Week ending Saturday 15th May
PBs for Cormac Dalton & Claire Fagan
Cormac Dalton and Claire Fagan made a welcome return to action in the “North Belfast Harriers Afternoon of 5,000m Races” at the Mary Peters Track in Belfast last Saturday. Both athletes made a great start to the season with personal best times. The women 5,000m was the first race of the day and Claire ran a brave race, following the pacemaker for the first 2,000m. Just after the halfway point, Claire lost contact with the eventual race winner but battled very well over the final mile and was rewarded with a personal best time of 16 minutes 43.60 seconds. This was nearly five seconds faster than she had previously run for the distance.
The 5,000m for elite men was the final race of the afternoon. Cormac made his intentions clear from the outset, always featuring in the top three athletes and taking the lead on several occasions to ensure a strong pace was maintained. With a mile to go, Cormac broke clear with one other competitor. They remained together until the bell sounded with one lap remaining and Cormac dramatically increased the pace to win by a margin of twenty metres. Cormac’s time of 13 minutes 59.05 seconds was a personal best by a huge margin of forty seven seconds. It was an excellent season opener and he can take real satisfaction from getting under the 14 minute barrier for 5,000m. This performance is all the more satisfying considering that it was his first competitive race since the European Cross Country in December 2019, eighteen months ago.
Buy a fundraiser raffle ticket
If you’re not in, you can’t win! We launched our fundraiser raffle recently and we’re asking all members and friends of the Club to get behind it and buy a ticket to be in with a chance of winning the top prize of €20,000 or one of the other 11 prizes on offer. The cost is €50 per ticket and the draw is limited to 2,000 tickets. Tickets will be on sale at the Club on training nights or you may purchase a ticket online at mullingarharriers.com/raffle. Please purchase a ticket and help Mullingar Harriers to deliver the new track.
Happy Birthday to George Bell
As a rule, we don’t record member’s birthdays, but we have to make an exception for George Bell, one of the Club’s longest serving and faithful members who celebrated his 84th birthday last Friday, making him the oldest member of Mullingar Harriers and we’re sure he won’t mind everyone knowing that. A founder members, an honorary Life Vice-President, someone who has attended every event involving the Club since it was founded, we could not let the occasion pass by without marking it. Because of the current restrictions due to Covid-19, we obviously can’t all meet up with George in person to wish him well, but we know that he reads the Club notes every week and will be delighted to read that we’re all thinking of him and wish him well and look forward to be able to tell him in person, hopefully in the not too distant future.
Schools T&F cancelled
It came as no surprise last Friday when it was confirmed that this year’s Regional and All-Ireland Schools T&F competitions are cancelled. However, it is still planned to send an Irish team to the SIAB Schools International in England, though the date has moved from July to late September. The main selection event for the team will still be the Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F, which moves from June to September but no indication has been given yet of how school students will qualify for the Tailteann T&F.
On a more positive note, in an update last Friday, Athletics Ireland advised that it is finalising a return to activity roadmap with the Sport Ireland Expert Group that will be graduated and progressive in nature commencing with restricted competition from early June. In anticipation of a return to competition this summer dates have been set for Leinster and National T&F, but generally later than normal, which is no surprise, given the uncertainty that still exists around live events.
Full return to training
This week the adult and older juvenile members of Mullingar Harriers can return to training at the Club, which will finally see the last of our members back after a long time away. Training will take place in pods of 15 and it will be great for all the members of the Club to be allowed to meet up again and train together in groups, after training in isolation for so long. Everyone has to remember to adhere to the rules on social distancing, cough etiquette, hand hygiene and no mixing between pods. Also, only paid up members for 2021 can train at the Club. Membership is due every January and thank you to all adult members and the parents of juvenile members who have renewed membership but if you have not renewed, please do so without delay so you can receive the link to pre-register for training and you can return to training. No one can just turn up to training unannounced, everyone has to pre-register.
Finally, the Executive and members of the Club extend sincere sympathy to the family of Andy Hatchett who died recently in Bulgaria. Andy gave years of sterling service to Mullingar Harriers and was a scoring member of the senior men team on numerous occasions in road and cross country. May he rest in peace.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.