Indoor Track & Field

Patient Purcell set for return

Harry Purcell became the first schoolboy to go under 1:50 for the 800m at the Irish Schools Track and Field Championships last June and added the 400m title for good measure. The Trim AC athlete returned to the track for his school Castleknock College in the 4 by 100m relay, the final event of the day, but badly pulled his hamstring which put pay to his entire track season.

Jumping The Gun caught up with him to find out where he is now as he is set to return to the track tomorrow for the GloHealth National Junior and U23 Indoor Championships in Athlone tomorrow.

Are you looking forward to returning to the track after your hamstring tear at the All Ireland Schools last summer?

I’m overwhelmed to be back in competitive action, but, more importantly, I’m just happy to be back fit and healthy.

How frustrating was it being stricken down with injury after being in the shape of your life?

I suppose with every athlete any form of injury is frustrating, but with a tear like mine it was all about staying patient and looking at that the bigger picture.

How did you cope and how long did it take to rehabilitate the hamstring?

Lying on a stretcher at the end of the day wasnt exactly what I had planned. Initially I wasnt in the best frame of minds knowing my whole summer would be confined to the massage table, but as the summer grew on so did my hunger to come back a fitter and stronger athlete come 2015. It took nearly 5 months for me to be fully fit again, but that would not have been possible without the help of Athletics Ireland, my physio, Paul Carragher, and my physical therapist, Evan Sully, my coaches, and, of course, my parents.

Lying in a stretcher after pulling his hamstring in the 4 by 100m relay

Lying in a stretcher after pulling his hamstring in the 4 by 100m relay

How do you find the adjustment of college life compared to school and how does it affect your training?

I found the transition from secondary school to college very easy and having Santry at my doorstep just makes things so much easier.

What are you studying in DCU?

I currently am studying Law and Politics and am really enjoying it.

What are your goals for the indoors and moving into the outdoor season?

I’m not looking for anything big from the indoor season. I’m just delighted to be back racing again. Moving onto the outdoor season my aim is the European Juniors in mid July.

Training indoors in Athlone

Training indoors in Athlone

Who’s coaching you now and what type of training have you been doing?

I have Eamonn Coghlan and John Shields mentoring me but it’s John who takes all my sessions now in Santry. In the early part of this season I started off by getting my fitness levels back up but as the winter grew on I slowly started including track sessions into plans. Now, thankfully, things are back to normal.

Who is your athletics hero?

My coach Eamonn would be my athletics hero. It’s every young Irish athletes dream to emulate what he did many years ago. Having a man like him in your corner is an honour. Also Richie Hogan would be one of my sporting heroes. As an avid Kilkenny fan and passionate hurling spectator I see him as one of the most all rounded hurlers there is and it’s pleasure to watch him roam the field of Croke Park.

What’s most important thing you bring to a training session apart from the obvious such as your spikes?

A sense of humour, I love going down to training and having the craic with lads.
What are your ambitions in the sport?

I dont really look to far into the future. my main objective is to stay injury-free and perform to the best of my ability.

What’s your favourite training session?

My favourite session would be 3 x 200s in 29 seconds with 30 seconds in between – 5 sets with 3 mins between each set. It keeps you on your toes especially when you have to run into the strong winds and rain that hang over the home straight in Santry.

Aselefech Mergia and Kenenisa Bekele. Photo: photorun.net
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Feidhlim Kelly

Feidhlim Kelly

Con Houlihan once told me that tomorrow is now. In taking on this venture I’ve started to try and put his words into action.

I worked for Con from 2007 till his passing in 2012 taking down his copy and a whole lot more. I have a Con Houlihan section which will go in to more depth on that.

I’m a long-time contributor to the Irish Runner magazine and am also working for the Irish Examiner.

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