Google+ Running in Cork, Ireland: July 2012

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Julius Yego...the 'YouTube' athlete from Kenya

Mention the words 'Kenya' and 'Olympics' and visions of world class medium and long distance runners spring to mind. It therefore comes as a suprise that Julius Yego will be representing Kenya in the Javelin for the very first time at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

While being the first Kenyan Olympic javelin thrower might seem a novelty in itself, what is really unusual is how he came to qualify. Having started the javelin as a youth and having no coach capable of training him in the technique, Yego turned to watching YouTube clips in Cyber Cafes to improve his style. He watched clips of world record holder, Czech Republic’s Jan Zelezny, Olympic titleholder and two-time champion, Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway) and former world titleholder, Tero Pitkamaki.

In 2003, he competed in the high school regional championships. In 2006, he won the national junior title and broke the Kenyan junior record with a throw of 67 metres. He won his first national title in the javelin at the age of nineteen in 2008 and defended it in both 2009 and 2010. He earned his first national call up in 2010 and threw a personal best of 74.51 m to take the bronze medal at the 2010 African Championships in Athletics, which was held in Nairobi. In 2011, he still did not have a throwing coach and despite this, he won a fourth straight Kenyan title and then went to the 2011 All-Africa Games and became Kenya's first ever champion in the event, throwing a Kenyan national record mark of 78.34 m.

In respect of this achievement, the IAAF (the sport's governing body) gave Yego a six-month scholarship to train alongside elite javelin coaches in Finland, with the aim of preparing him for the 2012 London Olympics. After two months of training at the IAAF-accredited centre in Kuortane, Finland, Yego returned to Kenya in April 2012 and threw a new record of 79.95 m. This was within the Olympic "B" standard for the event and he will become the first Kenyan person to compete in the javelin at the Olympics. On Sunday, the 22nd of July, he improved the Kenyan record again at Finnish Elite Games Series event in Kuortane by throwing 81.12 metres. In a post competition interview, he said..."I must admit that this kind of a result was a surprise for me, too. I’ve thrown so far only a couple of times in training. It’s been a good time here in Finland and I enjoyed a lot this atmosphere today. I feel very good, just going to London to participate in the Olympics feels very good. Being my first time, I do not want to say I expect a lot of things there. Just being a participant in the Olympics is good for me. If I make the finals, I will be very happy.

The qualifying round for the final is on the 8th of August at 7:05pm.

Reminder about cheap entries...Dublin Marathon / Clonmel Half-Marathon

Just a quick reminder about some race entry fees....

Dublin City Marathon......The entry fee for the Dublin City Marathon (29th Oct) will increase from €70 to €80 on the 1st of August. If you intend to do this Marathon then avail of the cheaper entry fee now.
Website HERE

Clonmel Half-Marathon.......The Clonmel Half-Marathon is coming up on Sunday, the 19th of August. The current entry fee is €25 and this will increase to €30 after the 5th of August. More details on the Running in Munster website.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Results of the Bere Island 5k & 10k Fun Run - Sat 14th July 2012

The results for these two runs are now available.

In the 10k, there were 44 runners....
# Surname    First name    Gender    Club    Time  
1 Kealy    Gerry    M    Richmond Road Runners    38:07
2 O’Meara    Shane    M        41:46
3 Brett    Alan    M        42:22
1 O’Sullivan    Geraldine    F    Bantry    46:54    13 (1st female)
2 Lennon    E.    F        47:40    15 (2nd female)
3 Dukelow    Fiona    F        49:13    17 (3rd female)

In the 5k, 33 took part....
# Surname    First name    Gender    Club    Time    Place
1 O’ Shea    Aidan    M        22:49    1
2 Rooney    F.    M        23:11    2
3 Walsh    L.    M        23:18    3
1 O’ Brian    Orna    F        26:34    11 (1st female)
2 Ginty    Livida    F        26:51    12 (2nd female)
3 Murphy    Clare    F        27:15    13 (3rd female)

The full results can be seen HERE

Pace times used for the Dingle Half and Full Marathon...

With the Dingle Half and Full Marathon coming up on Saturday, the 1st of September, it's time to have a quick look at the pacers that will be on hand.

In the Half-Marathon, there will be pacers for 1.30, 1.45, 2.00 and 2.15
In the full Marathon, there will be pacers for 3.30, 3.45, 4.00 and 4.15

For those of you who are unsure as to how pacers work......
Basically, they run at a steady pace for the all of the race. They may build up a slight cushion of time ahead of the hills but essentially, the miles are evenly paced. You can use the pacers in a variety of ways....
1) Run with them as part of the pacing group and see if you can achieve your target time.
2) Use them for the first few miles to make sure you don't run too fast at the start of the race. Starting a race too fast is one of the most common mistakes people make, especially during the Marathon. All too often, you will see people walking in the second half of the race and their overall finishing time is a lot slower than if they had gone off at a more modest pace from the start.

The closing date for the Dingle Half and Full Marathon is the 22nd of August.

More details in these earlier posts HERE and HERE

The race website is

Results of the 6th John Buckley Sports Graded League - Sun 29th July 2012

 1500m Race
Name Club Cat Event Time Points Grade
1 Chris Harrington Leevale M 1500m 4:02.61, 2 John Shine Leevale M 1500m 4:03.08, 

3 Tony Kelleher Togher M 1500m 4:03.58, 4 Denis Coughlan St Finbarrs M 1500m 4:04.32, 
5 Sean McGrath East Cork M 1500m 4:09.48, 6 Dzintras Klava West Waterford M 1500m 4:09.94, 
7 Colin Maher Ballyfin M 1500m 4:13.63, 8 Shane Dineen Leevale M 1500m 4:15.67, 
9 TJ Hogan Leevale M 1500m 4:31.08, 10 Kevin Wilmot Bandon M 1500m 4:34.06, 
11 Johnny Doran Templemore M 1500m 4:35.51, 12 Craig Harrington Togher M 1500m 4:36.86,
13 Harry O Brien West Waterford M 1500m 4:39.51, 14 Richard Lucas Waterford M 1500m 4:40.89, 

15 Patrick Roche Carrick on Suir M 1500m 4:42.65, 16 Michael Murphy St Finbarrs M 1500m 4:43.84, 
17 Cormac Hickey Riverstick Kinsale M 1500m 4:45.39, 18 Guilliaume Huyet CIT M 1500m 4:47.11
19 Sheldon Kirkwood Leevale M 1500m 4:48.64, 20 Declan Murphy St Finbarrs M 1500m 5:06.63, 

21 Pat Murphy Eagle M 1500m 5:13.15, 22 Batt Kearney Leevale M 1500m 5:59.47

1 Annette Quaid Leevale F 1500m 4:46.08, 2 Carol Finn Leevale F 1500m 4:47.82, 

3 Niamh Roe Eagle F 1500m 4:49.11, 4 Ann-Marie Holland Eagle F 1500m 4:54.80 

First race of two in the 1500m...

