Week ending Saturday 24th December
National Senior Racewalk Title for Oisin Lane
In the worst weather conditions for many years, the final National Championships of 2022 were held in windswept St. Anne’s Park, Raheny last Sunday morning. Normally a pleasant place to stroll through with its beautiful serene avenues and parkland, it was the opposite as flying leaves, twigs and debris created ongoing obstacles for all the racewalkers who braved the strong winds and random gusts that assailed their determined progress. However, Oisín Lane took the Senior Men 20k race by the scruff of the neck and led out the combined fields for all events straight from the gun. While his pre-race targets were definitely not to be, he still showed great physical strength and also strength of character to battle on to a big new personal best of 86 minutes for the 20k distance and a clear cut first National Senior Championship gold medal. Leaving some Olympians in his wake and still only 20 years old, Oisín can now look forward to continuing his winter build-up program in preparation for bigger events next Summer.
It was great to see his fellow Harrier, Matthew Glennon, attempt his first ever 20k, as he moves up into the Senior ranks in 2023. Matthew fought hard with the main group of racewalkers, which included several racewalkers from Europe and the USA. He was able to stay with this group at a strong pace until the last quarter, but at this stage his youth showed and he suffered over the final few kilometres but still hung on to finish just outside of the medal places in the Irish 20k Championships. Matthew will have learned a huge amount for the future from this challenging experience.
In the Men Open 10k (non-championship), his younger brother Andrew Glennon also put in a brave display to come second man overall in a respectable 48 minutes 40 seconds in the swirling winds. Well done Matthew and Andrew, and they both know that they can go minutes faster in more favourable conditions. The race also included the Irish Masters 10k Championships and that great Harriers stalwart, Sean McMullin, showed that he is still well able for the hard road as he again produced a top finish in his master category. Well done to Sean and many of the young guns could learn a lot from his controlled effort and consistent performances.
In the Women Open 10k (non-championship), the u/18 Aisling Lane was first home leaving in her wake all the ladies young and not so young from both far and near. As Aisling prefers the Summer warmth she can definitely look forward to showing even greater speed in warmer environments devoid of wind alerts.
Starting an hour after the Senior and Masters Championships were a selection of juvenile races over various distances and age groups. The club was ably represented by Daniel Glennon in the 2k and by John Glennon in the 5k. Both must have been keeping an eye on each other as they each finished ninth in their respective competitions and enjoyed the unique experience of a mass start.
Christmas greetings to all members and friends of Mullingar Harriers
The officers of the Club extend Christmas greetings to all members and former members of the Club, particularly those who have returned home to Mullingar for Christmas. Also to the very many people who helped in any way during the year, especially our sponsors, the local press, all our volunteers, our groundsman for all his work maintaining the Clubhouse and grounds and to the Principal and Board of Management of Mullingar Educate Together National School for the use of their car park on training nights.
Clonakilty Half Marathon
We missed reporting on at the time, but the Clonakilty Half Marathon took place three weeks ago (Sat 26 Nov) and among the more than 900 finishers was Criona Reid, the sole representative from Mullingar Harriers. This was to have been a marathon, but the route was flooded just days before the race, and the tough decision was made to cancel the marathon. However, most participants were just happy to be part of this event and ran the half marathon instead. Starting and finishing at the Clonakilty showgrounds, the weather was not the kindest but this did not deter runners having fun and getting into the big race atmosphere. The race location was superb and very participant friendly. As participants came back from their half marathon route they were greeted with a wall of noise and congratulations in the showgrounds. They also completed a lap of the show grounds before finishing. Criona was very pleased to record a fine time of 1 hour 52 minutes 58 seconds in the trying conditions. She also finished fourth in her master category, just missing out on a podium place, but was delighted with the finisher medal, which celebrates local hero Michael Collins and the one hundredth anniversary of the formation of the State.
Good wishes to Stephen Shanahan
A few years back, work brought Stephen Shanahan to Mullingar. He joined Mullingar Harriers and quickly established himself as a regular with our senior and masters group. Stephen competed for the club in many road races over the past year, as the Covid restrictions eased. Now his work duties have called him further afield and as he leaves us, he is wished the best in his career and continued success with his running. No doubt as 2023 progresses, we will meet him on the running circuit around the country.
The cold snap rendered the track out of commission for the planned finale of the Fit 4 Life programme two weeks ago, but with the return to milder conditions all were happy to complete their 5k last Saturday night. Sixty five participated in this edition of Fit 4 Life, many getting the experience of running on our all-weather track for the first time. We plan to have a further 10 weeks Fit 4 Life session commencing mid-January.
The third event of our winter league, the 3,000m run, had to be cancelled last week due to the weather conditions. This and the other two events of the league will be rescheduled into January, with the details to be confirmed at our final pre-Christmas training session at the club this Wednesday evening.
Christmas Medley Relay
We are holding distance medley relays for our adult members next Tuesday morning (27 Dec) at the club. This will be an opportunity for the group to run in teams of 4 over varying distances in mixed teams of 2 men and 2 women. The distances will be 1,200m, 400m, 800m and 1,600m and will be an end of year fun event for the adult groups, with plenty of bragging rights up for grabs!
Membership for 2023
The younger 6pm groups officially finished up last week for Christmas. We’ll be holding an open day at the Club on Saturday morning 14 January when membership for 8, 9, 10 and 11 year old boys and girls for 2023 will be taken and they’ll return to training on Tuesday 17 January. Membership for these young boys and girls will be taken on a first come first served basis and when the groups are filled, we’ll take no more.
For everyone else, membership for 2023 can be paid online. It’s important to renew as soon as possible so you are insured to train at the Club and of course to enter events like the Athletics Leinster Intermediate and Masters cross country and Juvenile cross country relays in mid-January, the many road races that will take place over the New Year period and indoor competitions in January. Memberships for the youngest members will only be taken at the open day on 14 January and cannot be done online.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.