Flynn’s bid for Euro squad spot

by James Hendicott
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CLONLIFFE Harrier David Flynn has his eyes on one-upping last year’s role as an alternate on the Irish team for the European Cross Country Championship as he aims for a top six position in Abbotstown this weekend at the Irish championships.
Flynn – who recovered from injury to finish just outside a place that would have qualified him for a European starting spot last time around – feels he’s better prepared in 2016, having relocated to Letterkenny for training purposes.
“I tried a different approach this time around,” Flynn told GazetteSport. “My coach is Andrew Kastor [husband and coach of Olympic marathon star Deena Kastor], and I’ve been following his program from here in Ireland.
“I’ve relocated to Letterkenny for my base season [which focuses on building distance endurance], and found living in a different environment has helped me focus on what I’m doing for training.
“In 2013, I was part of a University of Arkansas team that had an unbelievable set up and won the national championship,” Flynn recalled.
“We were flown to the White House on a private jet to have dinner with Obama. It’s a bit different coming back to Ireland, especially as everyone knows everyone.
“There’s an element of trying to keep what you’re doing in training secret that stops people working together. The States is so big that it doesn’t really work that way. I need to rebuild my reputation, which can be difficult after being out of the country.”
Flynn also missed out on the elite performance program that came into effect with Athletics Ireland this year.
“I thought I had a good argument,” he says, adding that he believes qualifying on Sunday might help his case for next year. He accepts that training in part in California – which he does as part of an elite training squad year on year – is a difficulty for the program, but hopes to gain access to facilities like blood and VO2max testing that are vital at an elite level.
“I’m a full time, professional athlete,” he said. “I get a lot of support and sponsorship from Skecher’s and I think I’ve learnt from last year. It’s a tough competition in Abbotstown [over the weekend]. I’ll be running the course on the Wednesday ahead of the race to trial it. But I pretty much know what I’m up against on the start line.
“I’ve learnt a lot this year,” he concluded. “It’s the Irish way to be charging out at the front in training; to always be giving 110%. I’ve learned to give 80 or 90% in training and run with the pack, and to save that for the races.
“I’m in really good shape and this course is designed to more closely match the European courses. It’s in great condition and a bit different to [regular venue] Santry. Qualifying will make a big difference to my winter.”

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