CIT Athletics and Cork Track clubs run together for a great cause

Groups raised money for LauraLynn charity
CIT Athletics and Cork Track clubs run together for a great cause

Rachael O'Shea and Craig Harrington with the cheque for the LauraLynn Foundation. In the background are Nessa Wheeler and Shona O'Brien. Picture: John Walshe

A joint venture by CIT Athletics Club and Cork Track Club has seen the children's charity LauraLynn benefit to the tune of €600. 

‘My Christmas Run 2020’ was staged over a number of weeks a series of individual time trials took place with the final one over 5,000m held at the CIT track.

Craig Harrington, CIT Athletics Development Officer, explained how it came about: “We heard about this wonderful charity called LauraLynn so we decided to do something for it. Through the MyRunResults company, who were a great help to us, we got festive T-shirts printed for the final of the eight nights.

“We decided on the 5,000m distance and as we couldn’t train as a group up to recently it gave us all a bit of motivation as we trained in our own remote locations. The money was collected through our own individual efforts and then we were able to present this lump-sum to the charity.” 

Second-place finisher Anthony Mannix at CIT leading from Barry Donnovan who was third. Picture: John Walshe
Second-place finisher Anthony Mannix at CIT leading from Barry Donnovan who was third. Picture: John Walshe

On a cold but dry evening, the fastest time over the 5000m was achieved by Fionn Harrington, a member of the Bandon club, who returned a very impressive 15:07.2 for the distance. Anthony Mannix was second with 15:49.4, followed closely by Barry O’Donovan on 15:55.2.

Aoife Delargy was fastest of the women with 18:56.8, second fastest was Noreen Mackey (19:43.6) with Maeve Ahern third (19:53.2).

“The runners who took part tonight are first and foremost a training group formed from students and alumni of CIT and UCC,” said Ian O’Sullivan, founder of the Cork Track Club. “About half of the group are actual members of Cork TC and the other half continue to run for their home club.” 

“Cork Track Club itself was formed in September 2018 as an amalgamation of CIT AC and UCC AC,” O’Sullivan explains. “As a ‘track puritan’ I felt that there was a definite need for a club solely focused on track as it’s all gone to the roads now.

Aoife Delargy, Noreen Mackey and Maeve Ahern who had the three fastest times in the women's section of the 5,000. Picture: John Walshe
Aoife Delargy, Noreen Mackey and Maeve Ahern who had the three fastest times in the women's section of the 5,000. Picture: John Walshe

“We currently have 23 registered members with Athletics Ireland, when we started in 2018 we had less than 10. Ray Shanahan and I are the coaches and our mission is to train athletes whose prime aim is to take part in track and field events. We of course do cross-country and road as well but those races are only used as preparation for track.

“In 2019 we had three athletes from the group take part at the National T&F championships and this year we had 10. We use this as a key performance indicator. We are also aiming to take part in the National T&F Leagues when they get going again and be a strong force in track and field.” 

Fionn Harrington, a member of Bandon AC, who ran the fastest time of 15:07.2 for the 5000m at CIT. Picture: John Walshe
Fionn Harrington, a member of Bandon AC, who ran the fastest time of 15:07.2 for the 5000m at CIT. Picture: John Walshe

O’Sullivan is also undertaking a part-time PhD looking at the link between training load and injury in runners and that work links in with his coaching. 

“The training group here has grown as well so I’m looking at how consistent running links with running performance and how we can predict what kind of training loads people can do to avoid getting injured.” 

For the 2019/2020 academic year, 81 Sports Scholarships were awarded across 19 different sports to CIT students and athletics is strongly represented, according to Craig Harrington. 

Craig Harrington, CIT Athletics Development Officer, with Ian O'Sullivan, founder of the Cork Track Club. Picture: John Walshe
Craig Harrington, CIT Athletics Development Officer, with Ian O'Sullivan, founder of the Cork Track Club. Picture: John Walshe

“We currently have 12 people on scholarship, double the number on every other year.

“Although Covid-19 has hit sport badly, CIT are still willing to back athletes, which is great. Competition may be restricted at the moment, but the training and support isn’t.”

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