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

Week ending Saturday 9th October


Westmeath Schools Cross Country makes a very welcome return!

Cancelled last year due to Covid-19, the Westmeath Schools Cross Country made a very welcome return to Belvedere last Wednesday, an indication perhaps that things are slowly getting back to normal and hopefully the worst of the Covid pandemic is behind us. That said, there were still some restrictions in place and the use of face coverings and hand sanitiser was in evidence in line with public health advice.

In between two wet and miserable days, we were very lucky to catch a good weather window and the event took place in lovely mild and dry conditions. It really wasn’t a surprise that numbers taking part were well down on previous years, but smaller numbers didn’t make the competition any less keen, and certainly didn’t dampen the enthusiasm and excitement of the girls and boys from schools right across Westmeath that did attend. Most schools still sent some children, even if fewer than in previous years, and it was great to see some additional schools taking part that had never taken part before and feedback from their teachers and parents was very positive and they’re already looking forward to coming again in 2022. Smaller numbers means we struggled to meet the fixed costs of holding the event, such as the hire of temporary toilets, public address, ambulance and first aid cover, and of course lots and lots of medals, so we’re extremely grateful to Westmeath County Council for their generous “Festivals and Events” grant, without which we could have made a substantial loss.

The grounds in Belvedere looked beautiful and underfoot conditions were great for running. The hard work put in by volunteers from the Club in setting up the course meant that everything was ready on the day. It was great to see the enthusiasm in the competitors from the youngest first class pupil to the eldest sixth year students, cheered on by teachers and parents. The event is still very popular and we hope that schools and parents will continue to support it in future years. We are indebted to the many volunteers, members and friends of Mullingar Harriers, who turned up to help officiate and make the day a success.

Sincere thanks also to the Westmeath Civil Defence who were on hand in good numbers to look after any first aid needs with their customary professionalism. The management and staff at Belvedere House and Gardens were also of great help in organising the day at a venue that is ideal for hosting such an event and the grounds came in for particular praise from the teachers and parents that attended. Thanks too to the local Gardaí who attended and ensured traffic entered and exited Belvedere safely, particularly important given the major road works being carried out on the N52 right outside Belvedere. Finally, our thanks to the teachers and schools for competing and ensuring that the event continues to be one of the most eagerly awaited sporting events on the calendar for those of school going age in Westmeath.

The Primary school top 20 individual finishers and team scores and the Secondary schools top 10 individual finishers are available on the Club’s website www.mullingarharriers.com. Congratulations to all who took part and as usual, the standard of competition was extremely high and medals were hard won for all the competitors. Team medals will be distributed to the schools this week or next.

Great competition at Athletics Westmeath Cross Country

Heavy overnight rain gave way to a clear dry bright morning with perfect conditions for day one of the Athletics Westmeath Cross Country Championships in Belvedere last Sunday. Competition was for boys and girls under 8, 10, 12, 14, 16 and 18 years. In contrast to the recent Westmeath Schools Cross Country, which attracted a larger number of runners and spectators, the Athletics Westmeath cross country was a very much quieter affair though the numbers taking part were up on last year, including some from AIT AC and some guest runners from Longford AC, in fact, numbers were back on a par with the years before Covid-19, which is an encouraging sign. There was great competition in each race and performances were very encouraging in the older age groups in particular, where the focus was on places on Club and County teams at the Leinster Cross Country Championships.

There were a good number of newcomers that had run in the Westmeath Schools Cross Country and if not members of a Club they’re strongly encouraged to join their nearest Club. The boys and girls that ran in the non-Championship under 8 and under 10 races really enjoyed themselves and were delighted with their medals, one for everyone that finished. Moving to the Championships proper, the race distances were longer than in the Westmeath Schools but that was no problem for those that have been training regularly. The course in Belvedere is a great test of cross country endurance and those that train there regularly will have no problem with any course at the Leinsters.

There were some very good individual performances but Championship cross country is also about team running, so everyone was being closely watched by Club officials, particularly the newcomers. The results of both days will be used to select teams to represent the Club and Westmeath in the upcoming Leinster Championships. The results of the men and women races this Sunday will also be used to select Club and County teams for the Leinster Championships, so all adult members that want to run in the Leinster Championships must run this Sunday.

