Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Running Shoes: Sligo Athletic Club News

Snow, cold biting winds, freezing fog. We have had it all over the past three weeks. How are athletes bearing up to those conditions? Well show me an athlete that has missed even one days training because of those conditions and I will show you a weak athlete. Last weekend RTE sport were in a bit of a dilemma. On a Saturday evening at the end of the news at 6 they dedicate about ten minutes to sport. Last weekend virtually all of the premiership was called off. RTE’s favourite sport Gaelic and hurling has not returned yet from its winter hibernation, not even for their usual twice weekly training sessions. Where did RTE turn to? Of course athletics. They followed athlete Mark Kenneally as he ran in the snow around Dublin. Mark who recently finished eighth in the European Championships told them how he continued to train and had ran up to 100 mile for the week on the snow covered slopes around Dublin. Of course he hadn’t been able to train to the intensity he would have liked but he did train. Mark epitomises all good athletes in this country. It proves that his eight place finish in Santry last month was no fluke. He is prepared to go out and train whatever the conditions are. About ten years ago in the company of Sligo AC head coach Terry Hayes I was driving to Ballinamore to a cross country race. It was the depths of winter and the weather was cold and wet. In the rear seat of the car was a young Sligo athlete. We asked him about his training over the past couple of weeks. He told us that most of his training was on the treadmill due to the inclement weather. Of course I told him the folly of his ways and told him it was a sign of weakness. When we got to Ballinamore the three of us walked around the course. Needless to say we were knee deep in mud. As we finished the lap, Terry turned to the young athlete and said “Now young man, your treadmill training will stand you in good stead today in those conditions.” The athlete got the message. Scarves, gloves, thermal underwear, treadmills, ok maybe in a warm up but the real work must be done outdoors whatever the weather throws up. In Sligo we are lucky to have places like Sligo race course and the trails around Hazelwood to run on.

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