Second race of two in the 1500m...

The full results of all the events can be seen HERE

(Video clips courtesy of Ian O'Sullivan)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Interview with Ciarán Ó Lionáird...

Following on from his recent mile races in Cork and Dublin where he went under the 4 minute mark, Ciarán Ó Lionáird gave this interview in the last few days...

Race notice - GR8KM in Mitchelstown...Fri 10th Aug 2012

This is a notice for a race coming up on Friday, the 10th of August at 7:30pm. The GR8KM as the name suggests is an 8 km road race on the roads around Mitchelstown in North-East Cork. As the 9th race in the Ballyhoura Active Series, it is likely to attract runners from North Cork, Limerick and Tipperary. 

With the M8 motorway, Mitchelstown is now only 50 kms or a 35-40 minute drive from Cork City so it's an option for city based runners as well.

I'll have a full preview of the course just before the race.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ireland 7th most inactive country in Europe

In a recent edition of the UK medical magazine the Lancet, figures were published showing the levels of inactivity amongst the adult populations of various European countries.

The criteria for 'inactivity' is that the person in question does not meet recommended amounts of activity, such as walking briskly for 30 minutes or more five times a week or taking more vigorous exercise for 20 minutes three times a week

Inactivity causes between 6% and 10% of four major diseases – coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and breast and colon cancer, reported the Lancet. In 2008, it was responsible for about 5.3 million out of the 57 million deaths worldwide.

Out of 36 European countries, Ireland scored the 7th highest at 53.2%. This was better than the UK which was 3rd highest at 63.3% but still well behind some of the continental countries like France on 32.5% and Germany on 28%.

Level of inactivity..................% Pop / % Men / % Women
Austria     European Region     34.8     30.3     39.2
(13) Belgium     European Region     42.7     40.4     45
Bosnia and Herzegovina     European Region     33.6     30.3     37
Bulgaria     European Region     26.8     24.7     28.8
Croatia     European Region     23.6     26.2     21
(5) Cyprus     European Region     55.4     48.1     62.6
Czech Republic     European Region     25     27.6     22.3
Denmark     European Region     35.1     34.8     35.4
Estonia     European Region     17.2     15.7     18.8
Finland     European Region     37.8     40.8     34.9
France     European Region     32.5     27.7     37.2
Georgia     European Region     22.3     21.1     23.5
Germany     European Region     28     27.5     28.5
Greece     European Region     15.6     16.7     14.5
Hungary     European Region     26     26.4     25.6
(7) Ireland     European Region     53.2     47.8     58.5
(6) Italy     European Region     54.7     49.6     59.8
Kazakhstan     European Region     31.5     32     31
Latvia     European Region     32     28.1     35.9
Lithuania     European Region     22.6     20.3     24.9
(10) Luxembourg     European Region     47.7     49.9     45.5
(1) Malta     European Region     71.9     70.7     73.1
Netherlands     European Region     18.2     21.3     15.2
(11) Norway     European Region     44.2     43.4     45
Poland     European Region     27.6     23.5     31.6
(8) Portugal     European Region     51     47.5     54.4
Romania     European Region     38.7     31.2     46.2
Russian Federation     European Region     20.8     22.7     18.8
(2) Serbia     European Region     68.3     63.2     73.3
Slovakia     European Region     22.2     23.3     21.2
Slovenia     European Region     30     26.5     33.6
(9) Spain     European Region     50.2     47.4     53.1
(12) Sweden     European Region     44.2     44.1     44.3
(4) Turkey     European Region     56     49.5     62.5
Ukraine     European Region     18.4     20.4     16.3
(3) United Kingdom     European Region     63.3     58     68.6

Results of the Churchtown South 5 mile road race - Thurs 26th July 2012

A record 551 runners attended this year's Churchtown South 5 mile road race, the third race of four in the Ballycotton Summer Series. This is almost 14% up on last year's figure which had equaled the previous record. In just five years, the numbers attending this race have doubled.

This of course resulted in a very crowded start, much like Ballyandreen back in May. Many of the runners at the front were just way too slow to be there which obviously impacted on some of the faster runners behind. However when there was no way for the slower runners arriving late to get around to the back of the field on the narrow roads, I'm not sure they had much choice anyway.

The mens race was won by James McCarthy of East Cork AC in a time of 25:10. The womens race was won by Nollaig Hunter of Leevale AC in 32:07.

Place    Time    Name    Team    Race Age Category    min/mile       
1 0:25:10    MCCARTHY, James    East Cork AC    M    05:01.9
2 0:25:40    O'DONOVAN, Cathal    St. Finbarrs AC    M    05:07.9
3 0:25:41    MCGRATH, Sean    East Cork AC    M    05:08.1
1 0:32:07    HUNTER, Nollaig    Leevale AC    F40    06:25.3
2 0:32:27    LEONARD, Helen    Rathfarnham-WSAF AC    F40    06:29.3
3 0:32:30    WALSH, Niamh    Leevale AC    F    06:29.9

The full results can be found HERE 

1) A slideshow of photos by Joe Murphy HERE

Updated Fri 27th @6pm...
Overall results of the Ballycotton Summer Series after three races....HERE

(Credits...Churchtown South Results...John Walshe, Series results...John Robinson)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Preview of the Churchtown 5 mile road race - Thurs 26th July 2012

 Before we have a look at the course, please note the following information from the organisers...

(1) Due to the unprecedented weather conditions of late and the unavailability of fields, parking will be a problem at tonight’s race. Therefore, we urge people to make an extra effort to arrive early as those leaving it too late will have a walk of over a half-mile to the hall. Also, bear in mind the various traffic restrictions in place if you are traveling from Cork city.

(2) People who have ran the first two races in the Summer Series (Ballyandreen and Shanagarry) are automatically entered for tonight’s race. The numbers are in alphabetical order and can be seen at THIS LINK  - It would help if people could find their number in advance and ask for it at one of the entry desks. There will be two distribution desks – one with numbers 1 to 200 and the second with numbers from 201 upwards (this includes all females). Again, it would be appreciated if people had the correct fee of €5 ready to speed up the process. Entries will open from 6pm onwards with the race starting at 8pm. For new people on the night (who haven’t run the two races), there will be a separate entry desk as normal – entry fee again €5.