Competition this coming Sunday morning will be for boys and girls under 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19 years of age, and for men and women junior, novice, senior and master. The first race will be at 11am so the younger runners should be in Belvedere before 10.30am to get ready and know where they have to run. The Athletics Westmeath Cross Country is an open competition and you don’t have to be a member of a Club to take part, so everyone who took part in the schools cross country is very welcome to compete.

The Leinster Championships take place over two days, with two weeks between each, so juvenile athletes can run in their own age group and can move up an age group to make up teams. Therefore, we expect all juveniles to compete on both days of the Westmeath Championships unless ill or injured or they might be disappointed if not selected.

Thanks to all who helped last Sunday recording the results and stewarding on the course, to the many parents who came and supported the competitors, and to the management and staff of Belvedere for the use of the excellent grounds.

The results from day one are:

Under 8 girls 500m – 1. Lauren Smith, 2. Roisin Dalton, 3. Chloe Clear, 4. Emma Gill, 5. Emily Coyne, 6. Anna Clune, 7. Helen McGrath, 8. Olga Turlocov, 9. Mia Barry, 10. Roisin Keane, 11. Maisie Walsh, 12. Aoibhe Barry. Under 8 boys 500m – 1. Mel Bohan, 2. Cillian Harmon, 3. Senan Seery, 4. Rory McDonald, 5. Henry Mulligan, 6. Finn Barry, 7. Senan Clinton, 8. Callum Coyne, 9. Luke Wallace, 10. Cian McDonald, 11. Fionn O’Connell, 12. Niall Leavy. Under 10 girls 1,000m – 1. Chloe Bell (MHAC), 2. Penny Bohan (MHAC), 3. Clodagh Keane (MHAC), 4. Keeva Manning (Longford AC), 5. Amelie Kelly (MHAC), 6. Isabelle Mulligan (MHAC), 7. Michelle Wallace (Dysart), 8. Katie Bohan (MHAC), 9. Emily McDonald (Gainstown), 10. Aoife Gouldsbury (MHAC), 11. Ellen Gallagher, 12. Orla Casey, 13. Alice Hyland (MHAC), 14. Hannah O’Brien (MHAC), 15. Maria Gouldsbury (MHAC), 16. Lily McDonald (MHAC), 17. Alannah Reihill (MHAC), 18. Kate O’Donoghue, 19. Caoimhe Farrell, 20. Lily Archbold (MHAC), 21. Caoimhe Gill, 22. Caoimhe Shanley (MHAC), 23. Ailish Nohilly, 24. Saoirse Peters (MHAC), 25. Tilly Eivers (MHAC), 26. Anna Maye Miller (MHAC). Under 10 boys 1,000m – 1. Cillian Coghlan (AIT), 2. David Canning (MHAC), 3. Myles Thornton Sleator (MHAC), 4. Alex Sochanski (MHAC), 5. Harry Flanagan (MHAC), 6. Gareth Glennon (MHAC), 7. Jamie Clear (Dalystown), 8. Seamus Clarke (MHAC), 9. Tom O’Connell (MHAC), 10. Sean Clune (Delvin), 11. Rory Corcoran (AIT), 12. Aaron Smith, 13. Adam Hardiman (Whitehall), 14. Eoin Sullivan (The Pigeons). Under 12 girls 2,000m – (Sophia Carey (Longford AC – guest runner), 1. Lily Walsh (MHAC), Alisha Manning (Longford AC – guest runner), 2. Lisa O’Brien (MHAC), 3. Laura Fox (AIT), 4. Lucy Kilmurray (MHAC), 5. Lila Dalton (Coralstown), 6. Beibhinn O’Reilly (MHAC), 7. Aoibheann O’Dowd (AIT), 8. Orlaith Clarke (MHAC), 9. Orla Nohilly, 10. Emily Collentine (MHAC), 11. Isabel McDonald, 12. Caitlin Peters (MHAC), 13. Molly Thornton Sleator (MHAC), 14. Casey O’Sullivan. Under 12 boys 2,000m – 1. Cillian Galvin, 2. Darren Corcoran (MHAC), 3. Scott Cogan (MHAC), 4. Ben Loughlin, 5. Aaron Wallace, 6. Greg McDonnell (MHAC), 7. Zack O’Leary (MHAC), 8. Oisin Clarke (MHAC), 9. Patrick Gill (Delvin), 10. James O’Connor (Dysart), 11. Jack Geoghegan (MHAC), 12. Cormac McGrath (MHAC), 13. Aonghus O’Reilly (MHAC), 14. James McHugh. Under 14 girls 3,000m – 1. Tianna O’Leary (MHAC), Rachel Keenan (Longford AC – guest runner), 2. Eleanor Kiernan (MHAC), 3. Kirstin So (AIT), 4. Lydia McDonnell (MHAC), 5. Muireann Reihill (MHAC), 6. Blathnaid Peters (MHAC), 7. Sadhbh Carey (MHAC), 8. Síofra O’Reilly (MHAC), 9. Marianne Molloy (AIT), 10. Mia Farrell (MHAC), 11. Rachel Gouldsbury (MHAC). Under 14 boys 3,000m – 1. Matthew Molloy (MHAC), 2. Luke Greene (MHAC), 3. Niall Brady (MHAC), 4. Conor Walsh (MHAC), 5. Rory McCaul, 6. Conor Geoghegan (MHAC), 7. David Reilly (MHAC). Under 16 girls 4,000m – 1. Caoimhe Kilmurray (MHAC), 2. Grace Byrne (MHAC), 3. Leah Geoghegan (MHAC), 4. Jessica Cunningham (MHAC), 5. Rachel Murphy (MHAC), 6. Síofra O’Halloran (MHAC), 7. Caoimhe Donohue (MHAC), 8. Muireann Donohue (MHAC), 9. Fodhla Corroon (MHAC). Under 16 boys 4,000m – 1. Conor Sherwin (MHAC), 2. Jamie Wallace (MHAC), 3. Philip McCartan (MHAC), 4. David Burke (MHAC), 5. Pablo Lozano (MHAC), 6. Donagh Carey (MHAC). Under 18 girls 4,000m – 1. Phoebe Bate (MHAC), 2. Aisling Lane (MHAC), 3. Amy Geoghegan (MHAC). Under 18 boys 6,000m – 1. Ross Killalea (MHAC), 2. Andrew Glennon (MHAC), 3. Conleth Mullen (MHAC).

