Archive for April, 2020

No. 32: 60 Seconds with Harrier Flynner.

Today we feature the former wild man, now, apparently taimed, the one and, thankfully, only Flynner.

Bio: Professional Athlete and Coach Member of Clonliffe Harriers for 15 years

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I had quite a few Clubs recruiting me at the time but when Joe Cooper approached me At the community schools in Santry I bought into the Clonliffe Dream . In fairness they had some of the best under age athletes at the time .

What is your favourite training workout? My favourite workout is a trademark University of Arkansas workout called mile down which involved a Mile , 1200 , 1000, 800, 600, 400, 300, 200 the only thing was you were running a Personal best for the mile then everything was a blur . I have a best of 4.08 handtimed in the workout .

A very young David Flynn on the country for Arkansas

And your least favourite? One time after SEC conference at LSU University I went on ESPN after coming 3rd at the meet and complained we didn’t do enough track workout . Well I got an earful in the car back to the hotel by the coach and then the week after we were told we were doing 5 by 800 recovery was decent we hit 2.06 , 2.04 , 2.02 , 1.59 and 1.56 . I got sick everywhere after and never spoke to ESPN again . What’s your favourite race / athletics meet?

Over the barriers with Arkansas

My favourite race was the Stanford invitational in California no wind Palm trees everywhere and fast races . My favourite athletics meet is the Clonliffe club championship’s back in the day we had some fun during it with Joe’s favourite faithless song on repeat .

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) My most cherished moments were always with the harriers I remember I had been out with sickness for a year and hadn’t raced at all I had just joined Mammoth track club and come back from altitude there to the national Xc ended up coming 7th overall after tearing off like a man possessed the first lap. ( I remember Noel looking at me the first lap thinking “Jesus this fella has lost the plot”) but we ended up beating Raheny by 1 point and Gladys had to drive down to drag Joe out of the Clonliffe bar at the early hours of the Morning .

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? My worst injury was a few months ago I tore my quad in the Dublin half in September and only got in diagnosed in January luckily enough it has recovered fully and I’m training away .

Flynner with clubmate Stephen Scullion Dublin 2019

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? My advice would be enjoy the process ! As long as you put the head down listen to your coaches and try be the best athlete and version of yourself the results will come . I think the most important thing is to be positive and influence your team mates around you, believe in each other and when you do that you’re willing to fight that much bit more come race day.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) I only think about now so many years after it’s okay to tell this story as the coaches might still be traumatized. We were all on a Clonliffe junior warm weather camp in Monte Gordo training . A fairly big group of boys and girls went out (you all know who you are ) . There was a Irish bar at the end of the strip which we used to take over and play pool (I still think to this day it closed down because of us ) For some reason that night the locals wanted to kill us so most of us ended up going back to the hotel in a big police van . Next thing is we are all back in the hotel and someone ALLEGEDLY took off the fire extinguisher and chased their fellow Clonliffe team mates around the corridors spraying foam and shouting qoutes from the Movie Borat . We all ended up evacuating the hotel as the alarm went off and we were on similar lockdown rules to where we are now .

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition B. Outside competition For Competition aload of pasta Outside of Competition : Domino’s pizza

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish B. International I don’t really have a sporting Hero but I really admired Ezekiel Kemboi I just thought for his size in an event like the steeple he was tough as nails and had a ridiculous finish . In Ireland Darren McBrearty would the closest thing to my sporting hero .

What’s your favourite…? A. Film B. Song or Album C. Book My favourite movie is called Hidalgo very inspirational a must watch . My favourite song and most Clonliffe that have been away with me would know is (We speak no Americano) My Favourite book is Deena Kastors book really good for any athlete of any sport .

What’s your favourite holiday destination? I’ve never really been on many holidays but I suppose Monte Gordo was the closest one .

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I enjoy watching following and watching Horse racing

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? I think putting the distance events back into the Diamond league is a must especially the steeples both men and women and improving sponsorship in the sport for each individual country that everyone gets the opportunity of help .

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Out of control

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) The World half marathon championships in October. Hopefully the European championships and the Dublin marathon .

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? A lot of people are out running so I’ve plenty of targets to chase down during my runs everyday is like a session.

Rock ‘n’Roll Half win

No. 31: 60 Seconds with Harrier Mick McMahon

Today one of Pam & Ben’s Chargers, a man who like the Prodigal Son left these shores for pastures new only to return some 15 years later to Santry. Naturally enough whilst wandering around Santry he happened upon Morton Stadium and Clonliffe Harriers and so read on..

Bio: I’m Mick McMahon, 42, hailing from Stoneybatter originally. I’m a recent resident to Santry having spent 15 years living in Sydney. I enjoy music, live gigs and discovering new musical gems. I would class myself as a long distance runner.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Some of my earliest memories of athletics were taking part in the local Summer Project sports day events. My first memory of taking part in a race was when I was around 5 or 6 completing the pajama fun run around Stoneybatter. I got into competitive running with my secondary school, St Declan’s in Cabra. Running was a standard part of the PE curriculum as well as basketball, football and GAA; however running was by far my favorite and where I excelled. Laps of the Bogies and shuttle runs where amongst the sessions that I looked forward to in PE. My first cross-country meet was in Multyfarnham, Westmeath. It was a wet and mucky meet. Not owning a pair of spikes, my Nike air Pegasus did not quite have the traction in the mud which I needed to take off. Needless to say I fell at the start but got up, pulled back a few places and finished the race to score points for the team. Post secondary school I gave running a miss for several years until I was living in Sydney. Over a number of homebrew’s, a mate challenged me to take part in the Sydney Striders running clubs 10km series. This returned the running bug to me. I began to take part in the clubs series as well as various Sydney half marathons, City to Surf’s(a 14km run from the CBD to Bondi) and Corporate runs. I PB’d one of the 10k Striders runs in 2005 thanks to a gent behind me chasing me with a double buggy and child crying. Since joining Clonliffe less than 12 months ago I have taken that 2005 PB from 41:03 down to 38:59 – being part of a club definitely pays dividends! Running is and always has been my stress relief and gives me a focus.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Having returned from Sydney and settling in Santry I wanted to get involved with a club to get some sort of structure and discipline to my training (as well as enjoying some team comradery and socialising!). My wife suggested that I should get involved with a club. However, I procrastinated about it for a full year before getting up to the clubhouse to join in August 2019.

What is your favourite training workout? I’m a big fan of mile repeats. Possibly because it was the first session I did with the club.

