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Athletics: All's well that ends well for captain McGlynn

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Anne Marie McGlynn

Anne Marie McGlynn

SPORTSFILE

Anne Marie McGlynn

ANN Marie McGlynn only returned to running as therapy three years ago, when her baby was critically ill - now she is Irish captain for the European Cross-Countries.

The former Tullamore Harrier (nee Larkin) was an Irish junior and U-23 international and UCD scholarship graduate, but gave up running six years ago.

"I met my husband Trevor in Dublin when I was in UCD, he was from Strabane and we settled there.

"I took a complete break, got some partying in, had two children, got a mortgage and opened a boutique locally with a friend, I had a lot on my plate," she explains.

But when her child Alfie was struck down with serious illness within weeks of his birth, she fished her runners out again.

"It was touch and go for a while with Alfie and a really difficult time," she recalls.

"His left lung collapsed and he was in intensive care on a ventilator. My daughter was under two and I was so stressed that I thought a wee jog might help clear my head."

One jog led to another and after Alfie had fully recovered, she kept it up with her husband, a former high-hurdler, as a training partner.

Within a year she had joined Donegal club Lifford AC, which is just a mile across the border from her home.

Kevin Connolly initially coached her and when he left the club she turned to Teresa McDaid.

Coming second in the 3,000m at the national indoors in 2013, on her son's first birthday, saw her return come full circle.

She has won medals in the 5,000m at the last two Irish (outdoor) nationals and finished fourth for Ireland in the 3,000m at the European team championship last summer.

Sixth place at the inter-county cross-countries recently was a disappointment but she had been sick beforehand and feels there is more in the tank.

Getting the call from AAI to captain the team in Bulgaria on December 14 has been another huge boost and, at 34, McGlynn believes she still has a lot to give and is targeting the steeplechase next summer.

Raheny's Mick Clohisey captains the men's team. Conor Dooney has replaced Clonmel's Kevin Maunsell, who is out injured.

Elsewhere, the GloHealth Novice and Unevenage Cross Country Championships take place in Santry on Sunday (11.30).

Irish Independent