Articles

Lifford-Strabane: the club that crosses borders

One club picking up a number of medals at last weekend’s Irish Life Health All Ireland Juvenile Track and Field Championships was Strabane Lifford – the only club on this island  (as far as we know) with one foot in the north and the other in the south. The towns sit on either side of […]

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European Teams: Barr, Lawler, Gregan win their heats

Thomas Barr in the 400m hurdles, Marcus Lawler 200m and Brian Gregan 400m all won their heats at the opening day of the European Clubs Team Championships in Vaasa Finland today. All five big names came through in the 400m hurdles (see below), which is shaping up to be the race of the competition. In […]

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Ben Johnson: My 1986 positive test was covered up

Sprinter Ben Johnson has admitted that he tested positive for a doping offence in 1986 – two years before he was busted after winning the 100m at the Seoul Olympics in a world record time of 9.79 seconds. The race has been dubbed the “Dirtiest Race in History” with six of the eight starters later […]

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On Your Marks – from Herald 6 January 2016

For some reason, the Wednesday Herald running column isn’t being added to www.herald.ie. So here is this week’s edition for anyone who didn’t get the Herald today. MEET AND TRAIN LEAGUE STILL GOING STRONG Well over a hundred women of all ages, sizes and levels of fitness turned out for Sunday’s Meet and Train league […]

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A Modest Proposal: How about an Irish Road Running League?

When it comes to races,  it’s possible to have too much of a good thing – and that is our problem at the moment. Because every race must be insured, cluttering up official calendars are small local races and leagues,  GAA runs, charity walks/runs, commercially run races, and various novelty events.  Sifting though such lists […]

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Herald Interview: Caitriona Jennings

One athlete sure to be celebrating the end of the year is Caitriona Jennings of Rathfarnham WSAF. A few weeks ago, Jennings finished fourth in the inaugural World 50k Championships held in Doha Qatar. It was her first appearance in an Irish vest since running the marathon at the London Olympics, where she picked up […]

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Review: Running Full Circle by Frank Greally

One of the most familiar figures in Irish Athletics is Frank Greally who has almost single-handedly kept the Irish Runner magazine on the road for over thirty years – and done much more besides. Now Frank was written his story – just in time for Christmas – called Running Full Circle. In the opening pages, […]

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Christine Kennedy: World Class Master

A time of 2:59.39 clocked at the Twin Cities Marathon on October 5 means that 59-year-old Christine Kennedy, originally from Galway, is the oldest woman ever to break three hours in the marathon. With her 60th birthday coming up on December 29, her aim now is to become the first 60-year-old to break three hours […]

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Numbers up in Athletics – But Women Scarce at the Top

For anyone who appreciates a close analysis of statistics, the syllabus for next weekend’s Athletics Ireland Congress provides an interesting snapshot of the sport today. Athletics Ireland now has a membership of almost 50,000 – 49,542 to be precise. That’s an increase of 17% – or 7,248 – on last year’s figure of 42,294. Even […]

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Book Review: Running Free by Richard Askwith

Book Review: Running Free by Richard Askwith  (Yellow Jersey Press, London, 2014) Richard Askwith calls it “Big Running”. It’s when a natural and instinctive activity falls prey to the marketing men; when running becomes something we spent money on expecting certain returns, rather than a simple activity that  enriches our lives. It’s when over-hyped and […]

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Clonliffe Women Celebrate 50 Years

On a chilly night in December 1963, a group of women wearing an assortment of loose clothing assembled outside the Trinity grounds on Santry Avenue for a 600 yard race. Ireland and indeed Dublin was a very different places back then. Santry, where Billy Morton had built his dream stadium, was on the outskirts of […]

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Other Sports: Danielle Powers to World Title

  Last January, Danielle Hayes took up powerlifting. Eight months on and she is a world champion. After many years spent in the gym, the 26-year-old Dublin schoolteacher wasn’t entirely new to lifting weights, but her stratospheric rise to the top is something of a shock. “The World Championships was only my second competition. I […]

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On Your Marks – Herald July 17

* Preview of Morton Games removed; well out of date by now! PS: Where was Gregan? Injured – since world university games; a bursa problem with the foot. Marathon addiction shows no sign of abating after 18 of the 23 starters completed the 10 Marathons in 10 Days Challenge set by Bridge Milers Olympic Harriers […]

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Irish Women’s Athletics – A History

An article I wrote on the history of women’s article for History Ireland is now online. See http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/irish-womens-athletics-and-the-olympic-games/

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On Your Marks – Herald July 10

