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Mark Carroll - Euro Gold - 1991 - Irish Runner Annual 1992

Euro Gold

Thessaloniki, Greece

August 11th 1991

 

mark carroll european junior 5000m champion 1991b

Mark Carroll, European Under 20 5000m Champion 1991

 

Euro Gold - Mark Carroll - European U20 5000m Champion - Irish Runner Annual 1992, P18-21

 

The 5000m gold medal performance by Mark Carroll at the European Junior Track and Field Championships in Thessalonika in August was one of the most impressive achievements in years by an Irish junior athlete. Brother John Dooley gives the background to Carroll’s training build-up for the European gold strike.


Mark Carroll’s outstanding achievement in becoming the first Irish based athlete to win a European athletics championship (junior or senior!) merits close examination and analysis. While each athlete is an individual and what works for one may not work for another, the basic principles of middle distance training and racing apply to all. Mark’s path to glory (including its pitfalls) may light the way for other talented, disciplined and ’hungry’ athletes. Talent without "B & B" (Brains and
Bottle) never won a major championship.


Obviously talent is necessary for international success. Mark Carroll, before the European Juniors, had run 3:43.36 / 8:09 / 14:09 for 1500m, 3K and 5K, respectively. He had finished 19th in the World Junior Cross Country Championships in 1990. More important than his impressive times was his ability to race and win when the going was at its toughest, e.g. the Irish Schools Senior Cross Country Championships, against John Murray, in Belfast, after John had ’hammered’ him in the B.L.E. Junior, in Plassey, three weeks earlie,r and the B.L.E. U/21 1500m against Bobby Farren in Tullamore, when Bobby appeared to have made the winning break, and was 10m clear entering the home straight.


This talent emerged quite gradually. Mark never won a B.L.O.E. title, even though he was competing from the age of eleven. He won his one and only club cross-country title in his last race in B.L.O.E. (U/17) in Mullingar, in December 1989.


From then on, Mark gained rapidly in strength and confidence. Der O’Donovan, his coach at Leevale, planned his training and racing programme, so that he trained regularly and progressively, and raced sparingly and intelligently. His second placing behind the year older Paul Logan (Limerick / Providence) in the B.L.E. Junior Cross Country Championships in Killenaule, in February 1989, demonstrated a mental and physical toughness which have become his hallmarks.


The 1989 World Junior Cross Country Championships in Stavanger were nearly a disaster. A somewhat overawed 17 year old never got to grips with the demanding muddy course and flying Africans, and consequently finished a deeply disappointed 103rd. Time, sound advice and encouragement gave perspective to that experience, and made Mark more determined than ever to succeed internationally.


The 1989 track season gave an indication of things to come. Munster U/17 1500m and 3000m titles were won in new record times of 3:55.25 and 8:36.40. At national level, Nigel Brunton proved too strong in the 3K, winning in 8:29.16 from Mark’s 8:36.41, and P.J. O’Rourke reversed Munster placings with a 3:55.0 win in the 1500m.

 

From the first school day in September he applied himself diligenly to both academic 11 and athletic excellence.


Heavy academic demands were the norm during the ’89-’90 season, as Mark prepared for an honours Leaving Certificate. Now, two more of his outstanding talents blossomed - his singlemindedness and his self-discipline. Mark analysed the situation and planned his study, training and social life carefully. From the first school day in September, he applied himself diligently to both academic and athletics excellence. He trained every day in September and October, running 188 and 214 miles, at 7-6:30 min. pace per mile. Two sand-dune sessions and two minor races were included in October.

November sessions comprised 23 easy/steady runs of 4 to 12 miles at 6:45 to 6:15 pace, two sand-dune sessions and two races.

December heralded the big breakthrough at national level, with victory in the B.L.O.E. U/17 Cross Country Championships over John Murray, P. J. O’Rourke and Nigel Brunton. Confidence soared and another impressive win in the B.L.E. Inter-Counties Junior Cross Country Championships at Dundalk Racecourse established Mark as the outstanding junior in Ireland.
Total Mileage 185 miles. Weight 58kg.


January’s mileage increased to 210 miles and Mark began to experience slight strains in hamstrings and tendons. Physiotherapy and home icing appeared to cure the problem. Mark noted in his diary that he "felt tired at times", so he increased his sleeping hours.


February produced one of the great Junior C.C. races in the B.L.E. championships with an epic struggle between Mark and defending champion, Paul Logan (returned from Providence). Paul finally prevailed, and for the second year in a row Mark had to be content with the runner-up spot and a place on the World C.C. team. Total Mileage 164 miles. Weight 60kg.

Quotes from Diary. "eased down this month, but sharpened up - raced well - National Juniors toughest race of year - felt good during month - very happy."


March was an incredible month, with an easy victory in the Irish Schools Senior C.C. Championships in Boyle, and a 19th placing in the World Junior C. C. Championships in Aix-les-Bains. Once again Mark had prepared methodically and maintained his composure and concentration when the pressure was greatest. Total Mileage 142 miles. Weight 60kg.

Quotes from Diary. "World C.C. the best race of my life - felt super - sore all over for three days afterwards."


April brought the reward of a two weeks warm weather training camp in Yugoslavia. It was an invaluable experience - coping with a different climate, strange food and basic living conditions. Relating with management and seniors was another significant experience. Bernard Dunne (Exercise Physiologist) and Physiotherapists Siobhan Treacy and Shirley Roycroft provided an excellent service which heightened Mark’s appreciation of professional back-up. This Olympic Council-funded venture was one of the best athletic educational experiences international athletes could have had. Total Mileage 191miles. Weight 61kg.


May was made up of steady runs 5 to 11 miles, 2 quality track sessions weekly, i.e. 10 x 400m in 64 secs, with 1 to 2 mins recovery, and 3 sets of 4 x 150m fast, with 150m jog recovery. Highlight of the month was 1st in Munster Schools Senior 1500m in 3:52.5. This was followed by shin soreness which had not cleared up for the Irish Schools Championships.

June was a month of rest, ice and swimming. Orthotics were prescribed and procured, and by the end of June they appeared to be solving the problem.


July saw Mark back in training and still hoping to make the qualifying time for the World Junior 5000m.
An impressive 14:32 behind Noel Richardson in Tullamore in early August indicated a quick return to fitness. Unfortunately, an ill-advised senior 4 mile road race, which Mark won, brought about a return of the shin soreness. Further treatment and an active rest from athletics for the rest of August and all of September was the prescribed cure. (Weight 63kg.)


October was a month of great frustration. Despite taking all the precautions and maintaining a high degree of fitness through swimming and cycling, the shin soreness persisted. Visits to Dr. Mick Molloy failed to bring about any apparent improvement. Now negative questions began to persist. Am I going to be permanently injured? Even if it does clear up will it return as soon as I put pressure on it? How can I go to Providence if I’m so injury prone? Will I lose my scholarship? I’m running out of time to get fit for the cross-country season. Will I miss the World C.C. Championships? Ray Treacy’s regular letters and his encouraging words "you don’t lose talent. I’ll honour your scholarship next August whether you are injured or not" were an invaluable support during this period of darkness.


A visit to Dr. Brendan O'Brien (B.L.E. Hon. Medical Officer) at the end of October was the first light at the end of a dark tunnel. His obvious interest, careful examination and reassuring words greatly relieved Mark. The bone scan in the Blackrock Clinic showed no stress fracture, but highlighted hot spots on the shins which indicated "resolving shin splints."


Brendan O’Brien recommended two to three weeks rest from running, but to continue with stretching, swimming and use of exercise bicycle. By the end of November Mark felt sufficiently recovered to start back running (Weight 65kg).


The first week of December, Mark daily ran 3-4 miles easy on grass; 4-5 miles the second week, 5 miles the third week and 6 miles the last week. Once weekly, he did an aerobic session in the pool, i.e. 8 x 70 secs. Running across pool wearing flotation jacket, with 1 minute recovery. Total mileage 117 miles. (Weight 64kg).

Quotes from Diary: "Learned a valuable lesson in December. A gradual comeback is much more effective and safer than rushing it. Didn’t seem as if I had missed six months - feels good to be back - injury not fully healed yet."


January saw the steady runs increase to 5 to 10 miles, with weekly pool sessions as in December. The first race was a low-key Senior C.C. League on January 13th (when established seniors were racing in Limerick). Victory did wonders for confidence. The second race was a week later in the Munster Junior C.C. Championships. A second placing behind John Murray, after a spirited battle for 3 miles, signalled further progress. Total Mileage 150 miles. Weight 63kg.


