Mayo AC celebrated their 25th Anniversary in style at a party night in the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar at the start of the month. A broad spectrum of members from the early days of the late '80s to the present time were among those enjoying the celebrations. It was a wonderful opportunity for old friends and rivals to meet again, run down memory lane, mix with the post millennium intake, and share training methods from the days of hand-written results sheets to today's racing menu where it's chips with everything. In tandem with the club's success, membership has grown from 30 odd in 1999 to over 140 in 2012.
Recognition was a big theme of the night. Certificates were presented reflecting the various contributions members have made to athletics in general and to the club in particular over the past quarter century. They included former officers of the club, members who represented Ireland, former winners of Mayo Sports Stars for Athletics, Fit4Life and others who made a 'unique' contribution over the years. The history of the club was presented using video, still photos and displays of memorabilia and newspaper cuttings where black and white graphically told of the nationwide exploits of the red and green vest and its predecessor in white. There were presentations too to 2012 winners of National medals. This year's Road League winners prizes were presented by Tom Lavelle, CEO C&C Cellular, who pledged their continuing sponsorship. Irish Runner Most Improved trophies were awarded to Pauline Moran and Noel Gibbons, and presented by editor Frank Greally.
Guest speaker Michael Ring, Minister of State for Sport and Tourism congratulated the club on their achievements over the 25 years and wished them every success in the future. Charlie Lambert and Ann Fahey Ronayne representing Mayo Sports Partnership acknowledged the continuing support of the club and their contribution to the development of athletics in the county.
National medals for Ballina athletes
Athletes from Ballina Athletic Club made the long journeys to Rathoath and Wexford for the National Senior, even and uneven ages Cross Country championships recently. Roger Barrett who was still recovering from his exploits in the Marathon where his team won a bronze medal competed in the Senior Men's 10,000m. He put in a great performance despite the very soft underfoot conditions to finish in 33rd place overall. Emma Loftus was in action in the u14 girls 3000m race in Rathoath and after a great race she finished in eighth place overall and won a bronze medal. Hugh Armstrong excelled again in the u19 boys 6000m in Adamstown, Wexford where he won an individual silver medal. This capped off a great year for Hugh. Other Ballina athletes who performed very well in Rathoath were: Bridget Mills, Caoimhe Loftus, Ciara Mullarkey, Maria Reilly, Clara Gardiner, Kayleigh Grace and Shannon Grace. Maria Reilly competed in the u13 girls race also in Wexford to finish in 20th place overall.