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

Week ending Saturday 11th July


Mullingar women to the fore in Virtual Irish Runner 5 Mile

Back in June 2019, Mullingar Harriers athletes won seven individual medals and two sets of team medals at the Irish Runner 5 mile, which incorporated the AAI National 5 mile Championships. Due to Covid-19, like the Irish Runner 5k a month ago, this year the event was a “virtual” one and adhering to social distancing guidelines contestants ran 5 miles on their own any day last week between Monday and Sunday, recorded their run on a GPS watch and submitted their time online. Finishing well up in tenth place was Evan McCormack in 29:35. Also running really well was Mary Stuart (35:26) seventh woman, Joan Hickson (36:01) ninth woman, Linda Cunningham (36:53) seventeenth woman, and Criona Reid (37:05) eighteenth woman, to give four Mullingar women in the top twenty, which is impressive. They were followed by Michael O’Sullivan (38:08) and Kevin O’Brien (39:48). As with the Virtual 5k, it was good to see Mullingar athletes embracing the “new normal” with such enthusiasm.

Future virtual events will be the Great Ireland Run 10k in late July and the Irish Runner 10 miles in late August, and the club hopes to incorporate a Virtual Great Mullingar Run 10k with the Virtual Great Ireland Run, with some local prizes to our own members that take part.

Club adapting very well to the “new normal” at training

The phased return of members to training at the club is going well, thanks to the cooperation of everyone in sticking to the Athletics Ireland guidelines. While we no longer have limits on the number of athletes training with a coach, we must have no more than 200 people in total at the club grounds at any one time, which we’re managing through the pre-booking system, recording attendance at sessions, and changes to training times of the various groups to stagger their arrival and departure to avoid congestion in the car park and around the grounds.

So far, we’ve managed the return of members from adults down to 11 years of age, but we can’t give a definite return date yet for the youngest members born in 2010, 2011 and 2012. The club is short on coaches and volunteers for these age groups and we’re concerned about accommodating the large number of these juveniles to the required safety standards and before we can let them back, we must ensure we have sufficient supervision. If any parent or guardian is in a position to volunteer, please speak with any of the coaches or club officials. Supervision is simply an extra pair of eyes and you will be attending alongside an experienced coach who will lead the session.

Another request to confirm contact details

A number of our juvenile members were unable to return to training last week because their parents had changed their e-mail and hadn’t updated the club, so they didn’t receive the link to pre-register for training. If you haven’t already done so, please send an e-mail to info@mullingarharriers.com, using “contact” as the subject, with phone number, e-mail address and home address (with Eircode, if known).

Leinster T&F entries

Entries for the Leinster juvenile under 17, 18 and 19 T&F on 1st August and for the Leinster junior, senior and masters T&F on 8th and 9th August open next week. Due to Covid-19 restrictions on numbers in the stadium at any time, juveniles are limited to two events but with competition for juniors, seniors and masters spread over two days, they may enter five individual events (subject to a maximum of three per day). Juveniles wishing to enter under 17, 18, 19 or junior shall let Greg know what events they wish to be entered in. Juniors, seniors and masters submit their own entries but if anyone experiences difficulties with the entry system, they should contact Greg.

What were we doing this time last year?

At last year’s AAI Junior and u/23 T&F Championships, there was no surprise to see our race walkers among the medals, with Jennifer Fidgeon finishing third in the junior women 3,000m race walk, despite giving away two years, and Matthew Glennon giving away three years but still too good for the opposition in the junior men 5,000m race walk winning in a new personal best time of 23:08.55. Jamie Battle and Cormac Battle contested the 3,000m where the junior men and u/23 men ran together, which made for a great race and great competition. Jamie and Cormac favour the longer 5,000m distance but worked hard and Jamie finished sixth overall, fifth junior, with Cormac right on his heels after a terrific final lap, seventh place overall but second u/23 to take the silver medal.

At day one of last year’s the All-Ireland Juvenile u/12 to u/19 T&F finals, Aimee Wallace lined up in the final of the 800m u/14 as a clear medal favourite and didn’t disappoint. With a spirited performance, she finished in second place in 2:15.74, a new personal best by two seconds. In the 800m u/18, Eoin Quinn waited until the home straight to make his final perfectly timed strike for home, taking the lead with 70m to go and pulling away to win his first All-Ireland 800m title.