February provided the supreme test of Mark’s return to fitness with the National Junior C.C.Championships in Limerick. Another ‘head to head’ with John Murray was decided after one mile, when an inspired John broke clear and won comfortably. Mark ran on strongly for a satisfactory second placing. While there was disappointment at losing,
Mark was delighted with his level of fitness on less than three months training, and especially with the way his shins stood up to the test. Racingwise, he was rusty, and he accepted that he would improve with every race. The following Saturday he easily won the Munster Schools C.C. from an off-form John Murray. Total mileage 187 miles. Weight 63kg.

Quotes from Diary: "Two good races - strength beginning to return - enjoying being back with the group - felt super in the Munster Schools."


March was an incredible month, highlighted by the memorable win in the Irish Schools Senior C.C. in Mallusk, Belfast after an epic head-to-head race with friend and team-mate John Murray. An added bonus was leading the North Mon. to their third senior team title in a row (March 9th).


The North Monastery had been invited to take part in the High Schools Distance Medley Relay (1200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m) at the famous Penn Relays in Philadelphia. A condition of their acceptance was that they run a qualifying time (sub 10:30) before April 1st. The only suitable date was Wednesday, March 13th! With Sean Naughton’s co-operation, a race against Nenagh Olympic was arranged in the Nenagh indoor track, where Mark ran a 4:20 mile to bring North Mon a qualifying time of 10:20.

 

mark carroll irish runner annual 1992

 


Having decided that the European Junior 5K was the No. 1 goal for the year, and with less than four months training behind him, Mark raced cautiously in the World Junior C.C. and was quite pleased with his 35th placing. The last week of the month consisted of four runs of 5 miles, a 10 miler, 18 sand dunes and a 14 miler. Total mileage 181 miles. Weight 63kg.

Quotes from Diary:"Enjoyable month - excellent runs in Schools - had a comfortable 4:20 indoor mile and a 35th place in W.C.C. - altogether a great month - I’m back."


April was both a fantastic and a frustrating month. On April 4th Mark stood on a stone and strained ligaments in his ankle. Penn was only three weeks away. Physiotherapy, ice, exercise bicycle and swimming pool were used until the 18th, when Mark ran an easy six miles on grass - ankle sore but improving. Relaxation tape and exercises were also a positive factor. Flew to Philadelphia on 24th, ran 4:17 for the 1600m leg at Penn, bringing North Mon from 5th to 3rd and the bronze medals in the last 100m. Total mileage 109 miles. Weight 60kg.

Quotes from Diary: "Disrupted month, good start but got ankle injury - Penn Relays boosted me up this month."


[Writer’s note:- On the plane journey home from Penn, Mark and I discussed his preparations for the European Juniors. I felt that he needed six weeks of uninterrupted training if he was to be at his peak in Greece. He had never won a Schools track title and was both hungry and the favourite for the 5K. The North Mon. had never won the College of Science Shield and, after Penn, had the team to do it. What to do? Mark reflected for a while and then decided that he would miss the Schools and concentrate on his build-up for the Europeans. I believe that this decision was one of the key elements in the magic formula that produced European Gold.]


May consisted of 30 days training - 28 steady runs (6 to 12 miles) at 7 mins to mile pace, 1 exercise to exhaustion on treadmill and 1 Fartlek (1 x 800m; 1 x 400m; 6 x 150m) on grass. Total mileage 256 miles. Weight 60kg.

Quotes from Diary:"It's taken 12 months to get back into a regular uninterrupted schedule. This month was excellent. All runs at 6:45 - 7 min. pace. I now feel I can have a good summer and winter to come."


June saw Mark hungry for racing and counting the days until June 18. The steady runs continued, 2 fartleks and 2 track sessions on grass, e.g. 4 x 400m plus 4 x 300m and 8 miles (55 mins) on June 17. Cork Senior 5K on 18th - a cool windy night, not suitable for a sub 14:25. Mark took the lead during the first lap and front ran 14:16 for an unchallenged victory. June 20th right tendon sore, back to treatment, exercise bicycle and swimming pool until July. Total mileage 189 miles. Weight 59kg.

Quotes from diary:- "Month began well - some quality fartleks. Right tendon became inflamed - cycled hard and swam well for a week. I believe now it was a good mid-season break.


On arrival in Thessalonika on August 5th, the primary task was to adjust and get into a routine as similar as possible to the normal one and which would be suitable as preparation for the race.


Heat and food not a problem - humidity not a major factor - accommodation satisfactory, Mark and John (Murray) shared - major disruption caused by the hotel’s nite club which ‘boomed’ into action every night at 11 pm and continued ‘booming’ until 3.30am. Bedroom windows opened out on to the bandstand - [close windows and you were in danger of suffocating]. Car park did not clear until after 4.00am.


John and Mark were quite upset and switched rooms next day. 22 mins easy run after sundown."


Wednesday 7th Technical meeting - no heats in 5000m (only 14 entered) or 3000m. s/chase (18! entered). Mark and John rose at 11 am. and went for a relaxed 20 min. run - joined us for lunch (their breakfast). {Note:- Here I must pay tribute to Sean Naughton and Joe Doonan, who allowed the athletes the freedom to work out a routine that suited them and enabled them to retain their control and confidence.] They rested/ slept for a few hours in the afternoon - 20 min. run - dinner - enjoyed the nite club - bed 2.30 - slept 4.30.


Thursday 8th 11.30 to stadium - a relaxed track session 2 x 200m; 2 x 400m, strides - Mark bouncy and perky again. 6pm. Impressive opening cenemony.
Friday 9th 11.30 20 min. run - 7pm to stadium 30 degrees C. - Mark ‘dozed’ on terrace - "wrecked" - 9pm 25 mins run on Esplanade - "refreshed, felt good.”

Saturday 10th 25 min. run "felt good and bouncy." 6pm to the stadium, watched some early events. At 7.30pm Mark accompanied John to the warm-up area. John was tense but in control. As race time approached John became more tense. He cleared the practice hurdle on the track almost 20 times before the delayed start of the race. At the ‘gun’ he shot into the lead to avoid trouble in an 18 man field but ran a 63 sec. opening lap! John stayed with the leaders until the penultimate water jump which he took badly and consequently missed the ‘break’ by the three leaders.


In a matter of 50m the medals were decided and John finished a dejected 7th in 9:02.94. The winner, Loucaides Georgios, Cyprus [now a freshman in Washington State University] set a new Games record of 8:49.24 and 2nd Brands, Germany 8:50.1 and 3rd J. Svendy, Norway 8:50.02 were also inside the old ecord of 8:54.83, in a temperature of 35 degrees C.
Sunday saw Mark follow same routine. He rose at 11.30am, went for an easy 1 mile run, lunched, relaxed with tapes, chatted briefly about the race and assured me that he was both in control and in form. At 6.15pm we departed for the stadium, watched events until 7.30pm and then proceeded to the warm-up area. As was still very warm (32 degrees C)
Mark decided to sit in the shade and relax to the "Mission" tape on his walkman. I sat silently nearby watching his rivals burning up energy in vigorous warm-ups. He did a 15 min. gentle warm-up, proceeded to the call room at the last minute and gave the thumbs-up sign as he walked out onto the track.

 

mark carroll european junior 5000m champion 1991

Mark Carroll Striding to European Victory

The race itself was tactical, with the opening kilometre covered in 2:58 (74, 71, 33). Mark stayed at the rear for
the first lap, cruised up to third spot on the second lap, and stayed in the leading five through the second kilometre (3:00), third kilometre (2:49) and fourth kilometre (2:53). The next lap (11th) was covered in a steady 69 secs. With 600m to go, Gomez (Spain) made a decisive break, and at the ‘bell’ was 10m. clear, with Mark and Belester (France) giving chase. Mark increased his pace, and joined Gomez with 300m to go. He then 'changed gears’ and, in 50m, opened up a 10m lead which he maintained round the bottom bend and into the home straight. A victory salute 50m from the finishing line was  reminiscent of Eamonn Coghlan in Helsinki in 1983.

 

european junior 5000m championship results 1991


A historic victory had been achieved by the athlete who had "kept his head when all about him were losing theirs." (apologies to R. Kipling). The presentation ceremony, the hoisting of the Tricolour and the playing of Amhran na bhFiann were magic moments treasured by the Irish team and management, but especially by Mark Carroll, European Junior 5000m Champion 1991.


