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

Week ending Saturday 28th Mar


All quiet on the athletics front, so time to look back to 2019

With all athletics activities either postponed or cancelled, it might be good to look back to this time last year and see what was making the news for Mullingar Harriers.

Top billing was for one of the Country’s finest up and coming athletics stars, Diarmuid Fagan (Colaiste Mhuire), who made his International debut at the SIAB Schools Cross Country International in Santry Demesne, Dublin against teams from England, Scotland and Wales. Competing in the junior boys (u/15) 4,000m race he gave an excellent account of himself, finishing sixth score for Ireland, helping the team to third place and the bronze team medals. Diarmuid should have been competing in the intermediate race at the same event in Scotland last Saturday, but of course that has been cancelled, but he is still underage and eligible next year and given his undoubted ability we can be confident that he will qualify again in 2021 and get to wear the green and white of Ireland again.

Staying International, this time last year we were wishing Jamie Battle the very of luck as he headed off to the World Cross Country Championships in Aarhus, Denmark and to Sean McMullin and Eileen Kenny who were part of a very large Irish masters team heading to Toruń, Poland for the World Masters Indoors where Sean won silver in the 10k Road Walk and Eileen won bronze in the 10k Road Race, adding to their respective World masters medal collections.

Coming back to the present, under normal circumstances, with the start of summer time this week-end, we should be welcoming back our younger 6.30pm group to training next week, but of course nothing is normal at the moment and it looks like their winter break will have to be extended some more. If that changes, we’ll have posts on our website and Facebook page and of course on the WhatsApp group.

This week too we should have been in the final stages of preparations for days one and two of the National Juvenile Indoors but they have been postponed to early May. Day three, which is for the sprint relays has been postponed to the end of April. Of course, while they have been postponed and new dates set, there is no guarantee that they will actually take place but anyone that was to be competing should continue to train as best as they can. That goes for everyone else too, as other competitions will be rescheduled in due course and the fitness that you retain over the coming weeks will benefit you greatly on your return to racing. Guidance on training is available from your coach at the club, so please get in touch with the relevant coach if you have not done so already. Parents of underage members might check their email for any messages from coaches.

Imagination is needed to find alternative places to train, such as a local field or pitch (if open), the Old Rail Trail, or Royal Canal towpath; some housing estates even have big enough open spaces for some training, though possibly only really suitable for the sprinters or perhaps some interval sessions for our middle and long distance athletes. Even a good footpath could be used, but be careful with young legs on the hard surface. There is also plenty that can be done indoors, so check the club and the Athletics Ireland website or Facebook pages for ideas on indoor exercises, strength and conditioning routines etc. Don’t worry that you don’t have any weights – there’s plenty can be done using just body weight! Not to be encouraged, but if training outdoors with one or two others, please remember to respect the social distancing guidelines and keep at least two metres apart at all times.

We encourage all our members to stay fit over this period by training at home – it will help you keep in physical shape and also relieve any stress you might feel at being confined indoors for long periods of time and not seeing your friends. We encourage all members to look out for each other during these extraordinary times; the wonderful sense of community in the club can be a real help to all members.

All road races in the coming weeks, including the Great Ireland Run, have been either postponed or cancelled and it will be very difficult to reschedule them all or the fixture list will become too full. It’s the same situation with cancellation of track and field events right into April. It’s a very fluid situation and we just don’t know what the fixture list is going to look like in the weeks and months ahead.

The club grounds and clubhouse remain closed, at least until this Sunday, though that could be extended, so listen to announcements from Government on whether the period of closure is to be extended or not. Our website www.mullingarharriers.com and Facebook page will also have updates.

Finally, please heed the public health messages about hand washing, cough or sneeze into your elbow, avoid touching eyes nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and distance yourself from other people by at least two metres.