A striking feature of the Woodie’s DIY National Juvenile Track and Field Championships held in Tullamore over the weekend was the number of records set in the more technical events. Finn Valley’s John Kelly, who competes in the World Youth Games next week, enhanced his growing reputation when he won the M17 shot put title […]

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On Your Marks – Herald June 26

It proved a long afternoon for Irish pole vaulter Tori Pena at last Saturday’s European Team Championships in Santry. With all four seasons pummelling the athletes (and spectators), the pole vault took well over two hours to complete with the cross-bar constantly at risk of blowing over in gale-force gusts. “Yes there were a lot […]

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European Team Championships – All You Need to Know

So what is this European Team Championships First League? It’s a track and field team competition divided into four divisions with men and women competing together over two days. At the top of the pile is the Superleague followed by Leagues 1, 2 and 3, each with 12 national teams (or so – there are […]

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On Your Marks – Herald 19 June(Updated)

Over 650 athletes from twelve European nations are expected in Dublin over the next few days for the European Athletics Team Championships taking place in Santry on Saturday and Sunday. The Santry event is the second division of this championships – or “1st League” – and at stake are places in the premier league. Competition […]

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On Your Marks – Herald June 12

Over 600 athletes from 12 national teams are coming to Dublin for the European Team Championships division 1 match at Santry starting in ten days time on June 22. Places in the prestigious Super League are the reward for the top three teams. Despite the presence of strong squads from Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, […]

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Gatlin’s 2006 world “record”

Last night’s 100m win in Rome by the serial drugs cheat Justin Gatlin reminded me of this; written while I was working in Doha, Qatar, in May 2006. “Gatlin, the cynosure of all eyes” somewhat improbably shouts the top page headline in the local English newspaper, The Peninsula. Not quite – five minutes before the […]

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On Your Marks – Herald June 5

For most people, the marathon is a special event not to be indulged in too often. Then there are the members of the 100 Marathon Club Ireland. For them, a marathon is something you do once a month or even once a week. Notching up a hundred marathons is their target and so they travel […]

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On Your Marks – Herald May 29

With the European Clubs Championships in Santry at the end of June, the World Student Games in July and the World Championships in August, Ireland’s top athletes face a busy few months. Among them is Brian Gregan of Clonliffe, the country’s fastest 400m runner.  “I’m off to Belgium this weekend and I’ll be away most […]

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On Your Marks – Herald May 22

Although summer is slow in arriving, the track and field season, is already well underway , with the Dublin Graded League attracting record numbers to its first two meets, athletes travelling abroad in search of times and the first National League round taking place on Sunday. Defending women’s champions Dundrum South Dublinhave the luxury of […]

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Belfield Track – A Personal Plea

This morning on my usual Saturday morning spin around the UCD campus at Belfield, I briefly stopped at the former track, now looking like a makeshift builder’s yard. It is heart-breaking. Here is where thousands of us got our first taste of  athletics. We trained, we competed, we made friends and although we all grew […]

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On Your Marks – Herald May 15

When a club has been around for 120 years and some of its members for almost half that time, then it’s time to celebrate. That’s what Donore Harriers is planning to do on Saturday evening when the great Jim McNamara gets the “This Is You Life” treatment at a special function in the Spa Hotel, […]

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On Your Marks – Herald April 18

After the explosions in Boston, thoughts are now turning to next Sunday’s London Marathon, where 36,000 runners will spent between two and eight hours on the open streets of one of the largest cities of the world. A group of 252 runners along with 70 supporters are travelling from Ireland with Sports Travel International, the […]

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On your Marks – Herald 10th April

Brian Maher and Maria McCambridge lead a Marathon Mission squad at Sunday’s Rotterdam Marathon – the start of a hectic period of spring marathons in big cities all over the world. Also competing in Rotterdam are Joe McAllister in the men’s race along with a trio of women – Ailish Malone of Clonliffe, the only […]

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On Your Marks Herald March 27

Last weekend highlighted the contrasting sides of athletics. While over 300 hardy souls battled snow, icy winds and bitter cold at the Wicklow Ultra and Trail Runs, around 1,200 youngsters were warm and snug at the Athlone indoor arena, where they were competing in the Woodie’s DIY National Juvenile Indoors. The new arena in Athlone […]

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On Your Marks – Herald March 20

Fionnuala Britton at Gerry Farnan C-C European champion Fionnuala Britton  of Sli Cualann and  North Sligo’s Mary Cullen lead an impressively strong Irish team at the  World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland next Sunday. Also selected are DSD pair Linda Byrne and Ava Hutchinson and Leevale’s Lizzie Lee, all scoring members of the  winning […]