Note:- A well-deserved tribute is due to BLE not only for the memorable welcome home reception but, and more importantly, for the international competition they provided for Mark Carroll during the past three years, competition which opened his eyes to the international scene and which gave him the experience and confidence to aim for success in the European Juniors.


Christy Wall was one of the first to recognise Mark’s exceptional talent and was especially supportive during the injury and recuperative period.


The BLE cross-country squad sessions in Clonmel organised by Michael Guinan, Paddy Marley and Eamonn Harvey were another important element in Mark’s education for international competition. Eamonn’s approach and relaxation exercises were a very positive influence in Mark’s 19th placing in the World Junior C.C. 1990.


Without the Cospoir grant (£1,000), it is doubtful that Mark would have been able to avail of the intensive and prolonged treatment (physiotherapy, swimming, exercise bicycle) which were vital for his return to health and fitness in time for the Europeans.

 

mark carroll european junior 5000m champion 1991a

Medal Ceremony, Men's 5000m, European U20 Championships, Thessalonik1, August 1991

 

Typical Final Build-Up

July was when everything came together and each performance surpassed the previous one. It began with four days of steady running (5, 10, 8, 5 miles) .

5th: Cork City Sports Senior 5000m. Mark ran evenly and strongly to clock 14:09 (second fastest ever by an Irish junior behind John Treacy’s 14:04.6).


6th - 12th: steady 8-10 mile runs at 6:45 pace, with one 15 mile run in 1:43 and one track session; 6 x 400m in 58-56 secs.

13th: 1st in 1500m heat (3:50 PB) in B.L.E. Championship.

14th: 2nd to Frank O’Mara in 3:43.36, (third fastest ever by an Irish junior behind Ray Flynn 3:41.5 and Enda Fitzpatrick 3:42.65).


15th - 20th: 4 steady runs (8,10, 8, 6 miles at 7 mins, pace), one 15 mile run in 1:42 and one track (grass) session;
6 x 400m in 59-56 secs.

21st: 1st B.L.E. U/21 1500m in 3:47.21 ("won on the line; toughest race of season.")

22nd: 91/2miles in 64 mins. "Felt good"

23rd: 12 miles in 81 mins. "Felt good"

24th: 6 miles in 41i/2mins. "Felt wrecked"

25th: 8 miles on trails in 53 mins. "Felt O.K."


26th: 5 miles on trails in 35 mins. "Felt O.K."


27th: A.A.A. Senior 3000m 4th in 8:09.5 (second fastest ever outdoors behind Brian O’Keeffe’s 8:06.3).


28th: left tendon tight - rested.


29th: 10 miles on grass in 69 mins; "Leg better, felt good".


30th: 4 miles warm-up, 2 miles fartlek, 2 miles cool-down. "Tired"


31st: 3 miles 25 mins. "Tired”.


Total mileage 247 miles. Weight 59kg.

Quotes from diary: "Excellent uninterrupted month - four quality races on the trot - full of confidence with 3:43 - tired at end of month - tapered off and recovered."

August was the golden month.

1st - 3rd. relaxed easy running and strides.


4th. Fartlek.


5th. Flew to Thessalonika [left Knocknaheeny at 6.45pm - arrived Hotel Philemon at 9am on Tuesday 6th, breakfast, bed]. "Wrecked".

 

 

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Mark Carroll Interview - Irish Runner Annual December 2002

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National Senior Juvenile and Masters T&F Championships 2020

Update on National Track and Field Championships 2020

national senior tandf chps 2020

 

Summary

  • The National Juvenile T&F Championships 2020 have been Cancelled
  • The National Senior & Under-23 T&F Championships 2020 will be held over five (5) separate sessions over the weekends August 22nd/23rd and August 29th/30th
                     Entries have closed
                     No Spectators will be admitted
  • The National Masters T&F Championships 2020 -  [In response to a query from Cork Athletics, AAI said that they expect to make an announcement on the status of the Championships in the next few days, and that a lot depends on whether the HSE/NPHET/Government allow numbers to be extended beyond the current 200 limit. AAI said that it would be difficult to proceed if the 200 limit is not increased]

Special Conditions for Nationa Senior/Junior & U23 Championships

  •     The venue is closed to all spectators.
  •     Only athletes, officials and event staff will be admitted on site.
  •     Competition will take place in separate sessions each day.
  •     There is a strict requirement that all athletes leave the facility as soon as possible after each session.
  •     The stadium will be cleared between sessions.
  •     There is no parking available at Morton Stadium.
  •     Overseas based athletes must have completed 14 days of self-isolation before the event AND have proof of travel dates
  •     All athletes U23 (born 1998,1999,2000) entered to the senior championships are automatically included in the U23 championships. Separate entry is NOT required.
  •     U23 medals will be awarded on positions in the final. if U23 medal position(s) are not available in a track final, they will be awarded on the best times in the heats.
  •     An athlete may win a senior medal and U23 medal within the same event.
  •     U23 Men & women walks, and U23 men weight for distance 35lbs will take place in conjunction with the Junior Championships.
  •     Junior Men & Women 5000m Championships will be combined.
  •     Entries opened on Wednesday July 29th and closed on August 9th.
  •     There will be no relay events at these Championships.
  •     Events will be live streamed.
  • Competition will be subject to strict COVID 19 prevention protocols. Details will be announced in due course.



Additional Notes

  • All athletes attending the championships will be required to complete an electronic health questionnaire on the day of the event.
  • Due to government regulations of only 200 people allowed on site, the championships will be closed to all Media, coaches and spectators.
  • Entry to the stadium will only be permitted at the stated time prior to the session in which the athlete is competing.
  • No medal ceremonies will take place during the Championships.
  • All athletes are encouraged to bring their own throwing implements.
  • To aid administration, please inform This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you do not intend to complete.
  • Any athlete who has been abroad MUST have completed 14 days self-isolation prior to competing, AND have proof of travel dates.
  • Any resident of a County that is in a government lockdown due to Covid19 for the Championship dates may not travel to the event, either as an athlete or official.
  • All athletes must bring their own water bottles, labelled with their name, and hand sanitizer, and any other personal item(s) required.

    Schedule Weekend 1 - Sat 22nd & Sun 23rd

athletics ireland national tandf chps 2020 schedule weekend 1

 


Schedule Weekend 2 - Sat 29th & Sun 30th

athletics ireland national tandf chps 2020 schedule weekend 2

 

 

Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month of February 2020 - Charlie O'Donovan

Charlie O'Donovan is Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month for February 2020

River Lee Hotel

Wednesday August 5th 2020

 

charlie o donovan cork city sports athlete of month february 2020

Charlie O'Donovan, Leevale AC is Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month for February 2020

 

The award was presented at a function at the River Lee hotel, on Wednesday August 5th 2020

 

The Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month Award is sponsored by 96FM/C103FM, The Echo, The River Lee, Cork Crystal and Leisureworld

 

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charlie o donovan cork city sports athlete of month february 2020b

 The Cork City Sports Athlete for the Month of February 2020 is Charlie O'Donovan, Leevale AC

 

 

Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month - February 2020 - Award Citation

Charlie O'Donovan (University of Villanova and LeevaleAC) receives the Cork City Sports athlete award for the month of February.

Running at the David Hemery Invitational indoor meet, at Boston University, Charlie dipped under the magical 4 minute barrier to win the mile race. His time of 3:58.95 means Charlie now joins an illustrious list of Irish sub 4 minute milers.

 

charlie o donovan cork city sports athlete of month february 2020d Charlie O'Donovan with Cork City Sports Committe Members and Sponsors

 

John Walshe writes:

After a break of over six months, the Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month Awards resumed with the recipients for February, March and April receiving their presentations at The River Lee hotel.


Liam O’Brien, Technical Director of the Cork City Sports and one of the selectors, said it was under very unusual circumstances due to the little activity that had taken place since March that it was possible to honour the people present. He praised Cork City Sports Chairman, Tony O’Connell, saying he was very keen in continuing the monthly awards which have now been on the go for over a dozen years.


Charlie O'Donovan (University of Villanova and Leevale) received the Athlete of the Month Award for February. Running at the David Hemery Invitational indoor meet at Boston University, Charlie dipped under the magical four-minute barrier to win the one mile race. His time of 3.58.95 means Charlie now joins an illustrious list of Irish sub-four-minute milers.