And your least favourite? Pyramid track session – they push me to the brink of hurling!

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? The Dublin City Marathon has to be my favourite- there is nothing like the cheers and encouragement you get throughout the course around Dublin.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I reckon my proudest moment was back to that first cross-country race meet in Multyfarnham. Getting up, having been ran over by the field of runners behind me, then reeling in several runners on the course to pull back from last and complete the course stands out. Funnily, Cursum Tenere, Finish the course, is the Latin motto for St Declan’s!!

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I was signed up to do the Dublin City Marathon in 2017. The timing coincided with me leaving Sydney so I thought it would be a good idea to have an excuse not to go out several nights a week by going training instead! I did a series of scenic runs around Sydney, which was sensational! As I was getting towards the end of my long runs I had a niggle in my fibula. I threw caution to the wind and went ahead on my final long run when visiting my brother and his family in Brisbane. I was 19K in and I had to call my brother to come and pick me up, as I couldn’t put my foot to the ground. After a misdiagnosis by my podiatrist and being treated for a calf muscle issue, I was eventually diagnosed with a stress fracture of the fibula that can only mend itself with rest. Moral of the story is, I should have had a few nights out and I wouldn’t have overloaded on the training!

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? ALWAYS LISTEN to your body, if it doesn’t feel right don’t continue. As a marathon runner we tend to try and push through the pain barrier and ignore what our body is telling us – I’ve learnt this the hard way not just once but twice – the first time above, the second time was ending up in St James after last years DCM which left me with the club nickname CPR Mick! There is no failure in pulling out of a race if you don’t feel great, there will always be another one! Do you have any memorable or funny story from

Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Haha – I thought that I wasn’t here long enough but I do…..I attempted to join the club 3 times….The first 2 times there was no one about the clubhouse however, third time lucky I thought I’m not leaving till I chat to someone…..I chatted to our head of security John who pointed me towards 2 guys chatting (not knowing which one was the coach!). I waited 5 minutes or so for them to finish their conversation and they both split off in different directions, I took a punt on who the coach was and went walking after the guy who was heading up towards the exit gate of the clubhouse. As I called him he looked at me blankly and shrugged his shoulders. I asked if he could tell me about joining the club and he responded in broken English that he was there to try and join to the club too!!!! I eventually got chatting to Pam who gave me the full run down.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: Pizza and Pasta B. Outside competition: Lamb shanks and mash

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish: Eamonn Coughlan B. International: Eluid Kipchoge

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: Gallipoli B. Song or Album: Tough question, there are so many……Song.: REM, It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine) Album: Nirvana, MTV Unplugged in New York C. Book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

What’s your favourite holiday destination? New York

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I enjoy cooking and getting stuck in to the garden!

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Pretty much like a majority of people, I’d ban drug cheats for life – no chances whatsoever.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Dependable, loyal and fun.

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Sub 18 for 5k and sub 3 marathon

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I’m keeping up my Tuesday and Thursday sessions with the help of our fantastic coaches and motivators Pamela Cooper and Ben Lawlor. Setting targets and taking part in the My results virtual runs are really helping too.

New kid on the block, Mick McMahon in the 2020 Raheny 5

No.30: 60 Seconds with Harrier Snezana Bechtina

Next up, a great club athlete, who in the league at times past was almost a one woman team, and has blossomed into one of Ireland’s best Master athletes, multi national and European medals and a World Champion. Although you will be spending a little more than 60 seconds with Snezana she is indeed great company.

Bio: Snezana Bechtina Masters Athlete W35 Indoors European 400m and World 200m Champion. Holder of 4 W35 Irish records indoors 60, 200,400, 4x200m and outdoors 200m. Born in Vilnius, in Lithuanian SSR in 1981. Ireland and Clonliffe became home from Sept 2005.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I started athletics few times: At 13 in Lithuania I trained up to Achilles injury, one year before I finished the school. At 20 for 3 years I used to run for universities. At 24 I started athletics in Ireland up to pregnancy at almost 26. From 28 (in 2009) after surgery and antibiotics I started easy trainings. I was a dedicated athlete Since 2010, who wanted to quit athletics every season for 6 years (I had different injuries every year: Sadness after loss of father, knee injury, broken finger, back pain, 2 years of Masters study, overtraining), but I continued up to quarantine in 2020 for 5 years more, without thoughts to quit, last three years up to World gold medal injury free, because I learned some simple secrets which I will going to share. Passion to physical activity and a hint from the inside brought me to Athletics. When I was passing by stadium as a child I had special feeling. I didn’t know what people doing inside the indoor arena, but I felt I want to be there and I had strong believe that one day I will be going there. I didn’t have this feeling for anything else. But I didn’t came there myself…I came only when I was invited after school competition few years later. It is hard work so I needed at least one other person who would want me to do it. I did many different things before I came to athletics: swimming, dancing, judo, drawing… I did it, but I felt I am in wrong place. I felt relieve after deciding that I will quit activity by activity until I found athletics. From when I started back at 28 in 2009 I came back slowly and took a part in first competition to see where I am in May 2010 I run 200m in 27,5. I trained from then on hard, sometimes too hard. Only during quarantine I understood that I was in recovering process from sickness, injuries or surgeries…I understood it when I got plenty of rest and got my energy level on high mark. I made mistakes in my first years of training by training every day at my 100%. I was training with the best athletes in John Shields champions factory…they did their training at 60%, however for me it was my 100%. At the end of December or middle of the January I was over trained. I wasn’t able to train at all. I was obliged to take one or two weeks off just before Nationals and compete just like that after break. It was a mistake. English is not my native Language, John always was saying something to me, but guess I only started to understand him just from 2015. When my English improved I spoke to Pole vault multiple champion David Donegan about my worries and that I was going to quit, he told me to slow down, to work on my own pace, this is what John Shields had been saying to me. I got huge mental support from former coach Paddy Fay. I chat with Irina Krakoviak former International athlete and coach now, who told me her story that our former coach in Lithuania Juozas Garaliavicius started to prepare her for international athletics after 5 years of fundamental trainings. Her best results show up in two years then. I thought I never trained 7 years in a row, I need to try. And it was my 5th year since I came back at 28. I was 33 then I got great motivation to train: to prepare for World Masters Championship in 2017 in Daegu. I trained at my pace. I took plenty of time to recover. I got more energy. I started to train 6 days a week at Morton Stadium (3 days on track, 1 day flexibility, 2 days gym, and last year before my World Gold I did 3-5 days a week 30 minutes additional trainings in a park on very slow pace 10 min run to recover and stretches. U23 triple jump champion Russian speaking Andrii Mahin joined our group in 2014/2015 season. He helped me a lot in improving my technique.This was my best season, I was flying. 2014 in November I picked up an injury but this time I stopped training immediately and gave two weeks to heal, and then for the next week trained easy. My 400m was 58.8 that season after 5 months not proper and only 1 month proper training.