(3) With the huge increase in participants, the start of races now poses its own problems. For safety reasons, we urge people to line up in accordance with their ability. Unless you are running under 30 minutes you have no business at the front – the race is over five miles and there will be plenty of opportunity to move up after the initial rush, so pace yourself accordingly. It goes without saying that headphones should not be worn at any stage.

This is the 3rd race of 4 in the Ballycotton Summer Series and is sure to attract a very large crowd.

Directions...If you are new to the local race scene, try the following route. From Cork, take the usual route to Ballycotton (R629...shown above in Orange). When you get to the crossroads in the centre of Cloyne...

.......the main road takes a 90 degree left. You need to take the turn off which is straight ahead past the old round tower. Just stay on this road (...shown above in red dots). At one stage, you will come to what appears like a fork but you will see that the main road is to the left. Keep on the main route and  you will end up in Churchtown South. Once you get there, follow the stewards instructions regarding parking.

Entries...The event centre for this race is the small community hall which is located next to the road junction as shown above.

On the night, a list of the names and numbers will also be displayed outside and inside the hall. Also, it saves a lot of time if you have the correct entry fee (which is again just €5) at the ready.

Runners who have not run both races (non-Series) can enter in the normal way at a separate table (fee again €5).

The race starts at 8pm and people are requested to arrive early in view of the large numbers expected.   

Course...It is essentially 2 laps of a 2.5 mile course. When you run the course, you would think that it should be a fast course as there seems to be very few hills. However, while there are no obvious steep hills like Ballyandreen or Shanagarry, there are some long drags in it which have the same net effect. For my money, it is as tough a course as either of the first two in the series.

As always, try to get there early (~7pm) to allow plenty of time for entering, warming up and getting to the start line.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Results of the Morton Games in Dublin - Wed 25th July 2012

Results as they come in...all provisonal!...(Updated 09:50)

Brian Gregan runs a personal best time of 45.61 seconds in the 400m

Ten run sub 4 in the mens mile!..........winner ~3:56. Ciarán Ó Lionáird finished 6th in 3:57.01....a new outdoor PB for him. Interview post race...."I didn’t run a great tactical race, I got bunched up a bit on the back straight and it was gone."
When asked about his Achilles injury........“I can feel it now to be honest, its burning a bit, I’ll get a session in now and do a bit tomorrow before heading back to London”

Later in the night, he said....."3:57 flat. An outdoor PB but obviously not where I want to be yet. Felt really smooth, just need to work on positioning + closing. got in a solid workout immediately afterward and excited to finally start working on some speed now to fine tune. Most importantly, the achilles is in one piece! It handled the stress well tonight and I'm thinking we're through the worst on that end."

Mens Mile
1st Will Leer (USA)...3:56.39
2nd David Torrence (USA)...3:56.40
3rd Ryan Gregson (AUS)...3:56.45
4th Craig Miller (USA)...3:56.49
5th Ryan Hill (USA)...3:56.78
6th  Ciarán Ó Lionáird (IRL)... 3:57.02
7th Gareth Heath (USA)...3:57.18
8th Rickey Steveson (GBR)...3:57.56
9th  Silas Kisorio (KEN)...3.57.63
10th Paul Robinson (IRL/St.Coca's AC)...3:58.47
11th Eoin Everard (IRL)...4:00.66
12th Mark Hanarahan (IRL)...4.01.17 
13th Rory Chesser (IRL)...4.03.39
14th John Coghlan (IRL)...4.08.07
15th Joe Warren (IRL)...4.20.29 

Womens Mile
1. Schappert 4:30.65, 2. Buckman 4:30.86, 3. Lacaze 4:32.19, 4. Capkova 4:32.69, 5. Coburn 4:33.24, 6. Tomlin 4:34.39, 7. Waite 4:35.42, 8. Praught 4:35.96, 9. Wellings 4:36.83, 10. Kipp 4:40.31, 11. Cheever 4:42.44

Women's 800 m                   
Race 1    1    365    Anderson, Gabrielle    USA        2.02.99,     2    302    Smith, Jessica    CAN        2.03.51,     3    306    Eviston, Siobhan    Raheny Shamrock A.C.        2.03.99,     4    304    Van Daken, Lucy    NZL        2.04.53,     5    315    Jelegat, Jane    Kenya        2.04.78,     6    305    MacLean, Leanna    CAN        2.05.39,     7    307    Crowe, Laura    Riocht A.C.        2.05.77,     8    312    Kehoe, Fiona    Kilmore A.C.        2.08.52,     9    314    Mc Sweeney, Claire    Leevale A.C.        2.09.89,         303    Cannon, Shauna    Brothers Pearse A.C.        DNF
Race 2    1    301    Bishop, Melissa    CAN        2.01.80,     2    313    Simpson, Jemma    UK        2.02.61,     3    316    Cummins, Diana    Canada        2.03.06,     4    367    Berkerit, Lemlem    Canada        2.03.41,     5    368    Mackey, Katie    USA        2.03.86,     6    311    Drumm, Orla    Crusaders A.C.        2.04.51,     7    309    Plateau, Carolyn    Blackheath/Bromley        2.05.70,     8    317    Lindh, Louisa    Swedan        2.05.77,     9    310    Cleirigh-Buttner, Siofra    Greystones & District A.C.        2.06.94,     10    308    Mc Neice, Kelly    City of Lisburn A.C.        2.07.25,         318    Denny, Sinead    Dundrum South Dublin A.C.        DNF

Mens 400m
1. Gregan 45.61, 2. Al Mirjabi 46.55, 3. Murphy 46.63, 4. Druce 47.43, 5. Kervick 48.35, 6. Kanonik 48.69, 7. Maze 49.10
Symmonds 48.69

Mens 100m Final
1. Anderson 10.26, 2. Al Harthi 10.36, 3. Colvert 10.57, 4. McMullen 10.81, 5. Russell 10.86, 6. Davis 10.94, 7. Whelan 10.98, 8. Rath 11.06, 9. Doyle 11.23, Hynes DQ

Womens 100m
1. Foster 11.51, 2. Proper 11.61, 3. Walters 11.67,  4. Gennete 11.84, 5. Healy 11.87, 6. McNeill 12.09, 7. Murray 12.20
McManus DNF

