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Back by popular demand: The Flynner Blog

After an absence from racing for 15 months Flynner is back. After an even longer absence we present the Flynner Blog: “It was NCAA cross country 2013 in Terre Haute Indiana . If none of you have ever been to Terre Haute its equivalent too what Belfast looked like during the troubles .The minus 5 wind chill was colder then the look Joe Cooper would give when Gary O Hanlon has just said he forgot his spikes an hour before Inter club cross country. Anyway  It was after the race and our team had just ran terrible in the biggest collegiate race in the world and me being the captain of the team toke it harder then most I remember cooling down with Chris O Hare and his team and for once in my running career started questioning why I was doing this running business. My leadership qualities as a captain and my general personality that kept team moral at a high throughout the season along with my vast knowledge and experience as an Ncaa athlete was spotted by my coach Chris Bucknam and thought these qualities would convert into a great coach at the University of Arkansas . To coach at the college the great John Mcdonnell had achieved so much at was an offer i just couldnt refuse.

The running career was slowly falling into the background and coaching was becoming my number 1 priority and with me getting mono which had me physically drained (unable to exercise for 2 months) and graduation coming up . I made the decision to see what it was like to be a normal student not held back from having training everyday or a race every weekend. I  went out on the infamous Dickson Street where all the college bars and night clubs were and im not gonna lie I started to really like this new lifestyle after a while and it wasnt long until  I was known around the bars I would usually walk in or skip a que if there was one and people would shout Hey Ireland !! or look its Dublin !!. Usually my drinks would be paid for by listening Americans who insist that they are 10 percent Irish, once I gave them an Irish blessing of calling them “a fecking eejit” and move on to another bar.

The coaching at this time was going really well too I was doing alot of work with both men and womens steeplechasers. One guy would finish runner up in the NCAAs and two girls finished top 8 at US senior trials along with one qualifer for US juniors . I then went from a student coach to a volunteer assistant coach and traveled on every trip and went to every coaches meeting which i learnt a great deal. The real learning experience came from head coach Chris Bucknam who thought me the ins and out of an Ncaa program his experience and advice everyday along with being a great family man gave me a role model to learn off day in day out .

But although there was a great personal satisfaction off coaching at one of the best athletic programs in America I just felt something was missing from my life. At this stage I was also applying for coaching jobs and doing phone interviews with the likes of University Of New Orleans for a full time postion and on top of being out of competitive running for nearly a year  and the longest period of activity i had done was a five minute robot dance in a night club the weekend before the thought of getting back to a high standard of running was just as hard a mission of not paying Joe for the weekly lotto .

But after a talk with a few family and friends and some wise words from Peter McDermott my mind was made up on getting back to running at a high standard again and not half ass.  Either I want to go all in and see what potential I really have as an athlete. This involved a month trip to Monte Gordo with a few elite middle distance runners from Donegal where the passion and love for the sport sinked back into me. Next thing I know I`m on the starting line for the Garda cross country Business house race the gun goes off and according to Mark McDonald I went through the first 400 in 64 seconds by the time I realized how fast I was going it was too late. I was in the hurt box the top 2 passed me with ease and a gap formed with ease eventually I got a second wind and ended up coming a creditable 2nd not bad for not racing in 15 months. Roll on the Nationals.”

Flynner

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