Snezana with coach John Shields at the Factory

Tell us more about your early life in athletics in Lithuania? Having won a schools 60 m competition Coach Juozas Garaliavicius invited me to start training I agreed. I won 400m as well… My mother and father both was very good in school athletics. We can assume I had perfect genes. But in fact to that I was running all my childhood, playing chasing, boll games. Every morning I was running to bus stop which was approx. 300m from the house, I was accelerating when I saw the bus coming. It was 5 days a week. If there was too many people, I run to school approximately 2km, 4x split 500, in order to be on time. This is how I became 400m runner .I was leading Athlete, with promising athletic future, but I thought I am not good enough. My coach pointed to middle distance International athletes saying “continue to train and you will be like them”. I didn’t know what exactly he was trying to say me. I didn’t know difference between sprinters and distance runners, I just thought I am lazy, seriously, I did only 3×300 per session, or even 3×100 and 6x40m, when they, long distance runners, non-stop were running and running. Even thoughts to run as long as their running scared me. It is no way I wanted to be like them. I stopped athletic one year before finished school at 17 because of an injury. I didn’t return to the sport for 3 more years until I was almost 21 after recovering from Bulimia-eating disorder.

If that something you don’t mind sharing please tell us as this is important for young athletes? At age 18 when my weight was 61kg. After the reading the book about toxins I decided to clean my body with fasting, which turned to bulimia. I have lost a weight up to 48kg in 4 months. I was depressed. I was looking in to the mirror with a thoughts: “My legs are so fat” when my mother came and with sadness and disappointment told: “You are too slim”. Something change in my mind: If I think I am fat and mother at the same time think I am too slim it means- I AM NORMAL! This thoughts saved me. From then me start to eat, but made little mistake… I didn’t eat all day and at 10pm eat a lot. Many nights my food was full white bread with 200g sour cream. In three week I was 68kg and I found out I feel much better. I was so happy. As I was happy good idea came out. I decided to eat in normal way: breakfast, snack, Lunch, Snack, and Dinner. I started to drink a lot of water. Soon I came back to normal weight 61. Since then my weight vary from 61-65kg.

And then your return to athletics? In my heart I was a champion, but I barely could run. But I started from slow one 200m lap a day at close to the house school stadium (In Vilnius each 60 schools then had 200m track stadiums, hard cover). In two weeks I was able to push myself to run 3 laps only. In two months I was able to run 10 laps and I didn’t push myself anymore, energy made me fly. In three months I was unstoppable and run around a fields with no counting distance. I started to do drills and was ready to come back to stadium. Shortly I run 800m at a time 2:18. I became Baltic University’s 100m and 200m champion. In 2004 I took a part in XX SELL World Students Games in Finland. At all ages the hardest thing was to come and change clothes. Once I was in changing room ready for training the rest was easy. Once I am in trainers – I am healthy and full of energy. By the way: passionate action-creates energy. When I am lazy I come one hour earlier than training starts, I do lazy training…stretches, some exercises…It feels like I am not athlete at all. But in about an hour I feel I want to do exercises in more energetic way, it is great time to start warm up with a group. Then you have power to do proper session prepared by coach. At the end when I am doing warm down I can’t believe I did what I did. We do warm up to prevent our body from injury and to increase energy level.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I joined Clonliffe Harriers in 2005 immediately after I arrived to Live to Dublin. My landlord then Sarah called to Athletics Ireland, she found number in golden pages, they recommended best club. My first Coach was Paddy Fay. When I came back after giving birth in 2009 I found out Paddy retired. But he continue to support me and helped a lot. Clonliffe Harriers club recommend me Best Coach John Shields, who is my coach since May 2010 when I run 200m 27.5. His program, my dedication and his believe in me helped me to achieve my personal record 25.4 and 400m 56sec in 2016 I used to live in Portmarnok I took 2 buses to get to Morton Stadium it took about 1 hour one way. But my passion to athletics gave me power to find sense in discomfort. Since 2009 I moved to live 15 min drive to stadium.

What is your favourite training workout? 6×200. I like to run 200m. When we run 8 th in slow pace 35sec at the beginning of the season, then we run less, but faster. The last session before competition could be just 2 but 26sec. My fastest time during training was 25.9sec. It was time trial before World Championship in South Korea in 2017 where I won two silvers on 200m and 400m. I like flexibility sessions with walking through hurdles and circuit and workout with med ball and gym session with group. Basically I liked everything that John tells me to do.

And your least favourite? Any session which have 600m and 500m my least favourite. But this is essential part in trainings for 400m as special gym sessions. The year I missed it I run slower my 400m I fight for silver in World masters Championship in 2019, I had no power to fight for the first place. Maybe it was my mental barrier as I knew that in front three more runs of 200m where I won gold. I run 28sec first lap in 400m when in two days I run 25.62 200m on its own. It is celebration to run 200m after one day rest after 400m. When I was fully motivated and John Shields explained me why I am doing particular sessions, session 2×600 4×300 was as easy as the rest. That year I run 400m 56.02

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Morton Games is one of my favourite meets. It is organised at high standard. I like thousands of spectaculars, and little kids who asking for autograph after race. Thank you for special feeling.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Definitely I liked World Masters Athletics Championship in Torun. It was organised on extremely high level. My family was with me-this is what me makes to feel proud. I like it not just because I won a Gold medal here, but because it was presented in nice manner. It was live stream not just of competitions, but medal ceremony as well. For me it was important. I’ve got great support from friends and family from different parts of the world.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I believe Injury is psychosomatic thing. You will never get injured if you have regime, slept well, eat well, drink plenty of water, do warm up, train gradually taking in to account body ability, plenty of rest, giving time for recovery, do warm down stretches and, important, you do exactly, with not lying to yourself, exactly what you want. Once you start “crying”: I don’t want to train, but continuing…you will get injured. Be honest to yourself. I had injuries every year when I wanted to quit, but once I change my attitude, since 2017 I was injuries and any sick free. I felt sick, I had pain just in every part of my body at the beginning of 2017 it was just two month before World championship. I thought: “if I will feel good I will go”. If my condition will not change I will not go. But I changed my thoughts to: “I will go!” and I started to feel good immediately and my body healed and let me to prepare very well. John Shields made me Gold Athlete. I did few mistakes and brought two Silvers from World Championship in South Korea. One of mistake was sightseeing, long walk around Daegu at rest day before final. I did massage my wooden stiff legs for all night, didn’t had good sleep and didn’t organised breakfast. Second mistake I took wrong decision during the 400m run. I follow 200m runner all the way from the start knowing she run too fast and will not be able to hold it up to the end. My plan was to overtake her on home straight. I didn’t took in account other athletes who had same plan by following us and start take over on the last bend. I wasn’t brave enough to start take over on the last bend when I felt other athlete overtaking me, I thought I will take over them both on straight. Athlete in front lost her speed when I was blocked, I was obliged to slow down and at straight it was no chance to get back that speed which flew me before. I came second

