Tara AC in Meath has a healthy mix of junior and senior
Tara Athletic Club, located in the heartland of Co Meath, has been in existence since the 1970s and serves a wide rural area incorporating Skryne, Rathfeigh, Lismullen and west to Kilmessan. The last decade has seen a huge resurgence in the club, resulting in an all-time high membership this year of 40 adults and 122 juveniles.
The club's juvenile athletes train weekly at the track, concentrating on hurdles, jumps, throws and middle/sprint distances. The younger athletes, aged five to seven, are also coached on a weekly basis in the fundamentals of athletics. Weekend cross-country training sessions take place on the nearby Hill of Tara. The juvenile section of the club is supported by a wonderful voluntary coaching and support team of 15 to 18 parents. Many of these coaches and assistants have participated in Athletics Ireland coaching courses. Their enthusiasm and commitment keeps the sessions both focused and fun for participants.
There has been an increase in juveniles competing this year in both cross-country and track and field, with Jarlath Jordan qualifying for the Irish team to compete in the International Schools Cross Country in Wales earlier this year, and along with teammates winning the silver team medal. Jordan has shown great commitment to his training and continues to show continuous improvement.
Another promising young athlete is Sean Byrne, who won gold in this year's Leinster track and field championships, competing in the 250m hurdles. There have also been some personal bests achieved by club athletes David Hawes and Jake Cullen. A number of the club's younger athletes are also showing great strides that should lead to success in the months ahead.
The adult section of the club is still growing, thanks to the Meet & Train/Fit4Life initiative started in recent years. A very even gender divide of new, starter and seasoned athletes meet and are coached by Dave McCarthy, who leads the beginners out twice a week, with most competing in the Meath Race League events. The more advanced group is training for 10k and marathons. For the seasoned men and women in Tara AC, local fitness guru James Gibbons leads early morning meetings twice weekly for some intense sessions.
The sportsground facility at Ross Cross, which is shared with Tara AFC, has in the last few months received a government capital sports grant and will now receive an upgrade to its clubhouse facilities and carry out much-needed ground works. The clubs are also fortunate to have on board a very enthusiastic voluntary maintenance committee.
The very scenic Tara AC 5k road race has grown in popularity since the inaugural event in 2010. This year's event brings an exciting new route to the Athletics Ireland-permitted race. Starting at the recently opened RST Community Centre at Skryne GAA pitch, competitors cross the historic Hill of Skryne and past the famous O'Connell's pub located in the shadow of the 15th century church tower. The course then follows a looped route down the hill and back to the centre where there will be refreshments for all. This is a chip-timed race with a €15 entry fee for runners, €5 for walkers and a special €2 entry for children.
www.taraac.com or Facebook (Tara AC)
Chairperson: Fiona Monaghan
Secretary: Caroline Giles
Treasurer: Seamus O'Kane
Registrar: Schira Conway
PRO: Jennifer O'Dowd
Health & Living