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

Week ending Saturday 24th February


National Senior Indoor title for Claire Fagan

Claire Fagan took her first National Senior title over 3,000m with an excellent last lap to win in 9 minutes 33.35 seconds. This is also the first National Senior title won by a Mullingar Harrier woman, so a great bit of history too. It was one of many exciting finishes of the day at the National Senior Indoors at the National Indoor Arena in Abbotstown last Sunday. It was an exciting race from the off and Claire was always right up with the action, biding her time to make her final move. The lead changed twice on the last lap but Claire produced a superb last 100m to regain the lead in the final strides. Winning a National Senior title is a significant step for any athlete and it was certainly a day to remember for Claire.

Earlier in the day, Oisin Lane stuck to his pre-race plan in the 5,000m race walk and once the gun went he lapped consistently at 47 seconds per lap for 24 laps and drove for home on the last lap to finish in the World class time of 19 minutes 34.40 seconds, a new personal best by a massive 50 seconds. Only Tokyo Olympian David Kenny was a mere 4 seconds ahead of Oisin with the rest of the field lapped by him at least once. Oisin proved that planning and control works. Meanwhile, Andrew Glennon was back in the pack and racing well, though a number of fouls saw him pulled over to take a time penalty in the penalty lane and the 30 second wait cost him a few places but he still finished well up in seventh place.

Not to be outdone by her older sibling, though still only u/20, Aisling Lane too walked an excellent personal best of 14 minutes 21.50 seconds in the 3,000m race walk to take a second place silver. While Aisling too had her pre-race plan, an unusually large entry of 22 racewalkers on the tight indoor track meant a staggered start for all and a pile up on the bends in the early laps. Aisling had to rely on all her cross country experience in the battles for position that ensued over the speedy first kilometre. With others’ elbows flying, shoulders clashing, knees wobbling and legs tripping all around her, Aisling held her form and posture and eventually managed to dominate the majority of the field as she strode on powerfully to lap the majority of the field just as her brother had done in the earlier race. A family double silver achieved in the space of an hour in a National Senior Championships is an extremely rare achievement.

Aimee Wallace competed in the 1,500m and having turned 18 in January she was one of the youngest athletes in the field. She successfully navigated her way through the heats on Saturday to earn her place in the final. Aimee was in medal contention for most of this race and in the end had to settle for ninth place in 4 minutes 33.32 seconds. Undoubtedly she will benefit from the experience of racing at senior level. The men 3,000m was a very tactical affair for the first half of the race, but Jamie Battle remained in the lead group right until the final 600m when the field began to split but Jamie kept up the pressure and finished strong in tenth place in a time of 8 minutes 28.87 seconds.

Ras na hEireann

The 53rd edition of the Rás na hEireann took place in Dunleer, Co. Louth last Sunday and a number of Mullingar Harriers made the journey to compete on a tough, hilly cross country course. We had a super start to the day in the u/9 girls 500m with Cara Hickey leading home the field to finish in a wonderful first place. Cara was backed up well by Ella McManus (eleventh), Sophie Whitelaw (fourteenth), Cliodhna Fitzpatrick (seventeenth) and the girls finished second Club team. A great result for these young athletes in their first competitive event for Mullingar Harriers. Laura Buckley ran a strong race in the u/11 girls 1,000m, finishing well up in the large entry.

The women 4,000m was for u/20, Senior and Master athletes, and Mullingar was represented in each category. Sinead Whitelaw (Senior) led the team home in twelfth place. With u/20 athlete Ailbhe O’Farrell seventeenth and Master athlete Linda Cunningham twenty fourth, the team finished just out of the medals in fourth place.

In the final race of the day, the men 6,000m, Ross Killelea ran with the leaders from the start and finished very strongly in fifth place, overall, the second u/20 man.

Leinster Indoor closing dates

Entries for the Leinster juvenile indoors close this week (22 Feb) and they will close for the u/20, seniors and masters and for the juvenile relays next week (29 Feb). If anyone has any problems with the entry system, don’t hesitate to contact Greg for assistance.

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