Westport athlete running for gold

Going for gold: Westport athlete Ellen Moran is looking to keep up her good showings.

Going for gold: Westport athlete Ellen Moran is looking to keep up her good showings.

Any runners celebrating their performance at an event in recent weeks might like to look away now as Westport Athletic Club this week pays tribute to one of its many fine athletes.

Ellen Moran, just 14 years of age, who is currently the silver medal winner of the All-Ireland 1,500 metres event, which she won in 5:10 in 2009, is now training hard to get home in less than five minutes next time around. To achieve this, Moran, a second year student at the Sacred Heart School, will need to run at a consistent speed of 18km per hour – just slightly faster than at her last outing.

Daughter of Seamus and Kathleen Moran from Aughagower, Ellen joined the local Athletics Club at the age of 10. “It was a great decision because I made lots of friends immediately,” she recalls. “I joined because a girl in my class told me about it. My first competition was the Community Games when I ran in the u8s over 60 metres. I was fourth.”

Winning a place gave the unassuming Ellen her first taste of competition and while she also enjoys other sports such as badminton and cycling, two-legged racing is her sport of choice. “I wasn’t good at running straight away but I just got better. The 1,500 metres is my favourite because it’s not too long and not too short. In a race I focus on my breathing and on pacing myself and work out where I should be.”

Signing up to consistent training taught Ellen that what you put in to something, you get out of it too. Attributing her self-belief to working with coaches Gerry Kilroy and Edel Hackett, Ellen dedicates over three hours a week to core training, with track sessions on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and a long run (3k ) aimed at building up stamina on Saturday. On Sundays the club trains out in the elements at Bertra beach, racing up and down the dunes for a good full-on cardio session.

With the silver medal adding to her natural drive to succeed, Ellen is careful how she phases her goals for next year. “Hopefully, I’ll come in the top two in the cross-country as an u16.”

So with her eye firmly on gold, Ellen is wished every good luck at the forthcoming 2010 Championships. Fortunately she has received some public recognition for her efforts in the form of a Westport Athletics and Mayo awards last year for best juvenile female cross-country award. “That meant a lot,” she said.

While Ellen is very happy to be associated with Westport Athletic Club, which she describes as a ‘really good club’, she recommends joining any club to all young people. “I would say join your local club and choose an event you like. You don’t have to be competitive – just join it for the fun.”

Marathon men

At the recent Boston marathon Mayo AC runner Brendan Gill ran an exceptional race in a field of thousands, coming home in a time of two hours 46 minutes over the testing course. The Westport man who was a national medallist with Mayo AC last year continues to improve from race to race. Christy O’Malley managed to make it to the start line for the recent London marathon despite the volcanic ash disruption to flights. O’Malley ran a time of three hours and 59 minutes in damp conditions over the course. He will be next out in the Carramore 10k on Saturday.

Mayo runners make impact in Galway 5k

Mayo AC runners made a major impact in the first race of the Galway 5k series in Athenry recently. TJ McHugh came home in fourth place in a time of 16.51 just pipping team mate Timmy Glavey into fifth by one second. Catherine Conway was the first female finisher of the Mayo AC crew, finishing in a time of 18.37, other Mayo AC athletes who competed in the event were David Huane, Kathy Connolly, Caroline Conway, Josephine Gardiner, and Pat Moran. The Galway 5k series will continue over the coming weeks.


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