Week ending Saturday 25th September
Death of a legend – George Bell RIP
The death of George Bell last Monday week has left a void that will be impossible to fill, especially among our Club members. Being a founder member, he was the life and soul of all gatherings ever since. His contribution was enormous. He was present at all Club functions and fixtures, and his contribution to other local organisations like cycling, GAA, politics and farming was always one hundred percent. A really great outdoors man, his annual flock of geese in his front field were a sight to behold!
George was very straightforward in his thinking, believing strongly in there being a right way and a wrong way in life, and that you should always try to do the right thing. Athletics was his passion, especially cross country and the muckier the course, the better George liked it, and he always made sure to encourage each and every competitor. His fundraising activities for the Club were simply enormous; flag days were special to him, his collection boxes would contain more than double the amount of any other collector such was his legendary capacity to extract money from his legion of friends and contacts. George recently visited our Club grounds to see the new all-weather track and he marvelled at the facilities now available to all Club members, a reminder of the importance of continuing fundraising.
The large attendance at his funeral was testament to the very high regard in which he was held by sports people everywhere, and among the attendance were former Club members and athletes from all the surrounding Counties. The many stories told of his exploits on the sports fields were re-told among all present, including his trip to the World Masters T&F Championships in New Zealand in 1980, which he thoroughly enjoyed. In 2010 he was honoured by Athletics Leinster with an Outstanding Service Award for his services to athletics in Westmeath and in 2014 he received the Westmeath Person of the Year Award from the Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council for his special service in the community. Each and every person who ever met George Bell will have their own special memories of a man who gave his all to whatever job he took on. He was a former Club President and an Honorary Life Vice-President and we will miss his wise counsel and friendship at our training sessions, events and meetings.
We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Sheila, to his adult children Anna, Ger and George, and to his extended family.
Take part in our Family Mile during the European Week of Sport
The European Week of Sport, supported by Sport Ireland and Athletics Ireland, aims to promote sport and physical activity in countries across Europe. As part of events, Mullingar Harriers is hosting a family mile on the new track at the Club grounds this Sunday from 11am. The event will be limited to members and their families only, because while the major construction works on the new track are nearly complete, not all facilities, such as parking are available yet. There will be a series of family miles for families with young children of different ages, so the entire family can run, jog or walk together. We’ll also have mile races for boys and girls under 16, under 19, senior and master men and women, and we’ll finish up with an open mile walk, so there’ll be something for everyone. This is a free to enter event for all the family and you will receive a medal at the end of the run. The link to enter has been sent on the WhatsApp groups and can be found on our adult members Facebook page and on our website.
The event is for everyone, regardless of age, background or fitness level, with a focus on simply being active on a regular basis and encouraging everyone to exercise more. Every Club that hosts a family mile will have a chance to win up to €500 in vouchers of sports equipment for the Club. To be in with a chance to win for Mullingar Harriers, we’ll need to publicise the event on social media by posting photographs. Everyone taking part in the family mile is encouraged to tag @sportireland and @irishathletics and @athleticsireland in their social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter while using the hashtag #BeActive.
Help needed for Westmeath Schools Cross Country
After missing it last year, we’re delighted that the Westmeath Schools Cross Country makes a welcome return this year and will take place next Wednesday (29th) in Belvedere and we expect a good number of our juvenile athletes will be competing. The secondary schools start at 11am, followed by the primary schools at 12 noon. We know it’s a week day, but we’re appealing to Club members and friends to help out with parking, stewarding, assembly, finish line etc, so if you can spare a few hours, please be there before 10am; it will be over by 2pm at the latest.
Cormac Dalton in action in the USA
Wearing the blue of Tulsa University, Cormac Dalton made a great start to competition in the USA last Saturday morning in Stillwater, Oklahoma at the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Cowboy Jamboree Cross Country, one of the oldest races in the USA. Competing over 8k, his excellent fifteenth place finish in 24 minutes 6 seconds, the second score for Tulsa, helped the Tulsa men’s cross country team to fifth place of 18 teams, a great result in his debut race for Tulsa where he showed his class and experience to patiently work his way through the field, gaining places with every lap. Cormac’s next event will be at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville, Arkansas in two weeks time. That’s how they spell chilli in parts of the USA, so apart from some very unusual names of races in the USA, Cormac also has to adjust to the unusual spelling too!
A welcome easing of Covid restrictions
Like all sports clubs, Mullingar Harriers welcomes the gradual easing of Covid health restrictions that will come into effect in the coming weeks. The biggest immediate change will be the removal of restrictions on outdoor group activities, which means events like cross country competitions can take place without a limit on the numbers competing and the number of spectators. On the negative side, while showers and changing rooms can begin to reopen from this week, there are still too many restrictions in place such as a limit on numbers, time limit, social distancing, deep cleaning etc, so we will not be reopening our changing rooms and showers for now.
Westmeath Cross Country
After the Westmeath Schools Cross Country we’re into Championships proper with the Athletics Westmeath Cross Country Championships over two days in Belvedere on Sundays 3rd (u/8, 10, 12, 16 and 18) and 10th October (u/9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19 and novice, senior and masters), which will be used as trials for team selections for the Leinsters. These are open races, so anyone can take part and you don’t need to a member of a Club.
Important cross country fixtures
The Leinster novice, junior and juvenile even ages cross country will take place on Saturday 23rd October and the Leinster senior and juvenile uneven ages cross country will take place on Saturday 6th November. Venues for the Leinsters haven’t been confirmed yet. Further ahead, the All-Ireland senior, junior and juvenile even ages will be held in Santry Demesne on Sunday 21st November and the All-Ireland novice and juvenile uneven ages will take on Sunday 5th December in Gowran, Co. Kilkenny.
Andrew Glennon and Aisling Lane on International duty
Everyone at the Club wishes the very best to Aisling Lane and Andrew Glennon who will part of the Irish Schools team to compete in the race walks at the SIAB Schools T&F International in Derbyshire (England) this Saturday. This will be Andrew’s International debut and Aisling’s second time to compete in the Irish colours this year.
The Executive and members of the Club extend sincere sympathy to Emer O’Hanlon and her family on the death, last Thursday, of her mother Marie, and to Chema Lozano and the entire Lozano family on the recent death of his father in Spain, grandfather to Lucas, Pablo, Txema and Amaia. May they rest in peace.
Finally, on a happier note, congratulations to Stephen Campbell and Cesia Cisneros on the recent birth of their daughter, Isabella Nea.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.