You have given fantastic advise already to young athletes is there anything further you would say? If you started at 13 and now you are 33 it doesn’t count that you are training for 20 years. You need to take in account breaks. And after your last break you are beginner. You need to forget your ambitions and start train gradually. A few years foundation training first and only after you can train more and harder. Do not judge yourself at first training-saying you are not born for sport. First training is hard for everyone. After break you have to start as if you never trained. Do not compare yourself with others. Be happy and you will get what you truly want. If it not happened up to now just check if you are honest to yourself. You need to be happy not just from words, or from thoughts, but from heart. You need to feel happiness from inside, without any reason. Ask yourself if you happy, and listen what is inside. If your soul is happy it is great, but if you feel heavy stone, I think what you need to do to change it. Do things that makes a difference to make you happy.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Clonliffe Women won silver medals at the Premier league final and was waiting for ceremony. One 20 years old lady who took a part in competition made her way home. I asked: “will you not be waiting for a medal?”” I am not 15 to be waiting for a medal”- she said. “That’s ok”- I thought, “I am just double 15- I will wait”

2019 Clonliffe Women’s Track & Field athlete of the Year

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition ideal: Any Meat with Noodles and Vegetables at 3pm, chocolate at 5pm Warm up at 7pm B. Outside competition: any Bento Box and miso soup C. I never take any supplements. All what is need I am getting from food. The most important thing: portion needs to be as big that you would never even think about having desert on top. If you want desert increase portion add more salad. I eat a lot of seeds, nuts, salad, lemon, fruits, and dried fruits and for main course meat and rice or pasta.

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (Athletics or other) A. Irish: Sonia o’Sullivan B. International: Aneta Liemish.

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: “Devil wears Prada” and similar. B. Song or Album: “Eye of the tiger” or any from “Morton Games” for run. Classic for driving. Relaxing for sleeping. I have my own music in my mind, but before the race is great to hear something as you going in to the war. C. Book: John Kehoe “Mind Power into the 21st Century”

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Gran Canary, Cannes, London, Budapest.

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Only modelling was over my dream. I was afraid even to dream about it. When I grow up and realised nothing is impossible, all you need to do follow the rules be patient and make of yourself whatever is required. I became a professional model at 34, but this is a separate story.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) I asked this question in Facebook I got many pleasant answers: down-to-earth; smart, charming, kind; very happy, joyful; calm, fast, genuine; not camera shy; passionate, competitive, beautiful …

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) I can’t wait for next competition to try my shot put.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I am lucky- my body knows what it needs, I do exercises through the day. After 10 years dedicated training I am using this moment to relax. But energy makes me train. All the world on the quarantine now, when we will comeback in normal life we all will be at the same unfit level. But you can be fit if you will train now. It is your chance to be a champion. My inner happiness is my map where to go. With a straight back it is easier to be happy. Actually I just got an idea why do I train? To keep my muscles strong to have my back straight. Make your back straight ant try to fall in to depression…It is impossible!

No. 29: 60 Seconds with Harrier Richie Owens

Here’s a great one from one of the club’s top middle distance athletes, an athlete who scored top points for Clonliffe in the European clubs track and field in 2017 to assist the club in taking brilliant bronze in group B. It’s also a great pick up for any athlete who’s been through or going through injury, how to lift yourself up and move forward, from a guy who has had the odd injury or two! Richie Owens.

Bio: 29-year-old, retired 800m runner concentrating on the 1500m – 5000m Originally from Wicklow currently working as a Financial Analyst in the Dublin Docklands.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Drifted into and out of the sport for most of my childhood eventually getting more and more committed as I went through school, made all Ireland schools as a senior and fully committed when I moved to college. Athletics is the purest form of sport; you get out of it what you put in

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Joined as a deadline day deal in September 2016, had long since outgrown UCD and Messer’s McGuinness, McDonald and Flynn didn’t let me consider anywhere else. People like Joe Cooper and Killian Lonergan had for years also been extremely encouraging. The club has a real family atmosphere.

What is your favourite training workout? Honestly very few sessions I don’t get genuinely excited about from 2min reps on grass, long tempos to anything on the track I’m generally motivated to get after it.

And your least favourite? I am probably most scared of any of the 800m track work 2 sets of (2x400m in 55) with a 1min between reps and 10-15minutes between sets. Anything in Santry park where Cathal Doyle and Ian Guidan absolutely spank me also horrible.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? National Outdoor track and field, if you’re not going to make an European or World team it should be your Olympics.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Captaining a shock UCD team victory in the Varsity road relays over DCU in 2011. Don’t think anyone outside of myself and James Nolan thought we would have had a sniff of winning. Individually coming 6th in the National 1500m in 2016, ran a 54sec last lap and in a blanket finish ended up less then a second from third and less than two from first. Moved into 3rd with 50m to go and was sure I had the medal in the bag.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? For years I would tear hamstrings but once you hit 25 majority of people will learn they aren’t invincible and the Achilles and other tendons flair up, I’ve always been religious with my rehab but still learning.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Patience is key, my progress was shockingly slow looking back but year on year I improved eventually it adds up at 17 I ran 2.00 for 800 and 4.22 for 1500. Year on year I took 1 or 2 seconds off eventually running 1.51 and 3.48 at 25/26. Not every athlete is Mark English people need to have solid expectations.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Rocking up to McGowens or whatever establishment has been chosen post Morton Games or National Seniors as part of the David Flynn entourage is always a rush, VIP guest list, skip the que, free drinks.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: Brown Pasta and Chicken B. Outside competition: Pizza

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish: James Nolan B. International: Steve Prefontaine

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: Snatch B. Song or Album: A$AP Forever, A$AP Rocky C. Book: anything by Ross O’Carroll Kelly

What’s your favourite holiday destination? California

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? Drinking Coffee and following Rugby

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Double down on 6 major European Athletics meetings each summer, get them back to the prime time with the best athletes and proper television coverage. London, Monaco, Rome, Brussels, Zurich, Oslo…. Give the sport a focus and a pinnacle, can use lesser races to qualify and race to get into the big 6.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Delusion, Obsessed, and Full of Sh*T

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Same as every other year National Outdoor 1500m

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Training is a great escape for life, no matter what happens in work/life go for a run and problems and issues always seem to sort themselves out. I work off 3 hard training weeks with 1 week easy, these blocks of train structure my life, bringing me into shape and help the weeks and months fly past.

