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

Week ending Saturday 23rd September

Terrific turnout for the official opening of the new track

There was a great attendance at the Club last Thursday evening for the official opening of the new all-weather track, We were very lucky with the weather and everything could take place outdoors, right beside the new track. Club Secretary, Greg Duggan, was MC for the evening and got proceedings got underway by welcoming the many invited guests including our local elected representative from the Dail and Westmeath County Council, our near neighbours Mullingar Educate Together National School and Reverend Daniel Martin, Brian Collentine and Adam Price of O’Reilly Stuart Consulting Engineers who designed the track, Colin Delaney of Midland Sports Surfaces who built the track, Conor Isdell the Chair of North Midlands Credit Union, representatives from other athletics clubs in Westmeath, the editors of the local print media, Catriona Duffy the Chair of Athletics Leinster and of course the guest of honour, John Cronin, the President of Athletics Ireland.

Margaret Daly, Chair of Mullingar Harriers then addressed the crowd by giving a quick history of developments carried out at the grounds since Westmeath County Council first granted a lease for a site on a sloping field in 1985. A clubhouse was built first, the field was levelled to lay a grass track, then followed further developments such as fencing and floodlights, all-weather sprint lanes, a gravel track around the perimeter of the grounds, and coming right up to date with a massive leap forward when the decision was made to develop an all-weather track, the most significant step taken by the Club in its history. Margaret paid tribute to the support of the Department of Sport through the very significant grant allocated under the Sports Capital Programme and the work of our politicians, both in the Oireachtas and in the Council, in supporting the application, the generosity of Club members and sponsors to raise our own funds towards the cost, and the invaluable input from Athletics Ireland who supported the application for Capital Funding.

John Cronin, the President of Athletics Ireland, was then invited to say a few words and then he unveiled the commemorative wall plaque and cut the tape on the track to officially declare the track open, a huge milestone in the development of Mullingar Harriers. Everyone was then invited to enjoy some refreshments in the Clubhouse, where the evening concluded with a presentation on behalf the Club by Joanna Tyrrell and Sinead Whitelaw to John Cronin to thank him for coming to open the track.

Charleville Half Marathon

Well done to Andrew Nevin who placed an excellent fifth place in the Charleville Half Marathon last Sunday morning. Running in a field of just over 1,000 runners, Andrew was always in the leading group of runners on a flat and pacy course and completed the event in a very impressive 1 hour 11 minutes 18 seconds, which is a personal best for the distance.

Cross country season begins this week

This Sunday, we head to Co. Meath for the Star of the Sea AC cross country meeting, a fixture that has been the Club’s opening cross country fixture for many years. There is a big programme of races, including juvenile races for boys and girls from under 9 years up to under 17 years, plus under 20, senior and master men and women. The race distances for juveniles are shorter than in Leinster cross country, so it’s an ideal fixture for newcomers, especially all those who have been training at the Club recently. There are team medals in the juvenile races, and with just three to score, given the big number of juveniles at training lately we expect to be able to field a lot of teams. All entries this year are online at My Run Results, so don’t delay submitting your entry.

The first race is at 11am, so an early start is a must and aim to be at the course by 10am to collect your race number and have time for a proper warm up. It will be the first cross country race for several of our newcomers, so all are reminded to bring a packed lunch and a change of clothing, depending on the weather conditions, and parents are advised to bring appropriate clothing and footwear.

Also, please wear your Club colours. Club vests can be purchased any evening at training.

Help needed for Westmeath Schools Cross Country

Following on the heels of the Star of the Sea cross country is the Westmeath Schools Cross Country in Belvedere next Wednesday. The programme commences at 11am for the secondary schools, followed at 12 noon for the primary schools. This is an excellent introduction to running and as in previous years we expect very large numbers, especially in the primary schools races, so we’re appealing to Club members and friends that can spare a few hours from 10am to please help out. It will get very busy near start time, so we’re advising everyone attending to come early. Once it starts, things move along very quickly and we’ll be finished by 2pm.

Athletics Westmeath Cross Country

Everyone who takes part in the Schools cross country is very welcome to compete in the Athletics Westmeath Cross Country Championships, which take place over two days in October in Belvedere and will be used as trials for team selections for the Leinsters.

The first round on Sunday 1st October in Belvedere at 11am is for boys and girls under 10, 12, 14, 16 and a combined race for under 18, 19, 20, novice, senior and masters. The second round will be the following Sunday 8th October also at 11am and will be for boys and girls under 9, 11, 13, 15 and 17. Boys and girls can run in their own age group on one day and move up an age on the other day to get in some race practice.

Juvenile Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships will be picked after both rounds. There are two weeks between the Leinster Championships, so juvenile athletes run in their own age-group and can also move up an age-group to make up teams. We expect all juveniles will compete in both rounds of the Westmeath Championships or they might not be selected for teams. Remember, the Athletics Westmeath Cross Country is an open competition and you don’t have to be a member of a Club to take part.

We’re heading into a very busy time in the coming weeks for our underage cross country runners in particular, so it’s particularly important to put the work in now training on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Club and in Belvedere on Sunday mornings.

Fit 4 Life returning on Monday 2nd October

The popular Fit 4 Life programme returns to Mullingar Harriers on Monday 2nd October. This will be a 10 week programme with qualified coaches to support everyone who wishes to improve their fitness levels and build up to running a 5k non-stop at the end of the course on the new all-weather track. Registration is at the club grounds from 6.45pm on Monday 2 October and then for 10 consecutive Monday evenings there will be a 45 minute coach-led programme with a start time of 7pm each night.

Road Safety

With the evenings now starting to draw in, all Club members are reminded that they must wear reflective clothing when running on the road. That includes all who use our Club grounds and who run from the Clubhouse on training nights. Safety is a must at all times.

Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.