Eamonn McCormack, Siobhan Flaherty and Martin Marshall, T.E.A.M.; Berty Dunne, Annebrook House Hotel and MHM; Murty Hanly, race director; Terry Toal, AON; Conor O’Brien, Leinster Rugby; Sgt Roger Nicholson; Greg Duggan, Garrett O’Brien and Bobby Begley, Mullingar Harriers; Mary Hughes, T.E.A.M.; and Nuala-Anne Curley, secretary MHM.

Mullingar Half Marathon - have you got your entry in yet?

The AON Mullingar Half Marathon was launched by Mullingar man and Leinster Rugby player Conor O’Brien, in the Mullingar Town Park.

Conor was joined by his father, Offaly GAA star and Mullingar athlete, Garrett O’Brien.

The Mullingar Half Marathon, which is in its sixth year, takes place on St Patrick’s Day each year, starting on Pearse Street and finishing in the town park.

With some 1,600 participants and 20 countries represented in 2019, this annual event is a must-run for athletes of all abilities.

The volunteer committee is assisted by T.E.A.M. members, An Gardaí and is supported by Westmeath County Council.

The half marathon committee really wanted to develop a high class, gold standard half marathon and a race that appeals to both beginners and elite runners.

Named as one of the 21 best road running races in Ireland in 2019 by Outsider Magazine, it is run on a flat course through the countryside near Mullingar and the Royal Canal Greenway, ideal to achieve a personal best.

Murty Hanly, race director, who has been involved on the organising committee for a number of years, said: “Mullingar Half Marathon has it all, starting in Mullingar Town Centre, out to county roads, along the Royal Canal Greenway and finishing in Mullingar Town Park. Race HQ, car parks, the start and finish are all within 200m of each other. This is a must for your race calendar.”

Proud Mullingar Man Conor O’Brien is used to being put through his paces on the training ground and had this advice for anyone registered for the half marathon.

“Consistency and small steps in the right direction every day are key – success isn’t a straight line.

“You’ll have days where you don’t want to get up and train, but it’s about mentally winning that battle and getting out and training, and then when it comes down to it on the day, you will have confidence that you’ve done the work, get in form on the day and get through it.”

Garret O’Brien, having run the Mullingar Half Marathon a number of times, said for those thinking about registering it is decision time.

“If you have a bit of a base, then, absolutely, there is time. I think a fairly strict programme between now and the middle of March and ideally a bit of group training.

“If you can, fall in with a club like the Harriers or others around the town or in your locality.

“There is definitely strength in numbers and it does certainly bring on your running. You’ll train harder in a group than you will on your own.”

When asked if he remembers his father running the Mullingar Half Marathon, Conor said he “was there to watch him cross the finish line, there was great excitement in the house”.

“I’m a proud Mullingar man so it’s always great to see things like this in the town getting such great numbers.”

AON are title sponsors again this year and the organisers thank them for their continued support.

Terry Toal from AON said: “AON are pleased to reaffirm their sponsorship of the AON Mullingar Half Marathon for the upcoming St Patrick’s Day event and to renew our association with the excellent Half Marathon Committee led by Murty Hanly, race director.

“AON see engagement in this national event as an ideal vehicle to convey our commitment to staff, customers and the community at large in a positive and healthy pursuit while supporting a worthy charity.”

All proceeds raised from the half marathon go to local charity, T.E.A.M., and this is the fourth year working with them.

The support of their team to the voluntary half marathon committee has been excellent.

The committee also want to promote Mullingar as a destination for runners and families on St Patrick’s Day. Mullingar offers something for everyone – from outdoor activities to great food, accommodation, music and entertainment.

With the return of the Westmeath Bachelor Competition in 2020, Mullingar is the place to be this St Patrick’s weekend.

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