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

Week ending Saturday 27th June


Positive news on reopening of the Club

Last Friday, the Government announced a revised roadmap for reopening society and business. Included in the revised schedule is the resumption of all sports from 29th June, but with spectator numbers limited to 50 indoors and 200 outdoors. This will increase to 100 indoors and 500 outdoors from 20th July. It’s possible that we can increase numbers training at the Club from the end of June, but each sport’s National Governing Body must decide when their sport will reopen, and at what pace, so we must await Athletics Ireland’s plans, which will hopefully be announced this week. In the meantime, the current restriction of groups of 15 shall continue to apply.

No indication was given as to when the 500 limit might be increased but the Taoiseach said that no event of 5,000 or more would be permitted before the end of September. It is possible that 500 might increase to 5,000 in phases between July and September, but we’ll have to wait and see. The 500 limit is important, because last week we said that among the provisional National T&F fixtures planned for August was one for juveniles from under 14 to under 19 but an important caveat was that all dates were contingent on meeting Government guidelines. In light of the restriction of 500 on outdoor numbers, Athletics Ireland has decided not to include National finals for u/14 to u/16. This is disappointing news, but it’s understandable, as these are the age groups that will generate the greatest number of entrants, and they are always accompanied by many more parents and possibly siblings and other family members than the older age groups, so the limit of 500 might be impossible to comply with.

Since Clubs have been allowed to reopen, we’ve successfully embraced the new “normal”. We’ve increased from groups of 4 to groups of 15, and fully complied with the protocols set by Athletics Ireland including appointment of a Covid-19 Compliance Officer, preparation of risk assessments, a pre-booking system, an attendance recording system when arriving at the Club, and carefully monitoring social distancing, hygiene and sneeze and cough etiquette. Therefore, we believe we’re well placed to increase activity at the Club, if we’re given the go ahead by Athletics Ireland.

Contact details

At the risk of sounding like a worn record, a robust contact tracing system is one of the key elements of the Athletics Ireland protocols. The link to pre-register is e-mailed to members, so it’s vital that we have the correct e-mail address. The response to the request to update contact details is improving but still not much more than a half of those eligible to return to training have submitted their up to date details, so we’ll repeat it. All club members, or their parents or guardians, need to send an e-mail to info@mullingarharriers.com, using “contact” as the subject, with phone number, e-mail address and home address (with Eircode, if known). This request applies to everyone in the club. Quite a few e-mail addresses submitted to date are different to what the club had on record. If you’re waiting for an e-mail invite to return to training, how can you expect to receive it if we don’t have your correct e-mail address? We’re not giving any credence to what’s on file unless it’s confirmed by an e-mail from a member.

T&F fixtures

Athletics Leinster recently announced that it has provisionally set 1st August as the date for the Leinster juvenile under 17, 18 and 19 T&F and the week-end of 8th and 9th August for the Leinster junior, senior and masters T&F. Athletics Ireland is planning to hold National T&F finals for seniors and under 23 on 22nd and 23rd August, for juveniles under 17, 18 and 19 on 29th and 30th August, for juniors on 5th September and for masters on 6th September and we expect an announcement this week confirming the dates.

What were we doing this time last year?

This time last year, Vicky Harris made her senior debut for Ireland at the European Games in Minsk, Belarus where she competed in the mixed medley relay in a qualification round against Belarus, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Vicky ran the final leg, 200m, helping Ireland to fifth place overall and a place in the quarter finals.

Competing for St. Finian’s College at the Tailteann Inter-Provincial T&F, Matthew Glennon simply dominated the boys 3,000m race walk from the start to win comfortably by quite a distance. Charles Okafor (St. Finian’s) blasted to a fine second place in the 100m and also finished second in the 200m in a close race. Charles finished the day with a third silver medal when he anchored the Leinster 4x100m relay team to second place. These performances resulted in selection for both on the Irish Schools team to compete in Wales in July, though Charles had to decline his selection, as he was also selected to compete in the European Youth Olympic Festival in Baku, Azerbaijan also in July.