National Road Relays, Raheny
Richie on his way to winning the 1500 at Euro Clubs, Portugal 27/5/17

No. 28: 60 Seconds with Harrier Karl Nolan

Club members will be surprise to see one of the club’s quiet, shy, retiring types has put himself forward for 60 Seconds. Karl Nolan!

Bio: 35 years old, living in Artane, father of three, married & proprietor at Clontarf Driving Academy.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I ran my first Dublin Marathon in 2014. I signed up for a charity place with 3 weeks to go to prove to my Dad I could do one & eventually smash his PB of 2.52.15.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? When you can’t get a game for your local pub football team & your best mate is the manager, it was time to do something else. Luckily I met Niall Gorman at a Christening in 2016 & he got me onboard with Eugene’s group.

What is your favourite training workout? Long solo run on a Sunday morning around The Phoneix Park (HEAVEN.)

And your least favourite? A marathon tempo session, on a Thursday or Friday when you are on your own, in a rush & just tired after a week of work.

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? I don’t race that often so any race, anywhere, it’s a chance to show off your weeks/months/ years of hard work. I love them all. Competition brings out the best performance in me.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? My pb of 2.31.51 in Berlin last year. It was just one of those days when it felt effortless up to mile 18 & I knew I was in top shape & on for something special.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? That word terrifies me & my wife.

What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Be patient, be consistent, fuel properly, cut out the alcohol, train hard but recover harder, listen to your coach & anyone who is faster than you, they know a lot more!! My coaches in Clonliffe were first Eugene Coppinger and now Peter McDermott both have taken me levels above I thought possible and I am forever grateful to them. Most importantly have fun, laugh & enjoy your journey. It will have its highs & lows.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? When Efrem Gidey arrived back in Dublin airport from The European XC Championships 2019 with a bronze medal. Joe Copper (his coach) didn’t make the trip due to medical reasons, so it was incredible to see them celebrating together when he came through arrivals. There wasn’t enough Kleenex to go around!

What’s your favourite meal?A. For competition – banana, porridge & milk in a nutri bullet & a huge cup of coffee.B. Treat – Palak soya methi, lamb & spinach dish from Taza in Artane.

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other)A. Irish – Sonia O’SullivanB. International – Eliud Kipchoge.

Kipchoge fulfills ambition as he meets his Sporting Hero

What’s your favourite…?A. Film – Mary PoppinsB. Song – Chemical Brothers – Star GuitarC. Book – Hate reading but loved Meb Keflezighi book, 26 marathons on audio.

What’s your favourite holiday destination? Villamoura, Portugal.

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I’m a Shamrock Rovers FC season ticket holder & work in with The FAI on match days, walking my two dogs & figuring out ways to make my kids run faster.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Loud, annoying, short.

What is your next running / athletics goal? To break into sub 2.25 marathon & get myself into the marathon mission training group.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Well I can’t work so I get an opportunity to be a full time athlete, I don’t need a finish line, it won’t last forever, so for now I’m taking these as positives.

Karl out sprinted in Dublin by his daughter!

No.27: 60 Seconds with Harrier Timmy Crowe

Another great club man. Always available to help the team in the National league and in Euro clubs: “What do you need and sure go on!” attitude, so if it’s the killer 400 hurdles, a 400 flat, relay or a 110 hurdles Timmy’s your man.

Bio: Name Timmy Crowe. Started the sport for a day off school almost 12 years ago now. Took almost all that time to run faster than my dad (Tim) but still don’t have the national medals he has (9)

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I started quite young really but I never was good under age. I was 2nd sub on my local club in Clare relay. I possible didn’t even look at the track from the age 10-16 when I finally filled out a bit and grew a few inches. Then in 4th year of school everyone was taking the day off to go to the North Munsters so I joined in somehow winning the 400h and coming 3rd in munster schools. That winter I ran an 800 in the multi events and ran 2mins flat. I decided to do a bit of running with Liam O’Hora in Limerick and I ended up 2nd in munster schools (Tom Barr was 3rd) and 2nd in the Irish schools 400h. At this stage I decided I would pack in playing GAA and train for athletics . I then at 17 went to world indoors with fellow Harrier (Brian Gregan) and world juniors that summer and the rest is history.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Upon moving to Dublin I was training with John Shields. For the first year in DCU I was still with Dooneen AC in limerick. I had then started training in Morton Stadium on Harrier times slots. I honestly found everything about the club amazing from Joe Cooper’s BIG smile to the history of the track. From day one I felt welcome even though I wasn’t a member. I had always remembered the Harriers from been younger going to watch nationals with dad before heading to Croke Park to watch all Ireland semi and finals. So really it was an easy move for me to make.

What is your favourite training workout? 2x30m flys 🙂 But really I Love 10x200m off 90s as you always know your working hard. I would have to also put up in 6×300 also is a brilliant session.

