Week ending Saturday 1st Feb
National indoor medals for Fagan, Glennon and Okafor
There was a long day of competition in Athlone IT last Saturday where the AAI Junior and u/23 Indoor Championships took place. In her first year competing in the Junior ranks, Eve Wallace contested the extremely competitive Junior women 60m heats and though she ran well did not advance to the final. Charles Okafor made short work of his heat of the Junior men 60m, winning comfortably to advance to the final where he stormed through the field with a late surge to finish in a new personal best time of 7.00 seconds, placing fourth, only three hundredths of a second off third place and the bronze medal. Charles was back on track later in the day for the heats of the Junior men 200m, and showed why it is his favoured event. Winning his heat with ease he advanced to the final where he powered around the tight indoor bends to take third place in a new personal best time of 22.11 seconds. This is Charles’ first All-Ireland Junior medal, which is a terrific result, as he is eligible for two more years. Patrick Leydon contested the u/23 men 400m and turned in a solid performance in his heat but did not advance to the final, but gave it every effort and he left nothing on the track.
Moving to the u/23 women 1,500m where the early laps were run at a very cautious pace, Claire Fagan bided her time in the pack but when the surge came was dropped to fourth place and by the final lap it looked like that’s where she would finish. However, she found an extra gear on the back straight and began to close the gap, and with a terrific sprint finish, moved into third on the home straight and held it to the finish to win the bronze medal. Buoyed up by this performance, Claire returned to the track in mid-afternoon for the u/23 women 800m. Wishing to avoid a repeat of the slow early pace of the 1,500m, Claire took the race out hard from the gun and led from start to finish, holding off a late challenge on the home straight, to win the All-Ireland title and get her indoor season off to a great start.
Taking the race out hard from the start of the Junior men 3,000m race walk, Matthew Glennon was just too good for the opposition and pulled further and further ahead with every lap to win by a big margin in a new personal best time of 12 minutes 55.20 seconds and will be someone to watch in the season ahead. Mullingar’s race walkers continue to make their mark thanks to expert coaching by Michael Lane.
As expected, the 800m races were extremely competitive and though Aoife Darby raced hard in the final of the Junior women 800m, she had to settle for a place out of the medals. It was the same fate for Colin Smith in the final of the Junior men 800m but he will take a lot from his first race in the Junior ranks and is eligible for two more years. Advancing from a tough heat of the u/23 men 800m, Colin Smith (the other one!) lined up as a real medal prospect in the final. Run at a ferocious pace from the start but keeping in contention throughout, it was only in the final 100m that a gap began to open on the leaders that Colin just couldn’t close and he finished in fourth place, just out of the medals but he gave a great account nonetheless.
Congratulations to the Mullingar athletes that competed with great determination, winning three medals and recording three personal bests. They can look forward with confidence to further competition indoors in the coming weeks and months.
Young Harriers’ talents on display in Athlone
Mullingar had a very big squad of over 90 young athletes in action at the Westmeath Juvenile Indoors last Friday evening, held in the magnificent AIT indoor stadium. This was the first time many of the younger 8, 9 and 10 years old boys and girls in particular had the opportunity to compete there and they really made the most of it and thoroughly enjoyed themselves at what is one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures for our youngest athletes in particular.
Thanks to great organisation by AIT AC, hundreds of boys and girls from AIT AC, North Westmeath AC and Mullingar Harriers, aged 8 years to 15, competed in a range of events. Even though every event was competitive, the atmosphere was still relatively relaxed compared to a Leinster indoors and our youngest athletes in particular made the most of the chance to compete in the state-of-the-art facility, giving them a taste of what’s to come in a few years when they can compete at a Leinster indoors. Everyone could compete in two events each, so there was plenty of action on the track and in the field events to keep the big crowd of parents, supporters and coaches occupied following proceedings. Mullingar athletes were regular visitors to the medal podium throughout the evening, so many in fact, that it was impossible to keep track, so we will have to wait until later in the week to see how medals they won. It wasn’t all about medals of course and it was obvious everyone had a great time whether they won medals or not.
Many thanks to the parents for bringing the children to Athlone or they wouldn’t have been able to take part in such numbers. Thanks also to the very many who also helped on the night providing encouragement, making sure everyone got to their event in time, or volunteering as officials at the various events.
Leinster Juvenile Indoors
The indoor action continues this weekend when nearly sixty of our juvenile athletes from u/12 to u/19 will compete over two days in Athlone IT. Please check the notice board in the Clubhouse for the day and time of your event.
Schools Cross Country
Well done to the many juvenile members of the Club that competed for their schools and colleges at the North Leinster Schools Cross Country in the Phoenix Park last Thursday. No surprise that the Mullingar athletes were to the fore across all races and featured strongly in the individual and team results so will compete in big numbers at the Leinster Schools Cross Country in Santry in two weeks time looking to qualify for the All-Ireland finals in early March.
Membership for 2020
Please renew your membership as soon as you can. If you are not registered, you are not insured and cannot train at the Club or take part in Club competition. You can pay membership online through the Club’s website or any night at training. As always, you can pay membership in instalments if it suits you better.
February Committee Meeting
Finally, the first meeting of the new committee elected at the AGM last week will take place next Tuesday 4th February in the Club house at 8.20pm after training. As this is the first meeting of the new committee, a full attendance is required.
For the latest results, news and details of all upcoming fixtures check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com.