Archive for October, 2020

It was virtually a race? Dublin Virtual Marathon

By Maurice McCrohan: October 25th 2020: Autumn marathons for many of us and for differing reasons are just part of what do. The summer long runs in sun protected hats, shades and singlets give way to autumn leaves, darker mornings, extra layers and the latest bobble hat fad!

The covid pandemic has taken away the activities of many, but runners are lucky in many ways in that we kept going through training pods and club closed races etc.

The Dublin virtual marathon was a partial solution to the problem. The training continued; at least until Level 5 kicked it, but there were no proper build up races to test race conditions, (bar the virtual app races!).

So would it be a race, a tempo run, something in between?

Up to a week ago, running in a pod of 15 with back up in a designated route in Phoenix Park was on. Until the Level 5 restriction of running with one other person was imposed.

Thank the modern tech for the 5k from home radius app, which gave degree of flexibility for those who know their maths, physics and orienteering? Imagine, if it was restricted to as the crow flies 5k?

I downloaded the app with Luddite scepticism from a lifetime of Casio stopwatches, got my daughter to help me upload a Garmin app on to a spare Garmin generously denoted by a fellow runner. (Spoiler alert! Do you think both worked on the day?)

My running partner and I mapped our route the night before, dropping bottles of water at various boreens, hedges and shores along the route.

Would we remember where to find them when the fog of running war descends?

So, my alarm clock went off without GMT hitch at oh my god its early time? Was this a race or a tempo training run?

Not your actual race conditions, did I need the “Dumbo with the feather” porridge clutch on Sunday, the banana and bagel or would it be my standard training run prep of a strong barista and a bottle of water?

I chose the former when maybe the latter would have been better as I felt bloated early on .Maybe I am not just what I used to be. Terrys Saturdays and Eugene’s Tuesdays had brought me so far, but.

We headed from Seabury to country roads around Swords. It was like a tempo training run. Just us, a few walkers and a few curious guard dogs on the back roads. No crowds No Motivational music or groups of drummers banging out a rhythm.

The tracker app and Garmin watch seemed to ping. The Dublin marathon app was working as it kept telling me about the race and pointed out landmarks as if I was running the route! It gave me a time at each mile then around 6 miles it went quiet.

I Thought maybe it had ran out of things to say? The phone was strapped on to my left arm so I did not want to stop in full flow until the next water drop.

We got to the pit stop just after 10 miles .I got the phone out of the holder and yes the app had stopped measuring the miles, but the clock was still running.

I switched play again; the mileage turned on but had lost 4 miles…

But, of course, I had the Garmin. That hadn’t kicked off either… Luckily, Stephen had a Garmin strava. I was left to follow his mileage and his instructions. He’s a bit quicker than me so I had to hang on to him.

I struggled for the next 3 miles distracted by the “appastrophe “of my tech! We were joined at that stage by Stephens’s son Tighes on his bike with water bottles in case we missed our drop zones.

We headed into Malahide where there were lots of people out on a cold sunny morning. This was the virtual crowd section, where many cheered us and many other runners on.

I got into a rhythm, felt better and started to speed up. I hung in there and closed the gap to Stephen. My Dublin Mara app had kicked on and was giving me mile splits; I was speeding up even if the app was averaging the miles to include the lost miles!

The paths were busier. I nearly ran into one not socially distanced family who had stopped to chat and blocked the whole path. Stephen added two hills to our route to keep us keen.

This did lead to a descent over the last 2 miles (method in his madness!) and one hairy road stretch where the path disappeared and we were on the road edge running against the Sunday morning drivers! We hit Seabury with a mile to go. Again, it was a virtual Dublin crowd with lots of people out and about cheering us on.

I had no finishing line to visualise other than Stephen’s watch so that was mentally hard. When he stopped abruptly 5 yards ahead of me that was all folks! No tape. No digital clock! The End! No Mobot, No fists pumps, No volunteer with bacofoil sheet..!

My daughter Sinead and Stephens’s family were there by the Centra shops, ready with a latte, socially distanced greetings and a photo shot! In the unique circumstances of 2020, this was as much as I could expect, (apart from my tracker app failure!)

I was able to load a manual time from the 3.33 showing on the tracker app clock which was accepted by the organisers. The post run whatspp messages from all the marathoners and wellwishers were as heartfelt as any other marathon.

In summary, we were able to run and finish a marathon in a pandemic. That was enough.