And your least favourite? 3×450… 🙁

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? Morton Games of course but outside that it has to be IFAM Oordegem. The day of the meet is just amazing its what athletics is all about. Kids from all over Europe just coming to run fast no matter was the level everyone is there to do the best they can and no one cares if u are a 60s 400 runner or a 44s

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Walking out into the O2 Prague 20,000 people European 4×400 final and the first two faces I see are my parents and feeling so relaxed over it.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? Achilles., I had to take 8 months off running and still struggling to get back in shape after.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Simply… Have fun. Make memories and train hard. you get one change to make it to the top and you will enjoy the ride so much more if you make the memories

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) If you had come to any of the European team champs you will know the stories but I will refer from telling on you Niall Counihan…

What’s your favourite meal? For competition ( chicken Rice Pesto) Outside competition (chicken wrapped in bacon stuffed with mash and gravy)

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) Irish Shane Lowry ( what an amazing guy) Feargal Quinn also outside sport International David Beckham

What’s your favourite…? Film any Harry Potter. Song or Album higher love (james Vincent mcmorrow) Book ( pome if)

What’s your favourite holiday destination? South of Italy

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? GAA. I have moved into coaching with my club and Wexford seniors this year. But outside sports I love business all types you might of guessed if you know me/… Follow tailor and blue coffee Co. 😉

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Life time ban for drug cheats. Larger world tour for athletics bring it to more cities and countries

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Strict on time

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) Have fun and run fast if I can make another Irish cap all the better

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? Good team mates

Timmy at 2017 European Clubs Track & Field, Lieria
Euro clubs, 2019, Helsinki

No.26 :60 Seconds with Harrier Aideen O’Connor

An athlete who in her 5 years with Clonliffe has blossomed into a fine runner, and who proves that enjoying the effort delivers the results. Enjoy this read: Bio: 40 yrs old, Work as Programmes & Services Manager for the Dublin City Sports Partnership. Over 22 years working in the sports, fitness & health industry. Mam to 7 year old son Rian.

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I did a small bit of Athletics when I was kid and ran once or twice for my secondary school but basketball was my main sport at the time. I actually didn’t get into running until I was 26 yrs old , I was working as a fitness manager but wanted a new fitness challenge, so I decided I would run my 1st marathon in 2006.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I joined Clonliffe in 2015 at that stage I had done a few marathons, but all on my own and my own training. Through my job in sports with Dublin City Council I came across Eugene Coppinger and Jim Aughney at a Dublin City Marathon meeting and we got chatting and Eugene said to me you should join a club , it would really help your marathon training and times! I like to think I was scouted by Eugene lol. (well that’s what I tell myself) Pam Cooper was the 1st person I met when I walked into the hall & I remember thinking oh god what I have got myself in for…but Pam & Ben were unbelievable with their encouragement and it was one of the main reasons I returned the following week and another reason why I am still a member of the Club.

What is your favourite training workout? – I have to say I love the track, so any track sessions but I love the short ones so give me 200m reps and I am in my element!

And your least favourite? – has to be mile reps ……… slow and painful …..but also rewarding in a very weird way only runners might understand, having your running buddies beside you or ahead makes it all that bit more enjoyable!!!

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet?…… for me personally as a participant, the Dublin City Marathon hands down, it’s part of my life now and my sons birthday always falls on the Oct bank holiday weekend so it is always a weekend packed with great excitement and wonderful memories created with family and of course the Clonliffe Harriers gang & all the volunteers. After that you just can’t beat the Athletics @ the Olympics, what a show!!!

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) Well after many years of running marathons I finally got sub 3:30 ( 3:24) , it was an overwhelming experience for me that year as I had struggled through some difficult times, when I crosses the line and seen all my club mates and my coach Ben & Pam let’s just say there were plenty of tears!! I placed 3rd in my age category that year and the women’s teams also got medals which I was part of. I did win a medal @ the National Indoor Championships in Athlone 2017 in the 1500m , it was the most unnerving experience I had ever had , I really wanted to hide , completely out of my debt & comfort zone but I got a medal in a small field ( shhhhhhhh!) and came 3rd . Ciara Peelo & Fergal O’Shea and Pam gave me great support & encouragement that day, and on the journey back up I have to say I was chuffed to be coming back with a medal!! The medal represented more that I had stepped outside my comfort zone rather than anything else.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? – My recovery from having my son was a very long one , I honestly thought I would never run again , to me that was my injury ! I spent a lot of time in out of hospital for many months after but I knew with some grit, self-determination I would get back running. I think they are many of my running female pals who can relate to this, but that’s what is so great about the club we support each other, motivate each other and bring out the best in each other! The club was my lifeline and it was one of the best things I ever did joining Clonliffe Harriers.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Let’s just say what goes on tour stays on tour!! Our trips away to Budapest, Berlin and Hamburg have all been epic.. with too many funny stories! we managed to leave 3 Clonliffers behind on our last trip so that might explain some of the mischief we get up to when away!

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition – ah there is always a bit of pasta carb loading somewhere B. Outside competition – Pasta lol

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish – I have a few from different sports , but in terms of Athletics ( there are so many Irish sporting role models at the moment but it has to be Sonia O’Sullivan , I was 15 when she won the world 5,000m title in Gothenburg in 1995 I remember watching it at home with the family screaming at the tv B. International – the list is endless but in my opinion one of the ultimate sporting heroes of all time , Muhammad Ali What’s your favourite…? A. Film – Goodfellas B. Song or Album – I actually can’t pick a favourite song , there is too many that are my favourite C. Book – well I am currently reading Eat Sweat Play by Anna Kessel and I am enjoying it

What’s your favourite holiday destination? – I still have so much of the world to see but I was in Rome last year & I loved it , but you can’t beat some beautiful destinations in Ireland too!

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? – I love to write, read and journal it helps me to set my goals, keep focused and reflect. I have completed a Reiki course so I am practicing that too and my 7 yr old son keeps me very active and busy and happy.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) motivated, positive, crazy

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) To run my 10th Marathon and to get PB .

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? – To be honest I am looking after my mam/dad & aunty in the house who are all vulnerable right now and trying to look after Rian ( RTE school hub was a god send lol) while getting some school work done and logging in from home for work myself …… motivation has always been a part of me ( it was something I instilled in myself when I started out playing sport and working in the fitness industry I realised very quickly if I am not motivated you will struggle to motivate others) so I just make sure I get my run/training in at any window/break I get and to be honest I am loving getting out for my runs in this weather even in a 2k radius!! Just want to say great news to hear Joe Cooper is out of hospital and all the Clonliffe gang are delighted with this news ! Sending him our best wishes

Aideen O’Connor: No words required!

No.25: 60 Seconds with Harrier Pat Bonass

Another of the “Old Stagers” , a great promoter of Masters athletics, and a man instrumental in the founding of the Clonliffe Grand Prix Series some 20 years ago, Pat Bonass.

Bio: I am Pat Bonass, 76 years young and have spent 50 of these years in Clonliffe Harriers without a break. I was married to Sylvia for 44 years but alas she passed away in 2010, I had 3 children and my eldest ,Pat jnr, has also  regrettably passed away. I have an even half dozen grandchildren all healthy and doing well. My life has revolved around my family, business in the textile trade and Clonliffe Harriers so you could say all three were and still are my family.

