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

Week ending Saturday 20th November


Memorable International debuts for Whitelaw, Dervin and McCabe

The annual British and Irish Masters International Cross Country generally takes place in November however, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was cancelled again this year but last Saturday the inaugural Northern Ireland Masters North-South Cross Country Challenge was held in Belfast at the Queen’s University Sports Campus, which proved to be a relatively flat but still a challenging course. The tight course made it easy for spectators to follow the action and give their support to the athletes.

Among the Irish athletes were five Mullingar Harriers, including two seasoned international athletes, Brigid McCabe and Sean McMullin who were delighted to be back representing their country again, and three new international competitors, Sinéad Whitelaw, Maura Dervin and Nicky McCabe. Although there were two races on the day, all the Mullingar athletes competed in the first race, the 6,000m for all the ladies and the men aged over 65 years.

The race was led out by a strong group of Irish athletes and finished in a similar pattern with nine of the top ten ladies from Ireland, among them Sinéad Whitelaw who finished in tenth place, and third in her master category. Maura Dervin ran a strong race to finish third in her master category, in her first international event. Brigid McCabe sprinted to the finish and claimed third place in her master category.  Following closely behind was Sean McMullin who was second in his master category. Nicky McCabe enjoyed his race, finishing out of the medals but well up in his master category and crossing the finish line with a smile.

There was an overall team event for the men and ladies, which was based on the total finish times of all the team athletes, not their finishing positions as typically used for cross country team events. The Irish ladies won the team event and took home the inaugural trophy. There was some talk that this event could become an annual event and that would certainly be something for all Irish athletes to look forward to and aspire to compete it.

Congratulations to all five Mullingar athletes that competed with distinction in Belfast, especially to Sinead, Maura and Nicky who made their International debuts and now that they have done so, their names will be added to the International Roll of Honour in the Clubhouse.

Fit4Life continues in Mullingar

The Fit 4 Life training programme at Mullingar Harriers continues each Monday evening at 7pm. Aimed at beginners or people who wish to take up jogging or running again, the session is facilitated each night by qualified coaches, assisting the participants to develop their running technique and to reach their personal targets. The programme will continue each Monday night at 7pm up to mid-December, and following a break for Christmas, will resume in early January for the final 2 weeks. Even if you missed the first nights, don’t worry, you can still sign up next Monday evening at 7pm.

All roads lead to Santry

This coming Sunday, nearly fifty Mullingar athletes are entered to compete at the AAI National Senior, Junior and Juvenile Even Ages Cross Country Finals at Santry Demesne in Dublin. Having qualified from the Leinster Cross Country in Mountain View, Co. Kilkenny in October Mullingar will have teams in five of the eight underage races, along with some individual qualifiers, and they will be joined by teams in the Junior men and Senior women races, which are important trials for the European Cross Country in Dublin in December. In addition to representing Mullingar and Westmeath, eleven of our Juvenile athletes will also be on Leinster teams, the biggest by far from any Club in Leinster. Everyone has been training hard in recent weeks, at the Club and in Belvedere, and should reap their rewards on Sunday when we expect many of them will return with National medals.

The first race, the girls under 12, will be at 11.30am and the crowds at an All-Ireland are much larger than at Leinster, so leave in plenty of time, allow extra time for traffic and parking delays entering the venue and head straight for the Club banners near the finish area to collect your race number. It will take longer to collect and sort race numbers, so you should be at the course by 10.30am at the latest. If for any reason you cannot compete, please let Club officials know as soon as possible.

You must wear your Club vest in a Championship. Please bring water or sports drink and a light snack, wet gear and a change of clothes, suitably long spikes, and of course four safety pins for your race number. We strongly advise spectators to bring waterproof footwear and to dress appropriately for the weather.

On the road

We’re continuing to see a steady return of live road races, and last Saturday morning the Ferbane AC “Lough Boora 10k” proved particularly fruitful for the Mullingar quartet that made the short journey to Co. Offaly. Taking advantage of the relatively flat course to finish strongly in fifth place in 35:47, Eddie Newman won his master age category, ahead of Stephen Naughton fourteenth in 39:20, which placed him third in his master age category, with Jenny Algar only a few places behind in eighteenth overall in 39:56, taking the top prize for first woman. Finally, making up the Mullingar group was Lee Anne Maye finishing in 45:15, taking third prize in her master age category to see all the Mullingar athletes heading home with prizes for their excellent efforts.


The executive and members of Mullingar Harriers wish to express sincere sympathy to Brid Leydon and the entire Leydon and Naughton families on the death last Friday of her father, Sean Naughton RIP. Not only his family, but the whole athletics community is mourning Sean’s death. Sean was a founder member of Nenagh Olympic AC and the driving force behind the building of the first banked indoor athletics track in Ireland in 1990, which was the home for all indoor competitions before the construction of the indoor stadium in Athlone in 2013, followed by the National Indoor Arena a few years later. Older members of Mullingar Harriers will remember the indoor track in Nenagh as a cold place but the alternative for over 20 years was no indoor competition at all, so were glad to have it. An accomplished athlete in his day, coach, administrator, Irish team manager at World and Olympic level, Sean’s contribution to the sport was enormous and he will be sadly missed. RIP.

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