2020 – recognising winners in a world turned upside down

The nature of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the cancellation of some of the most powerful cultural forces needed to see many people through  months of restrictions and isolation.

 For most people the cessation of their weekly dose of sport will impact them personally. Big events, such as the Olympics, will be missed, but it is the daily and weekly fix, rather than one-off events, that probably take the greatest toll.

Like all Irish sporting events during 2020, the National athletics championships were severely affected.

Over the year just ended Athletics Ireland show results from nineteen competitions ranging from juvenile to masters. In 2019 fifty-seven competitions were completed.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, our end of year party which usually celebrates championship medal winners did not take place.
Mayo Athletics County Board plans to hold their Annual Awards which usually take place in early February are also on hold.
The number of County Mayo athletes who won National medals in 2020 is much reduced. However, a suitable date to recognise 2020 achievements will be sought if Covid-19 restrictions allow.
Meantime we can ‘virtually’ celebrate and recognise the achievements of Mayo AC in 2020. Congratulations to these national medal winners at three competitions:
National Masters Cross Country at Avondale in February:
Norah Newcombe Pieterse
Colette Tuohy
Pauline Moran
Angela O’Connor
Alacoque Donnellan
And in various Masters Track and Field events at
AIT Indoors in March/ and September at Outdoors Morton Stadium:
Pauline Moran
John Brennan
Mike Griffin
Martin Peyton
Patrick Moran
Norah Newcombe Pieterse
Paula Donnellan Walsh.
In early March there was just time for one race in the 2020 club league – Carnacon 8k. (Referred in error as Carramore in early edition).
The 2020 5k series barely got to the planning stage before Lockdown 1 occurred.
Some members got motivated to continue training by completing various distances in virtual events.
And when collective training is suspended many avail of the sessions – endurance, speed, pyramid, and threshold – which continue to be provided by coach Matt Bidwell.
One local live race that did go ahead was the Charlestown 10k in September.  A number of members competed there and Norah Newcombe won the women’s race in an exciting finish ahead of Sara Doohan (Corran AC).
And in early October the County cross country championships were held on a very wet Sunday in Swinford.
Given the current scenario nationwide it’s hard to say when athletics competitions will resume.
Against the Covid-19 background, we have seen wall-to-wall live TV of various outdoor close contact events and aligned celebrations go ahead across the country over the past three months.

The most recent Covid-19 update from Athletics Ireland says “As a non-contact, outdoor sport we believe that we can facilitate safe training and competition in a gradual and structured manner within government guidelines. ”

And ..

“We all want a return to competition for all as soon as possible and we are all frustrated by some of the inconsistent government decisions in regard to a return to sport.”

We accept that sport continues to provide the public with ‘diversion’ and ‘entertainment’.
Through training and competing we can vent our frustrations, experience individual and collective joy and success, raise our spirits and return home after events happier with our lot.
Let’s hope we get back there soon in all areas of athletics competition – road, cross country and track and field.
You can look back at detailed results from the 2020 events referenced above (and more) on this website.

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