but that’s sport!

To say underfoot conditions were tough would be an extreme understatement. As everyone knows there has been an extraordinary amount of rain in recent weeks and athletes and spectators were met with an absolute mud fest from the moment they entered the course. It was actually hard to tell if the course deteriorated much over the long twelve race programme because it was dreadful from the very first race! This is no criticism whatsoever of the host, Dunboyne AC, who deserve enormous credit for constructing a course in very challenging conditions. At least the weather on the day was reasonably good and we had no rain but it was very cold, adding to the hardship for athletes and spectators alike.

The programme opened with the u/11 girls 1,500m where the young Mullingar team was led home by Eleanor Kiernan, followed by Tianna O’Leary, Muireann Galvin, Therese Daly, Mollie Conlon and Allison Tourish who slipped and slid their way around the muddy course and despite their best efforts, they finished out of the medal places but can be proud to have competed in an All-Ireland final against the best teams in Ireland. When Jake Bell turned into the home straight full of running in the u/11 boys 1,500m and finished a magnificent 3rd place after a tough race, we were full of hope for team success to follow. Thanks to fantastic support and team packing by Darren Corcoran, Conor Geoghegan, Conor Walsh, Oliver Lynch and Daniel Boyle the team finished 3rd Club to give Mullingar its first team medals of the day. Jake also won a gold medal with the Leinster team in the Inter-Provincial competition.

Morgan Corcoran led the Mullingar team home in the u/13 girls 2,500m where despite strong showings by Rachel Murphy, Orla Manning, Ellen Daly and Lydia McDonnell, the girls finished out of the medal places but left nothing on the course and can be proud of their efforts against very stiff opposition. On to the u/13 boys 2,500m where the Mullingar team was the clear pre-race favourite. Led home by Jamie Wallace in a terrific 10th place, followed by Conor Liston and Luke O’Leary battling hard up the finish straight to finish 13th and 14th respectively, just outside the individual medal places, and with Matthew Molloy only a few places behind them, it was 1st Club and the gold medals for Mullingar by an enormous winning margin. We weren’t done cheering yet though as Niall Brady, Luke Greene, Cian Corcoran and Alex Lynch fought tooth and nail for every place and were rewarded with gold medals too as the team also finished 1st County. Jamie, Conor and Luke also won gold medals with the Leinster team, to put Jamie in that select and rare group of athletes that have won four All-Ireland medals in one race – individual, Club, County and Province.

Adele Geoghegan led the Mullingar team home in the u/15 girls 3,500m where despite great support from Leah Geoghegan, Grace Byrne, Jessica Cunningham, Ellen Foran, Shauna Traynor and Lucy Donnelly, the girls were unlucky to finish fifth Club, just out of the medal places but not for the lack of effort by each and every one of them. The cracks due to illness could be seen in the u/15 boys 3,500m where Mullingar was missing a few key athletes and even some of those that did run were only just over recent illness. The team was led home by Ross Killalea, followed by Philip McCartan, Adam Brady, Adam Smyth, David Burke, Callum Costello, Andrew Glennon and Conleth Mullen who all gave every ounce of effort they could muster but they had to settle for a place out of the medals on this occasion.

We had seven entered in the u/17 girls 4,000m but only three were able to compete on the day. Phoebe Bate showed why she has been selected to run for Ireland in the Celtic Cross Country in January with a polished performance and a very strong determined finish in 9th place to win a well-deserved individual medal. Also finishing well up was Meabh Killalea, followed by Karla Cunningham. Looking at the final results we can be sure that a full strength team would have won medals, very likely gold. Phoebe also won a gold medal with the Leinster team. Things went from bad to worse for the u/17 boys 5,000m where we could only field two out of six entrants but top marks for effort by Matthew Glennon and Tadhg Hunwick who ran very strongly and competed for every place as if there was a team depending on them.

The wheels finally came right off for Mullingar in the u/19 boys 6,000m, which was the last underage race where Mullingar had athletes entered. On paper the Mullingar u/19 team looked good for medal honours but was reduced to just one athlete that took to the start line. Credit to Ruairi Fagan for not letting the absence of a team bother him and he ran a very good race to round off the underage programme for Mullingar.

It was great to see Mullingar field a team in the Novice Women 4,000m where Michelle Bohan had the honour of leading the team home, followed by Jennifer Algar, Anna Broderick, Andrea Brady, Amy Mahony and Aisling Corcoran. For Andrea this was her first senior cross country race, the rest of the team were running their first cross country season, but for Aisling this was her first ever cross country race! Aisling was very well supported by her children Morgan and Cian, recovered from their earlier exploits, and they cheered for their mother every step of the way. The team finished out of the medals, but this was an extremely competitive race. The programme concluded with the largest race of the day, the Novice Men 6,000m where over 200 men dragged themselves around the mucky sloppy course. Among them was the team from Mullingar led home by Andrew Nevin finishing well up just outside the top twenty, followed by James Keegan, Gerard Gavin, Gerard Brady (another cross country debutant), Hans De Raeymaeker and Barry McDonald. The team finished out of the medal places but despite feeling understandably very tired after they can be satisfied with their efforts in truly grueling conditions.

That rounded off a day of mixed fortunes for Mullingar. Many thanks to the parents and supporters and to the coaches for their assistance and vocal support on the day from the first race right to the last. Many will now take a well earned break over the Christmas and come back refreshed for the indoor season in the New Year.

Aware Christmas 5k & 10k

The annual Aware Christmas 5k & 10k in a bitterly cold and windy Phoenix Park on Saturday morning 14th December attracted an impressive total entry of over 1,200 runners, joggers and walkers, many in seasonal fancy dress. Nearly 800 competed in the 10k where Kieran Nolan was very pleased to finish in 12th place in 36:11, with James Cribbin just a few places behind in 16th in 37:17.

AIT Baseline Indoor T&F Meeting

The AIT Baseline Indoor T&F Meeting at the Athlone International Indoor Arena on Wednesday evening 11th December was an opportunity for athletes to test themselves and gauge progress in training in a low-key environment. Given the time of year, many athletes are not race fit yet, so the programme included several non-standard distances often used in training to assess fitness, such as 150m and 300m.

Charles Okafor ran the 60m in 7.07 seconds, fractionally off his personal best, which is very encouraging at this time of the year. Later in the evening, Charles drew lane 2 in the 150m, which is tight for someone of his build but despite a slight stumble coming off the bend into the home straight, he still finished in 16.59 seconds, which would equate to just under 22 seconds for the 200m, another great performance for the time of year. Shauna Leydon also competed over 150m to record a good time of 20.59 seconds, and later in the evening ran a strong 300m where she ran a personal best of 45.03 seconds from the tight lane one. This was an excellent meeting for Charles and Shauna and both could take something very positive back to the training track, as they continue to prepare for the indoor season in the New Year.

