Week ending Saturday 22nd August
All eyes on National Senior T&F
This year’s National Senior T&F Championships will be held in Santry over two weekends, this one coming and the one after, to manage the limit of 200 persons allowed at outdoor gatherings under the current Covid-19 restrictions. Originally set for the last weekend in June, the Championships were first postponed because of Covid-19 and re-fixed for this coming weekend, but on condition of moving to phase 4 of the Government’s roadmap for reopening society, and the increase in permitted numbers from 200 to 500 for outdoor gatherings. When phase 4 was delayed to the end of August, Athletics Ireland had to look for another solution, but knowing the final entries, decided that it is possible to stage all events over four days, rather than two days as is the case in a normal year. In this way, Ireland will continue the longest unbroken run of National Athletics Championships in the World, an amazing 147 years beginning in July 1873, unbroken by the events of 1916, the War of Independence, the Civil War and even two World Wars.
They will be Championships like no other though, because there will be no spectators, no relays, social distancing and hygiene that we’re all accustomed to now will be front and centre, they will be held in 9 distinct sessions, at least two on each day, and the stadium will be cleared entirely between each session. Also, unfortunately, if the current restrictions in Laois, Offaly and Kildare are not lifted as planned this Friday evening, athletes living in these Counties will not be allowed to compete.
Mullingar will be represented by 11 athletes entered in 14 individual events and we wish them all the very best of luck. Of course, Covid-19 being Covid-19, we know we can take nothing for granted, so fingers crossed that everything proceeds as planned and there are no last-minute hiccups to derail the Championships.
National Junior and Masters T&F hang in the balance
While it looks positive for the National Seniors, the news isn’t so great for the junior, older juvenile and master members of the Club, because Athletics Ireland advised last week that it is awaiting further Government announcements regarding Covid-19 and the easing of restrictions before a decision is made on the holding of the National Junior and the National Masters T&F Championships in early September. It is hoped to have further information in the coming weeks.
On the track
The third and final Dublin Graded T&F Meeting this year took place in Tallaght last Wednesday evening where Patrick Muldoon ran in a competitive 5,000m and was satisfied with his time of 17:37.13. Dublin Athletics is to be congratulated on putting together a very successful graded series this year under extremely challenging circumstances, earning the gratitude of the wider athletics community.
With so many fixtures cancelled and strict limitations on numbers competing, it’s proving difficult to get a quality sprint race at the moment, so Charles Okafor made the relatively long journey to Kilkenny last Sunday morning for the Kilkenny Athletics Meeting. It was warm, overcast and very calm, so conditions were perfect for sprinting. Charles lined up as one of the top seeds in the 100m A race and didn’t disappoint with a terrific second place finish against some top class athletes that should feature in the upcoming National Seniors. His time was 11.18 seconds, close to his best, which is very encouraging given that he hasn’t run a 100m race since last summer, so is coming nicely into form.
We missed it last week, but looking for a quality metric mile race, Jack Moran and the younger Colin P Smith headed to Northern Ireland on Thursday evening 6th August to compete over 1,500m at the City of Lisburn AC T&F Meeting at the Mary Peter’s Track in Belfast. Both competed in the B race and working hard with great strength and determination stayed in touch with the leading group throughout, giving great accounts, Jack finishing fifth in 4:01.00 in his first race over the distance in quite some time, closely followed by Colin in seventh in 4:03.59, a great personal best for him coming on the back of some recent breakthrough performances over 800m.
Finally, the Executive and members of the Club extend sincere sympathy to Sean Flood from Lismacaffrey and the entire Flood family on the recent death of his wife, Maureen, RIP. Sean and the Flood family were great friends of the Club for many years, not least organising County Championships in Lismacaffrey many times in the early days of the Club.
For the latest news, results and details of fixtures check the Club’s Facebook page or the website at www.mullingarharriers.com.