When did you take up the sport and why? I started running in the primary school sports in Croke Park, ran a few x country races for St Brigits with very little success but it was all GAA then and later some soccer and rugby . I had reasonable success in all three but always loved Athletics since Ronnie Delaney won Olympic gold in 1956.

When and why Clonliffe Harriers? I joined Clonliffe in 1971 on recommendation of Peter Purcell , a business collegue and later husband to the great Mary Purcell.

What’s your favourite training workout? My first few years in Clonliffe were difficult making the transition from footballer to athlete but the more miles I did the more confidence I got, then the Marathon boom started and I was in my element doing twice a day training up to 100 miles per week and eventually running 29 marathons culminating in getting elite status in the London marathon as I was over 40 and had a few sub 3 hour finishes. My training gradually changed when I began to travel to European  and World Masters championships competing in x country and 5000 and 10000 track

And your least favourite? None really, maybe cold rainy weather, I just love running.

What’s your favourite athletes meet or race? Race is National masters x country in  February each year . Meet Morton Games and Brother schools races x country 

Pat discusses tactics with Noel Guiden, Sindelfigen, Germany 2004

What is your most cherished moment in athletics? There were many,  Winning  a  Team Bronze Medal in 1989 in Oregon USA with the IRE team when it was 5 to score. We finished 3 rd behind USA  and NZ  a huge result for a small nation to find 5 of us to beat the larger nation. I was honoured by the members with a presentation night where I was given a memento by the Presedent Tom Griffin . The other great memory is more recent when i won a bronze individual medal in 2015 Over70  5000 x country in European Championshio in  Torun Poland  on a hilly difficult  forest trail  in a time of 19.25 after which i was made Master Athlete of the year in Clonliffe and also won the Tadgh Lynch Trophy awarded by the Irish Masters Athletics Association for outstanding performances in 2015.

What was your worst injury and how did you get over it? Alas I’ve had  many, and, just now at my age to many to care to recall so I’ll stick with the metatarsel  injury I’m carrying today!

What advise would you give to a young athlete? Love your sport , eat , drink and sleep it. Find a good mentor/coach , make a year long plan on 1st of January each year , break it into 4 x13 weeks , record what you do every day. Train smart  to peak when YOU want to . Be a gracious winner and looser . Remember Athletics is lonely sometimes and a selfish sport so be thankful to those around who understand.

Your favourite meals? for competition in morning  or evening race  scrambled eggs , toast and melon 3 hrs before race plus plenty of water up to 30 mins before race . OUT OF COMP  Corned  Beef  with beans and potatoes from my own garden with a big lump of butter!

Who is your sporting hero? Irish Eamon Coghlan. International Mohammed Ali or Cassius Clay, as he was back in the day.

Your favourites? Film: Casablanca and Michael Collins. Music (MY OWN)   2 Songs ” Fairest Maggie” ( written by myself to commerate  the 50th anniversary of my Mothers death  and “Song for Caroline” which I wrote about 3 years ago.  Book: 1984 by George Orwell

Holiday destination? Monte Gordo in Portugal  great for lovely people plus  running , relaxing , swimming, beer and food ( and slipping over to Spain on the ferry for 2 euros)

As a long time Clonliffe Harrier any stories you’d like to share? I was happily leaving the Clonliffe bar on way home with a few nice pints in my belly when i met Noel Daly arriving , Ah sure you,ll have a hot whiskey for the season thats in it  (Xmas),. .   ah sure one wont do me any harm says i      Sufficient to say we met bad company and much whiskey was consumed , At closing time we reached the top of the stairs whereupon i decided to let gravity get me to the bottom  ….. fell all the way down was a bit shook and Paddy Marley kindly offered  to drive me home we all laughed and laughed …..about me being very jarred,……. but …. i felt nothing until the drink began to wear off about 5 am when i began to scream with 3 broken ribs and a punctured  lung   …….  it was not funny any more …. i lost 3 months training and time off work plus doctors bills……   Ah .. the demon drink

Outside of athletics how do you occupy youself? Writing, singing and playing music especially with my Partner Caroline with various groups 2 or 3  times weekly. Golf , Gardening  and Horse Racing, (need more hours in the day for other things)

If you were Seb Coe what would you do to change/improve our sport? Oh! I could go on and on  but i will be brief : 1. One failed drug test life ban ( but allowing one right of appeal , if appeal successful no 2nd right of appeal  if positive a 2nd time.)  2. Promote more crosscountry running for TV in winter. 3. Space for a few Masters races in major meets ( to promote healthy living if nothing else)  4. Money from major games to trickle down to educate coaches world wide.

How would your non running friends describe you, in three words? Doer, funny, singer.

 When things get back to normal ehat are your running goals? Without a doubt to regain my place on the IRL team O75 to run in the British and Irish x country International Masters to be staged in Santry in November  2020.

How are you continuing to train and keep motivated at these strange times? I’m lucky to live in Ballyboughal and have minor country side  roads with little or no traffic. I’m on an 8 day running  roster  easy running for 3 days  then a ladder session with race pace intervals from 3 minutes up to 8 minutes with good rests in between  total about 6 miles then 3 days easy running and 8th day of a few interval miles at about 85%  target race pace with good recovery in between . Will do this routine until  end of May and then focus on longer intervals.  I hope to compete in few 5k and 5 mls  in summer races leading up to November big race  

Pat in action at the Clonliffe 2 in Santry

No. 24: 60 Seconds with Harrier Rory Gunning

This morning we feature another of our field eventers, an athlete who has made a big contribution to the outstanding success enjoyed by the track & field team and three time National Javelin Champion Rory Gunning.

Bio: I’m from Athboy in Meath and have been living in Dublin for over 15 years now. I’ve been National Champion 3 times and have a couple of silvers and bronzes too. I recently became eligible for the Masters which I was in denial about 😊

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? I started when I was 8 with Fr Murphy’s AC back home. It was just a case of me, my Brother and Sister and our friends who were brought out by our parents. I did a bit of everything except cross country, had no interest in that. I was kind of fast and could jump and throw, so I liked all that. I took a little 10 year break from the sport when I was 16\17. One night I had a look at the AAI website and saw Bart Roger’s phone number and gave him a bell. That was me back

.When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? I transferred to Clonliffe after joining back with Fr Murphy’s for a few years. I was always training with Bart and the group on Clonliffe time, and there was an opportunity to get more competitions in so I made the leap. It’s a lonely enough sport as it is so it’s nice to be part of a successful team. They’re a sound bunch in Clonliffe.