As anyone who viewed the video of the race, the look on Charlie’s face when he crossed the line at the Boston meeting said it all, as he described: “The race went very well, I was in the third heat and although the second heat was supposed to be faster, my race was ideal as I was near the front all the way and only took the lead with about 80 metres to go. I had run 4:02 two weeks before, so to improve four seconds was great.”


Charlie became the 42nd athlete from Villanova to break the four minutes, joining such illustrious names as Ronnie Delany and Eamonn Coghlan plus fellow Corkmen John Hartnett, Marcus O’Sullivan and Ken Nason. Marcus is now Charlie’s coach at Villanova while Ken looked after him before his move to the famed Pennsylvania university.

 

February - March - April

Three awards were presented at the August function

cork city sports awards august 2020

Paddy Buckley (April), Avril Millerick (March) and Charlie O'Donovan (February)

Video

Video of Charlie's Sub-4 Mile at David Hemery Invitational 2020

 

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Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Month of April 2020 - Paddy Buckley

Paddy Buckley is Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Month for April 2020

River Lee Hotel

Wednesday August 5th 2020

 

 paddy buckley cork city sports athletics person of month april 2020a

Paddy Buckley, St Finbarrs AC and Cork County Board, is Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Month for April 2020

 

 paddy buckley cork city sports athletics person of month april 2020b

The award was presented at a function at the River Lee hotel, on Wednesday August 5th 2020

 

 

The Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month Award is sponsored by 96FM/C103FM, The Echo, The River Lee, Cork Crystal and Leisureworld

 

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 The Cork City Sports Athletics Person for the Month of April 2020 is Paddy Buckley, St Finbarrs AC and Cork County Board

 

 

Cork City Sports Athletics Person of the Month - April 2020 - Award Citation

Paddy Buckley, St Finbarrs AC and Cork County Board, is recognised for his lifetime contribution to athletics. Paddy is the Cork City Sports athletic person for the month of April.

Initially as an athlete and coach at St Finbarrs AC and subsequently as a very active member of the Cork County Athletics Board Paddy's involvement in the sport spans a period of over 60 years. He is the current chairman of the Cork County Board - this is is second term at the helm of the Board.

 

 

 paddy buckley cork city sports athletics person of month april 2020e
Paddy Buckley with Cork City Sports Committe Members and Sponsors

 

 

John Walshe writes:

After a break of over six months, the Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month Awards resumed with the recipients for February, March and April receiving their presentations at The River Lee hotel.


Liam O’Brien, Technical Director of the Cork City Sports and one of the selectors, said it was under very unusual circumstances due to the little activity that had taken place since March that it was possible to honour the people present. He praised Cork City Sports Chairman, Tony O’Connell, saying he was very keen in continuing the monthly awards which have now been on the go for over a dozen years.

A man who has over 60 years involvement in athletics was the surprise recipient of the April award. Paddy Buckley of St Finbarr’s AC and current chairman of the Cork Athletics Board was recognised for his lifetime contribution to the sport.


Initially as an athlete – along with his well-known brothers John and Denis – and later as coach at St Finbarrs, Paddy’s mammoth contribution over the decades is richly deserved. “To be honest, I didn’t expect this honour at this stage of my life,” he admitted. “I suppose I was never very exciting as an athlete, it was mostly in administration that I was involved in. I must say that the Cork City Sports are doing great work for athletics, especially with these monthly awards.”

 

 

February - March - April

Three awards were presented at the August function

cork city sports awards august 2020

Paddy Buckley (April), Avril Millerick (March) and Charlie O'Donovan (February)

 

Watch all Cork Athletics Videos on Vimeo

 

 

Athlete Transfer Deadline - August 24th 2020

Deadline - August 24th 2020

 

Transfer Image

 

Cork Athletics Facebook page

Athletes wishing to transfer clubs are reminded that the deadline for the return of fully completed transfer forms is Monday August 24th.  Forms received after that date will NOT be accepted.

 

Transfer forms may be downloaded from the Athletics Ireland website.  

 

The Sequence and Procedure on the form MUST be followed.



Completed Transfer Forms


Completed forms should be given to Cork AAI County Board Registrar, John Copithorne, or posted to him at John Copithorne, Registrar Cork AAI County Board, Belgooley, Co. Cork.

 

  • Do NOT call to John Copithorne's house
  • Do NOT send your form by Registered Post, Courier or other form of delivery, except the regular Post
  • Do NOT send your completed form to Athletics Ireland HQ (Dublin), as this will severely affect delivery time, likely missing the deadline.

 

Closing date is Monday August 24th


Completed Transfer Forms may be submitted at any stage, but will not be reviewed by Cork Athletics County Board until after August 24th. However early submission allows time for the return and resubmission of forms that are incomplete or contain an error of some form or other

 

The Transfer Form MUST be signed in the following order

By the:

•   Member (in the case of a minor, by their parent or guardian)

•   New Club

•   Outgoing Club

•   County Board (outgoing club)

•   Outgoing County Board (for out of county club transfer only)

•   Incoming County Board (for inter-county transfer only)

Incomplete, improperly, or incorrectly completed forms will be rejected.

 

Notes:

  • Athletes must be in good stead with the outgoing club, i.e. they must not owe any membership  fee, or other arrears, and all club property in their possession must have been returned
  • Athletes whose membership of the outgoing club has lapsed by more than three years do NOT require a transfer, i.e. they are free to change clubs without going through the formal transfer process - they can be simply registered by the incoming club.  Note: Effectively this means that anyone transferring, who has been registered in ANY of the years 2017, 2018, 2019, or 2020, will need to fill out a Transfer Form

 

Next Transfer Window, following August 24th 2020, will close on March 24th 2021

 

 

Olympic Marathon and Walks Qualification Window to Reopen Early

Olympic Marathon & Walks Qualifying Period to Reopen From September

fionnuala mccormack rio 2016
Fionnuala McCormack running in the 2016 Rio Olympic Marathon

 

Qualification had been suspended until the start of December, however athletes can, from September, qualify “in pre-identified, advertised and authorised races being staged on World Athletics certified courses, with in-competition drug testing on site”.

The reason for the change has been given as being  “due to concerns over the lack of qualifying opportunities that may be available for road athletes before the qualification period finishes on 31 May 2021”.

The resumption does not affect the accrual of points for world rankings and/or automatic qualification through Gold label marathons /Platinum Label marathons, as these qualification routes remain suspended until after 30 November 2020.


World Athletics president Seb Coe said that it was apparent that marathon and race walk athletes would have very limited opportunities to make their Olympic qualifying times in 2021, due to the uncertainty around mass participation events, which rely heavily on cities around the world agreeing to stage them.

He said “Most of the major marathons have already been cancelled or postponed for the remainder of this year and the evolution of the pandemic makes it difficult to predict if those scheduled for the first half of next year will be able to go ahead”

The reason for the change has been given as being  “due to concerns over the lack of qualifying opportunities that may be available for road athletes before the qualification period finishes on 31 May 2021”.

“That situation, combined with the fact that endurance athletes in the marathon and race walks can only produce a very limited number of high-quality performances a year, would really narrow their qualifying window without this adjustment.

“We have also been assured by the Athletics Integrity Unit that the anti-doping system is capable of protecting the integrity of road races during this period and will put in place strict testing criteria for all athletes.”


One of the first events up is the London Marathon, on Sunday October 4th, however the London organisers announced, yesterday, that a final decision on whether to go ahead with this years event will be made by August 10th. With Chicago, New York, Berlin and Boston marathons all cancelled, London is the sole remaining Abbott World Marathon Majors race on the 2020 calendar.

 

 

World Athletics Sets New Shoe Rules

In a separate development, World Athletics also announced today, interim changes to rules on Track Shoes - Road Shoe Rules remain unchanged.   These rules remain in place until after the Tokyo Olympics, and "until a newly formed Working Group on Athletic Shoes, which includes representatives from shoe manufacturers and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), have had the opportunity to set the parameters for achieving the right balance between innovation, competitive advantage and universality and availability."

