Mayo AC athletes put in strong performances in Clarinbridge

It was another winning weekend for Mayo AC over the Galway border. The Clarinbridge Charity 10k had more than 300 finishers led home by Steve McKeigue from Ferbane AC in 33:17 on a demanding course which included some 3km of forest trail. Mayo AC's Paddy O'Toole was third in 34:59, and TJ McHugh fifth overall in 36:05. Catherine Conway was fourth overall and first woman in a brilliant personal best time of 36:03. This was just one second better than her 36:04 second place at the Athenry 10k in Jan 2010.

Mayo AC getting ready to celebrate twenty five years

Tomorrow evening, December 1 in the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar, members, former members, families, friends and guests will all come together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Mayo Athletic Club. It all began in early 1988, when the senior sections of a number of clubs in the county amalgamated to form Mayo Athletic Club. This new club’s aims included the greater promotion and awareness of senior athletics within Mayo which could eventually lead to the club challenging the larger and longer established clubs for national honours. The club has gone from strength to strength over the past 25 years with some ups and downs as is the norm with any club, and today at the end of its first 25 years Mayo AC is a very vibrant club with about 150 members. It does not have an underage section but caters for people from 18 years with no upper age limit. It does not own any facilities of its own, but is lucky to be able to avail of existing facilities in the area that it covers.

Current chairman Michael McGrath has been involved in athletics since the mid seventies. He is full of enthusiasm about the club and its achievements to date. He says: “Despite the fact that our members are spread all over Co Mayo and many outside it, and also that many members follow their own training programmes, there is always a wonderful team spirit when we meet up at competition, also we have a wonderful club committee. In the past all the work was left to a few but now there a large number of people willing to take on various tasks for the good of the club.”

Michael McGrath was full of praise for all the club’s officers down the years. He also reflected on the enormous contribution of the late Padraic Cullina, one of the founding members, as an athlete coach, official, and event organiser. Padraic sadly passed away two years ago following a short illness but will always be remembered.

It is great to see that the iconic green and red vest of Mayo AC, launched in 2001, is now as recognisable on National days as that of Clonliffe Harriers and Donore Harriers and others which were established many years before. The club is always seeking new members and as Michael McGrath says, “We are not forcing people to do anything; instead we outline to them the opportunities that are there and assist them in every way we can to achieve their dream whatever that may be. Sometimes it’s about the medals won but it’s always about the friendships gained.”

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