Excellent run by Joan Flynn at Belfast Marathon

After a two year absence, the Belfast City Marathon returned last Sunday with a big entry of nearly 6,000 taking part. The AAI National Marathon Championship is normally run in conjunction with the Dublin City Marathon, but as Dublin was cancelled this year, the Nationals were incorporated into the Belfast Marathon. Nearly 800 were entered in the National event, among them Joan Flynn, the sole representative from Mullingar Harriers. Because entry was limited in the National event, it was a Senior Championship only, with no master categories, but that didn’t deter Joan and she focussed on simply running as well as possible, medals or not.

Starting at Stormont Estate and finishing in Ormeau Park, the route took in North, South, East and West Belfast and the weather stayed clear for the duration, which is always a welcome bonus when undertaking the 26.2 miles classic distance. Joan put in a great effort and stuck to her pre-race plan to finish 188th place overall in 2 hours 58 minutes 53 seconds, yet another terrific sub-3 hour result. Considering that the women’s National senior title was won in 2 hours 43 minutes, Joan has to be very satisfied with her performance.

10k PB for Linda Cunningham in Galway

One of the most scenic races in Ireland, “Run Galway Bay” made a very welcome return to the race calendar last Saturday morning, with a marathon, half marathon and 10k on offer. The 10k course started at Nimmo’s Pier at the Claddagh, headed along closed road through the heart of Salthill as far as the camping park, turned down towards the sea and returned via the back of the Golf Club and along the promenade, out and back a stretch of the Causeway, and back to the Claddagh again, a flat fast course. Delighted to take part with nearly 800 others was Linda Cunningham, and with a strong sprint finish, covered the distance in 46 minutes 15 seconds, a new personal best.

Road Safety

The evenings are closing in fast, so a reminder to all Club members that they must wear reflective clothing when running on the road in the evenings. That includes all who use our Club grounds and who run from the Clubhouse on training nights.

Check the Club’s website at www.mullingarharriers.com or its Facebook page for all the latest news.