Martina O’Connor top of Mayo AC women’s leaderboard with a virtual mile in 5:35

The Irish Life Health Mile Challenge set out to see what county and club could take the prize of the fastest and fittest. The weeklong challenge started on Monday the August 17, the 35th year anniversary of when four of Ireland’s top milers, ran a 4×1-mile relay world record in Dublin.

Most runners found a track or suitable stretch of ground, completed their virtual mile, recorded their time and submitted it with digital evidence attached.
Athletics clubs who took part were in with a chance to win a €1,000 bursary by recording the fastest mile relay (men and women).
The County Mile Challenge offered an additional prize fund of €2,000 for fastest and fittest county.
1 submitted time accounted for 1 mile logged for athletics club and county.
Times were submitted up to 23:59 on August 23.
For context one mile is = 1609 metres so any previous pb at 1500 metres (the metric mile) will have relevance.
In addition the self selected terrain, track or road, weather conditions, pacing, and elevation was unique to each runner, unlike a competitive traditional race where everyone competes on the same course in the same conditions—which naturally doesn’t hold true for virtual events.
Most runners are looking forward to the day when distance races return in their most primal form, where racing is always about vying against your fellow, in-the-flesh competitors.
These virtual events – time trials – ultimately can’t confer the official validation of formalized races or be recognised as PBs.
Such validation may also be a practical necessity if you’re trying to qualify for a particular event.
For Mayo AC this was another initiative led Colette Tuohy, who invited fellow members to take up the challenge.
An excellent number – 37 men and women stepped up. They were among nearly 2,000 who submitted times.
John Byrne and Matt Bidwell (both M45) renewed rivalry – exercising virtual distancing on this occasion with John completing his mile five seconds faster and 19th overall.
John Brennan and Mike Griffin made up our best four men in the relay – all in top 50.
Martina O’Connor, our youngest member led the women’s times with an excellent 5:35 – 12th overall and two seconds ahead of Pauline Moran.
Pauline holds the national W60 1500m record at 5:42.50 achieved in 2019. Norah Pieterse and Colette Tuohy made up our leading four in the women’s relay team – all in top 20. Sara Doohan (Corran AC) was best from the West in 10th – 5:32.
Mayo county had a total of 56 – Westport AC 10, East Mayo AC 9 adding to our 37.
Our treasurer Brendan Murphy who was one of our 37 has just reported the good news that Mayo AC have won €500 as Connacht winners of the shared €2000 bursary assigned via an open draw for a club from the most active county.
Congratulations and well done to all!

Winners are:

Ulster: Letterkenny AC €500 (Donegal)
Leinster: Polish Runners Club Ireland €500 (Dublin)
Munster: Mallow AC €500 (Cork)

Connacht: Mayo AC €500 (Mayo).

The club winners were:
Women: Dublin City Harriers AC
Men: Togher AC
Mayo AC submitted times:
John Byrne 4:55
Matt Bidwell 5:00
John Brennan 5:14
Mike Griffin 5:15
Sean Hynes 5:20
Andy Neary 5:23
Tony O’Malley 5:24
Gerry Kirrane 5:33
John Gordon 5:35
Martina O’Connor 5:35
Pauline Moran 5:37
Norah Pieterse 5:39
Anto Devaney 5:39
James Duffy 5:42
Brendan Murphy 5:42
Colette Tuohy 5:44
Mark Basquille 5:44
Eamonn Joyce 5:44
David McGrath 5:46
Paula Donnellan Walsh 5:47
Padraic McVann 5:58
David McDermott 6:03
Edel Reilly 6:05
Kevin Donnellan 6:06
Eugene McCartan 6:11
Sheelagh McDonnell 6:37
Erika Ryan 6:38
Shane Timothy 6:38
Dee Corcoran 6:41
Claire Murphy 6:53
Martin Fitzmaurice 6:58
Laura Heneghan Willis 7:00
Angela McVann 7:12
Elaine Hession 7:17
Geraldine Murphy 7:17
Marcella McDonnell 7:47
Claire Charlton 10:34
For the record, in spite of the roughly equivalent 1500 metres race, the mile run is present in all fields of athletics and it remains the only imperial distance for which the IAAF records an official world record.