Thursday 22 March 2018

Two local athletes racing in New York

Mila Clancy from Gurteen and Tiernan Cooke from South Sligo, both aged 8, are set to run at the Millrose Games in New York in February
Mila Clancy from Gurteen and Tiernan Cooke from South Sligo, both aged 8, are set to run at the Millrose Games in New York in February

Two Sligo runners have been selected to represent Ireland in New York at the Milrose Games in February. Mila Clancy and Tiernan Cooke, both aged 8 and representing Corran AC and South Sligo AC have been picked to race for Ireland.

The Fastest Feet in Ireland initiative is now in its third year. The aim of this programme is to increase participation levels of children in athletics. Believe and Achieve is a Sligo based coaching organisation whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. The concept for The Fastest Feet was born after Believe and Achieve was offered two lanes at the Prestigious Millrose Games in New York - otherwise known as the Indoor Olympics of athletics.

This initiative began in Sligo and was taken nationwide last year in the search for the fastest children in Ireland. This year the scale of the initiative was reduced due to a failure to secure a sponsor for the programme and prize, however since September 2017 Dermot McDermott has tested over 1000 children between Galway and Sligo in both schools and athletics clubs and he has now discovered two Sligo children who will represent Ireland in New York in February.

The New York Road Runners support a programme in New York which sees the best kids from all 5 boroughs in New York line up for a race streamed live on NBC called the Fastest Kid on the Block.

In 2015 this race for the first time featured two Irish kids, and thanks to the Millrose Games' support of Believe and Achieve and its initiative The Fastest Feet, this tradition will continue again this year.

This iconic event this year will feature Mila Clancy, an 8-year-old from Gurteen and representing her school - Carn NS and her club Corran AC. Mila's Dad Nigel would claim the speed came from him, and he certainly has pace, having served his County so well for years and with a winning All-Ireland Club Football Final medal among his accolades. Martina, Mila's Mum however disputes this claim!

As a member of Corran AC, Mila had the 3rd fastest time last year in the U10's national championships and based on her flying 10m score, she's likely to be well in the running to bring home the title of Fastest Kid on the Block.

Tiernan Cooke, our fastest feet from South Sligo is an 8-year-old whose progress has been unbelievable this year. He's well used to running between the speed gates and two weeks ago he punched his ticket to New York at training with his superb club - South Sligo AC. His school Holy Family are among the most active schools in Connacht and work hard to promote athletics in the region. As Ireland were opening the scoring against Denmark, Tiernan was securing his place in the Big Apple next February.

As the relationship with Believe and Achieve and the Millrose Games continues to grow, this year sees the birth of a new initiative with the aim of inspiring young female athletes to stay involved in the sport. Believe and Achieve have managed to secure a lane at in another fantastic event thanks to Race Director Ray Flynn's vision and commitment to Irish Grassroots athletic. Sligo will also see four of its best teenage sprinters compete in a 4 x 200m Girls Relay Team against the best in the USA at this iconic indoor meet. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for four dedicated and committed athletes to race alongside their icons and hero's of the sport on the 3rd of February next year. The quartet will consist of Erin Taheny; a multi-talented athlete with two All-Ireland titles to her name, Lauren Cadden; Irish Schools Champion and a formidable 200m runner; Connaught Schools Long Jump Champion Ellen Kilcoyne and Ellie McGeough, former National Indoor Champion. These four girls will be aiming to fundraise locally to secure the funding for their trip. Keep an eye out for posters for the Believe and Achieve Millrose Games Christmas 5k race on Sunday 17th December at 10.45am and all donations of spot prizes will be greatly appreciated. Contact for further information.

Sligo Champion