Westmeath Examiner Sports Awards for 2019

The Westmeath Examiner announced on Tuesday 10th December the final nominations for the Westmeath Examiner Sports Awards for 2019, which includes Claire Fagan (June) and the Mullingar Harriers Senior Women Cross Country Team (November). A personal best for Claire over 10,000m at the Galway Senior T&F in June was inside the qualifying standard for the European u/23 T&F in Sweden where Claire represented Ireland in July, her first Major Championship. In November, Claire finished second in the Leinster Senior Cross Country to lead the Mullingar Senior Women team including Aine O’Reilly, Sinead Whitelaw, Elizabeth Carr, Michelle Bohan, Jennifer Algar, Anna Broderick and Amy Mahony to its first Senior title since 1995. The team not only finished first Club but was first County too and is the worthy winner of the November Award. Congratulations to Claire and the Senior Women cross country team on their Awards, which will be presented at a Gala Function in the Mullingar Park Hotel on Friday evening 10th January 2020.

European Cross Country

Not having won a medal since 2015, Ireland made amends with its most successful European Cross Country Championships on Sunday 8th December by winning two individual medals and two team medals to place fourth out of 21 countries on the medal table, behind Great Britain, France and Italy, to build a great base for 2020 when Dublin will host the event. Witnesses to this memorable day were four of Mullingar’s star athletes – Jamie Battle, Claire Fagan, Jack O’Leary and Cormac Dalton – who all made a valuable contribution. The course in the Bela Vista Park, Lisbon was dry and firm but in a change to recent years, it was also very technical, with some tight bends and tough uphill and fast downhill sections, making it extremely challenging.

Jamie Battle was part of a very strong team in the u/20 men 6,000m where he put in a great performance, maintaining his place just outside the top twenty throughout to finish strongly in 28th, the fifth finisher for the team that finished in an agonising 4th place, on the same points as third place and only missing the bronze medals on count back. There was still reason for Irish cheer though as Efrem Gidey (Clonliffe Harriers AC) took bronze for Ireland on his International debut. Mullingar had two to cheer for in the u/23 men 8,000m where Jack O’Leary looked to build on his experience from last year, which he achieved in spades with a fine run to finish 25th, the second score for Ireland. Cormac Dalton made his debut in a Major Championship, negotiating the tough course with his customary determination to finish in an excellent 49th, the fourth finisher for Ireland and the team placed a very creditable 7th. Claire Fagan can be very satisfied with her run in the u/23 women 6,000m to finish in 47th, the fifth finisher for Ireland where Ireland took individual bronze courtesy of Stephanie Cotter (West Muskerry AC) to lead the Irish team to second place and the silver medals, to earn Claire a fantastic team silver medal in her first time competing at a European Cross Country.

Very well done to Jamie, Jack, Cormac and Claire on their performances in the Irish colours, which will surely spur them on to ensure they qualify for the event in 2020 on Irish soil.

All-Ireland National Race Walk Championships

The AAI National Race Walk Championships took place in a very cold St. Anne’s Park, Raheny on Saturday morning 7th December. As always, the event was very well organised by Raheny Shamrocks AC who laid out an excellent course along the beautiful tree-lined main avenue. In a repeat performance of last year, Rachel Glennon battled her way to 3rd place and the bronze medal in the Senior Women 20k walk, outside her personal best time for the distance but that’s understandable, given the less than ideal weather conditions. Rather than run in the master category, Sean McMullin opted to run in the non-Championship Senior Men 20k walk and was delighted to finish first.

Apart from the senior Championships, there were support races for juveniles over some non-standard distances where Jennifer Fidgeon (8k), Andrew Glennon (4k), Matthew Glennon (7k) and Oisin Lane (16k) delivered excellent performances, which are testament to the great work put in by coach Michael Lane, and these performances will stand all our underage race walkers in good stead for the year ahead.

Jingle Bells 5k

The Christmas lights are up, the trees are appearing in shops and homes and even the names of races are getting a festive feel! The Jingle Bells 5k took place in the Phoenix Park on Saturday morning 7th December and in cold but dry and calm perfect running conditions nearly 1,100 runners, joggers and walkers competed. Leading the small Mullingar group home in 12th place was Padraig Moran in a fine 15 minutes exactly, followed by James Cribbin (18:06) and Paul Ginnell (19:41), both finishing well up in their respective extremely competitive master categories.

2019 Military Cross Country Tournament

In addition to racing for the Club at the Leinster Senior Cross Country in Ferbane and the National Senior Cross Country at the NSC in Dublin, Elizabeth Carr also raced at the Irish Defence Forces Cross Country Championships in The Curragh in late November, which she won. This victory earned her selection to represent the Irish Defence Forces at the 2019 Military Cross Country Tournament, held under the auspices of the International Military Sports Council (CISM), in Schaffen, Belgium on Wednesday morning 4th December. In a very tight race with very little between the top seven Elizabeth finished a fighting fifth, leading the Irish team to an excellent third place.

NIA Live Indoor Series – Round 1

The opening night of the NIA Live Indoor Series took place on Tuesday evening 3rd December at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown. Colin Smith looked very comfortable in the Mile, winning easily in 4:21.7, followed home by Eoin Quinn in second place in 4:33.5, to put down early markers for the indoor season proper in the New Year.




Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon

Now in its tenth year running, the Clonakilty Waterfront Marathon on Saturday morning 30th November attracted record numbers and sold out many weeks before the event. The weather conditions were very challenging with high winds and showery outbreaks of rain. Andrew Nevin opted to run the Half Marathon where he had a fine run to finish in 1:17:57, third of the huge field of over 900 runners, joggers and walkers, while Gerard Flynn ran the Marathon and was satisfied with his time of 3:45:17 in tough conditions, finishing well up in the big entry of 430.

Four of Mullingar’s finest to compete at European Cross Country

We’ll be watching the coverage of the European Cross Country Championships in the Bela Vista Park, Lisbon on Sunday morning 8th December with particular added interest because Mullingar will have four athletes competing on Irish teams, the highest number from the Club ever to compete at a major Championship in a single day. Competing in the u/20 men 6,000m will be Jamie Battle, in the u/23 women 6,000m will be Claire Fagan, and in the u/23 men 8,000m will be Cormac Dalton and Jack O’Leary. Jack has had an excellent cross country season with Iona College and he returned home last week from the USA to acclimatize in advance of the trip to Lisbon. There is another man on the u/23 team with a connection to Westmeath though, Peter Lynch (Kilkenny City Harriers). Peter’s grandfather, Sean Lynch, comes from Castlepollard but now lives in Kilkenny and has been involved with athletics in Kilkenny for many years. Jamie and Jack ran in the European Cross Country in The Netherlands last year and Claire ran in the u/23 T&F in Sweden last summer, so they will draw on that valuable experience, but for Cormac this will be his first time to compete at this level in a Major Championship but being part of a large Irish team of over thirty men and women will surround him with huge experience to draw on for support and encouragement and inspiration. Everyone at the Club wishes Jamie, Claire, Cormac and Jack the very best of luck in the Lisbon.

