Tullamore Harriers Club Report 26th April 2021

A new President!
Tullamore Harriers Athletic Club is overjoyed to announce that our inspirational club member Mr John Cronin has been elected as the  President of Athletics Ireland. It is a dream come true for John but also a historic day for his club.
The announcement was made following the Athletics Ireland Congress which was held virtually via zoom on Saturday with an attendance of delegates from various athletic clubs nationwide.  When we spoke to John during the week, he gave us an account of his road to the presidency. A journey that has spanned over many years and a journey of intense work and incredible dedication to athletics.  To reach the peak of any career takes great perseverance and commitment and the President elect of Athletics Ireland certainly has been practicing both qualities for a long long time. John possesses the qualities and expertise to grow and develop the sport of athletics in Ireland and further afield. 
He will serve in the prestigious role for an initial term of two years and succeeds Ms Georgina Drumm who has served as President for the past 5 years. John has been Deputy President of AAI since 2016. 
John who hails from Downings, Co Donegal, has devoted a lifetime to athletics.  At the age of 13 he was on the winning team in his secondary school cross country competition. This was possibly the foundation of  his athletic calling.  Following in the footsteps of his brother Pat, he joined his local athletic club – Glenree Ac and at the age of 16 he won the Donegal Novice Road Race championships.  John continued to shine in both middle distance and track taking many county, provincial and national titles while still living in his native Donegal: 
He won the Donegal Novice Cross Country and is the holder of gold and silver National cross country team medals. 
He has 2 Senior Ulster 800m titles and was team member on the Ulster Senior Relay winning squad on both 4×100 and 4x 400m.
He has National Bronze U15 800m, Gold U16 800m and Silver U17 800m and Bronze 4 x800m relay.
In 1976 John was awarded the BLE (Bord Luthchleas na hEireann) Donegal Sports Star of the Year.
John left Donegal to study Engineering in University College Galway where he was soon elected to the Chair and Captaincy of the University Athletic Club. He raced on the 4 x100m and 4x 400m university teams and was on the winning cross country squad in 1979. 
After graduating from UCG John was employed by Burlington Industries and was initially based in Longford (Atlantic Mills) in 1982. (Incidentally, in September 1982 while John was still based in Longford, he was enrolled for a 2 week training course in the Burlington Plant in Tullamore but due to the legendary All Ireland victory for Offaly against Kerry, the training was quickly put on hold due to more pertinent activities –  the All Ireland celebrations!!).
John commenced work in Tullamore in Jan 1983 and so began his long and faithful affiliation with Tullamore Harriers. He immediately built a very special bond with the then Honorary Secretary of Tullamore Harrers – Mr Paddy Larkin. John recalls Paddy’s charisma, work ethic and devotion to the club, while displaying huge respect and support  to all in his path. John describes Paddy as his mentor and is ever proud of their unique relationship. He feels blessed to have met Paddy and pays huge tribute to all the founding members of Tullamore Harriers and indeed to the existing members for their encouragement and unrelenting support. 
John settled in Tullamore since 1983 apart from a 6 month period working in the USA and from the start, he became heavily involved with his new adopted club. He served many officer roles in the club, PRO in 1986,  men’s captain in 1987 and was elected club chairman on two separate occasions the first in 1988 for one year  and then a 21 year term from 1997 to 2018. It was in 2018 that John made the inevitable decision to step down from the chair due to his increasing National and International commitments. John until last year was never off the club committee and has always showed 100% support and interest to club activities. 
John had a car accident in 1984, resulting in whiplash and thus curtailing his competitive athletic career. John was then attracted to the role of officiating but he continues to line out in the blue and white and has represented the club in every event except the Pole Vault and Steeplechase.  Despite his extremely busy workload John will always make time to attend club activities wherever possible and shows genuine interest in performances of all members. He is forever approachable if there is any query regarding competition of event management. His attention to detail is remarkable and the club is indebted to him. 
 
John became involved with National athletics from 1987 and since then has made a huge impression with his dedication and knowledge. He was elected onto the Management Committee of BLE in 1998 and was the very 1st Chairman of Leinster Athletics. He was elected onto the board of Athletics Ireland in 2012 as the Leinster Representative and in 2016 was the Chair of Competition which he has held to date. In 2013 John was Competition Director for the 2013 European Team Championships and Competition Director for Ireland’s bid to host the 2017 European Cross Country. Ireland will host the 2021 European Cross Country Championships later this year in Dublin and again John played a huge part in securing this prestigious event.
John became a European International Technical Official in 2005, officiating at multiple European athletic meets including Chief International Technical Official at the European Team Championships Super League in 2010, European Junior Championships in 2011,  European Technical Delegate at the 2013 U23 Championships and at the European U23 Championships in 2015.He served as ITO at the European Senior Outdoor Championships in  2016 and in 2018. 
Following intense learning and 5 sets of stringent exams , John was promoted to  world athletics when he was elected as  an IAAF International Technical Official in 2013 was elected onto the IAAF Technical Committee in  2015 and has officiated at some major European and International athletics events since then. The Technical Committee manages World Athletics rules and regulations – they have responsibility for competition rules, stadiums and facilities, equipment including technology and implements. 
John was appointed to the Jury of Appeal and will officiate at the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo in July. This is his first Olympics to officiate at. To reach the standards required to preside at the pinnacle of world athletics is again another testament of John’s unwavering commitment to the sport. 
John was granted the Offaly Sports Lifetime Contribution award in 2016 and the Offaly Athletics’ Life Time President Award in 2019.
 