 Maximum thickness of the sole (As per rule 5.5, notes (i), (ii), (iii) and figures (a) & (b) to rule 5.5, and rule 5.13.3).Further rule requirement
Field events (except triple jump) 20mm Applies to all throwing events, and vertical and horizontal jumping events except the triple jump. For all field events, the sole at the centre of the athlete's forefoot must not be higher than the sole at centre of the athlete's heel.
Triple jump 25mm The sole at the centre of the athlete's forefoot must not be higher than the sole at centre of the athlete's heel.
Track events (including hurdle events) up to but not including 800m 20mm For relays the rule applies to the distance of the leg being run by each athlete.
Track events from 800m and above (including steeplechase events) 25mm For relays the rule applies to the distance of the leg being run by each athlete. For race walking events the maximum thickness of the sole is the same as that for road events.
Cross country 25mm  
Road events (running and race walking events) 40mm  
Events under rule 57 of the technical rules Any thickness  

World athletics Ceo, Jon Ridgeon said “In developing these rules we have been mindful of the principles of fair play and universality, maintaining the health and safety of athletes, reflecting the existing shoe market in these challenging economic times, and achieving a broad consensus with the shoe manufacturers who are major investors in our sport.

Veteran Glory - Irish at World Veterans Championships 1991 - Turku Finland

 Veteran Glory - World Masters T&F Championships

Turku, Finland

1991

 veteran glory irish runner annual 1992 p82 83 1

 

Report by BRENDAN O’SHEA


Irish Runner Annual 1992, P 82 - 83 (PDF File)

veteran glory irish runner annual 1992 p82 83 2 veteran glory irish runner annual 1992 p82 83 3
Irish Runner Annual 1992, P 82 Irish Runner Annual 1992, P 83

 

 


The Irish veteran track and field team brought home an array of medals from the World Championships in Turku, Finland this summer. Brendan O’Shea competed with the team and reports on an Irish success story.


I was having a relaxed drink in the bar of the Listowel Arms Hotel. I noticed that the bar was less filled than usual - apparently many of the imbibers were watching the finale of the Rose of Tralee. Towards closing time a waiter returned from the TV lounge to announce to all who wished to hear, and to those who didn’t, "The Cork Rose. The Cork Rose." I must admit, I immediately thought of John Buckley.


No, John was not wearing a gown or swimsuit but he had been so wonderfully impressive in his running at the IXth World Veteran Games in Finland just a few weeks earlier that he was still to the forefront of my mind. Subconsciously, the combination of "winning" and "Cork" just had to mean John Buckley.


Since we became active participants in the World Veteran Games in the midseventies, we have enjoyed a success rate and status significantly greater than our numbers would warrant. This has largely resulted from the performances of our veteran superstar, Jim McNamara. At successive world games, New Zealand (1981), Puerto Rico (1983), Italy (1985), Australia (1987) and USA (1989) he won a basket of gold medals.


This year, Jim was not travelling to Turku, Finland for the Games, nor was Emily Dowling, who won two silver medals in 1989 and a further two golds at the Europeans in Budapest last year. We had hopes of medals of some colour from John Buckley and possibly the 0/45 marathon and cross country teams, but it was a case of hope rather than confidence.
John’s opening event was the 10,000 metres, which produced gold in the fine time of 31:30 from Overland (Norway) and Hulander (Sweden). His tactics of "sit with the leading pack until half-way and then go for home" were to gain two further golds in the 5000m and the cross country.


John had been a fine athlete when competing at senior level in the 70s but was best known as a cross country runner Irish style, plenty of muck and hills, rather than as a track or road runner. I remember how I used to then marvel at his ability to run on top of wet muddy terrain without apparently dirtying his socks. He was National Champion in 1972.

irish team world masters tandf championships turku finland 1991

Irish Team


However a trip to Germany the following year for an international competition had a profound effect on his running career. John wanted international success, he was not content with being just a good domestic runner. To paraphase that well-known politician, Julius Caesar, "he went, he saw and he realised the folly of his expectations." He saw the superior facilities and support that the German, and other, athletes enjoyed and realised that he probably could never match them in international competition; so he retired, still only in his twenties, and concentrated on his working career.

 

highlight performances world masters tandf championships turku finland 1991

Highlight Performances


On talking to him recently, he told me how he simply maintained a reasonable level of fitness in the intervening years and only started serious training once he became a vet. "I average about 100 miles a week," he said. Success was unspectacular until this year. His main goal since turning vet has been the marathon; a few times in the mid 2-30s and just one sub 2-30 were good but not exciting. "To what do you credit your spectacular improvement this year,?" I asked In typical self-effacing manner he answered, "I don’t know" and then proceeded to tell me, "I still do, on average,
100 miles a week, but I now also take care of my diet. I cut out most of the junk food. I thought I was thin (sic) but I have recently lost 5 or 6lbs and that seems to have made all the difference." Now you know what makes a super athlete: talent, 100 miles per week and a good diet Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

 

Maeve Kyle and Emily Dowling had been our only female medal winners at World Games prior to this. With no estab- ished female star travelling, our prospects looked very bleak for any additional success. But fortune was to favour us again. The twins, Dorothy McLennan and Sheila Champion, won gold and silver in the 0/55 pole vault while Evelyn McNelis from Naas won silver and bronze in cross country and 10,000m, respectively. Dorothy and Sheila can thank their foresight in entering what is still a pioneering event in women’s athletics for their medals, while Evelyn had to work hard, mighty hard, for hers. Unlike Maeve and Emily, Evelyn entered the veteran scene having progressed through the "get-fit", "Mini-Marathon" ranks. By her success in Finland, she has shown that it is possible to take this path and reach the stars.

 

john buckley world masters tandf championships turku finland 1991

Glory Run for John Buckley

However, the World Veteran Games are not just for the elite athletes, the medal winners. If they were, then the Games would be the poorer as a result. Michael Whelan took up athletics at the age of 50. Now 62, he competed in Turku, getting personal bests in both 5,000m and 10,000m and new 0/60 Irish records in the process. Michael was proud of his running, he was thrilled at competing on a world stage. We were proud of him, we cheered for him as loudly as we did for John or Evelyn. Success is not simply measured in medais. Success is a very personal thing. Success is trying one’s utmost in competition, trying to reach one’s own personal star in the sky. The veteran movement provides a vehicle for this fulfilment.
Whither the World Games now? Having hovered between 3,000 and 4,000 athletes for a number of Games, the numbers took a quantum jump to 5,000 from fifty-two countries in the U.S. in1989 and added just a few more in Finland, this time with fifty-five countries participating. To put this into perspective, it is more than the number of participants in all the sports at the recent Olympics, not just track and field. Up until now, the Games have been predominantly a western phenomenon, with just a sporadic appearance of individuals from the Communist Bloc countries. All this changed in Turku when 120 Soviet athletes arrived, the result of perestroika.

 

how irish fared world masters tandf championships turku finland 1991

How the Irish Fared


Who were these Soviets, any famous names among them? Let’s start with Tatyana Kazankina, dual Olympic gold medallist (1980) and still world record-holder for 1,500m. Add in a few more Olympic champions such as Ludmila Bragina (1976), Elvira Ozolina (javelin 1960) Nina Romanskova (discus 1952 and 1960). For good measure throw in former world record holder in the shot, Alexander Baryshnikov, toss in an extra sprinkle of Olympic champions, Ganis Lusis (javelin 1968) and Juri Tarmak (high jump 1972) and you get a flavour of the Soviet arrivals.


Did they dominate their events, as one might expect, considering their past wonderful achievements at the highest possible level? Not at all, only two won gold, Ozolina and Romanskova. Apparently veteran athletics is not strong in the USSR; in fact the Soviets had been unaware of the veteran movement abroad until very recently. When they retired from international competition, they effectively retired from all competition and usually from any meaningful level of training. Interestingly, their two gold medallists, Ozolina and Romanskova, at present have "manual jobs" and so retained a significant portion of their former strength; they are both in the throwing events.


The Soviets seemed very surprised at the high standard of competition at the Games; they were curious and wanted to know more. They came ill-prepared and unfit. They will be back, fitter and wiser next time. They will add enormously to the prestige and further development of the veteran movement. Would you like to race, jump or throw with such superstars of the past? The opportunity now is there. We have a part to play, we will do it. And we will do it well, just as we have done up to now. We have the athletes, we have the talent and, equally important, we have the psyche to do it. The world of veteran athletics is expanding worldwide and we want to be part of it. Exciting times lie ahead.


Roll on Japan, 1993.