Maurice “Mo”McCrohan

Time for a look back: Dublin Marathon 2010

With the action grinding to a halt once again (unless you are doing this weekend’s Dublin Marathon virtually, let us know) we thought we’d start a “Let’s look back” series. To get the ball rolling we go back this day 10 years to the 2010 Dublin Marathon. On that back holiday Monday October 25th Sergiu Ciobanu retained his National Marathon title and let the men to a fine team win.

As always there was a great Clonliffe crew involved, with the juveniles involved at the baggage area from day break and many others involved on the volunteering front. On the streets of the capital several Clonliffe athletes toed the line.

The defending National Champion Sergiu Ciobanu with an impressive 2.19.33 retained his National Marathon Title. With Sergiu followed home by Brian MacMahon in 2.27.35 in 23rd place just ahead of Lorcan Cronin in 24th place 2.27.38 these three combined to take the team title with all of 27 minutes to spare on Rathfarnham with West Waterford 3rd. Other stand outs were the PB’s for Conor Delaney 2.47.14, Mark Bermingham 2.49.50, Eoin Murray 2.54.41, Jeremy Chapman 2.57.59 and Fergus Keenan 3.02.03. Paddy Tuite with 3.07.28 was within a few places of a national O/50 medal, and of course The Cornell Frank Behan successfully completed his 31st Dublin.

OK folks over to you! If you want to “Get Back to were you once belonged”, get writing!

Clonliffe please be aware of Park users in Santry

The attention of all our members who train in Santry Park is drawn to the need to be mindful and respectful of other users of the facility. In the current climate please be extra vigilant when passing members of the public and ensure social distancing of 2m. We would advise in so far as is possible to use the grass, not the paths, for sessions.

Coaches please advise everyone in your group before each training session to be mindful and respectful of other park users.

Can we avoid doing sessions on the Path? There does not seem to be any difficulty when we use the grass.

All groups warming up please split into small groups and not all going in the same direction. Likewise for cool down.

Please when warming up/cooling down observe social distancing requirements from one another and the public.

If you brush against someone or startle someone, please apologize.

Bare in mind at all times the importance of being friendly to our Santry neighbours.

Level 5: Lockdown days!

Tonight the country goes to level 5 until December 1. The effect of this on society is well documented elsewhere. All club members are implored to follow fully the government guidelines. From an athletics and Clonliffe Harriers perspective the following applies:

Juvenile athletes who are still attending school can continue to train with the club at organised training sessions.

The restriction on not being able to travel in excess of 5KM does not apply to this group.

These athletes must remain in a strict pod system not exceeding 15, to include the coach.

Morton Stadium continues to be available for these athletes on the usual Clonliffe times: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 PM, Sundays 9:30 AM. The clubhouse will remain closed and athletes must arrive ready to train.

The usual covert 19 criteria applies as regards all athletes must bring hand sanitiser, there can be no physical contact, social distancing must be observed, it is strongly advised that all athletes arriving should wear face masks.

Parents cannot remain at the training session and should not leave their vehicle but rather should leave the stadium and come back at the appointed time for collections.

Coaches must continue to make a booking for their pod with the names and contact numbers of all in the pod. Coaches are advised to wear face coverings at all times.

Athletes must only attend a session at the invitation of their coach. Athletes must therefore remain in contact with their coach. Athletes cannot simply “turn up”.

All athletes U/19, junior, senior, masters must train individually and must remain within 5km of their home. Those athletes cannot train on Clonliffe sessions time. The only exceptions are athletes who fulfill the Athletics Ireland criteria of an elite athlete.

Junior/senior and masters athletes should remain in contact with their coaches for their training schedules for these weeks ahead.

All races and events are cancelled at this time. The national cross country championships are deferred from November 22 to date in the future which has not as yet been advised (earlier information said that this championships can take place at any time up to the end of February)

All our athletes and club members are encouraged to remain positive, keep on training and prepared for future competition. Stay in contact with your fellow club members, please adhere to all health guidelines. When training in public parks on the roadway it is strongly advised to give members of the public as much room as possible, there is currently an anti-runner bias out there.

We look forward to the return of all to Clonliffe Harriers at the start of December.

Keep to the forefront of your thoughts the motto of this great club of ours: Nil desperandum.

February date for 2020 National Cross Country?

As the days pass the prospects of the National cross country championships this side of Christmas are becoming more unlikely. November 22nd is the date for the 2020 Nationals in Abbotstown, a date which is coming far too soon with current level 3 restrictions here and level 4 in the boarder counties, and indeed the strong possibility of level 4 or event level nationally in the coming week/weeks. Athletics Ireland have this evening announced that the 2020 championships maybe deferred well beyond November indeed towards the end of February, this applies to all national xc championships. As soon as we have confirmation will post here.

