Record Breaker: Cian McPhillips got 2020 off to the best possible start with a blistering performance in the AAI Indoor League meet at the Athlone IT Arena on Sunday. Ten athletes took to the start line for the senior 1500m race of seven and a half laps of the 200m track. From the gun, John Fitzsimons (Kildare AC) set a fast tempo in his role as pacemaker. He churned out successive 30-second laps with Cian tucked in behind. The duo were closely followed by Conall Hayes (Le ChéileAC) and Kevin McGrath (Bohermeen AC) in the lead group. At 1200m, Fitzsimons stepped off to allow the trio battle it out for the closing stages. Cian immediately kicked for home and covered the final 300m in 44 seconds to record a winning time of 3:44.85 to claim victory by three seconds. His time set a new Irish Junior (under 20) indoor 1500m record by over a second breaking the previous record, set by Colin Costello, that had stood since 2005. The time was also the fastest by a junior athlete in Europe so far this year over the distance. It also placed 17-year-old Cian comfortably inside the ‘A’ qualifying standard for the World Junior Outdoor Championships which will be held in Kenya in July. Cian’s coach Joe Ryan was delighted with the race and even felt that Cian still had a little left in the tank at the end. Congratulations to Cian, Joe and Cian’s proud family on such a fantastic record-breaking performance achieved in the colours of Longford AC. His next race will be at the world famous Millrose Games in NewYork on February 8th. Representing his school, Moyne Community School, Cian will compete in the American High School Mile which will take place before the Wannamaker Mile at the 5,550-capacity Armory Arena.
Double Indoor Gold: AIT Arena was also the venue for Saturday’s AAI National Junior and U23 Indoor Championships where Yemi Talabi and Nelvin Appiah both won gold medals to make it a super weekend for Longford AC. Having won her heat earlier in the afternoon, Yemi claimed gold in the Junior Women’s 60m in a new personal best time of 7.57 seconds. The victory margin was a mere 0.01 of a second ahead of Patience Jumbo-Gula (Dundalk St. Gerards AC). Showing her versatility, Yemi also competed in the Long Jump where a jump of 5.31 metres earned her an excellent 5th place finish out of 19 entrants. Nelvin was also involved in a close battle in the Junior Men’s High Jump before securing gold after clearing a height of 2.03 metres. He earned the win on countback ahead of Geoffrey Joy-O’Regan (Sun Hill Harriers AC) who had also jumped 2.03m. Nelvin ‘doubled up’ as well and ran in the 60m Hurdles winning silver in a superb time of 8.27 seconds which was only 0.07 seconds off gold. Next up for Nelvin will be the Millrose Games where he will compete in the High Jump. Congratulations to Yemi and Nelvin in representing their families, our club and the county so well winning national medals over the past two weekends. Well done also to Aaron Kelly who put in fine performances in the men’s under 23 sprint distances of 60m and 200m.
Training: Juvenile training continues on Friday at 7pm on the astro pitch with Little Athletics taking place in the sports hall. As the Connacht Indoor Track and Field Championships are fast approaching on February 22nd / 23rd, it is important that all competing juvenile members (born in or before 2009) attend training on Friday in the Mall. Deadline for entries is February 7th. In advance of the championships, two training sessions will take place at the indoor track in Athlone IT on Saturday February 8th (1.30pm – 3.30pm) and Sunday February 16th (3.30pm – 5.30pm). Full details on www.longfordac.com. Cian, Yemi and Nelvin are blazing a trail for the next generation of young Longford athletes who are training hard for the Connacht Indoors. These young athletes realise that success at the Connacht’s is the first step on the way to successes such as the ones we have seen at the weekend.
Senior Members: The Tuesday evening coached sessions for members consist of 10 minutes warm up followed by a 30-40 minutes intervals workout finishing with a warm down. The session begins at 7pm at the Mall. This training is adapted to suit all levels of fitness. On Thursdays at 7pm at the Mall, the group run 5-8 miles at a comfortable pace. On Saturday morning, the group meet at the Mall at 8am for a longer run of 10+ miles. New members welcome.
Couch to 5k: The programme continues out of two separate locations – Longford town (The Mall) and North Longford (Moyne Community School). Walkers, joggers and runners are all welcome. Join us at the Mall on Mondays at 7.30pm and Saturdays at 8am. On Thursday mornings, our Operation Transformation Beginners run group meets at the Mall at 8am. Sessions in Moyne take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9.30am. The €30 per person fee includes full-year membership to Longford AC. Our club coach will conduct the sessions providing support and advice to help all participants in the lead up to the Longford 5k on March 1st.
Fundraiser Raffle: Many thanks to all individuals and businesses who have purchased tickets for the draw to raise funds for our proposed indoor facility. Tickets are still available from club members and can be purchased on our website www.longfordac.com. Be in with a chance to win the €20,000 first prize! The details of the draw date and the proposed site location will be announced soon. Thanks to all who gave up their time to sell tickets last weekend.
Schools Cross Country: Well done to the athletes from Mercy Ballymahon and Moyne CS who qualified for the Connacht championships taking place in February.
Road Race: The annual Longford 5km/10km road race will take place on Sunday March 1st. Online pre-entry at a reduced rate is now available on Pop Up Races. Registration will take place that morning in the Scouts Den building beside the Mall. More information can be found on our Facebook page.