Week ending Saturday 15th August
Juvenile T&F season officially cancelled
Because moving to phase 4 of the Government’s revised roadmap for reopening society had been initially delayed until 10th August, the limit of 200 people at outdoor events made it impossible to hold the Leinster Juvenile (u/17, 18 & 19) T&F in early August and it had to be cancelled. We hoped the Leinster Junior, Senior & Masters T&F, re-scheduled for this week-end would still go ahead, but that was always conditional on moving to phase 4 and an increase in the limit to 500 at outdoor events, but the further delay announced last week until 31st August means that Athletics Leinster had to make the difficult decision last Monday to cancel this event too.
Things got worse last Saturday when, for the same reasons, Athletics Ireland announced that the National Juvenile (u/17, 18 & 19) T&F scheduled for the end of August and the National Juvenile Combined Events (u/14, 15, 16 & Youths) scheduled for mid-September have also been cancelled. The decision followed detailed discussions and was not taken lightly but it is for the benefit of all the athletics community and is in keeping with current Government guidelines. This is obviously very disappointing but it is the correct decision, especially when we see what happened in Offaly, Kildare and Laois in recent days and the re-imposition of restrictions there, proof that we’re not out of the woods yet and we all need to continue to be very vigilant about Covid-19.
Hopes are now pinned on the National Senior T&F and the National Junior T&F taking place and Athletics Ireland is reviewing several logistical options in regard to these competitions, but nothing can be taken for granted and significant challenges remain in organising competitions safely for competitors and officials alike.
Mullingar athletes in action in Dublin
It was warm and dry in Tallaght last Wednesday evening, lovely conditions for running, at the second Dublin Graded Meeting. Charles Okafor competed in the 200m A race, his first race since the National Senior Indoors at the end of March, over 4 months ago. Running in lane 8 he powered around the bend to put himself in contention coming into the straight, keeping his form and pace reasonably well into a headwind on the home straight to finish third in 22.50 seconds, below his best but no surprise in his first race after such a long layoff. Charles was upbeat after the race, delighted to finally get an outdoor track race under his belt this year, and looking forward to sharpening up with further competition in the coming weeks. The 800m A race was extremely competitive and the two Mullingar Colin Smiths were in action. The elder Colin ran a very aggressive opening lap but paid for it somewhat in the final stages to finish in 1:56.32, off his best but this was his first 800m in a long time and he badly needed to race again. The younger Colin ran a conservative first lap and was full of running in the closing stages, finishing strongly in a new personal best of 1:58.09 and will certainly improve on this as he grows in confidence and runs more aggressively in the early stages. Brian Martin has been nursing a recent ankle injury, so he elected to run in the 800m B race where he won comfortably, pulling away to finish in 2:00.75, which will give him confidence for his next outing.
Claire Fagan dominates in Leixlip
The Le Cheile AC Senior Summer Meeting took place in warm dry but quite windy conditions in Leixlip last Friday evening where the clear 5,000m pre-race favourite, Claire Fagan stamped her authority on the race after a few kilometres, turning the screw and increasing her lead with every step and going on to win in a very good 16:59.39, lapping everyone else in the field, except one, and finishing nearly a full lap ahead of second place demonstrating her class and will be one to watch in the National Senior T&F. Colin Smith (the older one), learning from the Dublin Graded just days before, put in a more measured performance in the 800m. He was nicely positioned at the bell and stayed in contention for most of the race, and even though he came home in 1:57.07, allowing for the windy conditions, this was a better race for him and he continues to hone and improve his racing tactics with every outing.
Triple jump PB for Shauna Leydon
Making the long trip to Cork for the second evening of the Leevale 2020 Summer Evening T&F at Cork IT last Thursday week (30th July), despite not having jumped in competition since the indoors, Shauna Leydon was delighted to post a new personal best of 10.69m in the triple jump.
Looking to build on that, taking full advantage of the beautiful warm and sunny weather for the AAI National Field Events Festival in Santry last Saturday morning, Shauna Leydon put together another great series of jumps in the triple jump, five of them near her best, and is coming right into form in this very challenging technical event.
For the latest news, results and details of fixtures check the Club’s Facebook page or the website at www.mullingarharriers.com.