Covid 19: Updated reminder for Clonliffe Harriers

With the continuing deterioration of the Covid 19 health crisis all club members are reminded to keep up the practices which we have developed as the club over recent months. This is a time when every single one of us must follow the procedures and protocols we have in place. The club appeals to all to ensure that no slippage takes place.

By way of reminder:

Coaches must book their groups into training sessions regardless of where those training sessions take place. We must have the names and contact details of all who train on a particular night.Parents cannot remain at training sessions.

Training groups must be broken into a maximum of 15 per pod. Athletes must remain with the same pod for each training session. Athletes cannot and must not move from one coaches group to another during these times.

Social distancing is vitally important. Athletes should therefore complete the warm-ups in small groups. Please bear in mind that the general public are extremely concerned if they come across a group of 15 athletes running together.

Athletes are requested to wear face masks when arriving for training and taking instructions. Do not arrive at training too early, do not congregate in groups for a pretraining chat or a posttraining chat. Try to observe social distancing as much as possible.

Coaches are advised to wear face masks.

Coaches and athletes are advised to bring hand sanitiser with them and to use this before and after training.

Do not share any items, drinks et cetera.

Again for the foreseeable future no physical contact, no high-fives, no handshakes, but we can smile – behind the face mask of course!

The clubhouse unfortunately remains closed, continue to arrive at training ready to train and when you are finished training put on some dry gear and leave this stadium immediately.

If training in Santry Park, and indeed on the roads, bear in mind that the general public are at this time actually afraid of runners. Please avoid the possibility of confrontation, give members of the public plenty of room and plenty of warning if you are coming past.

All members are referred to the government guidelines applicable to level 3 and in particular the importance of remaining in the county of Dublin.

On the competition front all competition is currently suspended, this includes club races. The cross country season is very much in question, we will update when we have clarification from Dublin athletics and athletics Ireland.

Continue to enjoy your running, it will do your headspace the world of good, continue to be supportive of your clubmates, your coaches and your families. If we all continue to do the right things we will come out of this and things will start to return to normality.

Farewell Pat Hooper, our adversary and our friend

It was with absolute shock that we learned yesterday of the sudden passing of Mr Raheny Shamrocks, Pat Hooper at only 68 years of age.

Pat was one of the most passionate nicest men anyone could have the pleasure to meet. He has dedicated his life to our sport and in particular his beloved Raheny Shamrocks. A brilliant teak tough competitor throughout his athletics career which culminated in his representing Ireland at the 1980 Olympic marathon in Moscow with his younger brother Dick at his side.

It was however upon his retirement from competitive athletics that his drive, passion and love for the sport of ours came to wider attention. He has been the driving force behind our ‘noisy’ neighbours as a coach, committee member, club officer, race director, volunteer, commentator (some may say that he did not need a megaphone as he decreed ‘another historic win for Raheny Shamrocks!’), you name it Pat Hooper was it and did it.

From the Clonliffe Harriers side of the fence he was the most passionate of adversaries, driving on his charges in the white and green of Raheny to what was undoubtedly one of his proudest days that first capturing of the Holy Grail, the national senior cross country in 2016, a feat which Pat and the Raheny boys then decided to really rub our noses in by repeating it again in 2017 and 2018! Pat was always a gentleman whether beating or been beaten by Clonliffe. He would always call to the Clonliffe tent win lose or draw to shake hands once the swords had been put away.

For over a decade Pat has also served Dublin Athletics as the Chairman of the Board putting in countless hours, he was also currently serving on the Board of Athletics Leinster and also on the competition committee of Athletics Ireland. He was a man who was a permanent fixture in our sport, he could be found officiating at an event almost every single day of the week (sometimes twice on the same day) be that the Dublin graded, Leinster competition, national competition, schools competition, we are eternally grateful in Clonliffe to Pat for turning up at every schools event this club organised be it the Brother Schools XC, , Leinster schools or All Ireland schools. Even more importantly he was there congratulating with equal enthusiasm the youngster who was 1st across the line or 201st across the line.

Clonliffe Harriers and Irish athletics will miss Pat enormously. Our thoughts are with Pat’s family, in particular his son Dave and brother Dick and all Pat’s extended family who proudly wear the colours of Raheny Shamrocks.

