As a large contingent of Clonmel AC athletes make their way to Dublin this weekend for the Dublin City Marathon, we would like to wish everyone the very best of luck in the event. Club members and their coaches have been working tirelessly since the summer with almost 50 athletes in preparation for this great event. There is no doubt that the hard work and dedication over the last few months will bear dividends and see people achieve their goals.
This marathon also incorporates the National Marathon Championships, and the Club has a great affinity with this Classic event over the years. Indeed, in 1988 our team of Johnny Landy, T J O Loughlin, Jim St John and Tommy Cahill won the National Inter Club Marathon title in Wexford, a first National Senior Club title for the Club. Then in 1992 in Clonmel our Hometown heroes were John Fitzgerald, T J O Loughlin and Kevin Maunsell as they won the National Senior Inter Club Marathon title in front of great local support. To make it better we had John Fitzgerald winning the National Senior Silver marathon medal and his ticket to compete for Ireland at the European Marathon Championships in Split, Croatia. Then in 2014 our Senior Women’s team of Angela McCann, Siobhan McHugh and Aine Roche were crowned National Marathon Champions. In 2015 our Men’s over 40 team of David Ryan, Brian Long and Declan Curley were crowned National Champions. So, on Sunday next we are hoping that this string of success will continue as we will have athletes competing at all levels from elite senior to masters age grades.
This year the club is lucky to have 3 athletes compete with realistic expectations of challenging for the National titles. David Mansfield is a seasoned marathon athlete and heads to Dublin in fine form after a great year. Having broken a 30-year-old Tipperary marathon record when running 2:16:08 in Seville back in February, he followed this up with a very good run in the Antrim Coast Half marathon in August. David made his international debut on that day and played a big part in an Irish team that finished 3rd. His training partner, William Maunsell, is making his marathon debut after being the first Irishman home on his debut international call up in the Antrim Coast Half marathon in August when running a terrific time of 1:06:04. William should gain great confidence from that performance and translate that form to the classic marathon distance.
Courtney McGuire our youngest athlete at 23 years, has been a revelation over the longer distance races this year. Her standout performance being in the Antrim Coast Half marathon where she ran a fantastic 1:13:54 winning the race and finishing as fastest Irish woman. Courtney has trained hard over several months with her training partners, David and William, and will be confident she can build on her half marathon run and produce a strong debut marathon performance that will see her challenge for national honours.
All our athletes have worked so hard to get into top shape for this great event which is making its comeback after a two-year absence due to the pandemic. All the coaches have carefully planned their training to ensure each and every one of them get the best out of themselves on race day. Hopefully we will be celebrating National medal victories at all grades as well as many PBs on Sunday evening and that everyone gets around safely.
All at Clonmel Athletic Club wish our athletes the very best of luck at the weekend and for our all-debut marathoners, enjoy the experience, it is a wonderful experience.