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Wednesday 23 May 2018

Scanlon sets tone at the Scottish Masters

Athletics

With no competitive action on the agenda for Blackrock A.C.'s juvenile athletes over the weekend it was up to club coach Mary Scanlon to maintain the club's fine start to the season when she took part in the Scottish Indoor Masters Championships held at the Emirates Arena in Glasgow.

Mary's day got off to a to a swift start with the 60m sprint and despite having a slower personal best than some of her competitors she was un-phased by the statistics and stormed to a superb gold medal. This winning start laid the foundations for another top-class performance, this time in the lung busting 200m. Once again Mary lined up against athletes who, on paper at least, were more that a second and a half quicker than her, however, just like the 60m, times meant nothing as she got into her stride early on and kept her form all the way around to complete the sprint double, a terrific achievement by anyone's standard.

Dominance on the track wasn't enough for Mary so, in between the sprint events, she turned her attention to the ladies shot put competition where a solid series of throws saw her collect a silver medal for her efforts. With two golds and a silver medal in her bag for the journey home, Mary returns to a very proud club who are delighted to have a coach of her calibre continuing to set an example for all our members.

Whilst Mary was striking gold in Scotland the Gods smiled down for the people of Uganda last Sunday at the Geraldines GAA grounds in Haggardstown, delivering balmy sunshine and a great crowd to Annabelle's 3k Fun Run and Kids Races. The occasion was to give support to local Blackrock AC athlete Annabelle Morris, a third year physiotherapy student in University College Dublin, who is volunteering in Kisiizi Hospital, South West Uganda, this summer. The physiotherapy project is to help adults with conditions such as stroke, burns, amputations, pneumonia and complications from malaria and HIV.

John and Mary McGuone started the run which saw local teacher Paul Hyland spring into an early lead with John Tumelty and Andrew Rogers well up in the van at the head of a large field. The world and his wife were there, slogging around the five laps, ranging from serious runners up front, through those increasing their fitness levels whilst donating to the cause, right down to Grace Ann Mc Crave's wee Jack Russell, Ellie, who established a new Louth dog record for 3k in a swift 21 minutes. Well done, Ellie. Next stop Dundalk Stadium and Shelbourne Park.

At the business end, the first lady to cross the finishing line was another teacher, Louise Caraher, who looked very smooth the whole way around as she added to her long list of honours collected over the years within Louth Athletics. Paul Hyland, who had been in Uganda recently, retained his early lead to come home very impressively as first of the men.

A lovely warmth surrounded the hardy participants as they deservedly loosened their girths to guzzle tea, buns and flapjacks in a picnic like atmosphere beside the finishing line.

Much conversation revolved around the physiotherapy project and Annabelle's further involvement in a two-week Cerebral Palsy Camp for children and their families, which will follow the children's progress in their communities after the camp.

Annabelle hugely appreciates the tremendous generosity of the Geraldines who, besides offering up their pitches at this muddy time of year, moved an important first Team training session to facilitate this very good cause. Well done, them. And another big thanks to Annabelle's club Blackrock AC who provided the backbone, guidance, personnel and equipment for the event. Well done them.

And well done to all the participants who so kindly gave of their time, effort and support. For more info on the project or to donate, check out Annabelle's Facebook page and www.UCDVO.org.

The Argus

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