Mens 400m H
1. Woodward 49.49, 2. Barr 50.45, 3. Yates 50.99, 4. Harvey 51.27, 5. Wakeford 51.32, 6. Flannery 53.35, 7. Upton 54.16
8. Byrne 54.30

Mens 3000m
1. True 7:44.40, 2. Heath 7:45.26, 3. Curtis 7:54.25, 4. Pfieger 7:58.25, 5. Mullet 7:58.65, 6. Hicks 8:01.99, 7. Bradley 8:04.52, 8. Jarvis 8:07.25, 9. Mulhare 8:07.54, 10. Cornwall 8:11.04

Mens 800m
A    1    362    Centrowitz, Matthew    USA        1.47.72,     2    324    Grice, Charlie    BMC        1.48.06,     3    319    Smith, Kyle    Canada        1.49.06,     4    321    Mc Brearty, Darren    IMC        1.49.08,     5    325    Cook, Jonathon    BMC        1.49.19,     6    320    Romaniw, Anthony    CAN        1.49.27,     7    329    Kelly, Brian    IMC        1.49.81,     8        Anthony Leighio    IMC        1.49.97,     9        Jordan Bransberg    BMC        1.50.09,     10        Fitzsimons, Shane    IMC        1.50.29,     11        Andy Richardson    BMC        1.50.55,     12        Karl Griffin    IMC        1.50.97
B    1    338    Valters, Kristaps    Clonliffe Harriers A.C.        1.51.40,     2    335    Hamilton, Patrick    City of Derry       , 1.51.84,     3    340    Ryan, Billy    Ferrybank A.C.        1.52.57
C    1    343    Jenkinson, Andriu    Clonliffe Harriers A.C.        1.55.49,     2    349    Coughlan, Dennis    St. Finbarrs A.C.        1.56.12,     3    345    Owens, Richard    UCD A.C.        1.56.19,     4    346    Geraghty, Fergal    Galway City Harriers A.C.        1.56.45,     5    344    Wright, Andrew    Willowfield Harriers A.C.        1.57.02,     6    341    Rankin, Robby    Lagan Valley A.C.        1.58.20,     7    350    Conway, Mark    Dundrum South Dublin A.C.        1.59.14,     8    358    Kelleher, Tony    Togher A.C.        1.59.71,     9    357    Kelly, Kevin    St. Coca's A.C.        2.03.10,         342    Maguire, Thomas    Fingallians A.C.        DNF
D    1    354    Maunsell, Kevin    Clonmel A.C.        1.58.22,     2    355    Collins, John    Skibbereen A.C.        1.59.99,     3    364    Miller, Sam    Ballymena & Antrim A.C.        2.00.37,     4    359    Grummell, Tim    Sli Cualann A.C.        2.01.38,     5    352    Sexton, Kieron    Crusaders A.C.        2.01.41,     6    353    Logue, Cathal    City of Derry        2.02.21
    7    361    Maher, Colin    Ballyfin A.C.        2.02.32,     8    360    Costelloe, Eddie    Galway City Harriers A.C.        2.02.48,     9    356    Danagher, Alan    Ferrybank A.C.        2.04.67,     10    351    Hayes, John    Raheny Shamrock A.C.        2.07.98,         363    Dunne, Gareth    pace        DNF 

Full results as a PDF document HERE

Schedule for the Irish competitors at the London Olympics...

With the Olympics opening ceremony coming up on Friday, the 27th of July, it's time to look ahead to the Irish competitors taking part in the games.

A full list of Irish competitors in ALL sports can be seen HERE

Listed below are the athletics events  

Friday 3rd August 
Athletics Joanne Cuddihy 400m 03-Aug 10:00 Heat
Athletics Ciaran O’Lionard 1500m 03-Aug 19:00 Heat
Athletics Fionnula Britton 10,000m 03-Aug 19:00 Final

Saturday 4th August
Athletics Fionnula Britton Steeplechase 04-Aug 10:00 Heat
Athletics Stephanie O’Reilly Steeplechase 04-Aug 10:00 Heat 
Athletics Tori Pena Pole Vault 04-Aug 10:00 Round 1
Athletics Rob Heffernan 20km Walk 04-Aug 17:00 Final
Athletics Joanne Cuddihy 400m 04-Aug 18:50 Semi Finals

Sunday 5th August
Athletics Linda Byrne Marathon 05-Aug 11:00 Final
Athletics Catriona Jennings Marathon 05-Aug 11:00 Final
Athletics Ava Hutchinson Marathon 05-Aug 11:00 Final
Athletics Ciaran O’Lionard 1500m 05-Aug 18:50 Semi Final
Athletics Joanne Cuddihy 400m 05-Aug 18:50 Finals 

Monday 6th August 
Athletics Derval O’Rourke 100m Hurdles 06-Aug 10:00 Heat
Athletics Stephanie O’Reilly Steeplechase 06-Aug 18:50 Final
Athletics Fionnula Britton Steeplechase 06-Aug 18:50 Final

Athletics Tori Pena Pole Vault 06-Aug 18:50 Final 

Tuesday 7th August
Athletics Paul Hession 200m 07-Aug 10:00 Heat
Athletics Fionnula Britton 5000m 07-Aug 10:00 Heat
Athletics Ciaran O’Lionard 1500m 07-Aug 18:50 Final
Athletics Derval O’Rourke 100m Hurdles 07-Aug 18:50 Semi Final

Wednesday 8th August
Athletics Alistair Cragg 5000m 08-Aug 10:00 Heat
Athletics Paul Hession 200m 08-Aug 18:00 Semi Final 

Thursday 9th August
Athletics Deirdre Ryan High Jump 09-Aug 09:00 Heat
Athletics Paul Hession 200m 09-Aug 18:30 Final
Athletics Women’s Relay 4 x 400m 09-Aug 18:30 Round 1

Friday 10th August
Athletics Women’s Relay 4 x 400m 10-Aug 19:00 Final
Athletics Fionnula Britton 5000m 10-Aug 19:00 Final

Saturday 11th August
Athletics Brendan Boyce 50km Walk 11-Aug 09:00 Final
Athletics Rob Heffernan 50km Walk 11-Aug 09:00 Final
Athletics Colin Griffin 50km Walk 11-Aug 09:00 Final 
Athletics Olive Loughnane 20km Walk 11-Aug 17:00 Final
Athletics Laura Reynolds 20km Walk 11-Aug 17:00 Final
Athletics Alistair Cragg 5000m 11-Aug 18:45 Final
Athletics Deirdre Ryan High Jump 11-Aug 18:45 Final

Sunday 12th August 
Athletics Mark Kenneally Marathon 12-Aug 11:00 Final

Race notice...Cloyne 5k road race - Wed 8th Aug 2012

The Cloyne 5k takes place in East Cork on Wednesday, the 8th of August at 7:30pm. As races go, this is a reasonably flat and fast course. There are no real hills as such, just a few short sections where the road rises by a few metres at most. Outside of the Marina course in Cork City, it doesn't get much flatter. If you want to try for a fast 5k time, then this is the one to do.

