Run in the Robbie and Rita race on 27th December

Story by Conall Collier

Friday, 21st December, 2018 3:58pm

Run in the Robbie and Rita race on 27th December

Navan AC chairperson Mary Watters with Colette Mooney (left) and Fiona Gunapala at the launch of the second annual Robbie and Rita Road Race. Photo: John Quirke.

Claremont Stadium Committee in conjunction with Navan Athletic Club will host the second annual Robbie and Rita Memorial 5k Road Race from on Thursday 27th December at midday.

There should be a large turnout for the event that will remember two of the stalwarts who were behind the initial development of the Claremont Stadium facility.

The Robbie Byrne Memorial Trophy will be presented to the first male finisher and the first female home will be the recipient of the Rita Brady Memorial Trophy.

“We would like to thank our sponsors, Boliden Tara Mines DAC, BHP Insurance, Mullaghban Construction, JM Foods, Body Balance Physiotherapy, Centra Commons Road and Navan Shopping Centre and both Tayto Park and Bright Promotions for supporting the under-age races,” stated Claremont Stadium official Sonya Reilly.

“This event will benefit the development of Claremont Stadium track, Claremont Stadium is home to Navan Athletic Club and Parkvilla Football Club, but is also of huge benefit to various other sporting organisations such as Navan Badminton Club, Special Olympics, local primary and secondary Schools and many community and voluntary groups,” she added.


Last year’s winners of the inaugural Rita and Robbie 5k were Bohermeen athlete Andrea McGuinness (Rita Brady Memorial 19:32) and Dunshaughlin’s Thomas Moran (Robbie Byrne Memorial 15:09).

The race is AAI approved and a chip-timed event. 

There will be a special commemorative medal for all finishers with male and female cash prizes in all categories including first three overall, first three juniors and first two in the various age categories up to over-60 and team prizes. 

Race headquarters will be located at Claremont Stadium from 10am. 

The juvenile action will kick-start the event on the track at 11am with the road race set for a midday start.

The circuit will take runners out the Commons road and back into Navan via the Trim road at Teach na Teamhrach to the finish on the track at Claremont Stadium.

Register at, €15 online or entry on the day will be €20.

Three under-age races for boys and girls will feature u-8 (400m), u-11 (400m) and u-14 (800m), entry €3 on the day with a memento (medal) for each child who finishes.


Rita Brady’s involvement with athletics goes back nearly 50 years to 1969 and the De La Salle Athletic Club which was attached to the local school in Navan.

Her main involvement at the time was in administration – a task that she was still involved in at club and county level until her passing in 2017.

She was a member of Navan AC committee since the foundation of the club in 1973 and was the club’s first secretary and club chairperson on a number of occasions, she was also the Navan delegate for many years at county, provincial and national levels.

The late Mrs Brady held a number of positions at national level, NACAI Juvenile Secretary from 1974-1978, Coaching Secretary to the National Senior NACAI boards, National NACAI secretary for 13 years (1982-1990), national President NACAI for three years (1995-1997), a member of the Board of AAI and a member of the AAI Finance Committee.

She was honoured for her contribution to athletics over the years and received an award for Woman in Sport in 1987 and in 2013 when she received an IAAF Certification for her services to athletics at club, county, provincial and national levels.

In 2015 she was inducted in the Meath Hall of Fame for her contribution to sport in the area.


Robbie Byrne had a lifelong involvement in local athletics. His first interest in athletics was as an athlete with St Mary’s AC, Navan in the 1940s and 1950s, and then again when the club re-formed after a short break under the auspices of the De La Salle Social Club.

As the club grew in numbers independence from the De La Salle was encouraged and in October 1973 he, along with other members, set up Navan Athletic Club. 

He played a crucial role in the development of athletics in Navan, Meath and at national level.

After the opening of the stadium in 1981, he remained committed to the management of the venue. 

Meath Co Board (AAI) introduced an honorary president category in 2008 for a term of one year to recognise a person who had given a lifetime of service to the sport.

The late Robbie Byrne was the unanimous choice to hold that inaugural position.


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