Season 2, Another 60 Seconds: Aaron Cullen

Just like Netflicks as Season 1 finishes Season 2 starts. So here we go again with the imaginatively titled “Another 60 seconds”! We’d like this Season 2 to have more than a limited run, however, unless you the members want to get involved that’s exactly what it’s going to be. So far we’ve 4 Harriers who are up for it, so the duration of this season is a matter that’s entirely up to you. If you want it it’s here. (club members who would like to be involved e mail First up in Season 2, it’s one of our top Juniors….

Bio: Aaron Cullen, 18 years old, 6th year student in Portmarnock CS. Middle distance athlete (primarily 1500m).

What age did you take up the sport of athletics and why? Probably around 8 (I can’t quite remember) – I wasn’t the best at team sports, I couldn’t understand how I could have the best match of my life and still lose or have the worst match of my life and come out with the win – with running I could see where the results came from.

When and why did you join Clonliffe Harriers? Around 5th class (I think). I started running in Fingallians AC. Why? Not many clubs have a wall dedicated to Olympians!

What is your favourite training workout? Joe’s Tuesday pre race workout – 500/400/300/200/100 off 2 minutes recovery.

And your least favourite? Mile repeats around Santry Park – Ben normally bruises the ego of the entire group!

What’s your favourite race / athletics meet? All Ireland Schools track – nothing seems bigger than schoolboy rivals

What is your most cherished or proudest moment in athletics? (as athlete and/or coach) I couldn’t decide between these two. All Ireland Schools track 2017 – I took the gold in the mile, Daniel won the inter steeple and Craig brought 2 silver medals back to Portmarnock. Everything went right on the day! All Ireland junior cross this year. For the first time in 4 or 5 years the clonliffe junior team were serious underdogs going into the race. On the day everything fell into place and we won.

What was your worst injury – and how did you get over it? I had a stress fracture during the 2018 cross country season. At the time it wasn’t ideal but looking back on it, it wasn’t the worst injury to get. I’ve had teammates with reoccurring or undiagnosed injuries, at least with a stress fracture you’ll be out of the boot in 6 weeks and back running in 7 or 8 weeks.

(For a coach or seasoned athlete) What piece of advice would you give an aspiring athlete? Don’t forget to run slow during the week, we get preoccupied by what our watches say at times, there is no shame in running at 7.30 or slower.

Do you have any memorable or funny story from Clonliffe Harriers that you could share? (the censorship board may review!) I’ve ran with Daniel for too many years now but there has to be some code of ethics within the group.

What’s your favourite meal? A. For competition: plain pasta with chicken, sausage and bacon. B. Outside competition: Anything with BQQ sauce

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

What’s your favourite…? A. Film: The Big Short or Good Will Hunting B. Song or Album: Anything that makes a 5k radius feel like the phoenix park C. Book: Elon Musks’ biography

What’s your favourite holiday destination? I really loved Washington DC

What’s your favourite hobby / activity outside athletics? I love coffee shops and eating Indian food (a staple of my diet)

If you were Seb Coe what changes would you implement to improve our sport? How many times have you watched a Diamond league race where 80% of the athletes are sporting the same Nike Kit and the rest are kitted out in Adidas gear? It must be mad for an outsider to turn on the TV and see all the athletes wearing the same shoes, singlet and shorts. I would implement a policy where the shoe companies have to set up teams just as OTC, Bowerman TC or the Boston Reebok TC and design different gear for each team. Perhaps even start a league between the teams or implement a draft like in the NBA, NFL etc.

How would your non-athlete friends describe you? (in 3 words) Shameless generic answer – “the running one”.

What is your next running / athletics goal? (whenever normality returns!) 3.50 in the 1500 How are you motivating yourself to continue training at these difficult times? It’s a great opportunity to build up a good base before cross country and focus on the 1%ers such as s&c.

Aaron IAAF XC, Seville Jan. 2020

Young Guns: (R to L) Aaron, Cian Bolger, Ben Guiden club juvenile XC , 2014
2019 National Junior XC Champions, Abbotstown Nov.