COBH'S Sonia O’Sullivan has agreed to take up a new assistant coaching role with a Nike training group based in Portland, Oregon beginning this week, initially in the run up to and including the Tokyo Olympics.
It will see O’Sullivan move from her current home in Melbourne to the US on Thursday, her new role as assistant coach to Pete Julian affording her the chance to work with some of the best distance runners in the world.
Describing the role as “exciting and challenging”, O’Sullivan is also looking forward to the chance to “have some purpose again in big time athletics”.
The move, only confirmed in recent weeks, will also bring O’Sullivan closer to her daughter Sophie, currently in her first year at the University of Washington on scholarship.
“It all evolved quite quickly, and once we started talking, it felt like an instinctual decision for me, something I felt I’d like to do,” says O’Sullivan.
“I won’t know what it’s fully about until I’m out there, but to be a part of a fully professional set-up, with a good budget behind them, to get the best possible out of the athletes, is something I’m excited about.
“There are currently 10 athletes in the group, Pete Julian as head coach, they also have a strength and conditioning coach, and his athletes range from 800m up to the marathon, so there’s a lot of diversity there, they don’t all train together, on different days and in different places, so he can’t always be there.
"And this was the perfect opportunity to go and do something that I’ve not really had a chance to do, ever.
“It’s a way for me to travel again in an Olympic year, even though it’s very nice here in Melbourne with no Covid restrictions, it feels very far from the action.
"Every year I’ve had events in Ireland that I work with and the main athletics championships to look forward to, this past year has been so unpredictable my normal schedule has been put on hold.
“It also definitely helped that it’s pretty close to where Sophie is going to college, two and a half hours away, so that swayed things a bit too, because of the times we’re in, it’s so difficult to get back in or out of Australia, and it’s still unknown when she can next get back to Australia.”