Three Wick­low ath­letes to com­pete in Eu­ros

Bray People - - SPORT -

THREE Wick­low ath­letes have qual­i­fied for the Euro­pean Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Am­s­ter­dam next week. Fion­nu­ala McCor­mack (Kil­coole) and Tara Jame­son (Slí Cualann) will run in the 10,000m on Wed­nes­day, July 6 and Deirdre Byrne (Slí Cualann) will run in 5,000m on Satur­day, July 9.

We got a chance to speak with Deirdre Byrne and Noreen O’Reilly, one of Tara Jame­son’s ju­ve­nile coaches, fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of the Ir­ish squad on Sun­day evening.

Deirdre Byrne qual­i­fied for the squad fol­low­ing her run in a 5k race in Wat­ford at the end of May.

“I just dipped un­der the qual­i­fy­ing stan­dard there. Ath­let­ics Ire­land has an A and a B qual­i­fy­ing stan­dard for the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships and I was about half a sec­ond un­der­neath the B stan­dard. So they ended up tak­ing ath­letes who reached the B stan­dard and I just found out there on Sun­day night,” she said.

It’s a short enough turn around pe­riod to find out you’re qual­i­fied and then to race but Byrne is de­lighted and wouldn’t have minded if they told her the day be­fore. She has been blighted by in­juries over the past few years.

“It’s kind of hard to progress but thank­fully I’ve been able to get a con­sis­tent kind of year to­gether which is re­ally help­ful.”

Byrne is based in Ra­heny now but splits her train­ing be­tween there and Wick­low. “I do harder ses­sions on a Wed­nes­day and a Satur­day and then on a Sun­day I’ll do a long run if I’m not rac­ing down at the club at home. Then I do eas­ier runs in be­tween that. So there are three hard runs in a week and maybe take one rest day in be­tween that.”

Be­ing a teacher gives her time to train, es­pe­cially in the sum­mer, but she won’t change her rou­tine too much for the race in Am­s­ter­dam other than eas­ing up a few days in ad­vance to freshen up her legs.

She races on the Satur­day evening.

Tara Jame­son has also been blighted with in­juries over the last few years hav­ing had surg­eries on her left knee and left hip but she has had a steady sea­son of rac­ing and her re­ward is qual­i­fi­ca­tion for her first Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships.

Noreen O’Reilly ex­plained how it is her first time at the cham­pi­onships as a se­nior.

“She ran in the Cross Coun­try as a ju­nior and she ran in the Steeple­chase way back but this is her se­nior event,” said Noreen.

Jame­son has been study­ing in Iona Col­lege in the US for the past six years and runs at a high col­le­giate level. She qual­i­fied for the Euro­peans fol­low­ing some good re­sults over there.

“In the NCA fi­nals she ran 32.52, her PB, and that put her inside the stan­dard. There is still an­other two weeks to qual­ify for Rio but she’d have to run 32.15 to qual­ify and she’s 30 odd sec­onds out­side of that.

“She’s had a re­ally long sea­son, she’s won her own Con­fer­ence then she won the pre­lim­i­nary NCs and came 7th the NC fi­nal and made All Amer­i­can, which is amaz­ing. She should have been reach­ing this level a few years ago but in­juries pre­vented her but now she’s just fly­ing.”

O’Reilly was Jame­son’s coach when she was younger along with Noel Con­way in the Inbhear Dee club that feeds into the Slí Cualann club. She re­counts what Jame­son was like when she first ar­rived at the club.

“When she came first she only came with her friend Claire and if it wasn’t for Claire she would have been in ath­let­ics at all. She messed around for a while but when she started train­ing I knew she was al­ways go­ing to be run­ning 10ks, maybe marathons down the road. I’ve never seen any­body with bet­ter heart and lungs in my life.”

Tara Jame­son will run in the 10k on Wed­nes­day evening.

Deirdre Byrne, of Sli Cualann A.C., on her way to win­ning the women’s 5000m dur­ing the GloHealth Na­tional Se­nior Track & Field Cham­pi­onships at Morton Sta­dium in Santry on Satur­day last.

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