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'Every day in training I'm thinking, can I make that jump?' - Coscoran targeting Flynn's 1500m record

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Andrew Coscoran is hoping to break Ray Flynn's Irish record for the 1500m. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Andrew Coscoran is hoping to break Ray Flynn's Irish record for the 1500m. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Andrew Coscoran is hoping to break Ray Flynn's Irish record for the 1500m. Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Emerging Irish middle-distance star Andrew Coscoran has set his sights on breaking Ray Flynn’s national 1500m record.

"It is something that we are definitely targeting," said the 24-year Balbriggan miler, who was Ireland’s form middle distance runner before the March lockdown.

"Looking back, the times the likes of Eamonn Coghlan and Ray Flynn ran were unbelievable. We have the capacity to run fast times, but at the moment we are not doing it.

"There are a lot of us in the Dublin Track Club at the standard to run these times. At the moment maybe we can’t and it is a bit frustrating that we can’t do it.

"Definitely every day in training I am personally thinking: Can I break that record? Can I make that jump up in performance? I think we have the capability to do so and there is no reason we can’t."

It is a measure of how standards have dipped in Irish middle distance running that next Tuesday marks the 38th anniversary of Ray Flynn’s memorable performance in the Dream Mile at the Bislett Games in Oslo in 1982.

Flynn finished third in 3:49.7 and was timed at 3:33.5 for the 1500m. Both times set stand as Irish records. American Steve Scott won the race ahead of 1976 Olympic champion John Walker.

Coached by Feidhlim Kelly, Coscoran was within touching distance of qualifying for the Olympic Games in Tokyo after a sting of impressive performances this spring, including victory in the Irish indoor 1500m championship.

The upside of the postponement of the Olympic Games for 12 months is that it gives the former Florida State University student another year to mature.

Provided he qualifies and the Games go ahead he will journey east with more ambition than would have been the case this summer.

"Hopefully I will be in a position to make the semi-finals if not further," he said.

The downside comes in two parts. He postponed his last semester in DCU in order to focus on what ought to have been a hectic season incorporating the World Indoor Games, the European outdoor championships and the Olympic Games.

"Looking back now it would have been nice to do it (the final semester) during lockdown when I was stuck inside."

From at athletic point of view the lockdown came just as he struck the richest vein of form in his career. Aside from winning his first national title in the 1500m in a new championship record (3:41.6), he ran the fastest Irish indoor mile in six years, posting 3:56.85 in Boston. He following that up with a 3:37.98 for the 1,500m before clocking 3:57.83 in the famous Wanamaker Mile.

It’s a long way from the National Stadium in Tokyo to Moyne, Co Tipperary. But in his first race since the lockdown, Coscoran and his colleagues from the Dublin Track Club, Sean Tobin, Brian Fay, Hiko Tonosa, Paul Robinson and pacemaker Gary Campbell will attempt to run the first ever sub-four minute mile on Tipperary soil on July 25.

Coscoran does not receive any funding from Athletics Ireland or Sport Ireland and is indebted to the generosity of international commercial race organiser Richard Donovan, who privately funds him. He is also supported by his club, Star of the Sea and Meath Athletics in his ambition to become a star of Irish middle distance running.

Andrew Coscoran was speaking at the launch of the Irish Life Health Mile Challenge. Registration for the event is at https://www.athleticsireland.ie/runzone/Irish-Life-Health-Mile-Challenge The virtual event is free of charge.

Online Editors