 

 

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Mark of Distinction - Mark Carroll - Young Athlete of the Year 1991

Mark Carroll - EBS Young Athlete of the Year 1991

 

 mark carroll ebs young athlete of year 1991 irish runner febmar 1992 vol 12 no 1 p24

Mark Carroll, Margaret O'Connor and Pat O'Reilly, M.D. EBS

 

 

mark carroll ebs young athlete of year 1991 irish runner febmar 1992 vol 12 no 1

View/Download Mark Carroll - Mark of Distinction - Irish Runner, Feb/Mar 1992, Vol 12, No 1, P 24 (PDF file)

 

If Mark Carroll longed for company while he logged up his 2,000 training miles in 1991 he certainly made up for it during his Christmas holidays. Home in Knocknaheeny in Cork after his first term at Providence College, he received a heap of prestigious awards in recognition of the wonderful performances he strung together last year.


Carroll certainly came good in '91, and Christmas was a time to look back and enjoy the memories. The outstanding junior athlete of the year, and indeed for many a long year before, he deservedly was chosen as the EBS Young Athlete of the Year.
He also picked up his second Irish Runner/Seiko award, as well as one of the monthly awards presented by Jury's of Cork.
Carroll is no overnight star. Yet neither is he one of those who particularly shone through during his juvenile days. Not much was waged on young Mark in the ante-post betting. Injury has regularly plagued his progress, but whereas muscle and bone may have yielded to the strain of his efforts, his ambition and his belief in his own ability never wavered. It was this belief that shortened his odds of success.


Winner of his first BLOE C.C. title in 1989, it was his performance in the Schools C.C. Championships during his time in North Monastery CBS that indicated a performance curve steadily on the rise. Tenth place in '87 to eighth in '88 and '89, before finally taking gold in '90 and '91, show the tireless apprenticeship he clocked up perfecting his talent.

They say that ‘talent will always out’. However talent does not develop by accident and gold medal performances are not achieved on flimsy dreams and neatly planned schedules. The gallops along the footpaths of Harbour View Road, and in the schoolfields around Our Lady’s Mount, as well as the odd quick dash around the tartan lanes of the Mardyke, have moulded a middle distance runner with the equipment to take on the very best.


Add to this mould the ingredients of a supportive home, the coaching of Der O'Donovan, the guidance of Bro. John Dooley, the friendship of fellow Leevale athlete Declan O'Callaghan and the camaraderie of the lads from ‘the Mon' and the recipe for real progress was complete.

His coach Der O'Donovan sees 1989, and particularly the second placing in the Munster Juniors, as the turning point in Carroll’s career. "When he transferred from Eagle Track Club I didn't know of him. The Leevale squad was built around Ken Nason at that time, and so we took no special notice of Mark. However his performance behind John Murray that day was gutsy.

 

mark carroll ebs young athlete of year 1991 irish runner febmar 1992 vol 12 no 1 p24 table
Mark Carroll's main Cross-Country achievements


I told him that he would make the team for the World Juniors, and that turned him on. His greatest asset is his ability to handle pressure, he doesn’t crack up, and nothing or nobody frightens him. He has great ability, is very committed and my one hope is that he develops patience."


Mark Carroll was always interested in running. His mother, Anne, remembers him racing around the local square in competitions with his friends, as they lapped around the block in opposite directions. "He has always been extremely dedicated and worked hard to prepare properly for every race," she pointed out. "The tension on the day he was competing in Greece at the Europeans was fierce, it was a beautiful day, and during a long walk, his father, John, and I talked and wondered about how he was getting on. It was John who first heard the news on Sunday Sport. It was certainly the greatest moment in our lives."


The story of the historic win in Thessalonika, told so well by Bro Dooley in the Irish Runner Annual, completed a marvellous five weeks of top-class running by Carroll. During that time he won Irish Championship U/21 gold, and Senior silver at 1500m, he finished just out of the medals in the British AAA 3000m, won the European gold, and ran two splendid PBs. His 3:43 1500m ranks him third in the All-Time Junior list behind Ray Flynn and Enda Fitzpatrick (athletes also guided by Bro. Dooley), while only John Treacy's 8:06 is rated faster over 3K.


Mark Carroll has carved out a unique part in the history of Irish athletics and many more achievements are no doubt on the cards for the likeable, modest young man from Knocknaheeny.

 

Related Articles

Mark Carroll Interview - Irish Runner Annual December 2002

Mark Carroll's World Athletics Profile

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Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month of March 2020 - Avril Millerick

Avril Millerick is Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month for March 2020

River Lee Hotel

Wednesday August 5th 2020

 

avril millerick cork city sports athlete of month march 2020

Avril Millerick, St Marys High School Midleton and Youghal AC, is Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month for March 2020

 

avril millerick cork city sports athlete of month march 2020a

The award was presented at a function at the River Lee hotel, on Wednesday August 5th 2020

 

 

The Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month Award is sponsored by 96FM/C103FM, The Echo, The River Lee, Cork Crystal and Leisureworld

 

Cork City Sports Homepage

 

Cork City Sports - Awards Archive

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Cork Athletics Facebook Page


 

 The Cork City Sports Athlete for the Month of March 2020 is Avril Millerick, Youghal AC

 

 

Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month - March 2020 - Award Citation

Avril Millerick, St Marys High School Midleton and Youghal AC, is the recipient of the Cork City Sports athlete for the month of March

At the Irish Schools cross country championships at Santry Avril produced a marvelous performance to secure the individual bronze medal in a very competitive Intermediate Girls race

 

avril millerick cork city sports athlete of month march 2020b 
Avril Millerick with Cork City Sports Committe Members and Sponsors

 

John Walshe writes:

After a break of over six months, the Cork City Sports Athlete of the Month Awards resumed with the recipients for February, March and April receiving their presentations at The River Lee hotel.


Liam O’Brien, Technical Director of the Cork City Sports and one of the selectors, said it was under very unusual circumstances due to the little activity that had taken place since March that it was possible to honour the people present. He praised Cork City Sports Chairman, Tony O’Connell, saying he was very keen in continuing the monthly awards which have now been on the go for over a dozen years.

Avril Millerick of St Mary’s High School, Midleton, and Youghal AC, was the recipient of the City Sports award for the month of March. At the Irish Life Health All-Ireland Schools Cross-Country at Santry, despite losing a shoe, Avril produced a marvellous performance to secure the individual bronze medal in a very competitive Intermediate Girls race.


This came after she had easily won the Munster Schools’ over a tough course at Ennis and she was well pleased with both performances: “I was very happy considering I lost a spike in the first one hundred metres at Santry and I really enjoyed the course at Clare and thought it wasn’t as tough as some people found it.”


Her third place in the All-Irelands qualified Avril for the Irish team for the SIAB Schools Cross-Country in Scotland but unfortunately this was cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. “That was very disappointing, although I went to Scotland earlier in the year for the Celtic International where I finished seventh overall,” said Avril, who has another year in the intermediate grade.

 

 

February - March - April

Three awards were presented at the August function

cork city sports awards august 2020

Paddy Buckley (April), Avril Millerick (March) and Charlie O'Donovan (February)

 

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Track Events Officials - Virtual Introductory Level Course - Aug 2020

Virtual Introductory Level Officials Course Track Events

Saturday Aug 8th 11am - 2pm

 

athletics ireland virtual intro level officials course track events aug 2020

This course is aimed at volunteers who would like to start officiating track events at local level competitions, and for current officials who want to refresh their knowledge

 

Date: Saturday August 8th 2020


Time: 11am–2pm


Location:Zoom

 

Register

 

Course Outline

Description: This course is aimed at volunteers within Athletics Ireland who wish to start officiating Track Events, including Race Walking, at local and county level competitions. It is also ideal for current officials at this level who wish to refresh their knowledge of Track and Race-Walking events.


Duration: approx 3 hours


Experience required: A basic knowledge of Athletics but experience in officiating is not required.


Qualification: Introductory Level Official-Track Events to include Race Walking. Qualified to officiate at track events at local and county competitions.


Course content: The technical rules of Track Events and Race Walking are covered on the course.


 Presenters: Declan Curtin, Ronan O’Hart and Pierce O’Callaghan

Reopening Athletics - State of Play August 2nd 2020

Cautious Progress in ReOpening

state of play august 2nd 2020Roller Coaster - Snakes & Ladders

 
Editorial - The contents of this editorial do not necessarily reflect the views of Cork Athletics County Board

 

It's only been 5 weeks since HSE & AAI Covid-19 Guidelines were extended on June 29th, allowing events of up to 50 persons indoors and 200 outdoors. CIT Track reopened early in July, with the Mardyke Track following suit from July 13th. 

