Westmeath Cross Country: Caoimhe Clarke (2nd), Rachel Murphy (1st), Orla Manning (3rd) – top three U14 girls.

Level 3 signals likely end of cross country for 2020

Enjoying a fine sunny morning for training in Belvedere last Sunday, on what should have been day 2 of the Westmeath cross country, it was hard not to ponder if we’ve seen the last of cross country competition this side of Christmas.

The country has moved to level 3 of the Plan for Living with Covid-19 for at least three weeks, during which no athletics competitions can take place, so we can’t hold day 2 of the Westmeath cross country and the Leinster cross country scheduled for the October bank holiday weekend cannot be held either.

If we manage to return to level 2 as planned after the bank holiday, and that’s a very big if, we hope to hold day 2 on Sunday November 1 and the Leinsters have been pushed out a week and re-scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15.

Together with the change in date, the Leinster programme has also been changed, and instead of the novice with the junior and juvenile even ages, the seniors will be held with the junior and juvenile even ages instead, to align with the programme for the first National cross country for senior, junior and juvenile even ages, assuming that competition can go ahead.

For now, training continues at the club grounds during the week and in Belvedere at the weekend under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

We learned last Friday evening of the sudden and unexpected death of Raheny Shamrock AC’s Pat Hooper, the current Chair of Athletics Leinster (and also Chair of the Dublin County Board).

Pat was a constant sight at events around the country for many years, volunteering his time as an official at everything from juvenile to masters championships, from indoor to outdoor, cross country to road.

In 1978 he represented Ireland at the European Championships marathon in Prague but winning the national title in 1979 with a personal best of 2:17 earned him his Olympic stripes and he competed at the Moscow Olympics in 1980 in the marathon.

As well as his role with Athletics Leinster, Pat was a long-serving member of Athletics Ireland’s competition committee. He will be sadly missed by the entire athletics community.

Our sincere sympathies to his daughter Bronagh, son David, his brother Dick (a three-time Olympian) and the extended Hooper family.

The evenings are closing in fast, so a reminder to all club members that they must wear reflective clothing when running on the road in the evenings. That includes all who use our club grounds and who run from the Clubhouse on training nights.

For the latest news, results and details of fixtures check the club’s Facebook page or the website at www.mullingarharriers.com.

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