The AAI National Half Marathon 2012 which is being hosted by Athenry AC may be still ten weeks away, but Mayo AC have just launched an exciting plan which aims to see the club having both its strongest and largest team ever competing at a national event. The race takes place on Sunday September 2nd. It is one of the major fixtures in the annual road racing calendar and is being held in the West of Ireland for the first time in a number of years. Hundreds of runners and joggers of all levels from athletic clubs all over Ireland are expected to compete.
Michael McGrath, Chairman of Mayo AC says “We aim to have as many members as possible there on the day – elite runners, club runners, fit4life members. We are also setting a target of winning team medals in all six categories – senior men and women, men and women over 35 and over 50. We also want to hear from people in the Mayo area who would like to join our club and be part of the team For many it will also be the stepping stone for that other “major” the AAI National /Dublin Marathon two months later at the end of October.”
John Byrne, Irish International ultra runner and leading Mayo AC male athlete for many years is looking forward to the event and aiming to lead the Senior Men into the medals for the first time at this distance. “Our best performance to date in this race was a few years ago when we finished 4th. I feel with all the talent we have and if we get our strongest team to the start line we can at least go one better this time. It is a wonderful opportunity with the event being held so near to us here “, he said.
Mayo AC Secretary and leading female athlete Mary Gleeson, who set a PB of 79.19 for the distance in Waterford last year, is equally enthusiastic. She also thinks that if the Senior Ladies team – bronze medallists last year – can be at full strength they would have a great chance to regain the National team title they last won in 2010. Mary has great memories of the 10k National championships held in Athenry in early 2008, when the Senior Women’s team of herself, Catherine Conway and Caroline Conway, won their first ever national medals when they won team bronze.
Ann McDonnell, a Fit4Life Team Leader with Mayo AC said recently ”I think the club would benefit hugely from having a large entry of Fit4Life members in the National Half Marathon. They have a lot to offer the club and being part of a big team on a day like this would be wonderful experience for all”.
While there will be a big emphasis on winning individual and team medals in Athenry, this is an open invitation to all club members across the spectrum to be part of the team and to wear the distinctive Mayo AC vest with pride. Entries will not be finalised until mid August. Members planning or even considering running, are asked to confirm by text (including their name) to club Secretary Mary Gleeson on 087 4130889 by Sunday July 1st at latest, to allow time for the club to put in place support and training plans for all involved.