Several clubs have held Athletics Summer Camps and, in the past 10 days or so, several Track and Field meets (Leevale AC's two Summer Evening Meets, and West Cork's Juvenile meet), and a road race (Grange-Fermoy AC's 60th Anniversary Bob Burke Fermoy 4 Mile) have been held, all under controlled conditions, in Cork and elsewhere around the country. Further T&F Meets are to be held in Cork, in the coming weeks, with East Cork Division's confined T&F meets this Thursday, and again on Thursday week, and CIT AC's 'Track Night on Monday August 17th.

Its been a learning experience for everyone, with additional layers of work required to comply with HSE and AAI Guidelines. Organising an event was daunting enough before, Covid requirements not only add to the work, but also mean that more people and procedures have become necessary.


Roller Coaster - Snakes & Ladders

As in the image above, it's been a rollercoaster ride since March, but, while it might not satisfy some, we have come a long way.  Nevertheless we must proceed cautiously, or we may hit one of those snakes and slide a small bit back.....or maybe a long way. 

We have seen, in other sports, both here in Ireland, and abroad, where events have been called off and teams and leagues suspended after individuals, and groups, have tested positive for Covid-19.  Sooner or later, this very likely to happen in athletics here. Maybe someone will be asymptomatic...or maybe someone will just keep their mouth shut (or perhaps not!)...hoping to 'Run It Off'.

Taking it as a given that we must protect each other, we must also protect our sport, by doing our utmost to ensure that we don't take short-cuts in reopening, by neglecting aspects of the Covid Guidelines.  If we protect our sport, we also protect each other!


Recent T&F Meets & Road Race

Reports, photos and videos from the registered events in Cork are, by and large, positive, with the organising clubs complying with HSE and AAI Guidelines. There were some teething troubles, but something was to be expected .... This has been, and will continue to be, a learning curve - and a sharp one at that - for us all. 

Reports, including videos and photos, from events outside Cork show wide differences in Covid Guideline compliance around the country, with some meets doing excellently, while others were abysmal, with little social distance among spectators and organisers, and hugs, handshakes and even spitting - yes! actually caught on camera! 

One Unregistered road race (claiming, without foundation, to have European Athletics Running4All 5 Star status) ran in waves, with, apparently no effort to assign people based on finish times, resulting in random finishes, defeating any reason for the wave start. The same event saw a token effort at social distancing athletes for the start, but had those waiting for the next wave bunched together, and with nil social distancing among the organisers. 

It is sad to see, on one hand, Athletics Ireland clubs cancelling their events due to their valid Health and Safety concerns, and being 'given grief' from a minority for doing so, and on the other hand, organisers who have no long term commitment to the sport, paying lip service to HSE and AAI Covid-19 Guidelines.

Tale of Two Types of Organiser

Organiser A: Strives to put on a quality event AND meet HSE and AAI Guideline standards
Organiser B: Thinks putting on an event means just Starting a Race, taking race results, and, maybe, putting a bit of an effort into the HSE guidelines.....

Any idiot can put 'a race' on, but it takes an organisation to ensure, even pre-Covid-19, that sufficient safety measures are in place.  

 

First Road Race for Months

Last weekend, Grange-Fermoy AC held the first AAI registered road race in Cork since mid March. Their 60th Anniversary Bob Burke Fermoy 4 Mile was a strictly invitation only event, with a strong 68 athlete field taking part.  The event went very well, with the high calibre field running an 'honest race' - normally, with a wide choice, and frequent races available, a common belief is that top athletes 'cherry pick' and avoid each other. Being the first Registered race in over 4 months, the elite field produced both men's and women's course records.  A forgotten lesson for everyone - People Excel with Competition!

After the event, Cork Athletics asked Grange Fermoy AC to consider a short report, as an aid to other AAI Event Organisers:  What went right...what went wrong...what wasn't done that you'd do next time...what you wouldn't , etc.

Grange Fermoy AC's Advice:

Social distancing was paramount to ensuring the safety of all involved. The following measures were put in place:
1) Limited numbers
2) No chip timing - gun time only.
3) No refreshments
4) A co-ordinated finish line, to ensure athletes dispersed post race.
5) Social distancing markers at the start line, communicated to athletes via email.
6) Limited parking with athletes encouraged to park a couple of miles from the start line, and use the distance as a warm up/cooldown. This avoided congregation at the start line and encouraged dispersal post race.
7) No messing at the start line. Athletes were called to take their socially distant place markings. Following a brief course description, athletes were asked to move forward, and the gun was fired.

Sanitisation was an important factor:
1) PPE. including face masks, were worn by race personnel at the check-in desk.
2) Hand sanitiser was available at key locations.

Screening:
1) As per AAI guidelines, All athletes were required to complete the Covid-19 questionnaire, which ensured that they self-declared fit and healthy, and had followed the guidelines in the weeks leading up to the race.

Grange Fermoy AC feel that the following factors were key:

1) The evening before the race, a trial run over the course, involving approx 30 Grange Fermoy athletes,  took place, under the control measures in force for the race proper. This ensured that any kinks were ironed out, and volunteers were familiar with the measures.
2) A small field of athletes was key: The field of 68 athletes was deemed optimum, ensuring a very competitive male and female race, and was also manageable from a control measure perspective.

What would Grange Fermoy do differently next time?
1) Possibly temperature screening
2) Possibly mask wearing by all volunteers and spectators, however it may be difficult to ensure compliance

 

What's Happening Elsewhere?

Northern Ireland
Events have restarted, mainly track meets, and races largely held in enclosed areas, e.g. race tracks, forest parks etc.  Northern Ireland is blessed with an abundance of off-public road venues, which helps enormously, particularly in limiting public/spectator access.

Scotland
Races cancelled for foreseeable future

Wales

Road Races cancelled for foreseeable future

England

Some races going ahead....even in areas bordering the Greater Manchester Major incident!




Reminder of Synopsis of AAI Guidelines - Posted June 24th

 

So What Do You need to Do?


Firstly, Read the Fecking Manuals!! ....Everyone!!

Road Race Event Organiser Guidelines

Road Race Volunteer, Staff and Marshalls Guidelines

Road Race Participant Guidelines

 

NB This is only an extract of Key Points!!

Every Event should appoint a COVID-19 Officer, who should have NO Other Responsibility
This person should ensure that all COVID plans are in place, that all race personnel are familiar with and compliant with HSE & AAI guidelines, and that all necessary contact details and waivers have been received from all participants, race personnel, support entities and, literally, everyone present.

On the day
You will need additional signage and operate routes to and from key locations, in such a way as to minimise crowding and contact.


You need efficient and effective communications, via radio or mobile phone


Plenty of hand sanitiser


Ideally no baggage drop.....people should leave all personal belongings in their cars.


All race personnel should be wearing appropriate PPE


Any desks. e.g. Help desk, should have Plexi-Glass screens and NO sharing of pens/biros, or other material.

Toilets
Try to go before you leave home....both race personnel and participants
Minimise contact with surfaces and wash your hands/use sanitiser

Start Area
Only essential race personnel should be in the start area, along with participants.
Where possible, use waves and time zones.

NO PACERS!

Participants ...NO Spitting!! If you need to clear your throat, swallow it!  If you need to snort/blow your nose, use a tissue and put it in YOUR pocket, or bin it!

No chopping/jumping in and out and around other runners, and no shoving, pushing etc


Water stations.....Do you really need to take on water? If you're properly hydrated, you probably don't.

 

Finish Line
Once you've finished, go home, or wait for your colleagues at your car. Do NOT hang around the finish area.

 

Timing
Hand timing should only be done for very small, and widely spaced finishers. There should be absolutely NO queueing at the finish. Chip timing is recommended, both for timing and also for contact tracing.

 

Sterile Area
The finish line and immediate surrounds should be a sterile area....in other words, there shouldn't be anyone in the zone who is not essential.  In addition, a separate area will be required for anyone in distress, where medical personnel can tend to them.

Spectators
NO spectators should be Present

Marshalls/Stewards
You will need an awful lot more marshalls/stewards/helpers under Covid-19, and these will eat into your overall total numbers. All officials should be readily identifiable

 

Guidelines & Booklets

HSE Covid-19 Booklet (PDF File)

AAI Guidelines

Road Race Event Organiser Guidelines

 

Road Race Volunteer, Staff and Marshalls Guidelines

 

Road Race Participant Guidelines

Other Resources

 

Guidelines for Small to Large Running Events (PDF File) U.S.A.