What is your favourite training workout? I’m not sure. When I don’t have any injury annoying me I like every part of training. I suppose if I had to choose it would be throwing practice with a group where you knock a bit of craic out of it.

And your least favourite? There isn’t really any session I can pick out there. I’ve had achilles issues for years now that I have to dance around, so if there’s a session where I cant do the running or plyo’s it bugs me. So those sessions where you’re trying to replace what you were meant to be doing, it just aint the same!

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? I love the National Championships. I just like that everyone is competing on that day to see who is the best in the country. It gets a decent crowd too, and the night out on the Sunday is always good, not for the liver though. But there’s also the Morton Games which I got to take part in last year. It was nice to throw against a field of better throwers and I got a nice little PB out of it. I plan on doing the same again in 2021.

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I think it would be making the Irish team for the European Team Cup in 2015 in Crete. At the time it was cool and just happening, but when I think back it was such a great experience. Things like the warm up area and just seeing some high level competitors doing there thing, and the team talk in the hotel. It’s a great memory and I made friends for life from it.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? It would have to be my achilles. I had a micro tear and wasn’t too disciplined for a while so that didn’t do it any favours. The Javelin throw is not easy on it like any event. I get great treatment from Ciarán McDonagh and it’s my job to stay on the top of the rehab, has to be done.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Just make sure you enjoy what you are doing. Train smart, not just hard. Always have some goal in mind, that way you can put together a plan which helps you focus. Be patient as there are no shortcuts and always be willing to listen to the opinion of others. Knowledge is power and all that.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) Not really a haha funny story, but my first back night in Santry after 10 years, some unsavoury character busted the door lock on my car. Actually back when I was competing in the schools my Principal came over to see how I was doing. Bart was officiating and came up the field and gave him his marching orders, and was not having any of it when my Principal was trying to say he didn’t know what was wrong. It was funny seeing him being scolded and the look of disbelief on his face.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition B. Outside competition A. I don’t have specific competition meal. I try not to eat too heavy during the day of a competition. I think that’s more of a runner’s thing, or maybe not. I’ll have to ask around! B. That would have to be a gravy dinner courtesy of my Mam. Cant beat it!

Who is your sporting ‘hero’? (athletics or other) A. Irish B. International A. Probably Sonia O’Sullivan or Steve Collins, I’m a 90’s kid. B. Jan Zelezny- Javelin WR Holder

What’s your favourite…? A. Film – Cant pick one. You cant go wrong with Shawshank, or Rocky 4 for the cheesy soundtrack. Training Day always gets watched if it pops up on TV. B. Song or Album – Another too many to mention one. Song – Everlong by Foo Fighters would be up there. Album – My Spotify ranges from Toxicity by System of a Down to Stevie Wonders Definitive Collection. C. Book – I don’t read many books. The most recent one I read was “Jump over it” by Clonliffe’s very own Marcin Klinkosz, who is also my Coach. I would highly recommend it. The chap is a genius.

What’s your favourite holiday destination? So far it has been New York.

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? This question has made me realise I need to take up something. With working full time and training it doesn’t leave room for much else. Maybe I should take up the drums, always thought they were cool.

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? Well from a throwers perspective they could show more of the event at a Championships. So if they could not schedule it at the same time as a long distance race that would be great. To improve the sport overall, that’s a tough one. The sport is what it is. Maybe they could put more effort into marketing some of the top talent around the world. In other sports they can make a star out of someone which gets more people watching and that can only be a good thing.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Doesn’t like hassle

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) I want to throw over 70 metres. I’m slowly creeping towards it, and who knows what may happen after that.

How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? I just want to stay fit so it’s not hard to get up and do something. I enjoy exercise so I don’t need an excuse, and it’ll stand to me when we get back training properly. It’s good for the body and mind.

Rory with training partners in Morton Stadium

New Date for National Track & Field?

Interesting announcement from World Athletes to the effect that a “protection window” of August 8th & 9th has been included in the global calendar for 2020 for federations to hold their National Track & Field Championships. Although there has not been any confirmation from Athletics Ireland on this year’s Nationals which are scheduled for June 27th & 28th, it would seem pretty definite that this date in the current Covid-19 Pandemic will be vacated.

That being so one would assume that the “wish date” for the Nationals will be the date designated by World Athletics of August 8th & 9th, subject to the small matter of all being well! (Please note that there has not been any official confirmation on the above)

The full press release from World Athletics is:

World Athletics has put aside the weekend of 8-9 August, 2020, as the protected window for national championships this year, following the disruption of the international competition calendar by the coronavirus pandemic.

The newly established Global Calendar Unit has engaged actively with Member Federations, Area Associations, meeting directors and the World Athletics Athletes’ Commission in order to identify this window, a weekend when no Wanda Diamond League or World Athletics Continental Tour meetings are scheduled to be held this year.

The purpose of creating a protected window is to allow athletes to be able to compete in their national championships without scheduling conflicts, and Member Federations are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity if it is safe for athletes to compete in August. This applies primarily to the Northern Hemisphere, which is in its outdoor season.

The Athletes’ Commission has advised that elite athletes have a strong desire to compete this year if possible, and World Athletics will do everything it can to conduct an international competition season later this year to assist athletes to prepare for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “None of us can predict the future in these unprecedented times but we do know that different countries are at different stages of managing this pandemic so we are trying to give a structure to our athletes and Member Federations so they can begin to plan for the year ahead. If it is at all possible, we will schedule a belated outdoor season from August to October to help our athletes to figure out where they stand after the disruption of this year.

“We are hopeful that this can begin with national championships in many Northern Hemisphere countries in early August as travel restrictions across country borders will not impact these events. This will be followed by what we hope will be a solid international season, but of course we are dependent on the global response to the pandemic. Nevertheless, we think it’s better to offer our stakeholders some hope of a return to normalcy later this year.” 

The Global Calendar Unit continues to work with the Diamond League and Continental Tour to reschedule the rest of the 2020 season and an announcement is expected towards the end of April.

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the ability of all countries to resume competition at the same time or for athletes to have equal access to major competitions this year, the suspension of the Olympic qualification process will remain in place from 6 April to 30 November, 2020, as announced earlier this week.

This means that any results posted during this period will not be eligible for Olympic qualification or world ranking points.

Looking forward to next year, the Global Calendar Unit has agreed that the 2021 national championships protected windows will be on 5-6 June and 26-27 June, 2021, just prior to the end of the qualifying period for the Tokyo Olympic Games (June 29, 2021). 


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