Week ending Saturday 26th June
Medals Galore for Mullingar
The AAI National under 20 and under 23 T&F Championships took place last week-end in a sunny and warm, albeit a bit windy at times, Santry Stadium where the Mullingar athletes put in terrific performances across a range of events, many bringing home medals.
Eoin Quinn continued his excellent season with a convincing win in the u/20 men 800m on Saturday. In the morning heats, Eoin won his heat in a very comfortable manner. Colin (P) Smith was fourth in his heat in a time of 2 minutes 01.39, missing a place in the final by an agonising one hundredth of a second. In the final, Eoin quickly moved into a prominent position and within 200m he was in second place. Running a tactically astute race, Eoin took the lead after 500m and remained in complete control, powering away from the field and extending his advantage right to the line. Eoin’s winning time of 1 minute 51.89 seconds was very impressive in a Championship race. This National u/20 title was well deserved for Eoin, who is now well established as one of Irelands leading up and coming middle distance talents.
It was a very tactical race in the u/23 men 800m where Colin (D) Smith and Brian Martin were in action. Colin ran a very positive race to put himself in a medal position on the first lap. However, he was passed over the final 200m and had to be content with a fourth place finish in 1 minute 55.47 seconds. Brian Martin was having his first race of the season and ran a solid race to finish fifth in 1 minute 59.73 seconds. In the u/20 men 5,000m Lorcan Mullen was in action and produced a very strong run. His time of 16 minutes 13.11 seconds was a new personal best, improving on his previous by an impressive 10 seconds.
The u/20 women 400m hurdles was a straight final where Shauna Leydon was drawn in the difficult outside lane. Starting strongly and rising to the first hurdle with the leaders, Shauna kept composed and controlled, staying in contention throughout, and entered the home straight in third place looking strong. Her superior hurdling technique came to the fore over the final two hurdles, moving into second place off the final hurdle and holding it to the line to win a National u/20 silver medal in only her second race over the distance. She ended the day running the anchor leg for the Ireland “B” 4x400m relay team against the “A” u/20 and u/23 teams that were trying to secure the European qualification standards.
Given his recent form, it was no surprise that Charles Okafor won his heat of the u/20 men 200m with ease to qualify for the final. Getting away to a terrific start in the final he came into the home straight in third place fighting hard but unable to close the gap and finished in third place. Any tinge of disappointment at not retaining the title he won last year quickly evaporated when he learned his time was 21.75 seconds in near calm conditions. This is a new personal best, an improvement of 0.29 seconds, which is a huge improvement for a sprinter.
Shauna Leydon had an early start on Sunday morning in the u/20 women 400m heats. Despite still feeling the effects of running two 400m races the previous day she gave a good account but didn’t advance from the extremely competitive heats. Charles Okafor made short work of his heat of the u/20 men 100m and lined up in the final as a medal favourite. Blasting from the blocks he was always in contention in a very fast race and finished third to win his second medal of the week-end. His time of 10.84 seconds with zero wind was a new personal best, his second of the week-end.
The first race walk on Sunday afternoon was the combined u/20 and u/23 women 3,000m. The race soon divided into two main groups, with the leading group including the very youthful Aisling Lane. Following these and walking conservatively according to plan was Sarah Glennon. The front group was soon reduced to three with Aisling working hard with consistent focused effort throughout to finish in an excellent second place in the u/20 category, on her debut at this level of competition. Sarah’s early pace control paid dividends and with excellent technique she glided though the field to comfortably earn the silver medal in the u/23 category. The u/20 men 5,000m followed and when the gun went, so did Matthew Glennon, producing a strong untouchable solo effort to win well clear of his rivals. His younger brother, Andrew Glennon, kept in touch with the silver position for the majority of the race but had to settle for bronze in a satisfying personal best. Well done to the Glennon family who between them won a full set of National medals – gold, silver and bronze – a unique achievement. Add in Aisling Lane’s silver medal and Mullingar Harriers was clearly the dominant Club in the race walk events.
Colin (P) Smith rounded off the Mullingar interest when he was back in action late on Sunday afternoon in the u/20 men 1,500m where he was in the leading group throughout the race and despite a brave effort he was just run out of the medals on the last lap. He finished sixth in a time of 4 minutes 02.19 seconds.
Leinster T&F Programme Published
Last Sunday evening, Athletics Leinster published the T&F programme for 2021. There are several very important changes this year. The venue is changed from Tullamore to Carlow IT; unfortunately, there will be no competition for children aged 8, 9 or 10 this year and the number of events for everyone else, from u/12 to u/19, junior, senior and master, is reduced; only the top three juveniles will advance to the All-Ireland finals, not the top four as in a normal year; and, finally, there will be no open entry for u/17, 18 and 19 to the All-Ireland, so they must compete in Leinster and finish in the top three unless competing at the European u/20 T&F.
Entries for the Leinster junior, senior and masters T&F in Carlow on 3rd and 4th July are now open but will close this coming Saturday, so don’t delay if you wish to compete. The link to the entry system is on the Athletics Leinster website and Facebook page. Junior, senior and master athletes submit their own entries but if anyone has any difficulty navigating the entry system, don’t hesitate to contact Greg for assistance. You must be registered with Athletics Ireland to compete, that means you must have paid your Club membership for 2021.
Juvenile members should discuss their choices of events with their coaches now, as entries for them open next week for a much shorter period than normal, so they won’t have much time to delay.
Finally, would you like to win €20,000? Buy a raffle ticket any night at training or online through the Mullingar Harriers website to help us finance the new track and be in with a chance of winning a great prize.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.