If you are coming from the Cork city, then Cloyne is just a 22-25 minute drive from the Jack Lynch tunnel. Considering the number of runners within say a 30 minute drive of it, the race is likely to attract a large crowd.

Please note that the race is only open to contestants aged 14 or over. Headphones are also not allowed.

More details in the preview before the race.

Haile Gebrselassie and the Olympic 10k final in Sydney

The year...2000.
The venue...The Olympic stadium in Sydney, Australia.
The race...The 10,000m final.

Having sustained an achilles injury with just three week to go, the defending Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie lined out with some of the fastest runners in the world including the Kenyan Paul Tergat. In a closely contested race, the Ethiopian won in the end by less than one second.

In this recent BBC interview for the Sporting Witness series, they interview Haile Gebrselassie about the race. You can hear it HERE

You can see the race below...

Sixth and final episode of London Calling now on the RTE Player

In the fifth episode of 'London Calling' on RTE television, they follow Brian Gregan from Dublin and Rob and Marian Heffernan as they aim to qualify for the London Olympics.

Description..."Bouncing back from his medical setback in Paris, Brian Gregan (400m Sprinter) wins silver at the U23 Championships. But before he can focus on getting to London he has to finish his degree. His thesis takes up so much time that he enters the season with very little training and low expectations. But as he journeys across Europe his stellar performances mean he is getting closer and closer to the qualifying time. With his parents following every move from home he enters the European Championships with a real shot at the time and a medal.

Having recovered from her injury in Belfast, Marian Heffernan and the 4 x 400m team re- double their efforts to secure qualification. To make sure of their place they travel to Poland, but not everything goes according to plan. This sets up their make or break event, the European Athletics Championships in Helsinki. But disaster strikes and they are disqualified. Will their work over the previous two years be enough to get them to the Olympics?"

Brian is on from the start until 8:40
Rob and Marian are on from 14:55 to 21:18

The programme can be seen HERE  (Available until the 14th of August)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A look at the track in the Olympic stadium...

Long gone are the days of the cinder track with athletes hammering their starting blocks into the surface. The modern track now is made of synthetic materials which are designed to aid the performance of the athletes. For the Olympic stadium in London, the Italian designed Mondo track separates the traction and shock absorbing properties of a running track into two layers. The track's upper surface is slip-resistant which means that the spikes don't need to pierce its surface to get a grip, boosting the athlete's performance by cutting the penetration/retraction time. The lower layer is made up of elongated diamond shape cells, resembling a honeycomb, which flex in every direction and provide more cushioning, optimum energy return and shorter reaction times.

As with all tracks, the surface is a compromise in that it must be hard enough to suit the sprinters but not so hard as to injure the long distance runners.

More information about the Olympic track can be found on the BBC website HERE

Focus on.........Irish Sprinter Paul Hession

Event: 200 metres.
Who is he? The 29-year-old Galway man is the fastest man in Ireland. A native of Athenry and a member of Athernry AC, Paul Hession holds the Irish record over 100 and 200 metres.
Road to London: Paul qualified for the Olympics when he ran 20.51 at the National Track and Field Championships in Santry last August, four hundredths of a second inside the 'A' standard of 20.55.
Medal chances: Paul's personal best of 20.30 seconds hasn’t been enough to win an Olympic medal since 1992. His aim is to make it into the final and be in the top 8 of the world.

Here are Paul Hessions best times outdoors over the last few years. For reference, the current 'A' standard for the Olympics is 10.18 for the 100m and 20.55 for the 200m

Progression - Outdoor
Season    Performance    Wind    Place    Date
100 Metres    2010    10.46    0.7    Hengelo    30/05/2010
2009    10.34    0.7    Ostrava    17/06/2009
2008    10.21    1.9    Cork    12/07/2008
2007    10.18    1.9    Vaasa    23/06/2007
2005    10.46    -0.3    Fribourg    27/08/2005

200 Metres    2012    20.54    0.4    Luzern    17/07/2012
2011    20.51    0.6    Dublin (Santry)    06/08/2011
2010    20.46    0.4    Lausanne    08/07/2010
2010    20.46    1.2    Budapest    20/06/2010
2009    20.40    0.4    London (CP)    25/07/2009
2008    20.32    0.3    Beijing (National Stadium)    18/08/2008
2007    20.30    0.1    Dublin    21/07/2007
2006    20.56    1.0    Malmö    22/08/2006
2005    20.86    1.1    Fribourg    27/08/2005
2004    20.61    -0.2    Thessaloníki    19/07/2004
2003    20.80    0.2    Daegu    28/08/2003
2002    21.03    1.4    Kingston, JAM    18/07/2002

Paul Hession was interviewed recently by Matt Cooper of the Last Word programme on Today FM. Paul is on from 6:05 to 12:10 and 16:34 to 17:35. You can download the audio file HERE

Catriona Cuddihy re-instated in Irish 4x400m Olympic team

It now looks as if Catriona Cuddihy will finally be part of the womens 4 x 400m relay team competing at London 2012. The Kilkenny City Harriers athlete has successfully appealed a decision to drop her from the team that she was originally selected on. An Olympic Council of Ireland Appeals Tribunal held last Thursday confirmed  its decision last night (Monday 23rd) to re-instate Catriona.

The selection process for the team hasn't exactly shone a positive light on Athletics Ireland itself. Back at the start of July, the Irish team 4x400m qualified for the Olympics as they were ranked 13th in the world and the top 16 go to the Games. The team named by Athletics Ireland was...
Joanne Cuddihy (KCH AC), Michelle Carey (Dublin Striders AC), Claire Bergin (DSD AC), Marian Heffernan (Togher AC), Jessie Barr (Ferrybank AC), Catriona Cuddihy (KCH AC)

Then Joanna Mills appealed the decision that she was excluded. Athletics Ireland then dropped Catriona Cuddihy and included Joanna Mills and forwarded the new team to the Olympic Council of Ireland. Catriona then appealed that decision to the OCI.

In a word, Athletics Ireland made a shambles of the whole process and both athletes have been treated badly. It's really horrible for someone to be told that they are going to the Olympics and then told they're not.