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On Your Marks Herald March 13

A day so overcast that Three Rock Mountain was invisible didn’t put off the 370 hardy souls who turned out for the first ParkRun 5km in Marlay Park last Saturday morning. Marlay is the second Parkrun 5km to be held in Dublin. The first in Malahide Castle, has been going for over four months is […]

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On Your Marks Herald March 6

So could Fionnuala Britton have done better than bronze at the European Indoors? Maybe. But indoors is different – as Brian Gregan found to his cost. What is certain is that Britton’s determined performance bodes well for the World Cross-Country Championships in Poland in just over two weeks time. There Britton hopes to emulate Sonia […]

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On Your Marks – Herald February 27

Last year Maria McCambridge, preparing for a spring marathon a few weeks later, came to the Ballycottton in superb shape. Her new course record of 54 minutes 48 seconds was so good that she finished 16thh overall in a strong field. McCambridge’s time of had knocked 40 seconds off the mark set by British international […]

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On Your Marks – Herald Feb 20

Linda Byrne *Update: Big news is that Mary Cullen will take on Linda Byrne in the senior women’s race  at the National Interclubs on Sunday and that Alistair Cragg leads a strong Clonliffe team.  Cragg at his best has always radiated quality and stays in close touch with high performance manager Kevin Ankrom, whose stated […]

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Will Spanish doping scandal give Sonia a late gold?

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On Your Marks – Herald February 13

Tom Fitzpatrick Judging by the past few weeks, the new indoor track at Athlone is lightning fast  and we can expect lots of records at this weekend’s Woodie’s DIY National Indoors. Top of the list is Leevale’s Derval O’Rourke, who proved that her career is far from over when she ran 8.11 at Sheffield last […]

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On Your Marks – Herald Feb 6

* Stop press: A team may now be sent to the World Cross-Country Championships in March. Full team? Senior women only?  Interesting facts on the current road racing boom have emerged from  the John Treacy Dungarvan 10 mile  and the Axa Raheny 5 ten days ago.  Of the record breaking entry of 1,434 finishers in Dungarvan, 73 defied the windy conditions to run under […]

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On Your Marks – Herald Jan 30 (updated)

Although the Dublin Marathon still hasn’t acquired a major sponsor, the Marathon Mission will continue. Jim Aughney, race director of the Marathon Mission, is still at the helm, with the full support of Jim Davis and Teresa McDaid from Athletics Ireland. The story is well known – when the standard of  Irish finishers at the Dublin […]

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On Your Marks – Herald January 23

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On Your Marks – Herald Jan 16

Although Fionnuala Britton is certain to run at the World Cross-Country Championships in Poland next March, she may well be on her own.Britton, not only double European champion but also part of the gold medal winning Irish team at the European Championships, had hoped that a team would be sent.At the Antrim International last week, […]

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On Your Marks – Herald January 9

Last autumn, ultra runner and adventurer Eoin Keith cracked a rib in the final mountain running race of the year. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. At the time, Keith had just signed up for the Across-the Years 72-hour race starting on December 30 in Phoenix, Arizona.After only two weeks rest, Keith jogged […]

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On Your Marks – Herald January 2

Double European cross-country champion Fionnuala Britton will defend her title at the Antrim International at Greenmount, Co Antrim on Saturday January 12.  That will come after her run in Saturday’s  Great Edinburgh Cross, where she takes on a strong international field. Britton’s successful defence of her European title in Budapest capped a breakthrough year for the […]

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On Your Marks Herald December 19

Although the flagship event at Belfield’s iconic track has gone, the GOAL Mile will still take place at 14 locations in the Dublin area around Christmas. First off is today’s GOAL Mile (Wed) at Cloverhill Prison, where prisoners and staff alike will all run to raise funds for the less fortunate. That’s followed by a […]

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On Your Marks Herald – 12-12-12!

Irish women on the run Many kind words were spoken about Anne Keenan-Buckley after Sunday’s superb performance by the Irish senior women’s team at the European Cross-Country Championships – and quite rightly.Keenan-Buckley’s commitment, drive and ability to get athletes working for each other built the foundation for Sunday’s wonderful double gold. When she felt forced […]

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On Your Marks – Herald Dec 5

Reigning champion Fionnuala Britton heads to the European Cross-Country  in Budapest this weekend well aware that defending a title is always a tough proposition. Britton has prepared well, finishing fourth in an international cross-country in Burgos, Spain last month, where Britain’s Jessica Coulson was just ahead of her. She then finished third at the Cross […]

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