Farewell Pat Hooper our adversary and our friend.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Today, Wednesday October 7th was supposed to be the running of the annual Brother Schools Cross Country in Santry Demesne. Unfortunately that event cannot proceed having been called off several months ago. Today, however, we want to look back on this event which commenced in October 2009, reviving the old Clonliffe Schools Cross Country which goes back to 1978.

Brother came on board in 2009 and have been loyal supporters of the event since. That first Brother Cross Country was a toe into the water affair as we looked to see whether local schools fancied a cross country race at the start of the year. We were bowled over by the 750 or so athletes attended that first event. It has then snowballed to a stage where last year there were some 1,800 athletes taking part.

These ten years have simply flown past. Brother Schools XC has seen the cream of Irish schools athletes taking part many of whom have gone on to bigger and better things with several winners of the schools cross country representing their country at the highest level including athletes such as Siofra Clerigh-Buttner (DSD), Kevin Dooney (Raheny Shamrocks) and of course our own Efrem Gidey.

The Brother Schools XC has proved to be one of the most popular events on the Clonliffe calendar. It is an event which is enjoyed thoroughly by all involved, the people who come out on the day thoroughly enjoy the event and in particular the spectacle of those minor and junior races where it is like the charge of the light brigade with the “thundering hooves” down the straight to make the turn at the tree and then head out into the country. A spectacular and invigorating day. We will be back, October 6th 2021.

Sometimes pictures are better than words. Enjoy:

Covid 19 update

With the entire country now at level 3 (from mid night on October 6th) there are considerable restrictions on the sport of athletics. At this time no competition is permitted. People should not leave their county unlss for work, education or some other necessary reason. Training may continue but in pods of 15 to include the coach. This applies to all outdoor training: track in Morton Stadium, Trinity playing fields, road run, training in Santry Park etc. For tracing purposes all groups must be booked in for all training sessions, with name of coach and names of athletes, and contact numbers for all.

The club’s premises, dressing rooms and other facilities remains closed at this time. Toilets are available in the stadium. No showers at this time, arrive ready to train, and limit as much as possible congratulating in groups.

Please note the following:

Training for Clonliffe members continues in Morton Stadium on Tuesdays/Thursdays 7pm – 9pm, Sundays 9.30-11.30am. Trinity playing fields on Tuesdays.

Bookings must be made by the group coach

It is strongly recommended that coaches wear face coverings and that athletes similarly wear face covering when meeting up and taking instructions.

There can be no physical contact whatsoever between the members of the training group.

Social distancing of 2M must be strictly observed, at meet up, warm up, between reps and for cool down.

Please observe coughing and sneezing etiquette.

Please refrain entirely from spitting.

Wash your hands before you leave home to go running, bring a hand sanitiser with you, do not press any pedestrian crossing buttons and if you are stretching do not use a railings or park bench or similar to support you while you stretch.

Do not share drinks, be absolutely careful that your drink bottle does not touch against another athletes drink bottle, do not handle another athletes drink bottle, it is vitally important that cross contamination is avoided.

If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 or flu like symptoms do not come to train, self isolate and contact your GP.

If you have had, or a member of your household has had a Covid 19 test, you must self isolate and not come training until there is a negative result of such test.

Unfortunately no competition (including club races) is permitted. The upcoming Club 10 mile/Ahern Cup, Walker Cup 4 Mile and Clonliffe 2 are deferred. We aim to prioritize these events and hold them as soon as possible. When we know, you’ll know! Please also note that the Dublin Juvenile and Novice Championships due to take place over the coming weeks have been deferred. Updates when we have them.

Please stay safe, continue with the good practices we have all developed and keep smiling. Better days ahead!

2.09.47 by brilliant Scullion in London

Stephen Scullion was simply superb in this morning’s London Marathon. This year’s race being a London marathon like no other taking place in a ‘bubble’ on a 1.3 mile loop through St. James’ Park. Scullion ran the second fastest Irish marathon of all time 2.09.47, a two minute PB and Clonliffe Harriers club record and cements his Olympic qualifying berth for Tokyo.

In placing an excellent 11th Scullion ran the following splits: 10 K – 30.13, half marathon 64.12, 20 K – 67.47, 30 K – 1.31.53, 26.2- 2.09.47. 2nd only to John Treacy’s Irish record of 2.09.15 from Boston in 1988. With the record very much in his sights post race he twitted: “Lions still hunt in the rain. Some day I’ll get nice weather for a marathon. Until next time. 2.09.49? ”

Today’s elite only London Marathon was won by Shura Kitata 2.05.41 with pre race favourite Eliud Kipchoge 8th.


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