Update...Tues 24th 9:30am......The OCI have just made the following announcement.....(Basically, Catriona was picked because of her greater experience even though Joanna has run faster times)
The appeal to the Olympic Council of Ireland’s Appeal Tribunal by Catriona Cuddihy against the decision of an Athletics Ireland Appeal Panel (AIAP) to de-select her from the Women’s 4 x 400m relay team for the Olympic Games has been successful.

The OCI’s Appeal Tribunal held an in person hearing on Thursday night last, July 19 in Dublin city centre and heard submission from legal representatives of Ms Cuddihy, Athletics Ireland and Joanna Mills.
Ms Mills prior appeal to Athletics Ireland against her non-selection for the relay team had been upheld and it was this against this decision which Ms Cuddihy appealed.
The Appeal Tribunal found that process for the original selection by the AI High Performance Relay Selectors had been carried out in a fair and proportionate manner. The AIAP in reaching its decision differed with the interpretation of the Selectors in the application of two of the eight selection criteria for the Women’s relay team on the grounds that their application had been too narrowly applied.
The Tribunal in reviewing the selection criteria and the AIAP decision found that it did not agree with the AIAP conclusions.
The Tribunal found that the Selectors did follow and apply the selection policy outlined in the Relay Programme and did so with diligence and acumen.
This Tribunal finds that the AIAP did not properly construe Selection Factor No.1 [overall relay experience] and by imposing the interpretation it did, the AIAP itself applied a narrow interpretation which was not contemplated under the Selection Factors.
The Tribunal further finds in relation to Selection Factor No.2 [overall experience in major championships (individual and relay)] while a broader interpretation could have been applied to the scope of this criteria, namely to include pre-2011 major championship experience including at junior level, that the additional weighting accorded by the AIAP to the experience of Ms Mills in this regard was disproportionate when the totality of the components within Selection Factor No.2 and the weighting accorded to the other athletes based upon their major championship experience and contribution to the relay team were considered.
Based on these findings the Tribunal upheld the appeal of Catriona Cuddihy, and her original nomination to the OCI as an athlete on the Women’s 4 x 400m relay is reinstated.
Nothing in the decision prevents recourse by the parties to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Full document HERE

Update...11am.......Athletics Ireland released the following statement...
Athletics Ireland notes the decision of the Olympic Council of Ireland (OCI) to select Catriona Cuddihy for the Irish Women’s 4×400m relay squad to compete at the London Olympic Games. Athletics Ireland respects the OCI’s decision which concludes the selection process.

The experience has been a significant learning for the Association. In that regard the selection and appeals process to date will form part of an overall review of the preparation for London and the performance of Irish athletes there. Inputs from all involved will be sought when doing so.

Athletics Ireland CEO John Foley said: “We also have to acknowledge that the past three weeks has been enormously difficult for the athletes involved in this appeal process, their families, supporters and friends. At this point however there is a final decision as to selection and we believe that it is now in the interests of all, that we focus our attention on the Games themselves. We wish all of the athletes the best of luck in their efforts in London.” 

Update.....3:45pm........Response from Joanna Mills......
“I think the initial disappointment of now getting selected and then being told that you are going and then being told you’re not going has been draining. But it’s definitely something that has made me stronger and it’s something I have to see how everything pans out."
“I suppose its just the way the decision has been made. I would rather be running faster and not be going than be running faster just to get a place to go. It’s made me more determined I think defintely. I’m only 19 so realistically I’m aiming for 2016 and beyond so I cant let it stop me in my tracks. I’m going to keep my head down and it’s only made me more hungry to compete at an Olympic Games and hopefully next time it will be a lot more of a clear-cut decision. ”

Update.....Wed 25th...2pm....
BBC interview with Joanna Mills HERE
The latest news is that Joanna will not appeal the decision 

Jerry Kiernan comments on it on Newstalk....

Catriona Cuddihy comments on it to Newstalk...


Monday, July 23, 2012

Red FM interview with Ciarán Ó Lionáird...

At last weeks Cork City Sports, Ciarán Ó Lionáird made his first appearance on the track since since he sustained an achilles injury in the Spring. He finished 5th in the mile race in a time of 3:58.84 which is all the more impressive when you consider his lack of race fitness.

A few days ago, local radio station Red FM caught up with him and carried out this short interview...

All going well, Ciarán should be taking part in the Morton Mile in Dublin on Wednesday.

Name...........PBs and SBs:
Ayanleh Souleiman (DIJ) 3.5.21 SB 3.50.21
David Torrence (USA) 3.50.01 SB 3.52.01
Ryan Gregson (AUS) 3.52.24 SB 3.53.62
Ciaran O’Lionaird (IRL) 3.54.76 SB 3.54.76
Garrett Heath (USA) 3.55.24 SB 3.55.24
Will Leer (USA) 3.55.66 SB 3.58.49
Silas Kisorio (KEN) 3.55.84 SB 3.55.84
Zane Robertson (NZL) 3.56.13 SB 3.56.13
Ricky Stevenson (GBR) 3.56.31 SB 3.58.91
Craig Miller (USA) 3.56.41 SB 3.56.41
Jack Bolas (USA) 3.58.31 SB 3.58.31
Ryan Hill (USA) 3.58.33 SB 3.58.33
Paul Robinson (IRL) 3.58.70 SB 3.58.70
John Coghlan (IRL) 3.59.32 SB 3.59.32
John Travers (IRL) 4.04.25
Rory Chesser (IRL) 4.04.38
Feidhlim Kelly (IRL) pace

The Morton Mile is the climax of the Meet with a 9.00 p.m. start on the 25th of July. The International Programme in the Morton Games opens at 7.15 p.m.

Update.....8pm....There was also a piece on NBC Olympics about Ciarán today. In it,  they write......
With the first of three rounds of the Olympic 1500m scheduled to take place in just 11 days, O'Lionard said he just has to take things one round at a time, and not project too far forward. He's realistic about his chances, but said that he's a good tactician which should help him to advance.
"I don't think worrying's going to do anything for me," he intoned. "At this point, my body is what it is. I've been dealt the cards I've been dealt and I have to play them the best that I can."

The full NBC interview can be seen HERE

Interview with the official starter of the Olympic 100m final

The Guardian had a recent interview with Alan Bell, the official starter of the sprint events in the upcoming Olympics. It offers an interesting insight to what goes on behind the scenes in what is one of the biggest races of the games. The article is HERE while the video clip can be seen below...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Results of the Banteer 5k road race - 22nd July 2012

The fine Irish Summer lasted a full two days before the wind and clouds returned yet again on Sunday! However, that didn't deter the 78 runners that took part in this low key 5k road race in Banteer. While the number may look low, they are actually 56% up on last year when just 50 runners took part.

