Week ending Saturday 6th May
Individual and team success at Leinster Road Championships
The Athletics Leinster Novice and Masters Road Championships took place in a warm and sunny Gowran, Co. Kilkenny last Saturday afternoon where Mullingar Harriers enjoyed considerable success by winning three sets of Club team medals, two sets of County team medals and three individual medals. Entries were well up on previous years and the numbers that competed on the day were also well up, so the event is growing and establishing itself as a popular one on the road race calendar. The fine sunny day allowed those who were finished to stay on and cheer subsequent races as they enjoyed refreshments and snacks outside in the lovely sunshine, which greatly added to the atmosphere in Gowran.
The first race of the day was the master women 3,000m where Mary Stuart finished well up, winning her master category and an individual gold medal, and with great support from Caroline Mullen and Joanna Tyrrell racing hard to the end, the Mullingar team was delighted to finish second Club and second County. Alan Crowley had the signal honour of leading the Mullingar team home in the master men 6,000m with a very strong performance. With Eoin Clarke and Evan McCormack on his hells, and Eddie Newman only a few places behind, winning his master category, the Mullingar team finished second Club. Completing the team was Enda O’Carolan, Patrick Muldoon and Nicky McCabe all enjoying great performances to see the team finish fourth County in a close contest.
Susan Glennon was Mullingar’s sole representative in the novice women 3,000m. At the halfway point, Susan was in a tight battle for third place and though she fought hard all the way through the second half of the race she just couldn’t find the little bit extra needed to move into the bronze medal position and came home strongly in a close fourth place, but top marks for determined effort and Susan is surely one to watch next year. Mullingar had no shortage of men in the novice men 6,000m race. Despite not having Vinny Connolly on the team, as he finished second last year, so as an individual medal winner he is no longer eligible to compete as a novice, the Mullingar team was still very strong and they were full of determination and bent on team success. Vinny was in Gowran to spectate and cheer the Mullingar men on and share his insights on what was needed for success over the 6k distance. Andrew Nevin ran a very shrewd tactical race and was rewarded with a fine third place and individual bronze medal, and with the next three Mullingar men in the top-12 thanks to James Keegan (fifth), Ian McCormack (ninth) and Tony Doran (twelfth), it was no surprise the team finished first Club, retaining the title they won last year. Attention then turned to the rest of the team and with great team packing and support from Kris Foster, Stephen Campbell, Andy Boyhan, Brian Martin and Padraig Beglin, the team bettered last year’s results by finishing first County too.
Well done to Gowran AC for once again being excellent hosts for the event and to all the Mullingar athletes on their excellent performances.
Pat Finnerty 5k League begins this week
Round one of the Pat Finnerty Memorial 5k League takes place in Belvedere this Wednesday evening, starting at 8pm, and will continue on the following two Wednesdays. The best two of three times count for the league, so you only have to run two of three rounds, though we’d encourage everyone to run all three. Entry is €25 for three or two nights, but if you can only run the final night, the entry fee reduces to €15 for the single race.
All proceeds will go to the North Westmeath Hospice, so we’re asking everyone to sign up and support this very worthy cause. There is an option to donate to the Hospice when submitting your entry and we’ll also take donations on the night for anyone that wants to give more. There will be prizes for top 3 men and women in the league, first place master prizes too in the usual categories, and lots of spot prizes. The Pat Finnerty Perpetual Trophy will be presented to the first man and the first woman in the League after the final night.
Online entries are open and can be accessed through the Event Calendar on the top banner of the Athletics Ireland website or using the link on the homepage of the Mullingar Harriers website but we’ll also take entries on the night from 6.30pm.
Mayo Women’s Mini-Marathon
As part of the Ballina 2023 celebrations, the Mayo Women’s 10k Mini Marathon took place in Ballina last Sunday morning where there was over 1,600 finishers, which is a huge number in a 10k race. A regular contestant in the event, Sinead Whitelaw made her customary strong start, going with the leading group from the gun. Despite putting in a strong first 5k, a gap was developing on the eventual winner but with an equally strong second 5k, Sinead consolidated her second place position and established a good lead on third place and she went on to finish second in an excellent 37 minutes 49 seconds.
Throws Pentathlon success for Aidan O’Donoghue
At the Templemore AC Throws Weekend, Aidan O’Donoghue competed last Saturday in the master men throws pentathlon of hammer, shot putt, discus, weight throw and javelin. After a long day of close competition, Aidan emerged victorious in his age category, also winning the individual javelin event along the way, to get his outdoor season off to a winning start.