AAI Senior, Junior and Juvenile Even Ages XC (ABBOTSTOWN)

The senior and junior women and men races at the AAI Senior, Junior and Juvenile Even Ages Cross Country on Sunday 24th November at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Dublin were trials for the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon in December, so there was a lot at stake in these races. Among the standout performances for Mullingar in Abbotstown were Cormac Dalton, Jamie Battle and Claire Fagan who earned selection for the European Cross Country. We also witnessed brilliant performances from Amy Geoghegan and Phoebe Bate to earn selection on the Irish team to compete at the Celtic Cross Country in Scotland in January, team medals for the Senior Women and the Senior Men, and medals for 3 of our underage teams.

The amount of rain that fell in Dublin in the week leading up to the event gave everyone that planned to attend cause for concern about the condition of the course. Thankfully, the day itself was dry, mild and very calm but underfoot conditions were tough, as expected, with parts of the course reduced to long stretches of slippery mud, making the going very difficult and it really took its toll on tired limbs. However, the Mullingar athletes coped admirably with the conditions.

Where do you start to describe the action and excitement? We’ll start with the final race of the day, the Senior Men 10,000m where Cormac Dalton displayed his cross country talent to the full, leading the chasing group for much of the race behind long time leader and eventual winner, Liam Brady of Tullamore Harriers. Cormac greatly appreciated the level of support he received from the Mullingar spectators dotted around the course encouraging him to keep working hard over the long tough very mucky and sticky course. Never letting up the pressure, Cormac came home right in the mix with the leaders in 5th place, justifiably delighted to finish 1st u/23 man, which guarantees him a place on the Irish team at the European Cross Country. Cormac was also part of a Mullingar team and with support from Andrew Nevin, James Keegan, Gerard Gavin and Patrick Muldoon, the team finished strongly in tough conditions to place 3rd Club in the “B” division, which is a great result for our senior men.

Preceding the men’s race was the Senior Women 8,000m and leading the Mullingar team home was Claire Fagan with a fantastic last lap to finish just outside the top twenty places, the 2nd u/23 woman and securing selection for the European Cross Country. Leaving nothing on the course and giving absolutely everything they had, packing brilliantly behind Claire in support was Sinead Whitelaw, Aine O’Reilly and Elizabeth Carr to finish 3rd Club in the “A” division and 2nd County in the “B” division. Senior medals are very hard to win and this result comes on the back of very hard work over the past year and longer by our dedicated senior women squad.

Before that again was the 6,000m for Junior Men and u/18 boys where Jamie Battle lived up to his pre-race billing as a contender for a place on the Irish team and he too showed his class with a fine 4th place finish to secure selection for the European Cross Country. Jamie also led the Mullingar junior men team to an excellent fifth Club and fifth County thanks to great teamwork and support from Matthew Glennon, Euan Lagan, Oisin Lane, Eoin Quinn, Colin Smith, Lorcan Mullen, Brian Martin and Ruairi Fagan. Looking at the u/18 results on their own, first home was Matthew and with Oisin, Eoin, Colin, Lorcan and Ruairi in support, the boys finished 3rd Club to win All-Ireland bronze medals.

These marvellous races came at the end of an equally exciting underage programme, where Mullingar had athletes in all eight underage races and teams in six of them. Proceeding got underway with the u/12 girls 2,000m where Tianna O’Leary led the Mullingar team home. Despite great efforts by Lydia McDonnell, Muireann Reihill, Jayne Charles, Therese Daly and Aiveen Lynch, the team finished out of the medals, but not for the want of effort and hard work. Despite being a bit under the weather, Matthew Molloy ran himself ragged in the u/12 boys 2,000m and collapsed over the line in 7th place and with Cian Corcoran, Luke Greene, Niall Brady, Oliver Lynch, Conor Geoghegan and Conor Walsh providing terrific team support, the boys finished 1st Club. Matthew also earned a gold medal with the Leinster team in the Inter-Provincial competition.

Morgan Corcoran led the Mullingar team home in the u/14 girls 3,000m. Packing close behind her was Adele Geoghegan, Caoimhe Kilmurray, Leah Geoghegan, Rachel Murphy, Grace Byrne, Ellen Daly, Lucy Donnelly, Shauna Traynor and Caoimhe Donohue but the girls were one of the unluckiest teams of the day, finishing 4th Club and missing the bronze medals by a simply agonising single point. For the record, they also finished a very creditable 6th County. The Mullingar team took to the start line as the clear pre-race favourites in the u/14 boys 3,000m and certainly lived up to expectations. Led home by Jamie Wallace, and followed in by Conor Liston, Philip McCartan, Luke O’Leary, Conor Sherwin, Pablo Lozano, David Burke, Alex Lynch and Callum Costello who fell ill during the race but kept going anyway in the interest of the team, the boys absolutely dominated and easily finished 1st Club by a very big margin. The team also finished 4th County, just out of the medals by a few points. Jamie, Conor and Philip also won gold medals with the Leinster team.

On to the u/16 girls 4,000m where as referred to above, Amy Geoghegan and Phoebe Bate turned in brilliant performances. Though having raced hard on a very tough energy-sapping mucky course, Amy and Phoebe found extra gears somewhere and with phenomenal finish speed made up huge ground over the final few hundred metres to pull themselves from out of the following pack right up to the back of the leaders. Sprinting up the finish straight, Amy collapsed over the line in 6th and Phoebe was close behind her in 9th. It took Amy some time to recover from the exertion but there is little doubt her recovery was aided by knowing that both she and Phoebe had run themselves into qualification places on the Irish team to compete at the Celtic Cross Country in Stirling, Scotland in January. These will be richly deserved International debuts for them. Looking to the team, following in was Aisling Lane, Meghan Bates, Annie Kilmurray and Aoife McGouran but the team finished out of the medals, though a very creditable 6th Club. Amy and Phoebe also won silver medals with the Leinster team. We had no team in the u/16 boys 4,000m but we were able to cheer for the very talented Diarmuid Fagan who stuck to his task and was rewarded for his efforts with a silver medal with the Leinster team. Diarmuid will drop down to his own u/15 age group and lead a strong Mullingar team in Dunboyne in three weeks time and being the Leinster Champion, is sure to be in the reckoning for National honours.

The 4,000m for Junior Women and u/18 girls was a combined race and athletes could declare on both teams, as well as score individually. We had no u/18 team, but Meabh Killalea and Bea Drummond competed well, finishing well up and they can be very satisfied with their performances. Both were part of the Mullingar Junior team though, led home by Meabh, and with support from Aoife Darby, Bea, Andrea Brady, Karla Cunningham, Catriona Kennedy and Laura Shaw the team finished a very creditable 6th Club against top class opposition.