The mens race was won by Cathal O'Donovan of St.Finbarr's AC in a time of 16:00. The first woman home was Carol Finn of Leevale AC in 19:40.

Place    Time    Name    Team    Race Age Category    min/mile       
1    0:16:00    O'DONOVAN, Cathal    St. Finbarrs AC    M    05:08.9
2    0:16:25    MURPHY, Ed    Gneeveguilla AC    M    05:16.9
3    0:17:02    BARRETT, John    Gneeveguilla AC    M40    05:28.8
1    0:19:40    FINN, Carol    Leevale AC    F    06:19.7
2    0:20:09    SWEENEY, Mary    St. Finbarrs AC    F50    06:29.0
3    0:21:06    VONHATTEN, Jessica    Leevale AC    F    06:47.4

The full results can be seen HERE

Results of the Shannonvale 10k Fun Run - Fri 20th July 2012

As well as the Donoughmore race last Friday evening, there was a 10k fun run in Shannonvale near Clonakilty.

1 35.42    ALEX O SHEA    M
2 37.37    PAUL DEANE    M
3 38.40    STEPHEN O MAHONY    M
1 42.12    RONNIE BARRY    F
2 42.24    ELANOR CASEY    F
3 43.52    CAROLINE WHITE    F

The full results can be seen HERE

Jessie Barr wins 400m race in Amsterdam...Sat 21st July 2012

Most of the Irish 4x400m Olympic team were in action in Amsterdam last night in the womens 400m. The race was won by Jessie Barr in a time of 53.68 seconds which was a new personal best 0.02 seconds!

RTE Radio interview with Ronnie Delaney and Maeve Kyle

As part of their Olympic coverage, RTE radio had a programme recently looking back at the 1956 games in Melbourne. In it, Miriam O'Callaghan spoke to Ronnie Delaney who won Gold in the 1500m. She also speaks to Maeve Kyle who was the first Irish woman ever to compete on the track.

The interview can be heard HERE

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Looking ahead to the Dingle Half & Full Marathon...Sat 1st Sept 2012

 Following on from an earlier post about the upcoming Dingle Half and Full Marathon, it's time to have a quick look at the course.

Starting in the town of Dingle, both Half and Full Marathon runners run on the road west towards Ventry. While the roads are closed, it can be a little congested for the first mile or so until the field begins to thin out.

While there are no big hills for the initial few miles, there are plenty of small hills like the one below...

This is typical of the roads in the area......narrow with the hedgerows of Fuchsia due to the mild climate. As you head west, you will catch sight of Mount Eagle way off in the distance.

Around 3 miles, Ventry harbour comes into view...

After Ventry, the road heads south-west and begins to climb around the 6 mile mark. By the time you hit 7 miles, you are on a coastal road well above the sea. This is the view around 7 miles looking back over Dingle Bay and the Iveragh peninsula to the south...

This is one of the main attractions of this race, especially for the Half-Marathon. Here with the coastal road so high above the sea, you have more or less uninterrupted views all of the way to the finish of  the Half in Dunquin.

From here, the road rises and falls a bit but there are no serious hills. At around 10 miles, you approach Slea Head...

...and the Blasket Islands beyond come into view. Once you get around the corner, the views are equally spectacular...

For the Half-Marathon runners, the finish awaits them in Dunquin with a bus to transport them back to Dingle.

As Half-Marathons go, it's probably not the fastest but then again, most people don't come to Dingle to try and run a record time. In terms of scenery, it is easily the most scenic route in Ireland.

For the Full Marathon runners, they continue on and start the second half with a long climb out of Dunquin. If you have a target time in mind then you will probably lose some time here.

Pretty soon, you start changing direction as you head back east towards Dingle. Around 17 miles, Mount Brandon and the Three Sisters on the coast are clearly visible as you approach Ballyferriter.

For the next few miles, there are plenty of straight flat sections with the occasional small climb.

As you get near 21 miles, there is an out and back section of road to make up the correct Marathon distance. You run out this road, around a point and return again. As you can see, it is mostly flat.

Once you re-join the main road, you begin the toughest part of the race.....the long hill up to the 23.3 mile mark.

Once you go over the highest point, it's downhill all the ways to Dingle and the finish line...

Overall, it is certainly not a fast Marathon course but in terms of a setting for a Marathon, it's hard to beat. It is a complete contrast to say the usual city Marathon and on a national basis, it is probably the most scenic Marathon in Ireland.

Note that the closing date for entries is the 22nd of August.

More details on the race website

Usain Bolt...the fastest man alive

Following on from the earlier video about the history of the 100m, this one looks at Usain Bolt who is the current Olympic 100m and 200m champion and holds the world record in both events.

Programme description......'An intimate portrait of athlete Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world. In the London 2012 Olympics, Bolt will try to retain his three Olympic titles and his three world records. On the night of the 100m final, over four billion viewers will watch him as he attempts to enter the history books by becoming the first man ever to retain the 100m gold medal.

French producer/director Gael Leiblang secured exclusive access to Usain Bolt, and has been filming up close and personal with him over the last 12 months as he prepares for the biggest race of his life. Made with his complete co-operation, it features Bolt in his home environment away from the cameras. It also features all the people who have helped get Bolt to the top of his profession - his relatives, his best friends and the Jamaican national coach.'

Well worth watching........(Approx 58 mins long)

Update......Sorry, it seems as if the person that put up the video was forced to take it down again. Pity because it was really good! Here is a promo instead...

However ;o) my search for another copy of this documentary, I came across this one presented by Michael Johnson.......worth watching...

Results of the Donoughmore 7 mile road race - Fri 20th July 2012

The 2012 Donoughmore 7 mile road race this year attracted a field of 263 runners on what was a pleasant Summers evening. The mens race was won by Cillian O'Leary in a time of 37:55. The womens race was won by Claire McCarthy of St.Finbarr's AC in 42:12. Claire was part of the Irish  Cross Country team that went to Slovenia late last year where Fionnuala Britton won the Gold.

