Sport

McElhinney makes home advantage count in Glengarriff

September 14th, 2022 2:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

Callum, Breda, Tony and Darragh McElhinney at the Glengarriff race with Julie O’Brien, a teacher who taught Darragh in junior infants. (Photo: John Walshe)

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BY JOHN WALSHE

THE winding trails through Glengarriff Woods Nature Reserve may be a long way from the high altitude training camp of St Moritz but it was an apt location for Darragh McElhinney’s final workout before heading off on a 25-day training stint to the Swiss ski resort.

Competing last Saturday week in the opening event of the annual Beara AC Autumn 5-mile series, this was surprisingly McElhinney’s first time doing a race in his native village. He sped around the undulating course in a time of 26:20 to the delight of his many fans, saying it was great to support the local event.

‘It was nice to able to do it, I run the route a lot in training so it was nice to run it in a race. I’d usually run from home which is about two miles away and do a longer loop, so I do most of my training around here,’ he explained.

Coming to the end of a short break after his excellent track season, he was due to head off on Monday to St Moritz, the start of his build-up to what promises to be an exciting cross-country season.

‘I had a week fully off, then I got back jogging six or seven miles every morning, not doing anything too hectic, so this is my first hard run,’ McElhinney said.

‘I should be fit enough by the time we get back, I did it last year and the way it works if you go there and you’re not too fit it just pushes you on so by the time you get back you’re ready to get into the good tough training and start hitting the sessions a bit harder.’

Beara AC runners Breda O’Sullivan, Mags O’Neill and Suzanne O’Sullivan pictured at the Glengarriff race.

 

His winter racing programme is still undecided, obviously the main aim will be the European Championships in Piemonte, Italy, on December 11th.

‘I might travel to a race in the UK or Europe, I’ll do the nationals but as this is my last year as an U23 I’m hoping to go over there and win the Euro Cross,’ said last year’s silver-medallist from Dublin.

While not dwelling too much on the Munich 5000m final where the UCD athlete was in the mix until a lap to go before fading to 16th, McElhinney can look back on a magnificent season where he ran personal bests for 1500m (3:37.72), 3000m (7:42.86) and 5000m (13:17.17).

‘My aim before the season was to get under 13:25 so to run 13:17 for 5km, I was delighted,’ he said.

To paraphrase Robert Frost’s immortal poem, the Glengarriff Woods on Saturday last were certainly ‘lovely, dark and deep’ after the overnight rain and you could say that Darragh McElhinney also has ‘promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.’

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