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

Week ending Saturday 13th April


Oisin Lane wins National 20k Race Walk

In line with the elite trend of combining National Championships with major International events in order to raise the overall competitive standards, this year’s National 20k Race Walk Championships was held in conjunction with the World Tour Gold event held in Podebrady, Czech Republic last Saturday. The best of the current crop of Irish Senior racewalkers toed the line with the elite of 37 countries from five continents in unusually warm conditions for this venue. This heat took its toll with almost a third of the field failing to finish, an incredible drop-out rate. With two recent Irish Olympians entered, on paper, Oisin Lane would have been considered a reasonable prospect for a bronze medal in the Irish Championships, but needing to be on top form to achieve this. Walking to his own plan, Oisin set about his task with focus and soon moved into the silver medal position but with 3 other Irish athletes all in close contention. While the heat began to curtail his pacing around 8k he still reached 10k in 41 minutes 50 seconds and chasing the leading Irish walker. By 12k he moved into first place but had to hold off strong challenges all the way to the finish line, which he reached in 84 minutes 12 seconds, a new personal best by a mere one second. While Oisín indeed had hoped for a faster finishing time, his overall position was 27th, which was satisfying for an athlete who was one of the youngest in this global event.

Also representing the club in the Championships was young Matthew Glennon who likewise made the long journey to the Czech Republic. He was initially moving at a pace well inside his personal best but as the heat affected his form, it also had an adverse impact on his technique. With the World level judges present showing no mercy, he had to endure the hardship of being one of those to face the red disc and disqualification. However, with youth on his side, especially as he is still eligible for European u/23 Championships next year, he has the time to build for the unique challenges of the global stage [ML].

National Indoor 1,500m Title for Aimee Wallace

The indoor season concluded last week-end at days 2 and 3 of the National Juvenile Indoors in Athlone. First into action early on Saturday morning was Kyle Faherty in the u/18 boys 400m heats where he ran a solid race in the first of three extremely competitive heats to finish third, unfortunate to narrowly miss a place in the final.

We had two middle distance athletes in action. Aimee Wallace was the pre-race favourite in the u/19 girls 1,500m, as she is the fastest Irish u/20 athlete this season. From the outset, Aimee took control of the race and produced a dominant display, leading from start to finish. Her winning time of 4 minutes 36.8 seconds was a new Championship Record, breaking the previous best time by a large margin of four seconds. Previous winners of this race include the current Irish champions over 1500m (Carla Sweeney) and 800m (Louise Shanahan, an Olympian and a European finalist, highlighting the quality of Aimee’s performance. Philip McCartan was in the first heat of u/19 boys 1,500m and ran a strong race to finish sixth in 4:27.7. Philip is an athlete returning to this level of competition  and can look forward to further improvement as the season progresses.

Mullingar has a very proud record in race walking, so there was little surprise when Daniel Glennon cruised to victory in the u/16 boys 1,500m walk, well clear of second place, while his older brother John Glennon placed third in the u/18 boys 1,500m walk after a very competitive and close race.

Sunday belonged to our 800m athletes. Lily Walsh kept close to the lead girls in her heat of the u/14 girls 800m and put in a long sprint finish to pass the top 3 and win in a photo finish to claim a place in the final in a new personal best of 2 minutes 22.20 seconds. The pace was quicker again in the final, and with the lead trio pulling ahead, Lily battled hard in the chasing pack. Coming into the last lap she got spiked by the girl behind her but still put in a strong sprint to cross the line in another photo finish for fourth, fifth and sixth, all finishing in 2:22, but Lily was judged sixth by mere hundredths of a second, disappointed to be out of the medals but happy with a great day of racing.

Cillian Galvin took command in his heat of the u/14 boys 800m and led from gun to the tape winning in a personal best of 2 minutes 14.39 seconds. The final was a step up in competitiveness, and although taking charge of the race after a fast start he was pushed all the way through the first 3 laps. Passed on the back straight of the final lap, Cillian chased the new race leader, finishing a close second to win a National silver medal and pick up another personal best of 2 minutes 11.21 seconds.

Having broken the 2 minute barrier in the Leinster Indoors in March, Conor Liston was full of confidence ahead of the u/18 boys 800m but such is the cruelty of sport, Conor just couldn’t settle into his usual free running style and despite every effort finished out of the automatic qualifying places in his extremely competitive heat, narrowly missing a place in the final [JR/CW/GD].