The final underage race was the 6,000m for Junior Men and u/18 boys where we know already that Jamie Battle secured European qualification and the u/18 boys team finished 3rd Club. We finished the day on an absolute high with brilliant performances from Claire Fagan and the Senior Women team, and from Cormac Dalton and the Senior Men team.

British & Irish Masters International XC

Best known as the venue for the Grand National horse race, Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool hosted the British and Irish Masters International Cross Country on Saturday morning 16th November and among the large Irish team competing against some of the best master athletes from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland was four from Mullingar Harriers. Running on the infield, not on the horse race track itself, the going was best described as “soft”, which was no surprise given the amount of rain that fell in the area in the days leading up to the event. The ground was a bit rough at the start, very soft after the first bend, very wet at the bottom of the course and coming up the home straight, and it was also very open and windy, making conditions challenging for the athletes.

The first race on the card was the Master Women 6,000m and featured Eileen Kenny and Brigid McCabe. Finishing first for Ireland in her category, followed closely by Brigid as second scorer, Eileen had the honour of leading the Irish women to team bronze medals. The next race was also 6,000m where Aine O’Reilly had a great race and was delighted to finish third score for Ireland and play her part in securing the team silver medals. It was a double celebration for Eileen, as her daughter Michelle Kenny (Leevale AC) finished second score, ahead of Aine, to make it a very memorable day for the Kenny family. The final race on a deteriorating course was the Master Men 8,000m where Gerard Gavin made his International debut and with a fine performance helped Ireland to second place and the team silver medals.

Congratulations to our International quartet. We suspect that Gerard will be unable to watch the Grand National in future without it bringing back the very special memory of making his debut in an Irish vest. Now that he has run for Ireland, we will add his name to the International Roll of Honour in the Clubhouse, the 109th name on the roll so far.

Irish University Road Relays

Cold and calm made conditions perfect on Saturday morning 16th November in NUI Maynooth for the Irish University Road Relays. Each college can enter multiple teams and the women competed in a four-leg relay over 1-2-2-1 miles, while the men competed in a five-leg relay over 1-2-3-2-1 miles.

In the women’s race, Alanna Bate ran the anchor one-mile leg for NUI Galway and despite a good performance for her, the team finished out of the medals. Taking the baton in the lead for the DCU “A” team, Cormac Dalton showed his class on the long three mile leg and his excellent time of 14:43 kept the team in the lead, a position it held until Colin Smith took the baton for the final leg and with a very swift 4:35, the quickest mile of the day, anchored DCU to team gold. Jamie Battle ran the second leg for the DCU”B” team and his time of 9:51 was one of the fastest runs over 2 miles on the day to improve the team standing when he handed the baton over to the third runner, the team eventually finishing fourth, just out of the medals. Euan Lagan also competed, running a strong second leg for the DCU “C” but they finished out of the medal places.

Run the Line

Now in its third year, Run the Line, a fundraising event organised by the Irish Mountain Running Association for the Dublin Wicklow Mountain Rescue Team, took place on Saturday morning 16th November in cold windy exposed conditions in the Dublin Mountains. The event consisted of two separate races, 13km and 26km, across the Dublin Mountains, starting and finishing in Glencullen Adventure Park near the Dublin-Wicklow border, and taking in many spectacular locations along the way offering breath-taking views over Dublin.

Over 400 completed the shorter 13km course with one tough steep climb of nearly 400m, including Brian Boyle who finished well up in 1:18:35, placing him in the top quarter of the more than 100 master men in his age category, so an excellent result for him.

For the 200 that tackled the longer 26km course, that meant two steep climbs of nearly 400m and 500m was required, so a serious test of physical and mental toughness. James Cribbin was best of the Mullingar quartet, finishing twenty second place overall in an excellent 2:24:37, within 15 minutes of the very experienced top finishers. He was followed by Jenny Algar (2:39:14) winning a prize as 3rd woman overall and 1st senior woman to finish, then Stephen Naughton (3:09:50) and Declan Costello (3:26:46) drawing on their marathon fitness for this very tough event.

Leinster Senior & Juvenile Uneven Ages XC (FERBANE)

Back in 1995 the Mullingar senior women team of Caroline Mullen, Paula Gowran, Brigid McCabe, Vera McCool (then Flynn) and Lorraine Nooney won the Leinster (then called Eastern Region) senior women cross country Club title in Pedigree Corner, Co. Laois. At the Leinster Senior and Juvenile Uneven Ages Cross Country Championships in Ferbane, Co. Offaly on Saturday 9th November, our senior women ended a nearly 25 year drought when they won the Leinster Club title with a dominant display that saw the first four on the team finish in the top twelve. Led home by Claire Fagan in second place and with great team support from Aine O’Reilly (7th), Sinead Whitelaw (10th), Elizabeth Carr (12th), Michelle Bohan, Jennifer Algar, Anna Broderick and Amy Mahony the Senior Women team not only finished 1st Club but also 1st County by some distance.

The only Leinster cross country team title never won by Mullingar is the senior men, and our Senior Men team of Padraig Moran (4th), Andrew Nevin (12th), James Keegan, Gerard Gavin, Patrick Muldoon and Eoin Lynch came very close but fell short by only a few points to finish 2nd Club. This second place is the closest that Mullingar has ever come to winning the senior men Club title. The men also finished 4th County, just two points away from third place and the bronze medals.

We have become very accustomed in Mullingar, almost blasé, about underage cross country success, but senior titles are so much harder to win, making the victory of our senior women, and the close call by our senior men, particularly noteworthy. This success did not happen just by chance of course, and is as a result of long hours of dedication in training by our senior athletes under the watchful eye of our senior cross country coach, Colm Walsh.

The senior races in Ferbane came after a long day of thrilling races in the underage programme in tough weather conditions with the odd shower of rain and with gusting winds to test the athletes and spectators. Underfoot conditions were quite good despite prolonged heavy rain in the days leading up to the event and with all types of testing terrain and uphill and downhill sections to challenge the athletes, it was a proper cross country course. Ferbane AC hosted the event and congratulations to them for setting up a great course and providing excellent on-site catering that greatly contributed to the success of the event.

Undeterred by the tough course and conditions, in addition to the senior team medals, the Mullingar underage teams won medals in every underage race from u/11 to u/19 that we had teams in, a total of 9 sets of Club team medals from 10 underage races, not to mention 5 sets of County medals too, making for a truly dominant team display. Diarmuid Fagan won the u/15 boys race and we another 16 Mullingar athletes won individual medals by finishing in the top twelve places.

Before the Championships proper, there were open races for boys and girls u/9. Emily Collentine ran in the girls race and Killian Galvin was the runaway winner of the boys race, where Aonghus O’Reilly and Louis Kiernan also competed and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. We are sure to see these youngsters in the coming years racing in Championships proper.