Great Limerick Run
The Great Limerick Run last Sunday morning included a choice of race distances. Joan Flynn ran the marathon, which started near the city centre and took the runners east towards the Castletroy area before doubling back to the city centre and heading south to the Raheen area, completing a big loop and returning to the city centre again where they crossed over Sarsfield Bridge to the west side of the Shannon. After two loops on the west side, they returned to Sarsfield Bridge again, crossed the Shannon once more and finished on O’Connell Street. While there lots of long straight stretches, the course also had lots of twists and turns, so everyone had to keep on their toes and carefully follow the instructions of the stewards. Joan negotiated the tricky course, enduring very warm conditions in the second half, to finish second woman in an excellent 3 hours 3 minutes 22 seconds. Running the half marathon, Paul Byrne only had to cover the Raheen area and the over and back Sarsfield Bridge twice elements of the marathon course, still a tricky enough undertaking and he too had to be careful, but he negotiated it without incident to finish in 1 hour 35 minutes 16 seconds, and this will give him great confidence that with further training a sub-3 hour marathon can’t be too far off.
One of Ireland’s largest 10k events, the Drogheda 10k took place last Sunday afternoon and attracted 1,260 finishers, including Kieran Nolan. The race starts and finishes in the town centre, which creates an great atmosphere and the course runs along the banks of the beautiful River Boyne. The race is hosted by Drogheda and District AC and raises vital funds towards ongoing development of the club. Kieran was very happy with his race and he finished in 38 minutes 36 seconds, well up in 42nd place overall, and well up in his master category too.
North & South Leinster Schools
A number of the Club’s underage athletes were in action last Wednesday for their Schools and Colleges at the North Leinster Schools T&F in Tullamore. As expected, a great many of them – far too many to mention by name – secured places at the Leinster Schools T&F Finals in two weeks in Tullamore. This week, more of our underage members will be competing at the South Leinster Schools T&F in SETU Carlow, also looking to qualify for the Leinster Schools, the next step towards the All-Ireland Schools T&F Finals in early June.
Club’s youngest athletes to compete in Tullamore
Athletics Offaly has notified us of the Midland Inter-County Juvenile T&F Match between Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath to be held in Tullamore Harriers Stadium on Friday 19th May at 6pm. This is an ideal competition for our younger members to take part in and boys and girls from u/9 (born 2015) to u/14 (born 2010) can compete. Despite the title, this really is a low key very friendly competition and a chance for everyone to try several events – sprint, middle distance, long jump, turbo javelin or shot. The boys and girls from Mullingar Harriers will compete alongside athletes from other Westmeath Clubs, against athletes from Laois, Longford and Offaly. If you ran in the recent Mullingar Harriers Juvenile Spring T&F Meet, you’re in for a treat in Tullamore as it will be just as much fun.
There is no pre-selection – just turn up and compete. This is an ideal competition for our younger athletes and newcomers and we expect to see all our younger Club members take part. It’s an Inter-County competition, so wear your Club vest, so everyone knows you’re from Westmeath. Finally, just like our own new all-weather track, remember 5mm spikes or runners only on the track in Tullamore.
Leinster T&F outdoor dates
The dates for the Leinster T&F have been published and details are on the Club and the Athletics Leinster websites. Important Juvenile fixtures and dates are Children’s Games (u/9, u/10 and u/11) and u/12 and u/13 T&F (4th June) in Tullamore, entries close 24th May; Combined Events (10th June) at a venue to be confirmed, entries close 31st May; sprint relays (11th June) at a venue to be confirmed, entries close 31st May; and the u/14 to u/19 T&F (17th and 18th June) in Tullamore, entries close 7th June. All entries are on-line and we’ll use the Heja groups to let parents know how to enter.
For older members, the Leinster Junior, Senior and Masters T&F takes place on 27th and 28th May in SETU Carlow. All entries are on-line and these athletes enter themselves. Entries will open soon, so keep an eye out and don’t get caught by the final closing date, which is 17th May.
Road race catch-up
We missed reporting on two recent road races featuring Club members.
The Royal Canal Run two weeks ago included a choice of 10k and half marathon and was held in cool, damp conditions on the canal loop around Longford. Almost 300 ran the 10k where Andrew Nevin raced to the front from the gun, taking the early lead and was never challenged all the way to the end to win in 34 minutes 16 seconds. Jacintha Reilly joined over 230 others for the half marathon and after an excellent run finished well up in twenty seventh place overall, crossing the finish line in 1 hour 32 minutes 01 second, the fourth woman to finish.
The St. Andrews AC 10k also two weeks ago took place in Ashbourne, Co. Meath. The entry was small, only 68, but Enda Seery reports that he had a decent run on a course with a good few twists and turns and was happy to finish fifth in 39 minutes 49 seconds.
Further update on National 10k results
Last week we were able to confirm that Eddie Newman, Mary Stuart and Maura Dervin would receive their master category individual medals from the National 10k (run in conjunction with the Great Ireland Run) and this week we’re pleased to confirm that the master women team of Mary Stuart, Maura Dervin and Emer O’Hanlon were confirmed in second place and the master men team of Eddie Newman, James Cribbin and Paul Byrne were confirmed in third place and will receive National team medals.
Bon Voyage to Lt. Ian McCormack
Finally, everyone at the Club wishes the very best to our men’s captain, Lt. Ian McCormack as he heads to the Lebanon this week for a tour of duty with UNIFIL. We wish Ian a safe and successful tour of duty and look forward to welcoming him home at the end of the year.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.