Week ending Saturday 7th January
Happy New Year to all our Members and Friends
We wish all Club members and supporters of the Club a very happy New Year. We saw training and competitions return to normal during 2022 and while Covid looks to be firmly in the rear view mirror, we still need to remain vigilant. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the festive season but should now get back to training again without delay for the indoor and cross country competitions ahead.
As in previous years, there were plenty of races over the holiday period to give Club members the opportunity to burn off the excesses of Christmas. Some travelled a distance to run in perhaps a regular favourite while others stayed local. Data shows that members of Athletics Ireland Clubs were quick to return to racing in 2022 but others that are not members of Clubs were more hesitant, leading to reduced entries in road races right across the Country. It didn’t affect the overall quality of road races, but we should still hope 2023 sees a full return to racing by everyone to keep the road race scene a vibrant and inclusive one.
Mullingar Harriers was out in good numbers at the Kilbeggan 6k on St. Stephen’s Day, an event that attracted a very respectable 263 entrants running in support of the Crumlin Children’s Medical and Research Foundation. For many taking part it was just an excuse to get away from the house for a few hours and burn off some of the Christmas dinner, but of course a race is a race and there’s always a competitive edge up at the front! The in-form Vinny Connolly won the race with a swift 18 minutes 35 seconds and was quickly followed in by Ian McCormack fourth (19:43), John Whitelaw fifth (20:02), James Keegan sixth (20:08) and Conor Sherwin seventh (20:28) with Conor placing first junior man. Packing in well behind was Enda O’Carolan (22:10) first in his master category, Kieran Nolan (22:23) second in his master category, Philip McCartan (22:42) third junior man, Enda Seery (22:50), Caoimhe Kilmurray (22:51) first junior woman, Tommy Byrne (25:53), Caroline Mullen (27:44) first in her master category, Aidan O’Donoghue (28:51), Martin Mullen (30:53), Annie Kilmurray (31:20) and Anna McCartan (33:25). It was great to see members of Mullingar Harriers out in good numbers to support a local race and also to support a great cause.
Fields of Athenry 10k
Eddie Newman ran his tenth consecutive “Fields of Athenry” 10k on St. Stephen’s Day, an annual and very popular event organised by Athenry AC that is widely regarded as one of the top road races in the country, so it was no surprise that it attracted a big entry of over 1,100. Eddie was very pleased to finish in 36 minutes 12 seconds, thirty third place overall and easily winning his master category. Also competing and enjoying their races in Athenry were Anna Broderick (48:46) and James Tierney (55:33).
Longford AC 5k
Over one hundred runners gathered at the new Longford AC building on St. Stephen’s Day for the Longford AC 5k, which took the runners along the bypass and finished again near the start. As expected, it was a very well-organized event, everyone enjoyed it and had a lot of fun, including Patrick Muldoon who was very satisfied to finish well up in sixteenth place in 19 minutes 48 seconds. After the race, and a good cool down, he retired to the Clubhouse for some refreshments and delicious food and of course some important post-race analysis with his fellow runners!
Christmas Medley Relay
Our Christmas Medley Relay took place at the club grounds last Tuesday morning (27 December). Teams of 4 took part with over varying distances of 1200m, 400m, 800m and 1600m, a good range of distances, so the running order was important to maximise the team result. After the first round of relays the teams resumed in round two, with the slowest team from round one starting and the start time for each team was set accordingly in reducing order to the fastest team from round one setting off last and chasing everyone else.
Following a trilling finale, the team of Murty Hanly, Catriona Kennedy, Kieran Nolan and Lorcan Mullen were first home. In total 10 teams completed the relays and there was a great mix of the regular masters group supplemented by younger family members. Refreshments were enjoyed by all at the conclusion of the event, with a voluntary contribution from each person providing a nice sum that is being donated to North Westmeath Hospice.
Ardagh 10 Mile and 5k
The New Year’s Eve running of the Ardagh 10 mile and 5k, took place in cold wet and overcast conditions on the roads around the picturesque Longford village. In the 10 mile race, 126 runners braved the elements and had to tackle “heartbreak hill” at 3k, which stretched for over 1km with a significant climb to challenge the hardiest of competitors. Mullingar Harriers had excellent performances from Michelle Bohan with 67 minutes 31 seconds, placing her second in the women race, with Jenny Algar’s 70:33 leaving her just missing the podium with a fourth place finish. Maura Dervin was very pleased with 70:46 in the trying conditions and won her master category, and she was followed in by Dara O’Shea (74:00) and John Bannon (81:44), both happy to come home well up in the field of 126 runners.
Eighty took part in the 5k race around the village and Kris Foster showed everyone a clean pair of heels winning in a very good time of 17 minutes 24 seconds on a difficult climbing course. There was also good running from Aidan O’Donoghue, Brigid McCabe and Nicky McCabe.
Tom Brennan 5k
Ian McCormack and Andrew Nevin rang in the New Year at the Liffey Valley AC “Tom Brennan” 5k in the Phoenix Park on New Year’s day. In very cold damp overcast conditions, Ian was very happy to cross the line in 16 minutes 15 seconds, finishing well up in fifteenth place of the more than 450 finishers, closely followed by Andrew Nevin (16:24) in seventeenth place.
Fit 4 Life returns
Our Fit 4 Life session resumes after the Christmas break at the club next Monday evening (9 January). The fee is €40 for the 10-week programme.
Membership for 2023
As we head into the New Year, adults and juveniles aged 12 years or older are asked to please renew their membership as soon as they can. If you’re not registered, you’re not insured and can’t train at the Club or take part in competition. Membership can be paid online though the Club’s website or any evening at training.
For the younger 8, 9, 10 and 11 year old boys and girls, we’ll be holding an open day at the Club on Saturday morning 14 January when membership for 2023 will be taken and they’ll return to training on Tuesday 17 January. Membership for these young boys and girls will be taken on a first come first served basis and when the groups are filled, we’ll take no more. Memberships for the youngest members will only be taken at the open day on 14 January and cannot be done online.
This year our underage members must compete for the Club in at least one event during the year, or they may be refused membership in 2024. There are several relatively low key events throughout the year to choose from, including the Westmeath Indoors in January (to be confirmed), the Midland Inter County T&F in May, the Westmeath T&F, the Westmeath Cross Country, as well as the various Leinster competitions.
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.