For some of the twelve-strong Mullingar team in the 1,500m for girls u/11 it was their first Leinster race, though others they had moved up an age to compete in the u/12 race in Gowran two weeks before, but they all took it in their stride. Leading the team home in 7th place was Tianna O’Leary, and with Muireann Galvin, Mollie Conlon, Therese Daly, Eleanor Kiernan, Allison Tourish, Aiveen Lynch, Katie Glennon, Isabel Daly, Lisa O’Brien, Eleanor Mulligan and Blathnaid Peters providing great support, the team finished 2nd Club, but out of the County medals in 6th place. Jake Bell finished fifth in the 1,500m for boys u/11 to lead the Mullingar team of Oliver Lynch, Darren Corcoran, Daniel Boyle, Conor Geoghegan, Conor Walsh, Thomas Daly, Jack Geoghegan and Greg McDonnell to 1st Club, but out of the County medals in 6th place.

Team medals continued to come our way in the 2,500m for girls u/13 as Morgan Corcoran in 9th place led the team of Rachel Murphy, Orla Manning, Ellen Daly, Rose Macken, Lydia McDonnell, Muireann Donohue and Síofra O’Reilly to 3rd Club, but still County medals eluded us as the team also finished 6th County. Four in the top twelve in the 2,500m for boys u/13 thanks to Matthew Molloy (2nd), Conor Liston (5th), Jamie Wallace (6th) and Luke O’Leary (10th) guaranteed the gold medals for 1st Club. With strong finishing and support from Alex Lynch, Luke Greene, Cian Corcoran and Niall Brady, the team also finished 1st County, our first of the day.

Caoimhe Kilmurray pushed herself very hard in the 3,500m for girls u/15 and was rewarded with 5th place, and with Adele Geoghegan just missing an individual medal in 13th place, followed by Grace Byrne, Leah Geoghegan, Jessica Cunningham, Caoimhe Donohue, Lucy Donnelly, Shauna Traynor, Aisling Lane and Ellen Foran packing well in support, the girls finished 2nd Club and 3rd County. We had our first and what transpired to be our only individual victory of the day in the 3,500m for boys u/15 when Diarmuid Fagan timed his break from the leading pack to perfection to pull clear and win. Followed in by team mates Ross Killalea, Adam Brady, Philip McCartan, Conor Sherwin, Callum Costello, Adam Smyth, David Burke, Tadhg Sheridan, Andrew Glennon and Conleth Mullen the boys finished 2nd Club and 3rd County.

We had four in the top twelve, in the 4,000m for girls u/17 where Phoebe Bate finished 7th, Meabh Killalea 9th, Amy Geoghegan 10th and Bea Drummond 11th to comfortably secure the gold medals for 1st Club. Thanks to great support from Karla Cunningham, Annie Kilmurray and Anna Macken the girls also finished 2nd County. On to the 5,000m for boys u/17 where Matthew Glennon in 5th, Colin Smith close behind in 7th, Lorcan Mullen, Tadhg Hunwick, Colin McGee, and Kevin Martin were very happy to finish 1st Club but missed the bronze medals by just four points when they placed 5th County on count-back.

The only event where we did not field a team was the 4,000m for girls u/19 but that did not prevent Aoife Darby putting in a great effort, only to miss an individual medal by just one place when she finished in 13th. Lisa Gavin (Athlone IT) also ran well in a tough competitive race. We ended the underage programme with the 6,000m for boys u/19 where Mullingar fielded the minimum team of four, led home by Eoin Quinn in 6th, Oisin Lane right behind him in 7th and with strong performances by Brian Martin and Ruairi Fagan and boys finished 2nd Club and with just four needed to score for a County in this age group, they also finished 3rd County.

We concluded the day with the 5,000m for Senior Women and 10,000m for Senior Men where as previously noted, our senior teams were in excellent form and put in terrific performances to win the women title and the men placed second, to send the big group of Mullingar friends and supporters home in high spirits.

A Leinster title for Diarmuid Fagan, another 16 top-twelve finishers, 9 Club team medals and 5 County team medals, means that Mullingar and Westmeath will have a big squad at the All-Ireland finals in Dunboyne in mid-December. The All-Ireland finals are a step up though and everyone that has qualified for the even ages in Abbotstown in two weeks and for the uneven ages in Dunboyne three weeks after that needs to continue to apply themselves fully in training, at the Club on Tuesdays and Thursdays but especially in Belvedere at the week-ends.

Clane 5k & 10k

Over 600 braved the early morning cold and took to the roads around Clane in Co. Kildare on Saturday morning 9th November for the Clane 5k & 10k, in aid of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland. Finishing well up in the 10k race was Paul Ginnell in 42:48 to place third in his master category followed by Terri Greene in 49:04 delighted to win her master category. Congratulations to Paul and Terri on their successes in a race in support of an excellent cause.

New York City Marathon

Running alongside more than fifty thousand others in ideal cool weather conditions at the 49th edition of the New York City Marathon on Sunday 3rd November was Mullingar’s Joan Hickson. Joan completed the 42.2km race that took the runners through the five boroughs of New York City before finishing in Central Park in 4 hours 4 minutes and 48 seconds. This was a bit off her target time but she has to take the positives from completing the distance when the odds were stacked against her due to issues with travel etc. She reported that it was the experience of a lifetime and the enthusiasm of the crowd was unreal, so she simply decided to make the most of it and enjoy it all the way. Congratulations Joan on keeping a positive frame of mind.




Dublin City Marathon

When places went on sale nearly a year ago for the 2019 Dublin City Marathon, there was a frantic scramble akin to panic buying in a sale at the time, but like many things bought in haste in a sale that get tossed to the back of the press never to be used, so it was with thousands of places in the 40th edition of the Dublin City Marathon on Sunday 27th October. Pre-race reports of over 22,500 entrants turned into nearly 18,000 actually making it to the start line for the early 8.45am start, as the long months of endurance training took its toll. Among them were 34 adult members of Mullingar Harriers eager to put the many months of hard graft and training under the careful guidance of Colm Walsh to the test. Whatever number actually took part and finished, the crowd was absolutely huge, making it the fourth biggest marathon in Europe, according to the organisers. The 42.2km route took the competitors from the start on Fitzwilliam Square out of the city by Stoneybattter, through the Phoenix Park, back through Inchicore, around UCD and back into the city, and conditions were perfect for long distance running, starting cold but dry and temperatures slowly rose as the race developed. The event incorporated the AAI National Marathon Championships and the Leinster Championships, so there were individual and team medals on offer and when Athletics Ireland and Leinster published the results we learned that Geraldine Walsh won silver in her master category in both Championships. Congratulations to Geraldine on winning Leinster and National marathon silver medals.