 Place    Time    Name    Team    Race Age Category    min/mile      
1    0:37:55    O'LEARY, Cillian    Raheny Shamrock AC    M    05:24.9
2    0:38:23    MEADE, John    St. Finbarrs AC    M    05:28.9
3    0:38:59    O'CONNELL, Cathal    St. Finbarrs AC    M45    05:34.0
1    0:42:12    GIBBONS-MCCARTHY, Claire    St. Finbarrs AC    F35    06:01.6
2    0:45:55    LEONARD, Helen    Rathfarnham-WSAF AC    F40    06:33.5
3    0:46:03    TEAHAN, Karina    St. Finbarrs AC    F    06:34.6

The full results can be found HERE

1) A large gallery of 400+ photos by Doug Minihane HERE

(...Start photo courtesy of Doug Minihane)

Friday, July 20, 2012

BBC Programme dispels sports drinks claims...

In a recent Panorama programme on BBC, they looked at the claims made by the manufacturers of sports drinks and how they claimed to boost performance. In essence, these claims were found to they were found to be false. The various sports stars endorsing the products do so because they are sponsored, not because they actually believe the stuff works.

There is a clip about it on BBC HERE

There was also a six minute discussion about it on Newstalk on Frinday morning......listen from 43:30 to 49:20

TV interview with Rob and Marian Heffernan...TV3

Earlier this week, Irish Olympians Rob and Marian Heffernan were interviewed on TV3.

The interview can be seen HERE

Races this weekend.....Fri 20th - Sun 22nd of July

Here are some of the races on this weekend....

Friday 20th of July......
Mid-Cork...There is the annual Donoughmore 7 mile road race at 8pm to the north-west of Cork City. Always a popular race and should attract a good crowd. More details HERE

East Limerick.....The Ballyhoura Active Series continues with the Kilteely 5 mile road race. Details HERE

Sunday 22nd of July.......
There is a 5km road race in Banteer. This starts at 1pm. Details HERE

BBC programme Faster, Higher, Stronger...The history of the 100m

This video clip from the  BBC programme Faster, Higher, Stronger looks at the history of the 100m sprint from the 1896 Olympic games in Athens to Usain Bolt today. For anyone with an interest in sprinting or athletics, it really is excellent. It's also almost an hour long! ;o)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Focus on......Tori Pena, Ireland's Pole Valulter

In the upcoming Olympic Games in London, the sole Irish representative in the pole vault will be Tori Pena.

Event: Pole vault
Who is she? Born in California, the 24-year-old holds the Irish pole vault record at 4.52m and will be the first ever athlete to represent Ireland in the event.

Road to London: Pena, who is eligible to represent Ireland through Derry-born maternal grandmother, acquired dual citizenship in 2010 before joining the Finn Valley Athletic Club in Donegal.

She cleared the Olympic A standard of 4.50m to win gold at the Beach Track and Field Classic at Cerritos College, California in March 2012 and become the sole representative of the country in the field events.

What she says about herself: (On qualification) “Lots of things are coming together with my vault. I’m very pleased and 60+ should be very doable this outdoor season.

(One representing Ireland) “Although my grandma was never into sports herself, she’s always been a role model for me. I think it’s pretty unbelievable for her to think that I’m representing Ireland in the pole vault of all things. I don’t think it’s anything she could have ever imagined.”

Medal chances: Pena’s record of 4.52m ranked her in tenth place going into the European Track and Field Championships in Helsinki recently. However, having cleared 4.15m, 4.25m and 4.35m, she failed at 4.40m and suffered the disappointment of missing out on a place in the final.

Derval O'Rourke runs 13.02 in Lignano, Italy

Last Tuesday evening at a meet in Lignano Italy, Derval O’Rourke finished second in the womens 100m hurdles in a seasons best time of 13.02 seconds.

100 m hurdles Wind: 0.2
1    Lolo Jones    USA    5 Aug 82 12.85
2    Derval O'Rourke    IRL    28 May 81 13.02 SB  
3    Yvette Lewis    USA    16 Mar 85  13.08
4    Micol Cattaneo    ITA    14 May 82 13.14
5    Veronica Borsi    ITA    13 Jun 87 13.40
6    Rikenette Steenkamp    RSA    16 Oct 92 13.93

Back on the 8th of July, Derval had to pull out of the National track and field championships due to a back spasm. The next day, the Irish Times had headlines like 'O'Rourke injury casts major doubt over Olympic participation'. At the times, that article seemed to be completely at odds with information elsewhere as outlined in an earlier post. Then just 9 days later, a seasons best of 13.02 shows that some elements of the press were way off the mark.

What's possibly more significant though is that the time is close to the sub 13 seconds that Derval will need to run to make a mark in London. At the Beijing Olympics in 2008, she went out in the first round after running 13.22 seconds. The time of the slowest qualifier from those rounds was 12.98 seconds. Therefore, it stands to reason that she will probably have to go sub 13 to get through the first rounds in London.

Programme on drugs in sports on RTE TV...

On Tuesday the 17th of July, there was a programme called Faster, Higher, Stronger on RTE Television which looked at the effect of drugs in sports.

Description......"In a brand new sports science documentary, journalist Ian O'Riordan examines how athletes are using science and technology to enhance their performance, asking whether or not we can ever again truly believe in the purity of sport.

The Olympic Games are meant to represent all that's good and pure about sport- heroic acts of courage, fair play, being all that you can be. But ever since Ben Johnson failed a drug test in 1988, the biggest sporting show on earth has been dogged by scandal and suspicion. And now, with the curtain about to rise on London 2012, Ian O'Riordan of The Irish Times looks at the growing impact science and technology has on sport - legal and illegal - and wonders if sport can ever regain our trust.

In Faster, Higher, Stronger, Ian looks at a range of performance enhancement techniques, both legal and illegal, to discover if science has become more important than good old-fashioned hard graft and talent. He spends time with members of the Irish Olympic Team for 2012, to get inside the mind of the people that go to extraordinary lengths to gain a competitive edge.

Ian meets race-walker Colin Griffin, who's living in a bespoke altitude house in Limerick, fitted out to mimic the air density of Kilimanjaro. While Rob Heffernan, another walker, has to make do with a tent over his bed to get the same effect. Ian asks if this method of manipulating the body's make-up is really fair, using the example of a banned swimsuit as an instance technology was outlawed.

He reconnects with Martin Fagan and Geraldine Hendricken, two Irish athletes who received bans for failed drugs tests. He looks at the world of sports supplements, asking if these are really just legal performance enhancers.

Faster, Higher, Stronger is a comprehensive exploration of performance enhancement that combines an in-depth look at the science of sport with a personal search for the truth about fair play."

The programme is 50 minutes long and can be seen on the RTE Player service until the 7th of August.