David Flynn in training in California earlier this year

COOLMINE athlete David Flynn has targeted a place at the Rio De Janeiro Olympics in 2016, after a successful end to the 2015 that has seen him move right the way back into the frame for qualification.
Flynn hopes to compete in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Olympics, and is also targeting the world half-marathon championships, with a qualification run in Houston, Texas on January 17.
“I expect the strength [of my recent runs] to carry over into qualifying for the Olympics in the 3,000m steeplechase. The A standard is 8.28 and B standard 8.34; they are extremely hard to achieve as it’s very hard to find a world class steeplechase field without pacemakers but I’m very optimistic with my latest performances, new coach and training environment,” he said.
Flynn has had a tough couple of years, and his seventh overall at the national cross country championships – ahead of Olympic qualified athletes and European finalists – shows the strength of his ambitions.
He puts the performance down to three months at altitude in California as the key to Flynn’s ambitious return.
“I went to University of Arkansas on an athletic scholarship,” he explains. “I had a very successful few years, including a national championship in 2013 where they flew us to the White House to meet president Obama.
“After my eligibility was up and I graduated, I was about to join a professional group in Austin, Texas but I got diagnosed with mono [glandular fever] and wasn’t able to train for 11 months.
“Instead, I became a coach at Arkansas during that time which I learnt a lot. I then returned home to Ireland which I found very hard to settle back into living full-time.”
Since then, he has been given the okay to train on a more frequent basis and admits that he initially found it “extremely hard to get back into shape” prior to his return to the US.
“Moving up to the mountains in California was the best choice I have ever made in my life,” he adds.
“I had been there for a few weeks in 2013 but the group had changed a lot over that time. It is at 8,000ft altitude every day I run with some of the best athletes in the world.
“My coach Andrew Kastors’ wife Deena was third at the Olympics in Athens and recently broke the masters world record in the Chicago marathon.
“Having people like her around everyday is great.”
And Flynn is now keen to get his local community behind him, speaking of the importance of support, and would be keen to hear from local businesses who might be able to help him attain his Olympic dream.
“Support and sponsorship is extremely important for all athletes targeting the Olympics as the training and recovery involved is a full time job in itself. Some sponsorship from local businesses could really help me chase this dream.”