The marathon is one of the ultimate endurance tests and for some their race went to plan, running a personal best (PB) in some cases, but some others will have to chalk it up to experience and wait until the next time, if there is one, to achieve their goal. With a repeat of last year, first for Mullingar to finish was Evan McCormack in a new personal best (PB) of 2 hours 46 minutes and 58 seconds and our first woman home was Joan Flynn in 2 hours 57 minutes and 23 seconds, which are excellent performances by two of the Club’s stand-out master athletes. Other taking part included Ken Whitelaw (2:49:51), Patrick Muldoon (2:56:07), Kieran Nolan (3:01:31), Gerard Brady (3:12:08), Elizabeth Carr (3:13:50), Eoin Lynch (3:13:51), Sean Liston (3:13:57), Alan Crowley (3:16:33) unfortunately suffering calf cramps at 18 miles that wrecked his race plans, Jennifer Algar (3:21:56), Stephen Olwell (3:35:25), Robin Jackson (3:38:35), Criona Reid (3:40:05), Declan Costello (3:44:43), Mary Stuart (3.45.35), Jane Creevy (3:46:30), Ciara Dillon (3:51:20), Stephen Bell (3:57:15), Siobhan Farry (3:57:19), Joanna Tyrrell (3:57:55), Kevin O’Brien (3:59:36), Joe Fagan (4:08:12), Mervyn Kennedy (4:11:11), Eamonn O’Reilly (4:14:49), Geraldine Langtry (4:15:28), Siobhan McCarthy (4:16:42), Ruth Greene (4:23:19), Paddy Daly (4:24:07), Linda O’Driscoll (4:31:44), Pauline Troy (4:42:52), Michael O’Sullivan (4:50:11), Michelle Kavanagh and Geraldine Walsh. Congratulations to them all from everyone at the Club, and apologies if we missed anyone, but it really is next to impossible to search so many results to find every Club member that finished.

Frankfurt Marathon

Running in very similar conditions to those in Dublin, Enda Seery was among the nearly 23,000 participants in the Frankfurt Marathon on Sunday 27th October, where he was targeting a 3 hour 30 minutes time but finished in 3 hours 36 minutes and 44 seconds. He was still delighted with the time, as he had tried his best, and knows to finish a marathon at all is an achievement and it was six minutes faster than the time he ran in Dublin 2 years ago.

Leinster Novice, Junior & Juvenile Even Ages XC (Gowran)

With very heavy rain, including a status yellow warning, experienced in the south of the country during the week leading up to the Leinster Novice, Junior and Juvenile Even Ages Cross Country held in Gowran, Co. Kilkenny on Saturday 26th October, we feared the worst for ground conditions. As expected, the ground was soft and challenging in places but was actually not as bad as feared. While conditions underfoot were tough in places, clear blue skies and dry cool calm weather certainly made up for a lot and it was a beautiful day for cross country running. Congratulations to Gowran AC for building an excellent course in very tough weather conditions, a course that included some long gradual drags and corners to challenge the athletes, finishing with a good long, slightly uphill straight to the finish line. The only black cloud was the shocking number of Club athletes that were entered to run but did not show on the day. Some were injured or ill, and that is perfectly understandable, but most did not let anyone know they would not be running. Nearly 100 juveniles were entered but only 66 turned up. This will be taken into consideration when selecting teams for Ferbane in two weeks time and for the All-Ireland finals in late November.

Competition was for boys and girls u/12, 14, 16 and 18 years and for Junior and Novice Men and Women and Mullingar had representatives in every race. Despite nearly a third of underage athletes missing, of the 8 underage races, Mullingar won team medals in 5 of them to dominate in the Inter-Club competition and Westmeath won team medals in 3 of them; there was also 16 individual top twelve finish places. This means that there will be big representation from Mullingar and Westmeath in the All-Ireland finals in Abbottstown at the end of November and the Leinster teams will have a good number of Mullingar athletes too. Not to be outdone, our adult members were in excellent form too. The junior women and men won Club team medals and Claire Fagan won the novice women race in style and led the team to Club and County medals. Our novice men were very unfortunate to miss bronze Club medals by just one point and Andrew Nevin finished just outside the medals in fourth place despite running in third place for most of the race.

The day began with non-Championship races over 1,000m for boys and girls under 10 years of age, and athletes as young as 7, 8 and 9 years of age from Clubs across Leinster competed with great enthusiasm. Jack Geoghegan and Zack O’Leary ran in the u/10 boys 1,000m race where Jack finished 5th and Zack was not far behind him and both thoroughly enjoyed the run.

After the excitement of the u/10 races, it was over to the first race of the Championships, the 2,000m for girls u/12 where Tianna O’Leary battled throughout to finish very strong in 11th place. With great support from Jayne Charles, Lydia McDonnell and Muireann Reihill making her debut for Mullingar and providing the vital fourth team score, the girls finished 3rd Club. Also running well in support was Katie Glennon, Therese Daly, Muireann Galvin, Síofra O’Reilly, Marianne Molloy (Athlone IT), newcomer Blathnaid Peters, Aiveen Lynch and Isabel O’Mara (Athlone IT) but they finished out of the County medals. This means Mullingar will have a Club team in the All-Ireland finals and with a top twelve finish Tianna will also be running on the Leinster team. Despite less than half of the Mullingar team taking to the start line of the 2,000m for boys u/12, such is the talent of these boys that they still finished 1st Club and 4th County, thanks to sterling efforts by Matthew Molloy finishing in 2nd place, Luke Greene in 9th, Dan Costello (Athlone IT) in 11th, and Niall Brady, Conor Geoghegan and Conor Walsh providing great team support. Team selection for the All-Ireland finals will be very interesting!

There was no shortage of Mullingar athletes in the 3,000m for girls u/14, led home by Caoimhe Kilmurray with a very determined finish in 3rd place, followed by Morgan Corcoran in 8th, Adele Geoghegan and Leah Geoghegan just outside the top twelve places providing the final team scores to see Mullingar finish 1st Club. With fantastic support from Grace Byrne, Rachel Murphy, Ellen Daly, Lucy Donnelly, Caoimhe Donohue, Shauna Traynor, Ellen Foran, Síofra O’Halloran, Jessica Cunningham and Muireann Donohue the girls finished 2nd County too, our first set of County medals of the day. With four in the top twelve and six in the top twenty, Mullingar and Westmeath absolutely dominated in the 3,000m for boys u/14. Led home by Conor Sherwin in 4th, followed by Philip McCartan 5th, Conor Liston 6th, Jamie Wallace 10th, Luke O’Leary just outside the top twelve in 14th place, Pablo Lozano only a few places behind, and real depth of support from David Burke, Alex Lynch and John Glennon, the team finished first Club and first County and will be a force to reckon with in the All-Ireland finals.

We just had the minimum four for a Club team in the 4,000m for girls u/16, led home by Phoebe Bate in an excellent 4th place, followed closely by Amy Geoghegan in 8th and with strong finishing by Annie Kilmurray and Aisling Lane the girls were unlucky to finish just out of the medals, 4th Club, only a few points off third place but they’ll still advance to the All-Ireland finals. Ten entered but only three turning up put paid to any team medals for Mullingar in the 4,000m for boys u/16. That didn’t stop Diarmuid Fagan putting in a great effort and even though running out of his age, he was rewarded with 2nd place. Also running well was Andrew Glennon, Conor Heavin (Athlone IT) and Martin Foran, despite knowing there wasn’t enough of them to make up a team.

