Dave Flynn celebrates crossing the line in first place at the Rock N’ Roll half-marathon.

Dave Flynn won the Dublin Rock N’ Roll half-marathon ahead of a field of 14,000 runners through the streets of the capital earlier this month, with the Clonliffe Harriers athlete showing his strength as he continues to step up towards marathon distance.

The win, the Coolmine man’s first national title, comes as he prepares for the Dublin Marathon this autumn, and saw him get the better of national marathon champion Gary O’Hanlon and national medalist David Mansfield in the process.

Flynn made his move at around the nine mile mark, having broken clear in a group of six at the head of the race in the early stages. He used the hills to his advantage, having recently trained in the Alps, and found the re-routed race to have some useful challenges.

“I bided my time in the pack and made a big move up the anglers rest Hill that looped back on the course around the 9 mile mark and never looked back after that,” Flynn told the Dublin Gazette.

“The Rock N’ Roll Dublin course was different to other years due to the pope visiting, so we didn’t enter the Phoenix Park at all.

“The course had four significant hills on it, the main one being knockmaroon Hill that goes uphill for about 1 mile all the way to Castleknock college.

“A group of around six of us had broken away from the 14,000 runners on the day at that point.

“This is a huge confidence boost for me leading up to my debut marathon. Dublin Marathon is a strength course with plenty of drags and hills and for me to win the national half marathon title on a course like Rock N’ Roll Dublin shows the training I did in St Moritz Switzerland at altitude in June and July is paying off and everything is starting to click.”

While the marathon distance is the key for Flynn at the moment, he also has loftier goals on the horizon, including representing Ireland at the highest level.

“The overall goal is to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, to represent Ireland.” he explained.

“Every national title is a stepping stone in that direction. After Dublin marathon I’ll chase a fast time in spring 2019 and hopefully lay down a time that has me ranked high up on the Irish list, but there’s a lot to be done before that.”

“The Dublin marathon is the sole target right now,” he said, despite looking ahead down at his longer-term prospects.

“If i stay consistent with my training and healthy, I have a huge opportunity to lay a mark down.

“These goals couldn’t be set out without my sponsors such as Skechers Performance, Clean Cut Meals, Hireco and my first local sponsor caremark.ie who support people in the community.”

He followed up last weekend with victory at the Tullamore Quinlan Cup half-marathon, setting a course record in the process, leading home a field of 1,000 runners.