Dave Flynn, centre, during his recent training camp in Morocco

COOLMINE man Dave Flynn has earned a call up to the Irish team for the Armagh International road race for the second year running as he continues his progression to much longer road races.

The Armagh International is a famously fast-paced 5km race with an astonishing 95 men dipping under the 15-minutes mark last year.

“We have a very strong team so I would like to think we can put it up to the likes of England and America who both send teams along with the likes of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland,” Flynn told the Dublin Gazette.

“It’s a great honour to represent Ireland; I take nothing but absolute pride every time I put on that vest. With my half marathon time last weekend. I should also have a great chance of representing Ireland at the European championships and world half marathon in 2019.”

Flynn is referring to a time of 64:30 he ran at the Marrakech Half Marathon on January 27, the first European home, and saw the Crusaders man clock the third fastest time by a European in 2019 to date.

“The Marrakech half marathon is the craziest race I’ve ever been in, period,” Flynn said. “We were held around 400m from the start, then they let us loose and everyone sprinted to the start line pushing, knocking over fences, people getting trampled on… absolute chaos.

“Then you get to the start, you’re being held back by a bunch of African women around five times my weight. No gun goes off or count down, just go, and everyone is sprinting as hard as they can out to get a position. The only thing is it’s not only elites sprinting out it’s 40, 50, 60 year old men too along with joggers all looking for their moment of fame.

“I had to run a 4.30 first mile to stay out of trouble. After that I could relax into my goal pace. After the race, they had me down as someone else and my time wrong. Luckily I had my very good Moroccan friend with me to fix the name but they refused to fix the time even though I had it on my GPS!”

The Moroccan event sat well alongside Flynn’s training goals, which saw him spend time altitude training through January.

“I went to Morocco from December 19 to January 27. I had five weeks of great weather in the Atlas mountains then the last week a lot of snow hit so I think it went very well.

“Training at altitude combined with training with world class runners up there makes the difference. For example I train with a guy from Netherlands, Khalid Chokhoud. He ran 2 hours 10 minutes for his debut marathon. Everyday training with him, I’m learning from him.”