May Day, new beginnings and preview
So it’s May Day – Lá Bealtaine – a big day in the Celtic calendar, and a significant one in our club. We celebrate a record membership and appropriately this week-end it’s now made up of almost 60% women. We wish all our runners in the West of Ireland Women’s Mini Marathon (10k) the best of luck on Sunday in Castlebar. There’s going to be a big turnout from the club on the start line at the Mall. It’s their time also to celebrate the growing participation of women in sport and in athletics in particular.
One of them will be Norah Newcombe, who officially joins us today. Both Michael Loftus and Norah have transferred from Ballina AC. We are delighted to welcome them to Mayo AC. We wish all the best to Francis Cryan who is transferring to Westport AC.
Norah’s success over various distances is marked by some excellent pbs: 2:48:35 marathon, 78:20 half, and 36:07 10k. Her podium finishes in recent times including a Run for Boylo 10k win in 37:02 last Sunday have been well documented here and she will be a great addition to our women’s teams. She says she is delighted to be joining the club and looking forward to being part of the women’s team in the next championship event. That’s the AAI National Half Marathon and it’s just 13 weeks away on Sunday 2nd August in Dublin (details on event calendar).
Norah won a bronze individual senior medal in the race last year. Mayo AC have achieved considerable success at both Senior and Masters level in this event and expectations are high again this year.
Meanwhile, Norah will be competing for the first time on Sunday in Mayo AC colours and in her first West of Ireland Mini Marathon. She joins our two times winner of the event Colette Tuohy among the leading contenders. They will have an in-form Regina Casey (GCH) for company. Like Norah, Regina has some excellent times recently for 10k and a 18:00 5k time from the first Galway 5k series race in Athenry on Tuesday night. Regina and Norah will also be renewing rivalry from their days in schools competition. Favourite for the event is probably Lizzie Lee (Leevale AC) also a past winner, who ran 34:18 for 2nd place in the National 10k three weeks ago. Our other runners will be in contention for top twenty places, 10k personal bests, and for all the age category prizes. It should be a great sight to see them streaming down Main St towards the finish arch on the Mall on Sunday afternoon. We’ll be reporting on their performances and achievements here when results are published.
May Day also marks the official opening of the Ballina AC newly refurnished track. Congratulations and best wishes to them from Mayo AC. It is in a wonderful setting adjacent to Belleek Park and woods, and will be a great amenity for the town and the whole region. We look forward to availing of the excellent training facilities there which are to IAAF standard.