Week ending Saturday 20th May
Pat Finnerty Memorial 5k heads for the finish
The second round of the Pat Finnerty Memorial 5k League took place in Belvedere last Wednesday evening. Not everyone will take part in all three races, knowing that the best two times of three are all that’s needed to score in the overall results for prizes, so some skipped round two but others registered for the first time, both online during the week and of course in person on the night, so the total number registered for the event continues to grow. It wasn’t as sunny as on the first night, but it was still very mild and a lovely evening for a race. Many recorded faster times than in round one, helped no doubt by being more familiar with the course, particularly the fast downhill sections in the last kilometre.
The winner of round one, Vinny Connolly (Mullingar Harriers), was one of those who didn’t run in round two, so we were guaranteed a new winner. James Keegan (Mullingar Harriers) led the charge from the start, with plenty giving chase. Coming out of the woods before the final uphill stretch towards Belvedere House around the 4k mark, Kevin Baker made a move to the front and he drove on over the final kilometre, chased hard all the way by James, to finish first in 16 minutes 34 seconds, closely followed by James second (16:39) and Conor Leech (Na Fianna) third (17:07).
The women’s race saw the same 1-2-3 as in round one, as Fiona Gettings (Longford AC) won in 17 minutes 52 seconds, and in a terrific battle behind, Sinead Whitelaw (Mullingar Harriers) just had the better of Emily Grennan (Tullamore Harriers AC) again to finish second in 18:22, to Emily’s third in 18:27. There’s no doubt but the battle for second and third woman overall in the league isn’t done yet and there should be another great battle between Sinead and Emily on the final night.
As in round one, there was great competition right through the field in the various master categories. Full results of the race are available on www.myrunresults.com. The final round this Wednesday evening will be very interesting and while the men’s race is still wide open, it will give Fiona Gettings the perfect opportunity to stamp her claim on the overall trophy for best woman. We expect to see another big crowd and we’re appealing for participants to come early, especially those looking to run just the single race. As always, many thanks to everyone who gave up their free time and helped out last week and we appeal to everyone who can spare a couple of hours to help out again this week. Thanks also to Westmeath Civil Defence for providing first aid and ambulance cover and to the staff of Belvedere House and Gardens.
With two rounds over, it’s too late to enter the series but individual entries for the final night are very welcome, either online or the night in the Courtyard Café up to 7.30pm. Finally, it’s really important to remember to bring your number with the timing chip for round three or your place and time will not be recorded.
Amy Mahony in fine form at Vancouver Half Marathon
We’re very glad to report that Amy Mahony hasn’t lost any of the condition she gained training with Mullingar Harriers before she moved to Canada in summer 2022, as evidenced by an excellent run in the Vancouver Half Marathon last Sunday week (7 May). Nearly 10,000 took part, and Amy finished well up, the 391st finisher overall, the 73rd woman to finish and 17th in her age category, with a time of 1 hour 34 minutes 17 seconds. Congratulations to Amy from all of her friends at Mullingar Harriers.
Giving competitors the chance to run one of the world’s most breath-taking and scenic routes over a choice of 10k or half marathon, Run Killarney took place last Saturday morning in glorious sunshine, though of course that meant it was also very hot.
Vinny Connolly took his place in pole position on the start line of the 10k race, in front of a huge field of over 1,100 competitors. It took nearly three minutes for the last runner to even reach the start line, by which time Vinny was well gone and on his way. The route took the big field through some beautiful scenic areas including Muckross Park and Gardens and up some very challenging hills near Torc waterfall. Vinny looked strong throughout and continuing his recent good form ran home victorious in 32 minutes 22 seconds, comfortably clear of second place, a little over a minute faster than his winning time in the same race last year, proving he’s in terrific condition.
The earlier half marathon attracted a huge entry of over 900, including Tommy Byrne. Again, it took several minutes for everyone to clear the start line, but no such problem for Tommy who was positioned just behind the lead runners and got away quickly when the klaxon sounded for the start. The heat and the hills were especially tough for the half marathon runners but that didn’t stop Tommy performing extremely well and finished well up in 42nd place overall in a fine 1 hour 30 minutes 11 seconds, a great result on a tough course.
Mullingar’s youngest athletes to compete in Tullamore
There are limited opportunities for our younger members to take part in competition but this Friday evening boys and girls from u/9 (born 2015) to u/14 (born 2010) can compete at the Midland Inter-County Juvenile T&F Match in Tullamore. The first event will be at 6.30pm, so be there by at least 6pm. This is ideal competition for our younger members from u/9 (born 2015) to u/14 (born 2010) to take part in. Despite the title, this is really a low key very friendly competition and a chance for everyone to try several events – sprint, middle distance, long jump, turbo javelin or shot. There is no pre-selection – just turn up and compete. We expect to see all our younger Club members take part, especially the 6pm groups. Please wear your Club vest, or at least something maroon (not GAA), so everyone knows you’re from Westmeath. Finally, just like our own new all-weather track, only 5mm spikes or runners are allowed on the track in Tullamore.
Leinster Schools T&F
We wish the very best of luck to our underage Club members that will be competing for their Schools and Colleges this Wednesday and Saturday at the Leinster Schools T&F Championships in Tullamore, all looking to qualify for the All-Ireland Schools Finals in Tullamore in early June.
Leinster T&F entry closing dates looming
Of particular importance for the parents of our youngest members, online entries for the Leinster Children’s Games (u/9, u/10 and u/11) and the u/12 and u/13 T&F close next Wednesday evening (24 May). The week after (31 May), online entries for the Leinster Combined Events close. Individual u/12 and u/13 and combined events enter themselves, but the Club has to submit the entries for the Children’s Games, as these are teams of two athletes. Please tell your coach as soon as possible if your child wishes to compete – and most importantly, with whom and in what events (maximum two events per child). They can pair with a different child in their two events. If your coach isn’t told, we won’t submit entries and your child will lose out.
For older members, online entries for the Leinster Junior, Senior and Masters T&F close this week (Wednesday 17) and these athletes enter themselves.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.