Week ending Saturday 8th May
Mullingar Harriers returns to training
For the first time in four months, the Club was a hive of activity last Tuesday evening when we were delighted to see our younger juvenile members return to training. Everyone was assigned to a training pod of 15 and it was great to see so many pods all around the grounds from the outside gravel trail, to the sprint lanes, to the grass track, all busily training away. Everyone was excited to be able to get out and train with others for the first time in so long and even the very heavy rain shower halfway through the session didn’t seem to dampen enthusiasm. There’s another milestone next week when outdoor training for adults in pods of 15 is permitted, which will also benefit our older juveniles members, and it will be fantastic for all the members of the Club to be allowed to meet up again and train together in groups, after training in isolation for so long.
We hope the return to training marks the start of a better brighter year for athletics in the Club and Nationally. A lot of planning was needed to get to this stage, so we ask for your continued support by adhering to the rules around social distancing, cough etiquette, hand hygiene and no mixing between pods, as the coaches and Club officials work hard to get the Club back to normal. Only paid up members for 2021 can train at the Club, which means they are registered with Athletics Ireland and covered by its insurance. Membership is due every January. Thank you to all adult members and the parents of juvenile members who have renewed membership but if you have not renewed for 2021, please do so without delay so you can receive the link to pre-register for training and you can return to training too. No one can just turn up to training unannounced, everyone has to pre-register.
If you’re not in, you can’t win! We launched our fundraiser raffle last week and we’re asking all members and friends of the Club to get behind it and buy a ticket to be in with a chance of winning the top prize of €20,000 or one of the other 11 prizes on offer. The cost is €50 per ticket and the draw is limited to 2,000 tickets. You can purchase a ticket online at mullingarharriers.com/raffle. Please purchase a ticket and help Mullingar Harriers to deliver the new track.
Joan Flynn happy with sub-3 hour Virtual Marathon
Long distance virtual races are mentally much harder, with no fellow competitors and even spectators to help an athlete generate some extra adrenaline to help push them on, but Joan Flynn proved her mettle last Saturday morning when she ran the 2021 Virtual Great Limerick Marathon on country roads around Athlone. On paper, the weather was ideal for running, cool and nearly calm conditions, but midway through, the sun got very strong and it turned out to be very hot indeed. Joan finished in 2 hours 57 minutes, more than satisfied to run under the 3 hour mark during Covid times with no real races for so long and having really just ticked over for the last twelve months. Joan was very lucky to have great company though, as Maurice Looby also ran along with her, using it as a training run for his ultra training. Both were very appreciative of the great support they received from other runners they met along the way. This is not the first virtual marathon that Joan has run but she hopes it is the last and that there is a return to proper live races as soon as possible.
League Round 6 Results
Round 6 of the Virtual Medley Road League took place two week-ends ago and the results were compiled and the age-grading adjustments made and released last week. Apart from keeping our adult members focussed and motivated to train during lockdown, one of the purposes of the league was for everyone to chart progress over the months and the 3k run in round 6 was an ideal opportunity to compare it to the 3k run in round 1 in early February, 11 weeks before. Numbers taking part in round 6 were down slightly, but still well over 50 submitted a time. Nearly nine out of ten who ran both rounds 1 and 6 improved in round 6, which is really good. There was also about 10 best times recorded in round 6, some improving significantly. For those who fell off the wagon and dropped out of the league, we hope they can get back on board again as soon as possible, as group training is now back and we can look forward to the return of real races in the coming months.
Eddie Newman’s 3k time in round 6, when age-graded, stands as a “World class” performance, which is the second highest ranking in the Masters Athletics Age-Graded Calculator. Well done Eddie! No surprise therefore, that Eddie Newman was best of the men in round 6, ahead of Alan Crowley and Evan McCormack who turned in excellent performances too. Also with excellent results, Mary Stuart, Brigid McCabe and Aisling Corcoran were the best of the women. All in all, there were some great times posted and when compared to the last Leinster T&F Championship 3,000m, Mullingar ladies would have won medals across all master age groups and also at senior level. In fact, three of our senior women ran times fast enough to win a bronze in 2019 and 2018. Two of our master women would have run a Championship Best Performance at Leinster, so don’t simply write off or ignore Leinster T&F just because it’s not road running or cross country and you’re not familiar with it. Remember, it’s the same people you’d be running against whether it’s track or road or cross country.
League Round 6+1?
All along, the plan for the final round of the league was a 6k group run in Belvedere at the end of April but with Belvedere still closed and adults still unable to meet up for group training or runs then, that idea had to be abandoned. However, now that Belvedere is open again and adults can meet and train in groups of 15, how about a “bonus round” of 6k over two laps of Belvedere on Sunday morning next week (16th May)? We could borrow from the Olympics 2020+1, and call it round 6+1?
Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.