Mayo athletes come to the fore at half marathon championships

Athletics

There were great scenes of celebration at Athenry on Sunday as Mayo AC's National Half Marathon team had huge success winning medals in three team categories and eight individual medals. The club brought a record 31 runners to the race and 13 of them came home with medals - a great result. For once AAI came up with the results on the day and a delighted Michael McGrath was able to present most of the booty at the team's HQ.

Their success was brilliantly book-ended, from John Byrne claiming an eighth overall finish in a time of just over 71 minutes and claiming third in the o35 section, to Tom Waldron who reclaimed the o70 gold he won a few years ago in Ballybofey. John Byrne's run epitomised the day. He sat in with the pace in a group and when it thinned out towards the end he responded with a strong fast finish, inspiring TJ McHugh the second Mayo AC second finisher and Gerry Galvin who was just outside his PB, to team o35 bronze.

The whole team seemed to thrive on the championship challenge. Ann Lennon led the masters’ o35 to gold with a consistently strong run from gun to tape. Mary Gleeson raced very competitively to earn her silver o35. Newcomer Henry Hughes ran confidently and looked the part in red and green. Brendan Hession was the club’s fourth finisher and beat his PB by two minutes which will give him a huge boost. Billy Gallagher was in great form leading the o50s to bronze, well supported by Michael O'Malley and Jimmy Feeney.

Tony Gleeson won the internal battle holding off Christy O'Malley in the final yards. Sarah Syron ran a PB, a great reward for dedicated training. The senior teams missed out this year but they will return to win on another day. A great day for Mayo AC at the championships and just reward - well done to all the runners and congratulations to the medal winners. They do not have to wait for the final.

Ballina Athletic Club 10k Road Race next weekend

The 23rd Ballina Athletic Club 10k Road Race will be held in Ballina this year on Sunday, September 16, starting at 3pm This is also race six of the Mayo AC road league so competition should be very keen. All of the adult and u19 competitions have cash prizes. There will be cash prizes for the first four in the men’s and ladies’ competition, the first two in the o35s, first two in o40s, and first in o45, o50, o60, o70, first three fit for life, first u19 in boys’ and girls’ sections. The entry fee for the race is €20 for adults, €5 for u19s and down. Registration, assembly, and changing facilities will be at the Ballina Sports and Leisure Centre from 1.30pm.

This race is one of the main fundraisers for Ballina Athletic Club and the profit from same helps with the ongoing running of the club. The club caters for more than 250 athletes and host many Mayo and Connacht track and field and cross country competitions every year.

First Charlestown 10k a big success

The inaugural Charlestown 10k (in aid of the Charlestown Bellaghy and District (CBD ) Sports Complex ) took place on Saturday and proved to be a brilliant success. The organising team led by Christina Duffy put on a great event, assisted by a wide range of generous local sponsors, an excellent band of volunteers, plenty of refreshments, and a first class goody bag and medal for all the finishers.

The AAI measured loop course was well marshalled, with the first and final kilometre going through the town centre. Conditions were good but there was a stiff breeze to contend with from the 6k mark on the old N5 to the finish. Leitrim based Breege Connolly (North Belfast ) led the field out over the first 8k. Local man David Tiernan made his move then to finish first in a time of 35:51 with Breege Connolly 12 seconds back and second overall. Connolly ran a 10k PB in the Flora Mini Marathon in June in 35:41, and a 2:40 marathon in Rotterdam in the spring. There were notable performances from Mayo AC runners, Noel Gibbons in third, Hugh Duffy ran a great time of 38.16 to finish first M50 and sixth overall, and Anne Marie Staunton showed good form in 46:51.

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