Medals galore at Leinster 10 Mile

The “Battle of Clontarf” 10 mile took place on Easter Monday (1 April) in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny. This race incorporated the Athletics Leinster 10 Mile Championship, adding a very competitive atmosphere on the day. With the host club Raheny Shamrock AC ensuring the open park was well manned with stewards around the course, it was a very enjoyable event for athletes and onlookers alike. The weather was ideal for racing, remaining cool for the morning and a little drizzle even appeared to keep the athletes refreshed.

The course has some tricky parts, with twists and turns aplenty, but our Mullingar athletes were unfazed and all turned in stellar performances. Nine athletes from Mullingar made their way alongside 350 other competitors through the course. Gerard Gavin, back to the racing scene, led Mullingar home in 62 minutes 41 seconds, placing him third in his master category. Patrick Muldoon was next to finish (67:16) and James Cribbin (77:07) provided the third score for the men’s team, placing them third master men Club.

Mullingar had six women in action and were targeting team honours. With great determination Mary Stuart led the Mullingar women home in 68 minutes 46 seconds to win her master category and with great support and team packing from Aisling Corcoran (69:28) first in her master category, Gemma Kelly (76:33), Emer O’ Hanlon (77:03), Linda Cunningham (78:21) and Kelly Dunne making her 10 mile debut to finish in 89:10, the master women team of Mary, Aisling and Gemma finished first Club, and when the scores from all six members of the team were combined they finished a magnificent third Senior women County team, so they all earned Leinster medals for their efforts. Congratulations to all our athletes on their performances, returning home with 15 Championship medals between them, in what was an excellent Leinster Championship race [LC].

Banagher 5k

Last Sunday morning, Banagher AC hosted the second race in this year’s Offaly series, the Banagher 5k. The picturesque village on the Shannon looked resplendent on a dry sunny but windy morning. Expertly marshalled with full road closures around the village and local roads, 453 runners took part on a course that had some nice little climbs to balance downhill running along the main street. Always in contention in a lead group of four runners was Kevin Moore. The final 500m coming out of Shannon Harbour Business Park, home to many of the boats and cruisers on the Shannon, was a great battle to the finish, with Kevin crossing the line in fourth place in 15 minutes 51 seconds. Eddie Newman was next home for Mullingar, and won his master category with an excellent 17:46. Training partners Glenda Shaw and Ann Hall put in huge performances, with Glenda first scorer on the women’s team with an excellent 18:56 followed closely home by Ann in 19:04. Siobhan Farry (23:08) and Nuala Moran (24:44) completed the team and the Mullingar women team finished first non-Offaly club and was just 30 points off third team overall on the day, so with six races to go in the series, Mullingar has a real chance of making the top 3 team places in 2024. Also flying the flag for Mullingar was Michael O’Sullivan (24:34), Kelly Dunne (25:11) and Claire Lennon (26:34) [MO’S].

Moynalty AC 4 Mile

The annual Easter Monday Moynalty 4 mile road race was held this year in dry but windy conditions. Starting in the grounds of Moynalty Threshing field, the race is a 4 mile loop along the quiet country scenic roads that surround Moynalty before returning to the Threshing Field for the finish. As in the Mullingar Half Marathon, Andrew Nevin was the only athlete in the field of 300 runners to give chase to Peter Somba. The Kenyan native again proved too strong for the Mullingar man along some testing hills on the looped course, coming home first 33 seconds ahead of Andrew who was satisfied with his performance and a time of 21 minutes 15 seconds. Also making the trip to the Royal County on the day from Mullingar Harriers we had Enda O’Carolan finishing strongly in seventh place with a time of 23:37 and Padraig Beglin who is just back training after an extended lay off was satisfied with his run, finishing in 26:16 [MO’S].

Fit 4 Five

Our spring initiative of Fit 4 Five, 5 weeks of special training to support beginners and improvers to get their 5k times down, resumed after the Easter break on Monday evening. This programme, supervised by trained coaches, continues to the end of April. It will have participants fit and ready to tackle the Pat Finnerty Race Series, which commences on 8 May in Belvedere.

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