Looking Forward - Guidelines for Races (RRCA)

 

PRINCIPLES FOR STAGING ROAD AND MT RUNNING EVENTS DURING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS (UK Athletics)

 

UK HSE Covid-19 Risk Assessment



And for the amateur sleuths *** .... better off, as the ancient Romans did ...read the chicken entrails

Mark Carroll Interview - Irish Runner Annual December 2002

Mark Carroll - Spring in his Step

Irish Runner Annual, December 2002

 

mark carroll interview irish runner annual 2003 vol 22 no 6 p36 36 1

Cover of Irish Runner Annual, December 2002

 

mark carroll irish runner annual 2003 vol 22 no 6 b

 Mark Carroll breaking new ground in New York

 

mark carroll interview irish runner annual 2003 vol 22 no 6 p36 36 2 mark carroll interview irish runner annual 2003 vol 22 no 6 p36 36 3
 Irish Runner Annual 2003 - Vol 22, No 6, P 36  Irish Runner Annual 2003 - Vol 22, No 6, P 37

 

Irish Runner Annual 2003 - Vol 22, No 6, P 36 - 37
Download/View (PDF file)

 

After a sensational Marathon debut in New York, Mark Carroll is understandably excited about his next effort at the classic distance

Just minutes after crossing the New York finish line in sixth place in 2:10:54, marathon first-timer Mark Carroll was already confidently talking about breaking 2:08 for the distance in spring 2003.


“I know that my New York City time is worth at least a few minutes on a flat European course and if David Bedford is generous to me, I would like to attempt a really fast time in London next April,” Carroll said.


Clearly delighted with his first outing over the classic distance — and looking everv inch the shaven-headed warrior — Carroll was quick to point out that he is not about to abandon the track and become a marathon specialist.
“I have still some unfinished business to attend to on the track, but my days of running fast 1500m and mile races across Europe are probably at an end,” he admitted.


“Nevertheless, I still have goals to achieve at both 5,000m and 10,000m and it’s important to keep that track speed because you do need it for today’s marathon challenges.”


At 30, Carroll seems to have perfectly timed his transition from world-class track runner to marathoner and looks certain to
command attention from promoters of big events like London, Boston, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Berlin and Chicago — and to add substantially to the $18,000 he won in New York ($10,000 for finishing sixth and $8,000 for breaking 2:11).


And yet earlier this year he was in the doldrums as a knee injury threatened his career.


"We need to look at the whole socio-economic situation and take some steps to encourage kids back to our sport. We need to dress the sport up and make it attractive to young people.


“Once I had arthroscopic surgery on my knee last January, things started to come together and I was always confident I could make the successful transition from the track to the marathon — although I do realise a number of people thought otherwise.”


The major change to training made by Carroll and coach Jimmy Harvey in the build-up to New York was the weekly long run.


“For the most part I ran a 20-mile run with the first ten in around 55 minutes — 5:30 pace — and the second ten miles in 50 minutes. These long runs were over hilly terrain — nothing crazy, just rolling hills similar to what New York was going to throw at us in the second half of the race.


“All my marathon training was done in nine-day blocks. I trained for nine days straight — averaging about 115 miles — then took 48 hours complete rest to help my body absorb the workload.


“Other sessions were 6 x 2 kilometres and 4 x 3 kilometres — the 6 x 2ks in about 5:30 and the 4 x 3ks averaging 8:45.
“I would also do some 5k repeats in 14:25. The recovery would be short — 45 seconds to a minute’s rest for a session ot 12 x 1k.


“Also in every block there was a session of 20 x 400m in about 62 seconds, just to keep the pace in my legs.


“In every block there was the long run which doubled as a tempo run, one Iona session like I have described, and a hare track workout. The training was very specific and every session was well planned in advance.”


Every morning on rising Carroll took a hot bath to get the circulation flowing

This would be followed by 30 or 40 minutes of stretching before running.


Then there was the real ordeal — several times a week after really hard sessions Carroll immersed himself for 15 to 20 minures in a bath of ice.


“Mick Ahern of Patrick’s Pub in Providence kept me supplied with ice and I think these ice baths have been great for keeping injuries at bay,” he says.


He also did regular gym work to develop and maintain core strength and topped up religiously with iron supplements.
“I would eat a lot of complex carbohydrates as well as protein supplements and electrolyte concentrate drinks,” he reveals.
Carroll was assisted in much of his training — especially the interval sessions — by Providence-based Keith Kelly and the visiting Gareth Turnbull.


“They were both of great help to me in the build-up,” Carroll said. “They were so enthusiastic — they kept me feeling young.”


In New York on what he deemed a windy day, the Leevale man ran aggressively from the start.
“I felt brilliant up to 16 miles and it was at that point the Kenyans went a bit crazy,” he recalls.


“I just made a conscious decision not to chase them. I just needed to maintain my form to the finish and stay strong.
“I hadn’t set any time targets as I hadn’t come to New York chasing a very fast time — I just wanted to be competitive and to be in the lead pack from the start.


“I did everything that I said I was going to do right to the point where I said that I would not reacton 1st Avenue if things got crazy.


And I’m glad that I stuck to my plan because I saw guys in the last two or three miles who were almost walking.
“It was a great feeling to finish so strong and to recover so quickly.”


Since he won the European Junior 5000m title back in 1991, Carroll has developed into a distance runner of world stature and in the process put up new Irish numbers for the 3000m (7:30.36), 5000m (13:03.93) and 10,000m (27:46.82).


And he still harbours ambitions to be the first Irishman to break 13 minutes for 5000m and go sub-27:10 for 10,000m.

For now though he is looking at another intensive block of training geared toward a spring marathon.


“I would like to complete another 12- week block of training similar to what I did for New York, some of it at altitude,” he says.


“I really do not know where I’ll run in the spring. It could be London or Boston — or somewhere else. My manager, Ray Flynn, will negotiate that for me.

 

mark carroll irish runner annual 2003 vol 22 no 6 a

Carroll still has track ambitions


“I have always aimed high — that is just the way I am — and I do not say that to be cocky or boastful.


“When Jim Harvey started to coach me, he asked me what I thought I could run for 5000m and I told him I believed I could break 13 minutes. That was not an arrogant statement — it was the only way forward and I had to think like that if I was to
succeed. There are Kenyans and Ethiopians and Moroccans running fast all over the place and if you don’t think like that you have no place at the top of this game.


“I believe now that based on my track performances a 2:07 marathon is definitely possible.”


Carroll is mindful that in New York he revived a great Irish marathon tradition that — at least among the men — had been flagging over the past decade.


“It is good to be able to put Irish marathon running back on the map again,” he acknowledges.


“For the past five or six years I have done my best at every distance I have competed at and I’ve tried to better the Irish records for 3000m, 5,000m and 10,000m and take them into the turn of the century.


“Nowadays guys are running so fast at every distance across the board and I just ask why cannot an Irish guy be in there too.


“The last five years I feel I have done my part. I have taken three Irish records to world standard and I’d like to do the same in the marathon by the time I’m done — hopefully, by then some other kid will be coming through looking to better my records.”


Clearly, Carroll is conscious of the general decline in Irish distance standards.


“Maybe it’s time that the AAI, the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council of Ireland had a conference to examine why there has been such a big drop in standards,” he muses.


“I believe the talent is there — but the drop-off seems to be in interest. It’s the same in Britain — the depth is just not there.


“We need to look at the whole socio-economic situation and take some steps to encourage kids back to our sport. We need to dress the sport up and make it attractive to young people.


“That’s something I would like to help with and I’m sure Sonia O’Sullivan feels the same.


“I’ve always wanted to give something back to the sport — though living 3,000 miles away doesn’t make that easy. Still, over the next few years I would be prepared to sit down with people and help in any way I can to progress the sport in Ireland.”


Meanwhile Mark Carroll goes chasing 2:07 in the spring — and suddenly John Treacy’s Irish record of 2:09:18 looks in severe danger.


These past few weeks have been easy going for the Leevale man as he visited his parents in Cork City. But he will soon ease back into training, starting with 30 miles a week, quickly progressing to 50 or 60, then adding 10 a week until he passes the magic 100 — the watershed for all successful marathoners.


“I’ve had my break and enjoyed myself on a few nights out but it will soon be time to get serious again,” he says.
“You would never feel spring coming around.”

mark carroll honoursWorld Athletics - Mark Carroll Honours Listing



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World Athletics - Mark Carroll Personal Best Listing

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