Coolmine’s Dave Flynn has redemption in mind at this month’s Dublin marathon after illness hampered his efforts 12 months ago.
The Clonliffe Harrier put in one of his career-best performances when he took first place in the Charleville half-marathon in September, breaking the course record with a personal best 1:03:48.
Flynn followed that up with a second-place finish at the Dublin half-marathon with a time of 1:05:58, a 23-second improvement on his 2018 time.
Both races took place in trying conditions, with a strong wind in play, and Flynn has felt the benefit in his final training camp in Morocco ahead of the race of October 27.
The 29-year-old feels he’s in the best possible place to challenge in Dublin with the goal of qualification for the world and European championships next year.
“The Charleville half-marathon was a big breakthrough for me,” Flynn tells the Dublin Gazette from his 6,000 feet training camp in Ifrane, Morocco.
“To do it on Irish soil made it extra sweet. The second half of the race was against the wind and I made my break away with over five miles to go.
“I was very happy with my strength in the second part of the race when winning by 30 seconds. It’s taken a bit longer to recover than expected. But I’m still getting in 20 miles a day of easy running.”
Flynn targeted these two half-marathons in the lead-up to his second Dublin marathon, where he has something of a point to prove after being unable to perform to his optimum last year.
The former steeplechaser is a relative novice to marathon-running, having only begun the transition two years ago, but has set his sights on qualification for the Tokyo Olympics next July.
Beyond that, he and trainer Andrew Kastor, husband of Olympic bronze medallist Deena Kastor, envision him challenging in the two subsequent Olympic cycles.
“The Charleville half-marathon and Dublin marathon have been the plan for quite some time,” he says.
“I wanted to run fast enough to qualify for the world half-marathon and European championships both next year and I think I’ve put myself in a good position.
“[In the] Dublin marathon, I’m looking for redemption. I had a stomach infection last year which prevented me from performing to what I was capable of so I’m hoping to put in a big performance.”
Flynn has been primarily based in Morocco this year after spending time in Switzerland and Portugal in previous years.
He was introduced to the remote altitude training camp in Ifrane by his friend, the Belgian runner Soufiane Bouchikhi, who is of Moroccan descent.
“I train with a group there ranging from 2.07 to 2.14 in the marathon. My best friend Soufiane trains there so it’s nice to get some training done with him.
“The altitude is a huge benefit for me; that and being able to train with world-class athletes on a regular basis. The most I benefit from though is the routine I have over there.
“Your whole day revolves around running and recovering. When you can do this again and again over a certain period of time, the shape comes with it.”