Athletics NI sets up marathon project aimed at improving overall standards
Athletics Northern Ireland has set up a marathon training group which will see top local runners undertaking sessions with emerging performers in the hope of raising overall standards.
The Marathon Potential 2024 Team includes international athletes such as Ann-Marie McGlynn and Laura Graham.
McGlynn and Graham are among seven women involved with 11 men also part of the programme.
Former British 800m international Mark Kirk is the lead coach for the project.
The athletes personal coaches, who include another former British middle-distance international Jim McGuinness, Seamus McCann, Teresa McDaid, Raymond Adams, Richard Rodgers, Dermot Kerr and Ryan Maxwell, will also be involved in a programme which will see athletes taking part in group training sessions.
The elite runners involved include Conor Bradley and Fionnuala Ross who both represented Ireland at the recent European Cross Country Championships in Lisbon plus Eoghan Totten and Eoin Hughes, the son of 1992 Barcelona Olympian Tommy Hughes.
Strabane-based McGlynn broke Teresa Duffy's 18-year-old Northern Ireland women's marathon record by over two minutes when she clocked 2:32.54 at the Dublin Marathon in October.
"These training sessions will take place approximately every two months and aim to create an environment where athletes will support each other, push each other on and also provide an educational element on how training works," said an Athletics Northern Ireland statement.
The project includes sports psychology support in addition to an app that has been developed for the athletes to monitor their wellness including sleep, physical shape, nutrition and mood.
The first session took place at the Mary Peters Track on Saturday.
Marathon Potential 2024 Team
Men: John Black (coaches Jim McGuinness/Seamus McCann), Conor Bradley (Teresa McDaid), Kyle Doherty (Colin Roberts), Conor Duffy (Emmett Dunleavy), Eoin Hughes, Christopher Madden (Mark Kirk), Conan McCaughey (Mark Kirk), Scott Rankin (Allan Bogle/Brian Rankin), Craig Simpson (Sammy McAnaney), Gary Slevin (Dara Furey), Eoghan Totten (Richard Rodgers)
Women: Nakita Burke (Sean McFadden), Jessica Craig (Raymond Adams), Laura Graham (Ryan Maxwell), Sarah Lavery (Gerry McCabe/Catherine Diver), Ann-Marie McGlynn (Colin Roberts), Fionnuala Ross (Dermot Kerr), Catherine Whoriskey.