He is truly deserving of this honour and will possibly never realise how proud we all are of his triumph. He is inspirational and we wish him the very best in his new role and again congratulation on his achievements to date. When asked how he manages to balance all the demands on him he simply replied – “my passion and love of sport makes it work”.
Huge Congratulation John. 
 
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A message from club chairman : 
Saturday 24 th of April marks a very significant day for one of our club mates and indeed our club itself. On the 24th , club stalwart, John Cronin was installed as president of the Athletic Association of Ireland. This is a huge honour for John and his wife Dympna, his extended family and friends, and for all of us in Tullamore Harriers. John has been immersed in athletics all his life,as a young athlete in his native Donegal, throughout his collage career,and to our good fortune, as an adult with Tullamore Harriers since coming to Tullamore in 1983 to take up employment. John as served on numerous committees, holding roles at club , county, provincial and National level. Somehow juggling this workload with his position on World Athletic Technical Committee and his duties as an International Technical Official. John is held in the highest esteem in ever corner of the country, and further afield. John’s constant good humour along with his generosity , both with his time and knowledge are well known. John has been a perfect ambassador for our club for many years. On Saturday 24th John started a new chapter of this athletic life , as President of our Association. I have no doubt, that under John’s guidance and leadership our sport will continue to forge forward to achieve the highest possible standards in every aspect of athletics. We are immensely proud of John, and are privileged to call him one of our own. On my own behalf and on behalf of all the clubs members, I wish to acknowledge all of John’s achievements to date , and to wish him ever possible good fortune in the role of president. Adrian Curley Chairman Tullamore Harriers.
 
Virtual May Day Challenge 
Following on from the success of the McNamara 5 Mile virtual race  and lockdown set to continue for another while the club has decided to run a Virtual May Day 10km challenge 
 
THIS WILL BE A HANDICAP RACE 
ANYONE INTENDING TO RUN WILL HAVE TO PRE REGISTER 
 
PLEASE LET Anna KNOW BY MONDAY 26TH APRIL  IN ORDER FOR JOE OUR HANDICAPPER  TO ASSIGN YOUR HANDICAP 
NO HANDICAPS GIVEN OUT AFTER THIS DATE 
 
Race can be run between TUES 27TH APRIL  – MONDAY 3RD MAY ( MAY  BANK HOLIDAY ) WITH RACE TIME  AND PHOTOGRAPH POSTED  ON  HARRIERS WHATSAPP ANYTIME  ON MONDAY 3RD MAY  ( HARRIERS WHATSAPP WILL BE OPEN 8AM – 8PM 
 
THERE WILL BE SPOT PRIZES FOR ALL WINNERS 
 
MYSTERY SPOT PRIZE FOR BEST PHOTOGRAGH    POSTED
 
Entry fee is €5 per person and can be paid by bank transfer. Please contact Anna for bank details 
 
 
Breaking Barriers in Albuquerque 
 
James Dunne travelled to Albuquerque, New Mexico with the Adams State men and women’s track & field team on Thursday 22nd April. 
James lined up in the  Invitational 1500m at the early start time of 10.30am. James was in the leading pack right from the gun and bided his time until the last 200m when he started to really push the pace. In doing so he secured second place with a huge new PB. The clock time as crossed he the line was 3.49:03 and this is adjusted to 3.43:79 by the NCAA to take account of the altitude James was running at. Albuquerque is at an altitude of 1619m and the altitude adjusted time for James means he is now ranked 4th in the United States for NCAA Division 2 universities and colleges.
 
Mangan Runs PB in Pittsburg 
 
Aaron Mangan travelled to Pittsburg Kansas, with the Fort Hays State Men’s Track and Field team for the Pittsburg State Tune-Up, on Saturday (Apr. 24). Aaron competed in 800m. The race went out hard and Aaron took up a position in the middle of the pack. With a lap to go Aaron had moved up and positioned himself just behind the leaders. He then waited until 120m to go before kicking for the finish line. He found himself boxed on the finishing straight but kept looking for a way out and when he got it he continued his surge. Aaron crossed the line in 1.52:06, a PB of almost a second and after the race said he felt fresh and had more in the tank. We look forward to see Aaron racing in the weeks ahead!
 
Condolences 
 
The Chairman, Committee and members of Tullamore Harriers Athletics Club would like to express our deepest Sympathies to the Mooney family lynally on the passing of Colman Mooney and to the Jordan family on the passing of Paul Jordan.