The 4,000m for girls u/18 and Junior Women was a combined race where the u/18 girls could win medals in both the u/18 and junior race. Leading the Mullingar team home in 13th place overall was Bea Drummond (u/18), followed by Meabh Killalea (u/18), Aoife Darby (junior), Andrea Brady (junior), Catriona Kennedy (junior), Karla Cunningham (u/18), Lisa Gavin (Athlone IT, junior), Laura Shaw (junior) and Elysia Greene (junior). Bea and Meabh finished 12th and 13th in the u/18 race, so Bea received an individual medal but unfortunately Meabh missed out by just one place. When the u/18 and junior results were separated, the Junior Women team finished 2nd Club and 4th County, just out of the County medals.

The final underage race on the programme was another combined race, the 6,000m for boys u/18 and Junior Men, where like the corresponding women’s race, medals could be won in u/18 and junior. Matthew Glennon (u/18) led the Mullingar men home with an excellent 9th place finish, followed closely by Eoin Quinn (u/18) in 12th. Then came Oisin Lane (u/18), Colin Smith (u/18), Lorcan Mullen (u/18), Brian Martin (junior), Ruairi Fagan (u/18), Tadhg Hunwick (u/18), Ciaran Luby (u/18) and Paul McCool (u/18) packing well in support. Matthew and Eoin finished 4th and 7th place respectively in the u/18 race. When the u/18 and junior results were separated, the u/18 team finished 1st Club and 2nd County and the Junior team finished second Club and a very creditable 5th County.

Moving to the adult races, there was a big field for the Novice Women 4,000m but keeping on the leader’s shoulder from the start was Claire Fagan running strongly and smoothly and with less than one kilometre to go Claire took the lead and pulled away to win well by a distance to clinch the Leinster Novice Woman Title. Packing in behind Claire and running brilliantly, and finishing strongly and with great determination was Sinead Whitelaw, Michelle Bohan, Anna Broderick, Amy Mahony and Alanna Bate to finish 2nd Club and 2nd County, fantastic results for the Mullingar women team.

The day ended with the Novice Men 6,000m, which as usual was one of the biggest fields of the day. Andrew Nevin ran a patient race, keeping out of trouble close to the lead group, lying in third for most of the race, but when the final push for home came, he was very unlucky to be passed in the closing stages and relegated to 4th place, missing a podium place by just one spot. Finishing very strongly behind and despite great support from James Keegan, Gerard Gavin, James Cribbin and Barry McDonald, the team was very unlucky to finish 4th Club, missing the bronze medals and a place on the podium by just a single point.

That rounded off an excellent day for Mullingar with lots of individual and team successes and excellent running by everyone. The second round, for Senior and juvenile uneven ages will take place in Ferbane, Co. Offaly in two weeks time. The juvenile even age teams that qualified from Gowran last Saturday will go forward to the All-Ireland Finals in Abbottstown, Dublin in four weeks time. Juvenile uneven teams for the next Leinster will now be finalized by Club officials this week but in the meantime it is vital that everyone continues to train hard and be in the best possible condition for the next round of the Leinsters and for the All-Ireland Finals beyond.

AAI Autumn Open XC

The domestic cross country kicked off in earnest on Sunday afternoon 20th October when the AAI Autumn Open Cross Country took place at the National Sports Campus in Abbotstown, Co. Dublin. This marked the start of the build-up to the European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon, Portugal in December and many of Ireland’s leading runners were in action, including a number from Mullingar. The races incorporated the trials for the Irish Masters team to compete at the British and Irish Masters International Cross Country in England in mid-November and Mullingar had a number of its master athletes in action vying for selection on the Irish team.

The programme consisted of two races. The first race was the 6,000m for Senior and Master Women and finishing well up in the top 30 of the nearly 100 that competed was Aine O’Reilly in 23:35, the 7th master woman to finish, 5th in her master category. Following Aine in were Sinead Whitelaw (23:57) and Elizabeth Carr (24:54) finishing strongly in the Senior Women race, followed by Michelle Bohan (25:47) 8th in her master category and Maura Dervin (27:38) 5th in her master category. Combined in the first race was the 4,500m for Junior Women and older Master Women who ran a lap less and where Eileen Kenny finished in 21:32, 2nd in her in master category, beaten for gold by just three seconds, ahead of Brigid McCabe in 21:50, 3rd in her master category. These fine performances should earn Eileen and Brigid selection on the Irish Masters team.

The second race was the 7,500m for Senior and Master Men and had a huge field of nearly 150 athletes. After a very fast opening lap, Cormac Dalton settled into his running and had an excellent race to finish 8th senior man in 23:37, fifth Irish man to finish and looks set to have a very good cross country season ahead. Among the masters, best for Mullingar was Gerard Gavin (27:13) 8th in his master category, followed by Eddie Newman (29:05) 5th in his master category and Pat Muldoon Senior (33:55) 7th in his master category. Like the first race, the second race was a combined race and running a lap less was the 6,000m for Junior Men, where Jamie Battle finished well up in 5th place against some of the top juniors in Ireland in 19:13. The pre-race publicity mentioned Jamie as one who should strongly feature, and this performance certainly saw him put down an early season marker of intent. Competing well also and sticking to their task was Euan Lagan (21:00) and Jack Moran (21:33).

Longwood 5k and 10k

The crisp but dry conditions on Sunday morning 20th October were perfect for running and helped to attract significantly increased entries for the 10th edition of the Longwood 5k and 10k Road Races. Coming home in first place in the 5k race in a time of 16:21, Andrew Nevin dominated from the start and led the pack of more than 260 runners, joggers and walkers home with over a minute to spare. Finishing strongly was Barry McDonald, 8th overall and 3rd senior man in 18:56, followed by Linda Cunningham in 22:56, very pleased to win 2nd prize in her master category. In the longer 10k race, which attracted an excellent entry of more than 320, first home for Mullingar was James Cribbin in 38:28, 12th overall and 3rd in his master category, followed by Evan McCormack (41:51) and Declan Costello (52:03).

Athletics Westmeath XC – Day 2

Very heavy rain overnight and early in the morning cleared just in time on Sunday morning 13th October for Day 2 of the Athletics Westmeath Cross Country Championships in Belvedere, where competition was for boys and girls u/9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and 18 and for novice, junior, senior and master men and women. Belvedere proved itself yet again as an excellent cross country venue as the ground just soaked the heavy rain and the underfoot conditions were very good, with only a few isolated muddy places. It was dry calm and overcast, perfect for cross country racing, drawing a great attendance with the numbers taking part up on last year, boosted by a good number from Athlone IT in the underage races in particular and a big number from North Westmeath AC in the senior and masters race.

