Looking at our National statistics we can see that 15 members won Championship medals.
With over 80% of members in masters categories it’s not surprising that most of our medals were won in masters events.
Our fifteen members medals were made up of :
32 individual (17 Gold, 7 Silver, 8 Bronze),
4 team (1 Gold, 3 Silver), and
2 International (1 Gold,1 Silver) – helping Ireland win the overall title at last month’s British and Irish Masters International Cross-Country in Santry.
And we can add to that haul Pauline Moran’s two new National records at W65 10k and Half-marathon and her World Mountain Running W65 individual gold.
Pauline, Mags, Colette and other members of our wonderful ‘older women’! section duly kept our flag flying high!
Those 15 members will deservedly be recognised at the Annual Mayo Athletics County Board Awards in Ballina on January 22, 2023 which will be sponsored once again by Brendan and Julie Chambers.
And while the year was ‘a game of two halves’ in many senses, (it followed the cancellation of our 5k series among other plans) the positive outcomes of the second half were formed on a new framework of recovery, rebuilding morale, increased membership involvement and not least leadership – with John Byrne at the helm.
As an example, 25 members competed in the Mayo Co Board 10k Championships on a summer’s midweek evening at Killasser. There was a wonderful atmosphere around the Community Centre before and after the event.
That atmosphere was also clearly epitomised in the club’s successful inaugural Mayo AC Foxford 4 Miler in September. A strong planning team, well supported by sponsors, volunteers, and the local community, provided the club with a great morale boost that augurs well for the New Year – particularly if repeated in the planned resumption of our 5k series of six races in May/June.
It is always challenging to pick out individual members who have made major contributions to club development. Thankfully many continue to voluntarily provide services for the benefit of us all.
However, Colette Tuohy is popularly recognised as one member who contributes more than most, and is a great example to us all . Her energy, involvement, initiatives, and not least her regular chauffeuring services are well known. She leads one of our two weekly track training sessions, and one on cross-country jointly with Mike Griffin, as well as helping organise teams for county, regional and national championships. And competing herself!
We also have a very active sprinters group formed by Declan Owens with the support of the club. They have established regular training schedules under the guidance of experienced coach Dermot McDermott.
We were all shocked and saddened by the sudden death of Michael McNeela in October.
This morning’s low key but highly successful gathering on New Year’s Eve at the inaugural Michael’s Greenway Remembrance 5k was in his name.
As Colette Tuohy said before the start today it is where she often trained with Michael. It was an emotional day for all especially those closest to Michael’s family. A big thank you to Ann McDonnell who’s idea it was to have Michael’s vest, medal and number from Dublin Marathon framed and presented to his family.
As one member put it after the Greenway event “today was another big step forward into rebuilding morale within the club, unfortunately while the cause of today’s run was so sad, it’s still quite apt that Michael, in his quiet unassuming manner, is playing a positive role in this rebuild.”
It was great to see evidence of many new personal bests right throughout the year, both by new and long standing members.
Arguably ‘Performance of the Year’ was the brilliant 2:41 personal best by Eamonn Joyce in the Dublin National Marathon in October. Like many Eamonn has benefited greatly from weekly track sessions under coach Matt Bidwell at Claremorris. Further proof of the pudding – since the marathon he has run two 10k pbs.
And what more can we say about Sinéad Diver, our inspirational elite global star, that has not already been reported on these pages?
Well, this then – her 2:21.34 Maratón Valencia finish earlier this month is listed 48th in the world in 2022 according to World Athletics. There are only two European athletes ahead of her on their women’s list – 13th Joan Chelimo Melly of Romania and 23rd Lonah Salpeter Israel, both born in Kenya.
That’s some achievement by the Belmullet native.
World Athletics have just published
qualifying times for the 2024 Paris Olympics with a marathon qualifying window November 2022 to April 2024. The time set for the women’s marathon is 2:26.50.
This is just a short subjective snapshot review of the year just ending. On its evidence we can surely look forward with optimism to another successful year for the club in 2023.
Our sport has so much to offer – as well as improved fitness and mental well-being, opportunities to try out new disciplines, new distances, in new places – all with the goal of achieving higher, faster, longer targets.
However, it is the social aspect which can be the most fruitful and rewarding – opening doors to new friendships and opportunities.
Mayo AC encourage all members to renew registration for 2023, and also welcome new members to join and experience first hand the joy of athletics.
Happy New Year!
And above all – have fun!