Westmeath Schools Cross Country 2021 (29th Sept)
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 on Wednesday 29th September, 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 HERE. 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 in the next week or two.