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

Week ending Saturday 20th June


A chink of light on competition fixtures

In an update from Athletics Ireland last Friday, among the FAQs about phase 2 of the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business was one very close to everyone’s heart; will there be any T&F competition this year? In response, Athletics Ireland confirms that the Juvenile and Competition Committees are meeting regularly to plan a return to competition within Government guidelines. Provisional dates in August and September are planned for seniors and under 23, masters, juniors, and juveniles from under 14 to under 19 and the dates will be published when confirmed. An important caveat though, is that all dates will be contingent on meeting Government guidelines. There is disappointment though for our younger members, with the confirmation that there will be no T&F competition for under 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13 years of age. In addition, there will be no relays or All-Ireland “B” T&F.

For now, training at the Club is confined to members who are or will be 13 years of age this year (under 14), live within 20k of the Club or in Westmeath, whichever is further. Training must be pre-booked in groups of 15 (a coach plus 14 athletes), there can be several groups training at the Club at the same time, but social distancing must be adhered to within and between groups. Pre-booking includes a mandatory health screening questionnaire. If an athlete doesn’t pre-book a session, they will not be allowed to train and everyone attending sessions must record their attendance electronically. Apart from social distancing, hygiene and sneeze and cough etiquette is closely watched. Changing rooms and toilets are not available in the current phase and the Clubhouse is only open so coaches can have access to training equipment.

So far, we’ve had a full week of the increased numbers of 15 in a group and several groups training at the same time, on the grass track, on the gravel track, and on the sprint lanes, and so far everything is working well. Sessions are observed by our Covid-19 Compliance Officer, but of course everyone is expected to take responsibility for their own behaviour.

Remember to update your contact details

A robust contact tracing system is one of the key elements of the Athletics Ireland protocols. The link to pre-register is e-mailed to members, so it’s vital that we have the correct e-mail address. The response to the request to update contact details is still patchy and only about half of those eligible to return to training have submitted their up to date details, so we’ll repeat it. All club members, or their parents or guardians, need to 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). This request applies to everyone in the club. Quite a few e-mail addresses submitted to date are different to what the club had on record, so how can we e-mail you the link to pre-register for training if we don’t have your correct e-mail address?

Virtual Irish Runner 5k

In early May last year, Mullingar Harriers women featured very strongly in the individual and team medals at the Irish Runner 5k, which incorporated the AAI National 5k Championships. This year, a month later than planned due to Covid-19, the event was held, but it was a virtual event, and like our own recent “social distancing league”, contestants could run 5k on their own anywhere within 20k of their homes any day between Monday and Sunday last week, record their run on a GPS watch and submit their time online, though unlike our own league, there was no age grading. Finishing well up overall was Evan McCormack in 17:03. Also running was Joan Hickson (21:32), Linda Cunningham (22:49), Michael O’Sullivan (23:12), Mary Stuart (23:14) and Patricia Broderick (28:01). It’s good to see Mullingar athletes embracing the “new normal” with such enthusiasm.

Similar virtual events are planned for later in the summer, including Irish Runner 5 miles, the Great Ireland Run 10k, and Irish Runner 10 miles. In fact, we hope to incorporate a Great Mullingar Run 10k with the virtual Great Ireland Run in late July, with some local prizes to our own members that take part.

What were we doing this time last year?

The final Leinster Juvenile Championships of the season, the Leinster u/14 to u/19 T&F took place this time last year in Tullamore and, as expected, Mullingar athletes were to the fore across a wide range of events, winning 10 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze medals, 8 finished in fourth place, and there were 15 more finalists, which were excellent results. Highlights included the fact that all five Mullingar race walkers won gold, namely Aisling Lane (2,000m walk under 15 in a new Championship Record), Andrew Glennon (2,000m walk under 15), Matthew Glennon (3,000m walk under 17), Oisin Lane (3,000m walk under 18 in a new Championship Record) and Sarah Glennon (3,000m walk under 19). The other five Leinster Champions were Callum Costello (800m under 14), double titles for Charles Okafor (100m and 200m under 17), Eoin Quinn (800m under 18) and Philip McCartan (1,500m under 14).


The Executive and members of the Club extend sincere sympathy to Aoife O’Connor and the O’Connor family on the death of her grandfather, James (Shay) O’Connor in Dublin last Sunday. RIP.

New Arrival

Finally, it’s always nice to end with a bit of good news. Congratulations from everyone at the club to Clare O’Donnell and Steve Franzoni on the birth last week of their son, Finn.