Many of the juveniles who took part on day one the previous week were back in action again either running in their own age or moving up an age group to get in some race experience. As on day one, the competitors on day two came from all across the County and included a number of welcome newcomers, with everyone keen to perform well. All the underage races were keenly contested especially the u/9 and u/11 races, and the last race of the day was a combined race for girls and boys u/17, 18 and 19, and for men and women Novice, Senior and Master. All the women ran 4,000m and all the men ran 6,000m, everyone running over the same course but with different numbers of laps, and with seventy runners racing out from the start, it was a great spectacle to watch the early stages of the race as the large field snaked its way around the rolling hills of Belvedere.

Thanks to all who helped recording results and stewarding on the course, and to the many parents who came and supported the competitors, but in particular to all the athletes who competed.

Selection for juvenile Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships will be based on the results from both days and on application in training. A few juveniles unavoidably missed one day or the other, or were ill, but they can still be considered for team selection if officials are happy that they are fit and able to train. The Club has a great reputation in underage cross country running, due in no small part to athletes running in their own age group but also moving up an age group to make up Club and County teams. Therefore, in line with the long time practice and what is effectively Club policy we expect everyone selected on teams to compete.

The results of day two are HERE.

Rosemount Half Marathon & 10k

After a very successful inaugural event last year, the second edition of the Rosemount Half Marathon & 10k took place on a cool but dry Saturday morning 12th October, with both races attracting good entries.

The first race was the Half Marathon with 212 finishers where finishing strongly in seventh place was Eddie Newman in 1:23:09 to win his master category by over a minute and Aisling Corcoran finishing well up in 1:45:59 to place second in her master category. These are very good results for the two of them. Eddie has been fighting to recover from recent injury and was undecided about competing in the Dublin City Marathon at the end of October, but used the race to help him decide if he is ready or not, so thankfully it looks like a positive outcome for him.

The 10k race started after the half marathon was well underway and featuring strongly from the outset was James Keegan who was very pleased to finish strongly in second place in 34:45. Well done to all the Mullingar athletes that ran and well done too to Rosemount GAA for hosting another very successful event.

Defence Forces “An Cosantóir 10k”

“An Cosantóir” is the official magazine of the Defence Forces and the 40th year of the Defence Forces “An Cosantóir 10k” was held in the Phoenix on Wednesday afternoon 9th October. The nearby McKee Barracks was used as HQ for the race, where 333 athletes drawn from all ranks of the Permanent and Reserve Defence Forces, staff from the Department of Defence, and retired and invited personnel registered for the event. Finishing strongly in 27th place overall was our own (Lieutenant) Elizabeth Carr in 39:21, first woman to finish by a long way, and third score for her team that finished second unit in the mixed unit team event. Finishing right behind Elizabeth in 39:22 was another Mullingar Harriers athlete, (Sergeant) Gerard Brady who had run alongside her for the second half of the race, leading his unit home in the mixed unit team event, though out of the team prizes. Well done to Elizabeth and Gerard, showing that it’s possible to mix a busy military career with competitive running.

Athletics Westmeath XC – Day 1

The remnants of Storm Lorenzo cleared across the Country on Saturday night with very heavy rain but it gave way to a clear dry bright Sunday morning 6th October with perfect conditions for Day 1 of the Athletics Westmeath Cross Country Championships in Belvedere. Competition was for boys and girls u/8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 years of age and in contrast to the recent Westmeath Schools Cross Country, which attracted a huge number of runners and spectators, the Athletics Westmeath cross country was a very much quieter affair. Numbers taking part were up on last year, bolstered by a good attendance by athletes from Athlone IT and East Westmeath AC. There was great competition in each race and performances were very encouraging in the older age groups in particular, where the focus was on places on Club and County teams for the upcoming Leinster Cross Country Championships.

There were a good number of newcomers that had run in the Westmeath Schools Cross Country and if not members of a Club they’re strongly encouraged to join their nearest Club. The boys and girls that ran in the non-Championship u/8 and u/10 races really enjoyed themselves and were delighted with their medals, one for everyone that finished. Moving to the Championships proper, the race distances were longer than in the Westmeath Schools but that was no problem for those that have been training regularly. The course in Belvedere is a great test of cross country endurance and those that train there regularly will have no problem with the courses in Kilkenny and Offaly chosen for the Leinsters. Thanks to all who helped on Day 1 recording the results and stewarding on the course and particularly to the many parents who came and supported the competitors.

There were some very good individual performances on Day 1 but Championship cross country is also about team running, so everyone was being closely watched by Club officials, particularly the newcomers. The results of both days will be used to select teams to represent the Club and Westmeath in the upcoming Leinster Championships. The results of the Novice men and women races on Day 2 will also be used to select Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships, so all adult members that won’t be competing in the Dublin City Marathon but want to run in the Leinster Championships must run on Day 2.

Competition on Day 2 will be for boys and girls u/9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and u/19 and 18 years, and for men and women junior, novice, senior and master. The first race will be at 11am so the younger runners should be in Belvedere before 10.30am to get ready and know where they have to run. The Athletics Westmeath Cross Country is an open competition and you don’t have to be a member of a Club to take part, so everyone who took part in the schools cross country is very welcome to compete.

The Leinster Championships take place over two days, with two weeks between each, so juvenile athletes can run in their own age group and can move up an age group to make up teams. Therefore, we expect all juveniles to compete on both days of the Westmeath Championships unless ill or injured or they might be disappointed if not selected.

The results of day one are HERE.

Irish Three Quarter Marathon

The Dublin City Marathon is looming fast on the horizon and those training for it are putting the final touches to their preparations and getting in their final test runs before they start to taper down. The course for the Irish Three Quarter Marathon in Longwood, Co. Meath on Sunday morning 6th October was nice and flat, and combined with the very pleasant cool dry conditions, provided an excellent opportunity for our marathon athletes to test themselves and their race strategies and monitor their training. Among the over 1,400 finishers were six from Mullingar Harriers led home by Joan Flynn in 2:20:14, fifth woman and 2nd in her master category, followed by Breda Daly (2:37:28), Criona Reid (2:57:44), Stephen Bell (3:00:55), Declan Costello (3:05:47) and Siobhan Farry (3:13:01). Of note is that most of them ran progressively quicker splits as the race unfolded, which is sure to give them huge confidence ahead of the Dublin City Marathon at the end of the month. Congratulations to them all.

Galway Bay 10k

The West of Ireland was still suffering the final throes of Storm Lorenzo on Saturday morning 5th October, so conditions were very tough for the nearly 1,500 finishers of the Galway Bay 10k. The route was one single loop, but included the promenade at Salthill where the heavy rain and very strong wind nearly stopped the runners in their tracks at times. Therefore, the performances by the Mullingar pair that competed are all the more impressive. Sinead Whitelaw finished a fantastic 7th overall in 38:49, the 2nd woman to finish, ahead of Amy Mahony in 47:56, delighted to finish in the top 100 places overall.

Congratulations to Sinead and Amy for such sterling performances in extreme conditions.