Callow 6k – blessed are the pacemakers

Submitted by Tom Hunt

It is not often that the finishing line of a race is at the door of a
church. It is equally rare that post race refreshments are served
inside a church.

Both of these things happened¬† at the conclusion of Swinford AC’s
successful value for money Harvest Series on 21st September. The
Callow 6k was put on as an extra race to the six mid-week evening
races around East Mayo. Runners were warned that the course was
‘hilly’. Yes, it was a tough 6k – the major climb was from 4-5 and was
followed by quad bursting penitential downhill to the finish line –
gasping at the door of St Thomas’ Church and ..holy water. Anto
Devaney finished first just ahead of Brendan Gill. This series was for
many an oasis of sanity amid the maelstrom of ‘events’ that has
cluttered, conflicted and confused the racing calendar in recent
times. Common sense demands that some form of regulation is needed.
One local athletics columnist has highlighted the loss of funding to
Athletics Ireland due partly to this factor and which could be used for much needed development. He also remarked on the number of “cowboy outfits, often without permits, putting on races and charging extortionate entry fees”.

All credit to Swinford AC and to the local community in Callow for a fine spread of refreshments among the pews.

Visitors to this church can admire the work of Harry Clarke Studios in the stained glass window depicting St Patrick in the nave. It is best seen as the early morning sun streams through- check with Evelyn Cusack. All around Mayo there are many such windows designed by Harry Clarke (1889-1931) and the studios he founded, You can check them out at

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